Wayne Root Asks: Is Obama Our Bernie Madoff?

2008 Libertarian V.P. nominee Wayne Root today writes that  President Obama is

taking notes right out of Bernie Madoff’s playbook — steal from one group to pay off his friends. And why did Bernie do it? To increase his own wealth, power, control and ego. Sound familiar? Obama is doing the same thing- the only difference being that when the President and Congress do it, it’s legal.

Obama steals from taxpayers, who work hard every day and pay taxes, to redistribute it to unions and government employees who voted for him (and contributed to his campaign). He calls it “stimulus.” Obama steals from taxpayers to bailout the biggest corporations (who contribute to him). He calls it “bailouts.” Obama is raising taxes on small business owners- to redistribute it to people who never paid taxes. He calls it a “tax cut.” They´re all simply a government-run Ponzi Scheme.

Obama has increased government spending by trillions, stealing from future generations to bribe the voters of this generation. And, he is paying for it by having the Federal Reserve simply print the money, thereby devaluing the U.S. dollar through inflation so that the government can pay back the debt in much cheaper dollars. That may sound reasonable until you realize that inflation is another way government steals from its citizens by making their hard earned savings worth less.

A recently-created graphic at CalFreedom.net gives a running total of each citizen’s share of those trillions in future obligations:

I owe:
federal debt: $38,000.0000
Social Security: $25,000.0000
Medicare: $124,000.0000
federal pensions: $17,000.0000
state pensions: $10,000.0000
state debt: $4,000.0000
Total: $180,000.0000
I’ve voted: 0 times

168 thoughts on “Wayne Root Asks: Is Obama Our Bernie Madoff?

  1. Steven R Linnabary

    Only 875 words!!! Root does listen!

    And a great one liner:

    The government is so inept it even failed running a brothel in Nevada and New York state just declared government run OTB (Off Track Betting) bankrupt. Only the government could lose money on prostitution and gambling.

    I wish I had thought of it!

    But Wayne might want to retract his comments about the Washington Redskins. I’m no expert on sports analogies and jokes. And I’m sure that even though this sports team may be something of a national joke ( I certainly wouldn’t have a clue), I am also sure that they have their ardent fans. There is no point in raising their ire needlessly.

    Otherwise, another very good commentary from Root. One that is sure to keep Root in the media.

    PEACE

  2. Tom Blanton

    Like all the other Republicans, Root acts like all of America’s problems started on the day Obama was inaugurated.

    And like all the other right-wing radio talkers, Root can never quite stick to the truth. For example:

    “Think about the $100 trillion dollar national debt.”

    Well, garsh dagnabbit Wayne. I reckon we’d never knowed Obama done spent all that money since Mr. Boosh left. You go tell ‘em whuts whut, Wayne.

    When high-profile wankers like Root (that call themselves libertarians) are less than truthful, it reflects poorly on other libertarians – especially the LP “libertarians”.

  3. Brian Holtz Post author

    The only revisionism here is Blanton’s. He blathers about “truth” while blatantly quoting out of context. Here’s the whole paragraph from Root:

    So the next time you hear President Obama extol the virtues of government and tell you that only government can save you…think Amtrak. Think DMV. Think U.S. Postal Service (a monopoly that loses over $7 billion annually). Think Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Think about failing government-run public schools. Think about failing government-run health-care (called Medicare and Medicaid). Think about the $5.3 trillion unfunded liability for government employees. Think about the $100 trillion dollar national debt. Think brothels and gambling failing (only when run by government). Think PONZI.

    The topic of that paragraph is whether to believe Obama that “only government can save you”. It’s simply untruthful for Blanton to suggest that Root is here accusing Obama of initiating all of the government failures that Root cited.

    As for the Blanton lie of Root being a “Republican”, ask yourself if a Republican would write this, in his penultimate blog posting before last November’s election:

    How many times can conservative or free market libertarian voters be lied to, without waking up to the deception? Year after year, at election time Republicans trot out candidates who portray themselves as libertarian conservatives standing for free markets, smaller government, lower spending, lower taxes, and more freedom. But after they are elected, they govern very differently than they promised. The reality is that Republicans talk about smaller government, but once elected, they expand government just like Democrats. They treat us like battered voters.

    Even one of my heroes was guilty of this offense. Remember when Ronald Reagan said, “The nine worst words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Then he was elected and oversaw a dramatic expansion of government. Reagan also said he’d eliminate the Department of Education. It is still standing almost three decades later- not only standing, but growing at an alarming rate. The budget of the Department of Education is $80 Billion dollars almost 3 decades after Reagan pledged to eliminate it. Eighty billion dollars.

    Remember when George H.W. Bush (daddy of W) said, “Read my lips, no new taxes”? Then after his election, he promptly raised taxes.

    Remember George W. Bush’s promises to cut government and reduce spending. Then he was elected and went on a spending rampage that would embarrass a drunken sailor. The first veto of his Presidency was against stem cell research. But earmarks, pork, waste and bloated budgets never seemed to bother W.

    Now we have John McCain- yet another Republican Presidential candidate promising to be a conservative free market libertarian. But in his prior political life McCain voted against tax cuts; supported amnesty for illegal aliens- whose demands for government spending and entitlements threaten to bankrupt our nation; supported more government regulation, more bureaucrats, and higher taxes in the name of global warming; supported violations of our civil liberties (like warrantless wiretaps); and created a campaign finance bill (McCain Feingold) that eroded our free speech.

    And that was all BEFORE McCain joined with Barack Obama to support the trillion-dollar government bailout- the greatest rip-off of taxpayers in American history.

    Bob, the next time Tom Blanton tells you it’s daytime, don’t take his word for it — go check the nearest window.

  4. Aroundtheblockafewtimes

    I just dunno. I’ve met Mr. Root once, saw his performance at the Denver convention, and caught him a few times commenting on Fox & Friends. He reads better than he sounds.
    His views have a large enough gap between him and conservative Republicans that a discerning voter can tell the difference. Is he as hard-core as Ms. Ruwart? Of course not. For some, that’s a feature and not a bug. Is Mr. Root sincere?
    Who knows? If he is ambitious, I would think he could get a lot further parroting the conservative line to Nevada Republicans than a libertarian conservative line to LPers. But maybe he just enjoys being a big frog in a small puddle. Unlike with Cong. Barr, the LP will have more years to assess Mr. Root’s libertarianism and, if a convention is held earlier, more time for Mr. Root to put together state campaign organizations and appeal to those turned off by his nomination.

  5. Michael H. Wilson

    Brian I think Tom has a point. A reader should not have to research past writings to get a better picture of Mr. Root positions.

    Root writes: “Can you imagine investing your life savings with Bernie Madoff now- knowing what you know? Don’t laugh. Obama is orchestrating one of the great Ponzi schemes in history. Madoff couldn’t have done it any better.”

    It isn’t just Obama. Much of the problem has been created by Congress. And given Root’s previous efforts this one adds to the impression that Root has something of a problem with Obama himself as opposed to the ideas.

    However it did have a touch of humor which is good for a change and it was short enough to be quickly read and keep the readers attention.

    Obama did not start this scam and as it is written is reads as if he did.

  6. Brian Holtz Post author

    Which scam did Root say Obama started?

    Again, just read from his blog post:

    The government-run education system is a shambles- and getting worse every day. Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac prove the government can´t run the mortgage business. Bernie Madoff proved the government, with all the regulators at the SEC, can´t even watch the bad guys. But worst of all, is their record running healthcare: Medicare and Medicaid. They are bankrupt, bleeding billions, and threatening to bankrupt the country.

    Yet Obama, our fearless version of Madoff, smiles and tells us “Trust Me. Forget our past failures; this time the government will be miraculously profitable. We´re even going to save a half trillion dollars from medicare fraud (ignoring the fact that government not only allowed, but encouraged the fraud in the first place, and if they could eliminate it WHY HAVEN´T THEY DONE IT BEFORE NOW?). Only a politician could claim that spending an extra $1 trillion (or far more) will save money.

    The entirety of Root’s argument against Obama’s healthcare scheme is Root’s litany of pre-Obama government failures.

  7. Brian Holtz Post author

    The thing to quibble about in Root’s piece is his loose use of “Ponzi scheme”. In a true Ponzi scheme, early investments or investors actually do receive a positive real return, but those returns are funded largely by diverting funds from later investments or investors. When Root labels redistributionism and inflation as “Ponzi schemes”, he’s stretching the definition.

    I would prefer that he use “Ponzi scheme” to describe only Social Security. Every libertarian needs to memorize the facts about Social Security’s returns to its very first beneficiary: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ida_May_Fuller. The story would make Bernie Madoff blush.

  8. Scott Lieberman

    It is my belief, along with many other LP members, that Wayne Root is 100% correct to concentrate on appealing to conservatives, and to kind of let the liberals come to the Libertarian Party on their own.

    For my fellow LP members who think that Mr. Root has the wrong strategy, watch this 10 minute video…

    ************************************

    http://howobamagotelected.com/media-malpractice-obama-voter-video.asp

    and then go to this link,

    http://howobamagotelected.com/media-malpractice-research.asp

    And read the Zogby and Wilson poll links in the right hand column.

    ****************************************
    Basically, the conclusion is that voters who voted for McCain are much better informed about politics than the voters who voted for Obama. This means that it is much easier to use intellectual arguments to get conservatives to become libertarians, than it is to get liberals to do so. Why? Think about it.

    If you explain the social and economic reasons to legalize drugs to a conservative voter, they will probably understand you, even if they are not convinced you are correct.

    However, if you try to explain to a liberal about how John Lott PROVED that an increase in the number of citizen’s with CCW permits decreased violent crime, you will just get a blank stare. That is because the previous night on the CBS evening news, that liberal saw a story about a young couple in their twenties getting murdered by a thug looking for money to buy booze. To that liberal, that one news story carries more weight than an entire book of careful, academic study.

    So, Wayne Root is using the tools of thought and reason to go after the voters who are easiest to convince that libertarianism is the best way to run the government.

    Mr. Root has already proved that this strategy can get him a large number of major media appearances, albeit more often with conservative media than with liberal media.

    I am sure that there are ways to appeal to liberals to get them to vote libertarian, but until I see a left-libertarian appearing on MSNBC, the Today Show, and other liberal major media outlets on a regular basis, I have to conclude that Mr. Root is on the right track (pun intended).

  9. Brian Holtz Post author

    I sometimes quip that I find it easier to teach tolerance to conservatives than to teach economics to liberals. However, that’s not really true. What I mean by it is that it’s easier to find the tolerant minority among conservatives, than to find the economically educable minority among liberals. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of them out there.

    Especially around here in Silicon Valley. The people I meet in high-tech skew just as liberal as the rest of the Bay Area, and Democrat bumber stickers outnumbered Republican by 10-1 even before the Obamessiah. However, at least among engineers in cafeteria conversations, there is a palpable streak of free-market-friendly socioeconomic darwinism.

    Liberals can think in terms of incentives if we guide them. On my town’s committee for drafting a water conservation ordinance, the liberal do-gooders naturally want to write detailed bureaucratic regulations. But when I remind them that our goal is just to bring our water use down to the town’s Hetch Hetchy allotment, and that we could do that just with pricing (instead of be policing mulch depth etc.), they nod their heads. It’s too early to say whether my pricing-based proposal will be chosen over a looming bureaucratic inter-agency model ordinance, but I’ve already learned that these tree-huggers are educable — quite to my surprise.

  10. Scott Lieberman

    Brian Holtz // Oct 28, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    “On my town’s committee for drafting a water conservation ordinance, the liberal do-gooders naturally want to write detailed bureaucratic regulations. But when I remind them that our goal is just to bring our water use down to the town’s Hetch Hetchy allotment, and that we could do that just with pricing (instead of be policing mulch depth etc.), they nod their heads. It’s too early to say whether my pricing-based proposal will be chosen over a looming bureaucratic inter-agency model ordinance, but I’ve already learned that these tree-huggers are educable — quite to my surprise.”

    ****************************************

    But Brian, you had to get *elected* to your local Water Board before they would even listen to you :-)

  11. robert capozzi

    sl, or, Brian could educate them on the philosophical principle that taxation is theft or that the water district should secede from the Union. Might work… ;-)

  12. Tom Blanton

    Ok Holtz, you twisted little geek. Parse these words. I never said Root is accusing Obama of initiating all of the government failures that Root cited.

    What I did say, fruitcake, was:

    “Like all the other Republicans, Root acts like all of America’s problems started on the day Obama was inaugurated.”

    I’ll stand by that remark. That’s because the rhetoric and tone is EXACTLY like all the other Republican radio entertainers. Or would you rather I say “conservative” instead of “Republican”?

    Let’s not forget as we review the earlier statements of Root that his first book and website was entitled “Millionaire Republican”. I’m not making this up. He also used this website as he actively sought nomination by the LP (and while he sent a donation to Joe Lieberman and supported George Bush). Go research it, Holtz.

    I certainly don’t recall Root or the other Republicans that are now demonizing Obama and are so concerned about “socialism” being so critical of Bush and his socialist (Medicare Plan D) programs or his bailout program (that Obama supported).

    Brian, it is not my fault that you can’t tell when a shyster is playing you. What do you think a Republican running as a libertarian would say to LP members on the eve of an election? He would say something like you have quoted above.

    Rush Limbaugh continues to say similar things about McCain now.

    Now, I did quote this out of context:

    “Think about the $100 trillion dollar national debt.”

    That is because the context had nothing to do with the point I was making and made quite clearly.

    Brian, only someone as dense as you could possibly think that I was making any point other than the point I said I was making:

    “And like all the other right-wing radio talkers, Root can never quite stick to the truth.”

    And then I wrote:

    “When high-profile wankers like Root (that call themselves libertarians) are less than truthful, it reflects poorly on other libertarians – especially the LP “libertarians”.

    So, Brian, it should be clear, even to damned fool, that my point is that Root is not truthful.

    The national debt is not “$100 trillion dollars” – not even close.

    So Bob, the next time Wayne Root tells you it’s daytime, don’t take his word for it — go check the nearest window.

    Apparently, the Millionaire Republican is either a liar or an idiot, or maybe both, and some of his defenders are damned fools.

    Perhaps Root no longer calls himself a Republican and he learned that libertarians don’t want to hear his rants about islamofascism (except maybe Brian), he still talks like a Republican, walks like a Republican, and smells like a Republican.

    God, guns, gambling and tax cuts, indeed.

  13. Tom Blanton

    Scott writes:

    “It is my belief, along with many other LP members, that Wayne Root is 100% correct to concentrate on appealing to conservatives…”

    This has been the strategy for a few years now. Besides having fewer members (after many serious libertarians left), how’s it been working so far?

    Maybe in a few years there won’t be any of those awful libertarians in the LP and only “true conservatives” and raging moderates, of course.

    Good luck on this brilliant strategy.

  14. Tom Blanton

    TK – I’m quite sure Root never said Millionaire Republican was his first book. I said that. Incorrectly.

    But, I’m a liar and if I tell you it’s daytime, you need to go check the nearest window.

    You are correct that it was his fourth book, after The Joy of Failure, The King of Vegas’ Guide to Gambling, and The Zen of Gambling.

    If I were a Root fan, I’d order them all from Amazon and read them over and over. But I’m not, so I won’t. However, I did enjoy reading his bio at Amazon:

    Wayne Allyn Root is one of the most charismatic, colorful, passionate, fiery, and outspoken political personalities in America today. Wayne was the 2008 Libertarian Party Vice Presidential nominee. A college classmate of Barack Obama at Columbia University (Class of ’83), he is now the face and voice of Libertarian-conservative politics in the mainstream national media. The media calls him “the Anti-Obama.” Wayne calls himself a REAGAN LIBERTARIAN- modeled after his heroes Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater and Thomas Jefferson.

    He is regular guest on many of the biggest television and radio networks in America including: FOX News Channel, FOX Business Network, CNBC, and radio shows like Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Jerry Doyle and Mancow Muller. Wayne recently added his own radio talk show, “W.A.R: The Wayne Allyn Root Show.”

  15. Brian Holtz Post author

    Blanton is sputtering even more insults than usual; savvy readers can figure out for themselves what that says about the accuracy of my characterizations of his statements.

    Blanton asks “would you rather I say ‘conservative’ instead of ‘Republican’?”  Duh. You can call a butterfly “beautiful” or “colorful” or “gaudy” according to your taste, but if you call it a “caterpillar”, you’re just being deceptive — or implausibly obtuse.

    Blanton “stands by” his comment that “Root acts like all of America’s problems started on the day Obama was inaugurated”.  Of course, in Blanton-speak, “stand by” just means “repeat it, offer no evidence in response to the evidence demolishing it, and then vaguely vouch for the ‘tone’ I perceived”.

    Let’s review Blanton’s assertions @2 again:

    1. Root is a “Republican”.  Lie.
    2. “Root acts like all of America’s problems started on the day Obama was inaugurated.”  Already demonstrated to be false, by me quoting Root’s discussion of government programs (like Medicare and the postal service) that obviously predated Obama by decades or even centuries.
    3. Root suggested that “the $100 trillion dollar national debt” was accumulated entirely under Obama.  Now admitted by Blanton to be “out of context”.
    Now Blanton claims that Root issued an untruth by claiming there exists a “$100 trillion dollar national debt”.  Blanton is wrong yet again.  Libertarians know that the national debt is not merely the sum of all the outstanding T-bills, but also includes the unfunded liabilities that current law already imposes on American taxpayers.  If you compute the present value of this sum out to a 75-year horizon, as I do at http://libertarianmajority.net/debt, you get $67.7 trillion.  If you compute present value using an unlimited horizon — another calculation offered by the trustees of the government’s Social Security and Medicare trust funds — then you get $106 trillion for just those two programs alone. See http://www.concordcoalition.org/files/uploaded-pdfs/090803-ff.pdf.
    Those are the facts.  We now return you to Blanton’s content-free insults, already in progress.
  16. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Libertarians know that the national debt is not merely the sum of all the outstanding T-bills, but also includes the unfunded liabilities that current law already imposes on American taxpayers.”

    That assumes that the “liabilities” under discussion are, in fact, actual “liabilities.” They aren’t.

    liability, n. 2. That which one is under obligation to pay, or for which one is liable. Specifically, in the pl., the sum of one’s pecuniary obligations — Webster’s 1913

    The US government has no obligation whatsoever to continue making Social Security payments or offering Medicare reimbursements. Congress could shut down those programs tomorrow and if it had the political will to do so.

  17. Robert Capozzi

    tk, correct in a very technical sense. In a practical sense, SS and Medicare are future liabilities.

    Would this be one of your planks should you get the nomination, i.e., shut down those programs tomorrow?

  18. Tom Blanton

    I didn’t know that we were using the “unlimited horizon” to calculate the national debt, which doesn’t include the actual national debt but does include unfunded liabilities (unless you are a libertarian, according to Holtz).

    We could speculate further that the national debt, which is what we are talking about, will top $200 trillion alone. Add that to speculated unfunded liabilities of $106 trillion and we now have $306 trillion. That will sound super outrageous on talk radio. Right-wingers will shout “that’s too good” with glee.

    Using the unlimited horizon theory, we will be in Iraq and Afghanistan for another 182 years. The good news is that we will pull out of Germany, South Korea, and Japan in only 80 years.

    I’m hoping Holtz will now enlighten us as to the differences between libertarian-conservative politics and Republican politics and between a libertarian, a Reagan libertarian, and a Republican (or conservative).

    I am also curious as to what the national debt and unfunded liabilities be, projected to the end of time, will be if Root is elected Imperial President of the world for life. Will he reduce it to zero or merely reduce the rate of growth?

    Maybe Holtz can also tell us how past presidents didn’t orchestrate the great Ponzi scheme that the Anti-Obama speaks of:

    “Obama is orchestrating one of the great Ponzi schemes in history.”

    I’m assuming Root will shut down SS and Medicare, otherwise he will be orchestrating the great Ponzi scheme once he moves into the White House.

    God, guns, gambling and tax cuts – hell yeah! You tell ‘em Wayne.

  19. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    You can quibble all you like, but neither SS nor Medicare are “liabilities” in any honest sense of the word.

    A liability is an obligation, i.e. an amount legally owed. SS and Medicare are neither. They are simply benefit schedules which Congress is free to modify at will, which it has done many times.

    Modifying them to “zero” would take some mighty big balls, of course, but that’s the point:

    What keeps these programs in place is not liability or obligation, but the absolute certainty that proposing to end them would result in non-election or non-re-election for anyone so proposing. Which means that they will likely keep going until there’s simply not enough tax revenue or ability to borrow to keep them going, at which point 535 very unhappy congresscritters will attempt to scurry out of town before the lynch mob finds them.

    As far as planks and nominations, go, you’ve got them reversed. I’ll make my campaign platform crystal clear before, not after, the nomination.

    And no, it will not include “abolition of Social Security and Medicare next week,” if for no other reason than that that’s not something a president (any president, of any party) can deliver.

    Presidents don’t legislate, they execute. They can make proposals to Congress for legislation they’d like, but that doesn’t mean they’ll get it, and the use of such proposals as demonstrations that Congress isn’t up to its job is a tactic that must be used sparingly to be effective.

    If, as president, I proposed legislation to Congress which “instantly” abolished Social Security and Medicare, that would not be an effective use of the tactic — a large majority of Americans would think it was me, not Congress, dropping acid.

    My proposal for Social Security will probably look something like this:

    – Remove all Americans below age X (30 sounds like a plausible number) from the Social Security system entirely. They don’t pay the payroll tax, they receive a refund of any monies already paid, and they know not to expect the benefits.

    – Give Americans between the age of X and Y (30-60) the opportunity to opt out — to stop making payroll tax payments, to forego the benefits, and to receive some portion of what they’ve paid in as a refund — or to continue with the program.

    – Americans above age Y (60) ride it out — if they’re still working, they keep paying the tax, and when they retire they get the bennies.

    – Move Social Security back on-budget — payroll taxes go into general revenue instead of a misleading “trust fund” scheme that itself goes into general revenue as government debt; benefits are paid out of general revenue until such time as the program ends (which will happen when all of the people over 60, and those between 30 and 60 who didn’t opt out, have died).

    There’s at least one vexatious question that this proposal leaves to Congress to answer: Whether or not the employers of the Under-X and Opt-Out people continue to pay the “matching” share of the payroll tax. There’s a second possible one, too, but if I told you everything you’d have nothing to think about, would you?

    Now you know what incremental abolitionism looks like.

  20. Tom Blanton

    “Now you know what incremental abolitionism looks like.”

    This is also what honesty looks like.

    A clearly articulated goal along with a way to get there, as opposed to having a hidden agenda.

  21. robert capozzi

    tk, IMO, your proto-plan is thoughtful. Obviously, you’ll need tighten it up and put numbers to it between now and the convention.

    I indicated you’re correct from a technical, contractual perspective re liabilities.

  22. robert capozzi

    tb, yes, we’ve all gotten a sense of what you consider to be “honest” on this thread in your twisting and mischaracterizing Root’s views. (Remember, I’m tepid on the idea of Root as our standardbearer.)

    But, I’m curious, what you think an honest L defense policy would be? Would you specify an incremental abolition of NORAD? Would you explain that insurance companies can fill that void? If you WOULDN’T specify that, why not? NORAD violates the NAP, yes? Why not be “honest” and hold high that banner?

  23. robert capozzi

    tk, reflecting on SS/Medicare, perhaps a more precise term would be “legislated pecuniary obligations.” By law, these are obligations, but laws can of course change. But, then, so can contracts.

  24. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    There’s a reason that I’m being a stickler about the definition of “liability.”

    Currently, it’s being used as a buzzword to make the national debt more scary. That’s not a bad use of it, but it’s not altogether honest, and there’s plenty of ammo for a frontal assault on the debt without doing it.

    Better to open a second “the politicians are making promises they can’t possibly keep” front with that stuff.

    As far as my proto-plan is concerned, I’ll take any help I can get on “impact research.”

    I’m not confident that the real impact of any particular plan for winding Social Security down can be calculated (sound familiar?).

    For example, when the under-30s and opt-outs take the money they HAD been paying into Social Security and invest it in private sector things instead (or, if they’re “allowed” to, blow it on consumer goods, houses and other non-retirement stuff), that’s going to have an economic impact. My guess is that that impact will end up producing more government revenue (in other words, I think we are on the right side of the Laffer Curve at present), but I just don’t know.

    I think the age numbers I threw out there are fairly realistic in that they don’t screw people who are retired or near retirement, they give the in-between group options, and they get the yoke the under-30 set’s necks immediately.

  25. robert capozzi

    tk, nice way to look at it: Tantamount to check kiting.

    In broad strokes, the Knapp Plan might work and could be revenue positive. Wonking and packaging it will take some work…my wonk days are LONG over, but I’m always happy to give packaging feedback to a fellow lessarchist.

  26. Tom Blanton

    Bob,

    First, I’m not going to write an impromptu defense policy on a moments notice on a blog. The elimination of NORAD is just one element of what would have to be a much larger and comprehensive defense policy. Unlike your mentor, I’m not about bumper stickers.

    Second, exactly how have I twisted or misrepresented Root’s views?

    By assuming he would abolish SS and Medicare as opposed to “orchestrating” a Ponzi scheme?

    By saying he sounds just like a Republican or conservative radio pundit with his Anti-Obama tirades, or his God, guns, gambling and tax cuts slogan, or his appearances on shows like Savage Nation, or his being a Reagan libertarian (whatever the hell that is supposed to be)?

    Seems to me it is Capozzi and Holtz that are twisting and mischaracterizing Root’s own statements and actions.

    Also, Holtz quoted Root out of context. He didn’t include the whole article (that was linked).

    He also omitted previous quotes made by Root that would show Root in a less than favorable light.

    Of course, these two things are absurd. Just as absurd as Holtz complaining that I quoted Root out of context.

    I can’t wait for Holtz and his follower to explain how Reagan was actually a libertarian. I voted for Clark (and against Reagan) in 1980 and at that time there was a big difference between Reagan’s conservatism and the LP’s libertarianism. Suddenly, 29 years later, Reagan morphs into a libertarian and the LP is running “true conservatives”.

    You guys (and Root) are just fucked in the head if you believe this garbage. I truly can’t think of a better way to state that.

    Maybe you guys can get your comrade Dondero to help explain how tax cuts (with FICA increases and elimination of non-mortgage interest deductions), large deficits, and bellicose militarism are actually hallmarks of libertarianism.

  27. robert capozzi

    tb, ok, I look forward to your comprehensive defense policy that maps out the “transition” to insurance-company-provided NORAD, among other things.

    Do you not know what “tepid” means? I’m not going to defend Root’s rhetoric. I too voted for Clark, but I doubt alluding to him in 2009 to the general public makes much sense, as his name ID is likely neglible.

  28. robert capozzi

    tb, btw, did you vote for Clark despite his “bellicose” (i.e., a non-anarchist) defense policy? He advocated that the US be “armed to the teeth,” as I recall, although he was for bringing US troops home. That’s more or less my view, though I’m open to your NORAD-free approach. On its face, my gut tells me your ideas are WAY premature and likely untenable any time soon, if ever.

  29. wolfefan

    Per the Wikipedia entry on Ed Clark:

    “During the campaign, Clark positioned himself as a peace candidate and tailored his appeal to liberals and progressives unhappy with the resumption of Selective Service registration and the arms race with the Soviet Union. When asked in a television interview to summarize libertarianism, Clark used the phrase “low-tax liberalism,” causing some consternation among traditional libertarian theorists, most notably Murray Rothbard.”

  30. robert capozzi

    w, sounds about right. You realize, of course, that opposition to the arms race and unilateral disarmament are not the same thing. I distinctly recall Clark using the term “armed to the teeth.”

    MNR certainly went ballistic on the low-tax liberal positioning.

  31. Todd Andrew Barnett

    @2

    TB, right on the money! It is most certainly true that Root is scapegoating Obama for all the problems that occurred in the U.S. on the day he accepted the nomination. It’s too bad Root unsurprisingly fails take into account that his boy toy George W. Bush, within eight years of his vile dictatorship (oh, did i say?; i meant presidency) bankrupted this nation and destroyed the economy with his mercantilistic, protectionistic, corporatist, and deficit spending schemes that he fueled. While Obama and Bush didn’t start the growth of government (we can blame the beginnings of all that by several of our founding fathers for allowing that to happen; let’s indict Lincoln while we’re at it), they aided and abetted the theft of our wealth, our livelihoods, and our private properties by growing the vile state to what it is now.

    9/11 didn’t start us onto the path of this evil, life-sucking beast we call the state, but it merely accelerated.

    Look at what Obama is doing now. He’s carrying on the same policies that Bush has and not once has there been a call to dismantle the Department of Homeland Security. Where are his promises to get us out of Iraq and Afghanistan? See what I mean?

    Bush might as well have remained the dictator of the country and having Obama as his co-dictator. At least that would have been an ugly yet frank indictment of the Leviathan itself.

  32. robert capozzi

    tab, while I am highly critical of GWB, I’d say the US Leviathan was started either by George Wasington or the first Continental Congress, depending on your perspective.

  33. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    When I say “my recollection (I was in the 8th grade)” about something, it’s not something I plan to place any bets on.

    I’ve started looking for the Clark campaign commercial that made me so recollect. It opened with a missile silo and a Minuteman launch, I think. It’s not the one at:

    http://www.icue.com/portal/site/iCue/chapter/?cuecard=5818

    … but that one is interesting, as are the other two videos — significant NBC News coverage of the 1976 and 1980 campaigns that tend to call into question the assertion that “Bob Barr (or Wayne Root) got (or is getting) more media coverage than all past candidates combined.”

  34. robert capozzi

    tab, speaking of perspective, I seem to recall BHO saying during the campaign that Afghanistan was the “right” war.

  35. robert capozzi

    tk, Clark had a few high-profile hits. Tom Wicker devoted an entire op-ed to Clark in the NYT, arguably a bigger deal then than now. Barr had a LOT of moderately high profile cable appearances. If you get the nomination, I hope you get more than Barr did. As you know, repetition is the name of the marketing game.

  36. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    Yes, repetition is key, but so is reach

    Awhile back, I ran some comparative audience numbers. The cable news audience today is a small fraction, as a percentage of population, of the broadcast news audiences back before pretty much everyone had cable.

    Clark ran ads on the broadcast networks. He appeared on “Nightline.” And that page I pointed at shows a FOUR MINUTE story on his candidacy on NBC News. That’s 15-20% of the nightly broadcast!

    I suppose it’s possible that Barr made up for the smaller audience numbers on volume of appearance, but that’s not obvious. And even if he did, his appearances skewed toward one channel (Fox). Yes, he got repetition to the same audience, but even on the biggest shows, that audience was

    a) pretty small, i.e. 500k-1 million viewers even for the most popular shows, and

    b) mostly heavily committed to a party/candidate already.

    I think that Barr did about as well as could be expected given certain factors: Not a lot of funds — buying commercials tends to get the news unit pointed your way; by late September it was pretty obvious that Obama was pulling away and that there was no “potential spoiler” story; etc.

    And Root is certainly putting his mug on as many screens as he can, which a candidate should do. I can admit that regardless of what I think about his message/presentation.

    That doesn’t mean that hyperbolic claims should be taken at face value. For some reason, Libertarians often seem to do so.

  37. Brian Holtz Post author

    @36, yeah, in a critique of the new nanny-state proposals that the current president proposes for adoption in this session of Congress, it’s obviously a mistake not to attack W and Lincoln and the founding fathers for all their Madoff-style Ponzi schemes. What was Root thinking?

    And why do you leave Hammurabi off your list of past legislators that Root should have criticized? For example, Law 2 of his Codex was very un-libertarian: If any one bring an accusation against a man, and the accused go to the river and leap into the river, if he sink in the river his accuser shall take possession of his house. But if the river prove that the accused is not guilty, and he escape unhurt, then he who had brought the accusation shall be put to death, while he who leaped into the river shall take possession of the house that had belonged to his accuser.

  38. Solomon Drek

    I don’t take seriously anything a political snakeoil salesman has to say which parrots Rush Limbaugh/Sean Hannity/Glenn Beck talking points.

    If the LP wants to sell themselves to a rightwing hustler, like they did with Bob Barr, for the sake of a few tenths of a percentage point in the next election so be it. I’m not involved with them anymore and everytime Root issues another statement I’m increasingly satisfied I made the right choice.

  39. Solomon Drek

    Tom Blanton @13: “Let’s not forget as we review the earlier statements of Root that his first book and website was entitled “Millionaire Republican”.

    Yeah, he does a good job at promoting himself but what happened to his business? And how many businesses has he had, and how many of them were failures? If he’s going to showcase his success stories he ought to talk about his failures as well.

    As far as I’m concerned he’s still in business only this time he’s selling himself, as well as his books which he gets to promote everytime he makes another appearance on TV or radio.

    I give him credit for understanding how to market himself and his books as well as other projects he may be working on. But in the end it’s about how much he can deposit to his bank account. Of course, the same could be said about most politicians with a few exceptions like Jon Corzine here in New Jersey.

    As I stated before if the LP membership can’t see through this guy that’s their problem.

  40. robert capozzi

    tk, I think the more interesting question is, if Clark or Barr were in the abolitionist mode of, say, Bergland, would they’ve garnered the same amount of coverage?

  41. Michael H. Wilson

    Robert Capozzi regarding the question you ask at # 31 I certainly cannot answer for Tom Blanton but allow me to point out that NORAD didn’t have much luck in stopping the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

    In a world of assymetrical warfare NORAD is pretty much none effective and given the way things are it is doubtful that we will ever fight a set piece war again.

    It is real easy to cause significant damage to the U.S. economy without firing anything heavy this way. 9/11 showed us that and if the politicians in this country were too damn stupid to learn that then it is a problem that the citizens will have to deal with.

  42. Thomas L. Knapp

    Solomon,

    You write:

    “If [Root is] going to showcase his success stories he ought to talk about his failures as well.”

    He wrote an entire book (The Joy of Failure) on his failures.

  43. Tom Blanton

    Hey, Michael’s right about NORAD, how about replacing it with AK-47s and AR-15s for everyone and just forget about Capozzi’s insurance. Of course, we would also have to replace what the rubes call a foreign policy with neutrality.

    All in all, we’d be safer than we are now.

    We could replace the federal government with a statue of Thoreau while we’re at it.

    We could replace political parties with porta-johns and replace statists of all stripes with people who mind their own business.

  44. Brian Holtz Post author

    Blanton, I never said that an infinite-horizon liabilities calculation should not include the T-bill-denominated national debt — I simply reported that Root’s $100T figure is exceeded by SS and Medicare liabilities alone.

    The 75-year and infinite- horizon figures aren’t “speculations”. They are present-value calculations by the Social Security and Medicare trustees themselves. If you don’t understand the concept of the present value of an indefinitely-continuing financial flow, then educate yourself by consulting the equations at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Present_value.

    Regarding Root’s accusations that Obama is concocting new Ponzi schemes, please re-read @8 until comprehension sets in.

    Regarding your complaint that I didn’t quote Root’s entire article, or quote from previous articles that I wasn’t talking about: ROTFL. The fact remains that, as you admitted, you quoted Root out of context when you complained that he suggested all of the national debt is due to Obama. I did nothing of that ilk.

    Keep running, keep hiding, keep changing the subject to Reagan or Dondero or Beck or whoever — anything but stand and defend your statements about Root’s lack of truthfulness.

  45. Brian Holtz Post author

    liability n. pecuniary obligation [Merriam-Webster]

    Tom Knapp, I wrote about “unfunded liabilities that current law already imposes on American taxpayers”. Your response — that “the US government has no obligation whatsoever” — misses the point by changing the subject from the taxpayers to the tax collector. A fantasythat the U.S. government might wake up one day and cancel all these “promises” does not change the reality that my daughters are currently on the hook for those promises, according to current law. Unless you know of a way for my kids to escape this legal pecuniary obligation, I’ll continue to call it what Merriam-Webster says it is: a “liability”.

    Calling them “unfunded promises” instead of “unfunded liabilities” lets the nanny-staters off the hook. These pecuniary obligations are the result of current laws — laws enforced with handcuffs and guns. To call them merely a “promise” is like saying that a person falling off a cliff merely has a “plan” to hit the ground.

    Your Social Security plan is not radical enough for me. :-) Here’s mine: Any entitlement that is purportedly financed by past payroll “contributions” should be capped at the lifetime sum of all the beneficiary’s (and their employers’) “contributions” plus interest plus inflation. For Social Security old-age and survivor benefits this is straightforward to calculate for each participant, and any individual should be allowed to opt out and take any unused accumulated contributions in the form of long-term Treasury bonds. For SS disability insurance and for Medicare the benefits for an age cohort should be capped at the “contributions” of the age cohort plus interest plus inflation. Where individuals or a cohort are currently receiving more than what they’ve contributed, the excess benefits should be reduced to zero over N years, and the affected beneficiaries may resort to whatever safety net exists for Americans under 65. I’d set N at about 20.

    I don’t see how you reconcile 1) your plan for blessing receipt of stolen goods by today’s seniors with 2) your desire to repudiate the national debt. I repeat my earlier comment to you: How do you as an ex-Marine view veterans’ benefits? If people should be punished financially for lending to The Omnimalevolent State, then surely they should be punished financially (at least!) for taking up arms for The Omnimalevolent State.

    Michael, Libertarians generally believe that the fact that a weapon was not used does not mean that possessing it made no difference.

  46. Tom Blanton

    Holtz, are you so mentally unbalanced that you can’t read what I have written and respond coherently? Are you so far off in the realm of unreality that you can no longer comprehend simple statements?

    The national debt does not include unfunded liabilities projected into the future. The national debt is the cumulative total of actual annual deficits. You don’t get to redefine terms to defend your boy Root.

    I would suggest you get some common sense, Holtz. The 75-year and infinite- horizon figures are most certainly “speculations”. Even though they may be present-value calculations by the God-like Social Security and Medicare trustees, they are estimations – educated guesses or speculations.

    If you could pull your swollen head out of your tightly clenched sphincter, you would be able to understand that the number of people collecting SS and Medicare can’t be known, only estimated. The length of time SS recipients receive benefits can’t be known. The amount of Medicare benefits required by this unknown number of people can’t be known and their lifespans can’t be known. It is all speculation, you twit. It is one big estimate and it’s not part of the national debt.

    I never wrote that Root suggested all of the national debt is due to Obama. This is just another one of your hallucinations.

    Here’s the fact that seems to elude you, Holtz. The national debt, as defined by everyone but you and Root, is not $100 trillion. Period.

    That makes the “Reagan libertarian” Root a lair or an idiot, or both. Period. Defending him reveals what a fool you are. Now, Holtz, have I defended my statements about Root enough for you?

    If not, go back and re-read what I have posted because you obviously have a comprehension problem. Unlike you, I’m using very plain language that anyone should be able to understand.

    Now go post your idiotic responses with the misrepresentations, lies, false accusations on your web page. Then insert a bold headline about how you set Blanton straight. Then you’ll have your comments to look at over and over again, you narcissistic freak.

    You are truly the most obtuse of all the pompous phony intellectuals I have encountered in my entire life.

  47. Don Lake, late at night

    Tom Blanton // Oct 30, 2009 at 1:27 am:

    This blog offers so much that is good for the ‘Loyal Opposition’ and bad for the Democans and Republicrats. And then there are those folk whom continuously ‘make it up’ as they go along and are kind enuf *sarcasm* to put words in other people’s mouths!

  48. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    You write:

    “I don’t see how you reconcile 1) your plan for blessing receipt of stolen goods by today’s seniors with 2) your desire to repudiate the national debt.”

    And I don’t see how you come to the conclusion that the two items require “reconciliation.”

    “I repeat my earlier comment to you: How do you as an ex-Marine view veterans’ benefits?”

    1) I am not an “ex-Marine.” That’s an inside baseball vocabulary quibble that I don’t care to inveigh upon at length, but “former Marine” — or better yet just “Marine” — will do just fine, thank you.

    2) I don’t consider my perspective on veterans’ benefits to be tied up in my own status as an actual or prospective recipient of said benefits.

    The outline of my plan for dealing with veterans’ benefits is not very different from the outline of my plan for dealing with Social Security. Current beneficiaries continue receiving bennies; those with some time of service arising to a level of “vestment” in benefits are offered “continue, or opt out with compensation;” those with a lower time in service get the compensation, not the option; and new enlistees know that those benefits won’t be available to them.

    There are obvious differences (service-related disability care comes to mind), but if you’re suggesting that I don’t intend to call for reductions in veterans’ benefits, that suggestion is incorrect.

  49. Robert Capozzi

    tb, thanks for your incremental-abolitionist defense-policy plan: rifles to all households, abandon NORAD. Are you also saying abolish all defense here?

    So, let’s see if I have your logic right: NORAD didn’t and couldn’t work to stop the events of 9/11. Therefore, the US doesn’t need a national defense. As a transition, allocate rifles to each household.

    Tom B., you might seriously consider losing the term “rube” when discussing other people.

  50. Michael H. Wilson

    BH: “Michael, Libertarians generally believe that the fact that a weapon was not used does not mean that possessing it made no difference.”

    Probably true, but don’t you think that perhaps we should ask if it lives up to its expectation or not, or are we buying a Cadillac when we need a Ford?

    RB: “So, let’s see if I have your logic right: NORAD didn’t and couldn’t work to stop the events of 9/11. Therefore, the US doesn’t need a national defense.”

    RB that took some thinkin’ skills. What a jump. Exercise them brain cells much? Looks like you did jus’ then.

  51. Michael H. Wilson

    Yea I get my early morning exercise by jumping to conclusions and laughing at the humor on here.

  52. robert capozzi

    morey 47, I scanned your link, and saw nothing to back your claim. One small data point backed SL’s slightly.

    Please make your case explicit.

  53. Brian Holtz Post author

    I love how Blanton becomes more and more unhinged, even as the range of what he still bothers to dispute becomes narrower and narrower.

    Just as I quibbled about Root calling inflation and redistribution “Ponzi schemes”, I readily agree that “national debt” is not the best term to describe the $100+ trillion dollars in present value that actuarial science says you would need to pay for the future stream of unfunded promises currently embedded in the nanny state’s laws. Unfortunately, Root didn’t have enough space to phrase it that way in his “Think about X. Think about Y. Think about Z.” litany of past nanny-state failures that I quoted @4.

    But it’s not enough for the Root-obsessed Blanton to point our that Root’s phrasing was suboptimal. Instead, Blanton @2 first pulled the $100T quote completely out of past-nanny-state-failures context, and whined “Well, garsh dagnabbit Wayne. I reckon we’d never knowed Obama done spent all that money since Mr. Boosh left.” I immediately busted him @4 on this blatant deception, and quoted Root’s entire paragraph. Blanton has since fled from defending his snark, and now he — who issued a flat-out lie about what party Root is in — wants to call $100T an untruth because Root used “national debt” as an inapt shorthand for “unfunded legal liabilities”. And so desperate is Blanton to make this charge stick, that he’s willing to pretend that all Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries might drop dead tomorrow, thus erasing the $100T obligation that the nanny state’s own demographers admit they are imposing on future taxpayers.

    Thus Blanton would paper over the nanny state’s most monumental act of larceny, just to cobble together a case that Root was as untruthful about the sum of outstanding T-bills as Blanton himself was about Root’s party affiliation. ROTFL.

    None of Blanton’s desperate sputtering about “sphincters”, “idiots”, “fools”, “narcissistic freaks”, “hallucinations”, “pompous”, “phony”, etc. can change the fact that he’s still fleeing from his “garsh dagnabbit” statement @2. And none of Blanton’s red herrings about Reagan or South Korea or my blog-comment aggregation practices can change that fact either.

    Tom K., I’ll say it a third time: “If people should be punished financially for lending to The Omnimalevolent State, then surely they should be punished financially (at least!) for taking up arms for The Omnimalevolent State.” Your response is….?

    And I’ll reiterate: repudiating the national debt is voiding a financial contract, while continuing all present benefits for today’s seniors is blessing the receipt of stolen goods. You cannot be so obtuse as to not see why those two positions need reconciling — at least for a libertarian. If you were a lefty Robin-hood redistributionist, your blank stare would indeed be an appropriate response to my point.

  54. robert capozzi

    bh, let’s not be so hard on Mr. Blanton. He’s actually doing the Big Tent movement a service. His contrariness and unwillingness to ever concede error illustrates the Leninist impulse among the *a priori* element in L circles. Those paying attention will see that, in all its dysfunction. His malice and childish hostility is could prove to be a wonderful recruiting device for the civil among us.

  55. Brian Holtz

    Michael, NORAD was never advertised as being able to prevent hijackings.

    Throughout most of my life, there have been thousands of nuclear weapons aimed at the U.S. Some of those nuclear weapons were targeted straight at the SAC bases on which I and my family lived during both the 1962 DEFCON 2 and the 1973 DEFCON 3. When I was a kid and the network signal went out on the TV, I quickly switched channels to another network, to test whether New York had been vaporized and I thus had only a couple minutes to live. And yet, none of those nuclear weapons ever hit the U.S., or were ever used to coerce us.

    So yeah, I’d say NORAD lived up to its advertising.

    As for the gap in our defenses revealed by Mohamed Atta on the morning of 9/11: that problem was fixed within an hour by a small group of heroes in the skies above Pennsylvania. Their number included Tom Burnett, Mark Bingham, Jeremy Glick, Todd Beamer, and Sandra Bradshaw.

  56. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Tom K., I’ll say it a third time: ‘If people should be punished financially for lending to The Omnimalevolent State, then surely they should be punished financially (at least!) for taking up arms for The Omnimalevolent State.’ Your response is….?”

    My response is that the statement will be relevant to me the day that I suggest people should be punished for lending to the Omnimaevolent State — a day which has yet to arrive.

    “And I’ll reiterate: repudiating the national debt is voiding a financial contract, while continuing all present benefits for today’s seniors is blessing the receipt of stolen goods. You cannot be so obtuse as to not see why those two positions need reconciling — at least for a libertarian.”

    Apparently you’re wrong. I can, indeed, be so obtuse. Or, rather, I can be obtuse enough to think that perhaps I should stick to defending things I’ve actually said instead of following you down the primrose path of attempting to “reconcile” things that you wish I’d said.

    Hint: Saying “X is politically impossible to achieve” is not the same as saying “I bless -X.”

  57. Scott Lieberman

    “morey // Oct 29, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    Scott,

    Regarding your belief that conservatives are better informed, the evidence suggests otherwise.

    http://people-press.org/report/319/public-knowledge-of-current-affairs-little-changed-by-news-and-information-revolutions

    *************************************

    Mr. Straus:

    Is that your final answer?

    I think this link strongly suggests that Republican voters are much better informed on political matters than Democrat voters.

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2009/10/pew_political_iq_poll_republic.asp

    —-

    It is important to remember – I am NOT a Republican. However, I have this really weird compulsion to back up my opinions with as many facts as possible.

  58. Dennis

    The man was Bob Barr’s running mate.

    Russ Verney was their campaign manager.

    That’s two strikes against him…he only has one more to go.

  59. Thomas L. Knapp

    Dennis,

    I’m not sure your strikes are really strikes.

    Yes, he was Bob Barr’s running mate. That wasn’t what he set out to be, though. He set out to be the nominee himself. Once he failed of that objective, there are at least two positive ways in which becoming the VP nominee could be viewed.

    First, he availed himself of an opportunity to be involved in a national campaign even if he didn’t get to be the top guy. That was good for self-promotion, and it also at least theoretically represented a chance to learn some stuff to make his own next campaign better.

    Secondly, if we set aside suspicion of motive, etc., the LP needed a VP candidate and he stepped up to fill that need.

    As far as Verney is concerned, he was hired as campaign manager before Barr received the nomination. Root had no voice in his hiring. And for that matter, hiring him was a good PR move. He should have been kept as far away as possible from any real operational control of the campaign, but that’s a different matter.

  60. Brian Holtz Post author

    Tom, is it really your judgment that 1) completely repudiating the national debt is both more fair and more politically achievable than 2) repudiating at least part of the windfall that today’s seniors receive beyond their SS contributions plus inflation plus real interest?

    If so, I leave it as an exercise for the reader to judge both your political instincts and your sense of fairness. And I’ll keep in my back pocket your epiphany that to grudgingly tolerate a political reality is not to bless/endorse it.

    It still seems inconsistent that you would cancel all government obligations to those who lent money to the state “on the notion that all us serfs are either willing, or can be forced, to pick up the check”, but aren’t willing to cancel all such government obligations to those who TOOK UP ARMS for the state on a very similar notion. If it’s good for the state’s creditors to think twice about enabling its depradations, isn’t it even better for the state’s armed henchmen to have second thoughts? Shouldn’t you thus favor canceling all government obligations to all soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, police, prison guards, border patrolmen, DEA agents, FBI agents, Secret Service agents, BATF agents, Marshals — anybody who’s ever carried a gun or a nightstick for the state? Indeed, shouldn’t you also favor cancelling all obligations to so-called civil servants who in any way helped manage the “serfs” or received money stolen from them?

    It’s interesting that the state-enablers that you as a left-libertarian choose to target are the same targets of run-of-the-mill lefty redistributionists. Of course, as a geolibertarian I share a target with them: landholders. But the difference is that most of my personal wealth is tied up in land, whereas you’re a former Marine who I suspect doesn’t have a lot of T-bills lying around the house.

  61. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    You write:

    “Tom, is it really your judgment that 1) completely repudiating the national debt is both more fair and more politically achievable than 2) repudiating at least part of the windfall that today’s seniors receive beyond their SS contributions plus inflation plus real interest?”

    Let’s first sort out your error of conflation: “More fair” and “more politically achievable” do NOT necessarily go together.

    It’s just as “fair” to decriminalize methamphetamine as it is to decriminalize marijuana. One of these things, however, is more likely to be politically achievable than the other at the moment. I don’t have to write off the “fairness” of the one that can’t be achieved at the moment in order to concentrate my efforts on the one that can be achieved at the moment.

    But, if you want to talk about fairness, let’s examine the two groups in question:

    1) Persons who have intentionally and of their own free will loaned money to an entity which they know in advance can only pay it back by enslaving and stealing from others (e.g. purchasers of government debt);

    versus

    2) Persons who have had ~15% of their incomes taken by force, whether they like it or not, on the promise that they’ll receive a payback in the form of future benefits (e.g. Social Security and Medicare taxpayers/beneficiaries).

    Yes, I do possess a lot more sympathy for the second group. Is that the answer you were looking for? Do you think that it constitutes some kind of “gotcha?”

    “Fairness” and my personal sympathies aside, the practical reality also remains what it is:

    Repudiating the national debt is not only politically doable, it’s going to happen — probably within 10 years, certainly within 20. The only two open questions on it are:

    a) Is it going to be repudiated openly and honestly or dishonestly and through artifice?

    b) Is the Libertarian Party going to get out in front of the movement for repudiating it openly and honestly (and benefit politically by doing so) or is the Libertarian Party going to cower behind the the knees of the state, peering out occasionally to scream “sure, one group is a gang of slavers and the other is a den of thieves, but they have a CONTRACT” (and not benefit politically by doing so, unless by “benefit” you mean that the Old Boys talking the details of the split of today’s take down at Charlie’s Steak may deign to notice you and favor you with a pat on the head and a “yes, yes, you’re a SERIOUS and CREDIBLE big boy now, aren’t you, cheerio, run along”)?

    Social Security, on the other hand, will either

    a) Run until it implodes under the weight of its own unkeepable promises, or

    b) Be phased out in some manner that minimizes the negative impact on current and near-future beneficiaries.

    Those are the only two options, and the Libertarian Party must be behind one of them. If we punt to “stamp our feet and demand its immediate abolition,” then we are objectively choosing to put ourselves behind option (a).

    “It still seems inconsistent that you would cancel all government obligations to those who lent money to the state ‘on the notion that all us serfs are either willing, or can be forced, to pick up the check’, but aren’t willing to cancel all such government obligations to those who TOOK UP ARMS for the state on a very similar notion.”

    It only seems inconsistent if you ignore political reality.

    Last time I checked (I admit that it’s been some time), one in three American males were serving, or had served, in the military. Each of those American males has, or has had, parents, possibly has a spouse, may have children, and probably has friends. Most of those American males are actual or prospective recipients of at least minor benefits (if nothing else, “bonus points” on exams for state employment, incentive programs that pay employers to hire veterans, health care through the VA if they are indigent, etc.).

    It’s a reasonable assumption that veterans and those closely and positively associated with one or more veterans constitute a the vast majority of the American electorate, and furthermore that the vast majority of that vast majority would reject anything resembling a “Screw’em — We Owe Them Nothing” policy.

    A majority may, however, be plausibly amassed in favor of

    a) backing off on future promises to be made to those choosing to enlist in the armed forces; and

    b) finding less costly and more efficient ways to deliver on the promises currently in play.

    “It’s interesting that the state-enablers that you as a left-libertarian choose to target are the same targets of run-of-the-mill lefty redistributionists.”

    I agree that it’s interesting. It should not, however, be surprising. The libertarian left emerged from the same philosophical/ideological milieu as the rest of the left. Many descriptive and prescriptive features of different left movements have diverged over time, of course, but there’s a common ancestry.

    “Of course, as a geolibertarian I share a target with them: landholders. But the difference is that most of my personal wealth is tied up in land, whereas you’re a former Marine who I suspect doesn’t have a lot of T-bills lying around the house.”

    Ah, so we finally get to the implicit “you’re being self-serving” allegation. No problem:

    Yes, I have benefited from “veterans benefits.” To wit:

    – I received an enlistment bonus to be used for college tuition. When I dropped out of school, I converted the remainder to a cash bonus at a 50% discount. I believe the total initial amount was $4,000 at $1,000 per year, and ended up being $1,000 the first year and $500 for three subsequent years.

    – I received a “Gulf War Screening Physical,” and was offered a followup neurological consultation by the VA since I displayed symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. The consultation never took place, as the postcard notifying me of the appointment time (11 am) and place (Kansas City) reached me at 2pm on the day of the appointment in Springfield.

    — I’m eligible for “indigent emergency” care at VA hospitals, and have availed myself of that benefit one time (I thought I’d had a stroke, I was uninsured, and the VA hospital was as close as any; it turned out to be Bell’s Palsy). I don’t expect to ever do so again.

    – I received “bonus points” on a state employment merit exam. I didn’t need them to get the job (they elevated my score to in excess of the maximum), and I turned down the job.

    – I’m told, but do not know for sure, that one of my previous employers participated in a government program which paid a portion of wages for 1 or 2 years when that company hired veterans as opposed to non-veterans.

    – If I’m penniless when I retire, I believe I may be entitled to live at the Missouri Old Soldiers’ Home. I have no intention of collecting on that benefit.

    I suppose I could try to regain moral superiority by repaying the value of those benefits, but the cost of writing, let alone mailing, each check would come to far more than the value of the check. It’s probably what … one ten-millionth of a cent per taxpayer? Seems like a bit of a futile exercise, so I’ll limit myself to an apology.

    Social Security benefits: Haven’t received any, don’t intend to apply for them.

    T-Bills: No, but my kids do receive US Savings Bonds on a regular basis courtesy of a doting grandparent. If I’m instrumental in securing debt repudiation, I’ll probably reach a personal settlement with them.

  62. Solomon Drek

    Knapp@48: “He wrote an entire book (The Joy of Failure) on his failures.”

    I’m sure the millions of unemployed in this country share in his joy. I also assume that his employees who lost their jobs and his creditors were similarly joyful.

    What about his current business? I thought he was a sports handicapper and gambling promoter. Are his employees still with him or are they sharing in his joy at being out of work?

    Of course nobody knows or understands the joy of failure better than the Libertarian Party and its candidates.

  63. robert capozzi

    sd, oy, yes, to be in the LP requires a Happy Warrior attitude. Some of us have even learned how NOT to engage in character assassination.

  64. Brian Holtz Post author

    Tom, when I asked “both more fair and more politically achievable”, I was asking two questions, not making some kind of silly metaphysical claim that fairness and political practicality are always joined at the hip.

    You completely glide past the part where I talk about repudiating just the “WINDFALL that today’s seniors receive beyond their SS contributions plus inflation plus real interest”, and instead talk about “payback” from payroll taxes. Did you really think I wouldn’t notice that?

    If you can’t bring yourself to repudiate unearned windfalls, then can you at least endorse my fallback proposal: printing such windfall SS checks in special red colors, so recipients will know when they’ve crossed over the line into stealing from their grandchildren?

    I guarantee you that the terms of the Social Security deal will be altered unfavorably for some participants long before a penny of the national debt is repudiated. Indeed, Obama’s campaign site said “Obama supports increasing the maximum amount of earnings covered by Social Security”. In 1983, benefits were reduced by increasing the retirement age and reducing the deductibility of SS payments for high earners. By contrast, no party or presidential contender has ever proposed defaulting on the national debt. I need to open a Knapp-predictions-that-will-fail file; I can no longer keep track of them all.

    “It only seems inconsistent if you ignore political reality.”

    Consistency in one’s political ethics doesn’t depend on “political reality”. Your answer here is just: it’s consistent to target the government’s creditors instead of its armed henchmen, because the former have fewer votes than the latter.

    Some of us don’t need to take a poll to decide what’s ethically consistent. (I suppose you’ll try to claim that by “inconsistent” you thought I meant tactically inconsistent rather than ethically inconsistent. If so, then for future reference: when I quote your own “serf” rhetoric back to you, we’re not in a context of hard-nosed political realism, but rather in one of dorm-room philosophizing.)

  65. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    You write:

    “You completely glide past the part where I talk about repudiating just the ‘WINDFALL that today’s seniors receive beyond their SS contributions plus inflation plus real interest’, and instead talk about ‘payback’ from payroll taxes. Did you really think I wouldn’t notice that?”

    And you continue to use the word “windfall” without offering any evidence whatsoever for the proposition.

    I haven’t checked the numbers in awhile, but as of 1998, the high end of the rate of return on “investment” in Social Security was 3.x%, and most people could expect a real ROI of 0.x-1.x%. Wow — some “windfall” for something you’re not even given the option of not participating in. Most people would do better with a CD, or even a passbook savings account, let alone investing in, e.g. an indexed mutual fund.

    “I guarantee you that the terms of the Social Security deal will be altered unfavorably for some participants long before a penny of the national debt is repudiated. … no party or presidential contender has ever proposed defaulting on the national debt.”

    1) “Defaulting” implies a valid obligation. Upon whom does this obligation rest?

    2) At least one party has explicitly called for repudiation of the debt this year. It is not the first.

    “Your answer here is just: it’s consistent to target the government’s creditors instead of its armed henchmen, because the former have fewer votes than the latter.”

    I didn’t say that it’s consistent, I said that it reflects what is achievable. Two different things entirely.

    Just because it’s Halloween, that doesn’t mean I have to provide you with a hobgoblin.

  66. Brian Holtz Post author

    Tom, first: if you didn’t know that Social Security is a massive inter-generational transfer of wealth, then you’ve just disqualified yourself from this discussion. Second: if you’re convinced there’s no windfall, then why would you object to cutting people off at a level of accumulated benefits that you think they never reach?

    OK, let’s start your education with the very first SS beneficiary, Ida May Fuller. She paid in a total of $49.50 (including employer match) over three years before retiring in 1940, and went on to collect $22,888.92 before she died. That’s an ROI of 44,000%. ROIs have been dropping ever since. That’s the way Ponzi schemes work.

    Now let’s show you a graph from the CBO itself, called “Social Security’s Transfer of Wealth Among Generations by Each Cohort’s Year of Birth”:

    Those are hundreds of BILLIONS of 2003 dollars for each year’s cohort. Thus the area under the curve represents trillions of dollars. Funny how you apparently didn’t know about this, the greatest larceny in human history.

    Thanks for quibbling about default/repudiate, while not disputing my evidence about the major players wanting to change the terms of the SS deal. By “party or presidential contender” I of course meant parties and candidates with a real chance of winning the White House or controlling Congress. That doesn’t include the BTP. Repudiation ain’t gonna happen.

    Yes, you did say it was consistent. Right here: “It only seems inconsistent if you ignore political reality.”

  67. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    “Tom, first: if you didn’t know that Social Security is a massive inter-generational transfer of wealth, then you’ve just disqualified yourself from this discussion.”

    Nice try. I do know that, and nothing I’ve said here in any way contradicts it.

    “Second: if you’re convinced there’s no windfall, then why would you object to cutting people off at a level of accumulated benefits that you think they never reach?”

    windfall, n. 2. an unexpected, unearned, or sudden gain or advantage

    Social Security benefits fail the definition of “windfall” on all four descriptive counts:

    – The benefits are certainly “expected.”

    – The benefits are “earned” i.e. they are conditioned upon performance of certain acts and not paid absent those acts.

    – The benefits are not “sudden.” They’re predicated on an average working life of somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 years.

    – The benefits are not a “gain” or “advantage.” Even low-return sensible investment would provide a better return.

    “OK, let’s start your education with the very first SS beneficiary, Ida May Fuller. She paid in a total of $49.50 (including employer match) over three years before retiring in 1940, and went on to collect $22,888.92 before she died. That’s an ROI of 44,000%. ROIs have been dropping ever since. That’s the way Ponzi schemes work.”

    Yes, it is. The dip in ROI has long since taken the ROI well below the market rate, as could be expected in a Ponzi scheme that, unlike most, is perpetuated by law instead of collapsing as soon as people figure out they’re being taken.

    “Thanks for quibbling about default/repudiate, while not disputing my evidence about the major players wanting to change the terms of the SS deal.”

    Why would I quibble with my own assertions? The terms of the deal get changed all the time — at the edges — because they can be, because as I said at the beginning of this discussion Social Security benefits are not liability, i.e. an obligation to which the government is in any way legally bound.

    “By ‘party or presidential contender’ I of course meant parties and candidates with a real chance of winning the White House or controlling Congress.”

    I apologize. It was not obvious that that’s what you meant, especially since you’re posting at a site dedicated to parties and candidates with no real chance of winning the White House or controlling Congress, at least in the near term.

    “Repudiation ain’t gonna happen.”

    It’s been happening for some time now already through monetization. I prefer honest repudiation to dishonest repudiation.

  68. Michael H. Wilson

    Brian let me fill you in on something. You are not special because you were a military brat. There are thousands of us out here. I changed school 13 times when my father was in the navy. I lived on a number of bases from Agana, Guam to Green Cove Springs, Florida. I was up and down the California coast from San Diego to Vallejo. Then I spent four years in the U.S. Coast Guard during which time the Vietnam War was in progress and while I did not go over there I saw plenty of others in my branch of the service who did. I know a number from other branches who came back and will never be whole.
    I also know from my time in the service that the soft underbelly of the U.S. is the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida. It is poorly defended to say the least. I know that thousands in drugs and money flows both ways across the border of the U.S. I know that years ago members of the IRA would come into and again leave the U.S. aboard fishing boats working out of the northeast states. I know that you can take a forty or sixty foot vessel from the coast of North Africa across the Atlantic catch the coast of South America and make your way up and into the U.S. water undetected.
    From just reading the newspapers I know that our defense systems are vulnerable to kid hackers. I would imagine our banking system is as well and many other parts of our electronic infrastructure. I would guess that someone in another country could make a hell of a lot of money by betting on the commodities market and then tampering with the system from somewhere else in the world. You’re the computer guy so tell me just how secure is the system.
    And a couple more things. There have been a couple of surveys I have run across over the years regarding military brats. Seems they have a high rate of alcohol and drug abuse problems and that they make up a large segment of the homeless kids on the streets. In my humble opinion for what it is worth we expect a lot of those kids and don’t pay them very well at all. Then there is the issue of the vets who end up homeless.
    As far as NORAD goes, well apparently it is easy to get around that system. Anyhow that is what I gather from the attacks of 9/11.
    Your turn. Make it good!

  69. George Phillies

    @76
    NORAD as a bomber defense was shut down decades ago, bombers being totally obsolete with respect to anyone who might be attacking us.

    @0
    The most interesting bit of Bernie Madoff is the point that is less covered:

    He does not appear to be that wealthy, given how much money passed through his hands.

    While he had a Ponzi scheme, of a sort, the yields were not so spectacular, and there are serious questions about where the money went, since, according to my reading, ‘early investors’ is not obviously an adequate explanation. I am not saying it is not an explanation, but apparently the cash flows are not instantly explicable as ‘Ponzi scheme that was crashing through lack of new investors.’ However, perhaps he had high orthodox business expenses for marketing.

  70. Tom Blanton

    Guess who brought up NORAD, Michael. I’ll give you a hint. It’s the same guy who is worried that his neighbors are plotting to kill him with the WMD they are developing in their tool sheds. That being the same guy who thinks the government is keeping him safe from those same neighbors now, but ant rollback in government would mean he would be vulnerable.

  71. Solomon Drek

    Knapp@72: “Which current business?

    He’s still doing the odds-making bit.”

    I tried the link and the site address winningedge.com. It doesn’t work. I know its not my computer or web browser because everything else works ok.

    Nothing succeeds in business, or politics, like a website you can’t connect to.

  72. George Phillies

    @78: See @76 toward the bottom.

    @79 Interesting point. However, Madoff had some politically very sensitive customers.

    @81 winningedge worked for me as a web location, to my great surprise, as I thought that direction was no longer active. Of course, T***dP***yW*tch still works, the original third party web coverage site at last report sold to the far far right wing of Mr Viguerrie, if you turn of your virus protection and don’t mind going to a web virus attack site.–mind you, he may have sold it again.

  73. Robert Capozzi

    mhw, I use NORAD as a foil, an example of real defense of the US, vs. the offensive defense spending, which most “defense spending” is. I’d use the Coast Guard as an ex., except it’s too associated with the drug wars to be a useful foil.

  74. Robert Capozzi

    tb, you once again undermine whatever credibility you might have. Most L readers of IPR know by now that I’m FOR rolling back the State as far and as fast as is possible. They know that I’m a theoretical asymptotic anarchist/applied lessarchist, Taoist Hayekian L with geoist tendencies, and that my LP membership card says “Libertarian Since: 1/21/1980.”

    I’m concerned about you at this point, as your comments are becoming increasingly not lucid.

  75. Tom Blanton

    Capozzi writes:

    They know that I’m a theoretical asymptotic anarchist/applied lessarchist, Taoist Hayekian L with geoist tendencies, and that my LP membership card says “Libertarian Since: 1/21/1980.”

    Actually, Bobby, I doubt many people do know all that about you. I also doubt they care or will bother to memorize it. Most people familiar with your postings probably know more about you than you know about yourself.

    I also doubt you are concerned about me. Your statement sounds like something a bitchy teenage girl would say to someone she feels threatened by. How bizarre that a grown man would say that to another grown man. It also says a lot about your lack of honesty and your obsession with trying to manage the perceptions others have of you.

    See ya in the funny papers, kiddo.

  76. Lou Novak

    Is this what the IPR comment stream has become, I was a libertarian before you were?

    Whatever happened to seek to understand before being understood?

  77. Michael H. Wilson

    Robert there is something of a saying that you might be familiar with. It goes something like this; that the military is always fighting the last war. That has been shown to be the case in both Iraq and Afghanistan and in places in the past.

    But more important in my book is that we go abroad as a nation and butt in the business of other cultures when we know little or nothing about them. George Keenan noted that American politicians are naive about the rest of the world.

    If we minded our own business and stayed home maybe we wouldn ‘t have all these hostile neighbors. Just set a good example. It is a hell of a lot less expensive. We have too many vulnerable points to be messing around in other people lives. So far the LP seems reluctant to suggest that as a course of action.

    It might be worth taking a look at the number of times the U.S. military has been sent abroad and compare that to other nations. Seems to me our politicians have a pretty itchy trigger finger.

  78. robert capozzi

    mhw, reluctant? How so? Non-intervention has been the LP’s — and my — position for decades.

  79. Tom Blanton

    Capozzi writes:

    “tb, personal pissing contests serve no useful purpose…can we at least agree about THAT?”

    If you truly believe that, Capozzi, then why do you initiate pissing contests? You should ask your mentor, Holtz, the same question.

    My post @ #2 states an opinion (an opinion that is shared by many) that Root’s rhetoric mimics that of Republican/conservative/rightwing pundits, and it criticizes Root for claiming the national debt is $100 trillion. I do not attack you or Holtz. I merely criticize Root for a misstatement of fact used to make his case against Obama and how that reflects poorly on libertarians.

    Then Brian starts up with his rude, condescending tirade filled with pejoratives and disingenuous argument. Then you start up with more of the same, diverting the argument into various other topics. And as always, you and Brian accuse me of doing what you have started. In playground parlance, you seem to love dishing it out, but can’t take it when it is dished back. In your passive-aggressive manor, you pretend that you are being civil as you make baseless accusations and hurl the pejoratives and insults.

    You may notice that I am not the only one that you and Brian have problems with, yet I don’t seem to have these sort of problems with anyone who posts here other than you and Brian. So, it would seem that the problem does not originate with me, but rather with you and Brian who act as some sort of tag team.

    The comical thing is watching Brian start up his routine and then watching you start yapping like his little puppy dog. It is all too bizarre when grown men act like this.

    I leave you with these items:

    From Root on 10/12/09:

    “I call myself a “Reagan Libertarian.” I am fiscally conservative and agree with both Rush Limbaugh and Ronald Reagan on most economic issues.”

    If you wish to see the context from which I extract this statement, go to:

    http://www.rootforamerica.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry091012-103202

    AND

    A mentally ill libertarian’s guide on how to win friends and influence people by Brian Holtz:

    http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2009/10/national-green-party-bring-medicare-for-all-back-to-the-table/

    This has it all, sparkling unicorns, bumper stickers/slogans, angrytarian newspeak, name-calling then followed by accusing others of name calling, the whole Holtz method.

    By the way Capozzi, save your concern for your own credibility.

  80. Michael H. Wilson

    RC @ 93 you ask: “mhw, reluctant? How so? Non-intervention has been the LP’s — and my — position for decades.”

    I suggest that you take a look at the history of the LP regarding the Iraq invassion for a starter.

    BTW I would suggest the the LP call of the closing of the School of the Americas in a loud and clear voice and get with the upcoming protest there.

  81. robert capozzi

    tb, I guess — somehow — I need to clarify that which should be obvious. You suggested that I oppose “any rollback” in the State. That’s freaking ridiculous, and I can’t imagine you actually believe that. Aren’t you the guy who emphasizes “honesty” in stating political objectives?

    If you think that not making *personal* insults is somehow “passive aggressive,” then we clearly disagree.

  82. robert capozzi

    mhw, I seem to recall that Badnarik opposed Iraq and Barr called for withdrawal. I don’t know of cases where the LP itself supported the invasion. I do recall controversy over how to EXIT Iraq.

    Is there another cluster of salient data points I’m unfamiliar with?

  83. Tom Blanton

    Here is how a passive-aggressive person says: “You are a liar”

    @#25
    “tb, yes, we’ve all gotten a sense of what you consider to be “honest” on this thread in your twisting and mischaracterizing Root’s views.”

    Is that the royal “we”?

    In my next post, I asked how was I dishonest. Rather than answer, Bobby, you ask me about NORAD.

    So, did I hurt little Bobby’s feelings when I painted him as a delusional statist, fearful of private nukes?

    Too bad, Bobby. What goes around comes around. You paint me as a fringe lunatic from time to time. I paint you right back. If it is ok for you to do it, it’s ok for me to do it, right?

    If you can’t take it, don’t dish it out. If you don’t want to be pissed on, don’t start the pissing contest. There is always the option of merely saying you disagree.

    After all, you are the only person I know of who brings up the “issue” of private nukes on a regular basis.

    You say you don’t oppose ANY rollback in in the state, when you actually favor only small incremental and marginal rollbacks. So, you do, in fact, oppose large rollbacks of the state and you vocally oppose anyone who proposes large rollbacks. You call this a strategy.

    I would call it a failed tactic – we disagree.

    Go ahead and empty your bladder. But, notice that I never address you until you call me a liar in your passive-aggressive manner @ #25

  84. Michael H. Wilson

    Robert your memory is a little fuzzy if you don’t recall the issues around the Iraq invasion and the LP’s poor handling of that one. You might need to see a doctor. Could be a problem.

  85. robert capozzi

    tb, no, I favor large rollbacks in the State. I again would characterize your characterization as a mischaracterization, not a lie.

    I assume everyone’s doing their best, even you! But it really does take all kinds.

  86. robert capozzi

    mhw, I wasn’t paying close attention to intra LP matters at the time. What’s the short version?

  87. Brian Holtz Post author

    Tom Knapp seems to think that any level of Social Security benefits counts as “earned” merely because “they are conditioned upon performance of certain acts and not paid absent those acts”.  Ida May Fuller’s “acts” were to pay $49.50 over three years, so Tom Knapp should say she “earned” $22,888.92.  But when an investor performs the “act” of buying a T-bill, Tom Knapp says he hasn’t “earned” the interest that is “conditioned upon performance of” buying that T-bill.  In fact, Tom denies that even the principal of the T-bill should be paid back!

    This, then, is the corner of twisted lefty redistributionist logic into which Knapp has backed himself.  Tom, there are plenty of socialist/redistributionist parties whose nomination you could run for.  Why are you seeking the LP’s?  :-)

    I repeat my question: why would you object to cutting people off at a level of accumulated benefits that you think they never reach?  Is your answer really just: because the nanny state had promised those benefits?

    And I’m not letting you off the hook about your ethical inconsistency in repudiating promises made to those who merely lent to the State, while honoring the promises made to those who TOOK UP ARMS for the State.  Yes, you DID say it was consistent. Right here: “It only seems inconsistent if you ignore political reality.”

    Michael, I didn’t say I was “special because I was a military brat”.  I just stated the fact that my family lived in SAC-base Soviet bullseyes during the two highest nuclear alerts of the Cold War.  You don’t have to care about this fact, but that doesn’t give you a right to put your words in my mouth.

    I completely agree that America’s borders are porous to warhead-sized objects.  In fact, I pointed that out yesterday in a separate blog posting, and it’s a reason why I’ve always opposed the Strategic Defense Initiative.  My point about NORAD is that such aerospace early-warning efforts are one of the reasons why we’ve never had to use nuclear weapons — weapons that you seem to think are useless simply because they were never used in the Cold War.  It’s just silly to say that 9/11 shows “it is easy to get around that system”.  The point of NORAD is so that nuclear opponents won’t think they can achieve a successful surprise first strike.  NORAD was never intended to protect the cockpit doors of airliners, or to stop suicidal pilots of civilian aircraft. Do you assert it was?

    George, it’s not true that our bomber defenses were shut down years ago.  You apparently aren’t familiar with the response to 9/11 by NEADS, the Northeast Air Defense Sector of NORAD.  For details, see http://www.debunk911myths.org/topics/NORAD. As of 9/11, its “aerospace warning and control missions were oriented to detect and identify all air traffic entering North American airspace, and if necessary, intercept potentially threatening inbound aircraft.”  That morning it had 14 fighters on alert at seven bases.  Those pilots weren’t sitting around waiting to intercept ballistic missiles.  The order to scramble the two F-15s at Otis AFB was issued even before the first airliner hit the WTC.  Those two Eagles established a Combat Air Patrol over Manhattan 22 minutes after the second tower was hit.

    Lou @90, I’ll leave it to LP presidential contender Tom Knapp to explain to you why a ‘massive inter-generational transfer of wealth’ is a bad thing — if indeed he thinks it is.  This would be good practice for his campaign.

    Tom Blanton apparently wants to criticize the statements of others while not having his statements be subject to criticism.  Sorry, not on my watch.

    “Rude”?  Hah.  I’m not the one here who has used the words “sphincter”, “twit”, “idiot”, “fool”, “narcissistic freak”, “pompous”, “phony”, etc.  Blanton apparently thinks that if he feels bad about himself after reading my words, then my words must have been insults.

    As for “dishing it out” vs.”taking it”, I’m not the one here whining that my public criticisms of public figures should not themselves be criticized.  Blanton just broke my irony meter.

    What I’ve “noticed” is that Blanton is one of the a people who, when trying to debate me, stoop to sputtering ad hominems and insults.  Most radical libertarians and fundamentalist Christians that I debate are able to remain relatively civil, but some of them aren’t emotionally equipped to learn that their polemical reach sometimes exceeds their grasp.

    Michael, I think the “fuzzy memory” about Iraq and the LP may be yours.  Using archive.org, I recently sampled the front page of LP.org every six months to back before the Iraq invasion, 11 data points in all.  The results are here.  Antiwar has clearly been the most prominent issue position on the front page during that entire time.  LP.org has been LOUDLY antiwar, and I have little sympathy for your complaint that you’ve wanted it to be even more so.  If you want to influence the content output of the LP, my suggestion is to roll up your sleeves and start producing some.  That’s what I’m doing at http://CalFreedom.net.

  88. George Phillies

    ““aerospace warning and control missions were oriented to detect and identify all air traffic entering North American airspace, and if necessary, intercept potentially threatening inbound aircraft.” That morning it had 14 fighters on alert at seven bases. Those pilots weren’t sitting around waiting to intercept ballistic missiles.”

    You can’t shoot down ballistic missiles with fighters.

    14 fighters, as an air defense against a major bomber attack, is a joke. It is totally serious for the described mission, which does not involve air defense against major air attacks on the United States.

    However, NORAD’s bomber defense mission went away 30 years ago, because long before the only possibly hostile country with a bomber fleet could have gotten the bombers here, its missiles would have destroyed the NORAD system.

    I am utterly not concerned with what the 911 truther psychotics are claiming; apparently some of them thought we were still in 1952 and had fleets of fighter air craft ready to go to stop an enemy attack.

  89. Brian Holtz Post author

    “You can’t shoot down ballistic missiles with fighters.” Yes, that’s why I sarcastically said they weren’t waiting to do so.

    NORAD has more than 14 fighters in its arsenal. 14 is just a count of how many pilots used to be on five-minute alert in NORAD’s northeast sector. NORAD has a lot more planes and pilots than that, and if tensions with Russia got hot, we could have hundreds of them on alert tomorrow.

    If you think “NORAD’s bomber defense mission went away 30 years ago”, then you should report Gen. Victor Renuart to the DoD waste/fraud/abuse hotline for allocating hundreds of aircraft to an unauthorized mission. You can submit your report online at http://www.dodig.mil/HOTLINE/fwacompl.htm, or fax it to (703) 604-8567.

  90. Steven R Linnabary

    BTW I would suggest the the LP call of the closing of the School of the Americas in a loud and clear voice and get with the upcoming protest there.

    I agree. But for the sake of argument, the SOA no longer exists as Congress changed the name of this atrocity in the making several years ago. The new and improved name is “Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Concerns”.

    Find out more here:

    http://www.soaw.org/

    Let’s hope that the LP does make a loud and unequivocal statement soon. Before more are killed in our name.

    PEACE

  91. Michael H. Wilson

    re BH @ 104: I didn’t put words in your mouth.

    I have no way of knowing the circumstance that you went thru in your youth but there are a lot of children from military families who went thru a lot and are going thru a lot of pain and suffering thanks to these two wars. And they sure as hell will never be paid for the loss.

    You mentioned the financial burden your daughters have to deal with, well let’s hope they never have to deal with the loss of a parent or having one away from home in a foreign war, or have a parent who comes home with problems as a result of a war.

    Frankly I don’t think the LP has been loud enough when it comes to taking a stand against these wars.

    For the record Brian Iput in a number of hours each month for the LP and have for some years..

    This blog is just entertainment for me.

  92. Brian Holtz Post author

    Michael, I won’t insult readers’ intelligence by arguing whether or not you put words in my mouth when you wrote: “You are not special because you were a military brat”.

    All your anecdotes about the suffering of war are touching, but they provide zero support for your suggestion that 9/11 demonstrated that NORAD has been worthless. By contrast, my anecdote about living on SAC bases nicely illustrates NORAD’s purpose. I hope you don’t think that the maudlin war-is-hell slogan is an automatic argument-winning trump card. If so, then here’s a counter-slogan for you: give me liberty, or give me peace.

    I’m sorry that antiwar being the number one issue position on LP.org since 2003 doesn’t count as the LP being “loud enough” for your taste. Maybe you should turn up the volume on your screen reader. :-)

  93. Michael H. Wilson

    Brian I wrote the following; “As far as NORAD goes, well apparently it is easy to get around that system. Anyhow that is what I gather from the attacks of 9/11.” and “Robert Capozzi regarding the question you ask at # 31 … allow me to point out that NORAD didn’t have much luck in stopping the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

    In a world of assymetrical warfare NORAD is pretty much none effective and given the way things are it is doubtful that we will ever fight a set piece war again. ”

    Now where did I write that NORAD was worthless?

    NORAD is a useful tool in a particular type of warfare but it is doubtful that we will ever have to use it for the form of warfare it was designed for.

    Brian if you are going to put words in people’s mouths then pick the right words.

  94. Brian Holtz Post author

    “In a world of assymetrical warfare NORAD is pretty much none effective [sic]”. You either were talking about the Real World and thus calling NORAD worthless, or were wasting our time saying that NORAD is worthless in some hypothetical world. (Are you seriously claiming that a defense technology can be “non-effective” but not be “worthless”?)

    Again, just because a burglar alarm never gets tripped, or a locked door is never pushed against, that doesn’t mean the alarm and the lock are or were non-effective. There are still thousands of strategic nuclear weapons in the world. Would you seriously claim that there is no longer any point in having a system to detect whether some of them are inbound? Unless you can claim that, you just aren’t disagreeing with me.

    Yes, there was a valid point about asymmetrical warfare buried somewhere under all your hyperbole, but that doesn’t make your hyperbole valid.

  95. Tom Blanton

    Once there are incoming nukes, we’ll find out about them soon enough even without NORAD.

    However, I do understand that just saying the word “NORAD” is enough to make a neocon liberventionist’s penis feel enlarged.

  96. Michael H. Wilson

    Brian if another nation attacks the U.S. with nukes by means of missles they are most likely to have similar capabilites as the U.S. thus they would not be asymetrical. They would be symetrical or similar.

    Did I not write: “In a world of assymetrical warfare NORAD is pretty much none effective”. I did spell assymetrical using an extra “S” but I thought you might get the idea or other people would. NORAD is not much help in a world where people use computer hackers, domestic airlines, etc. and off the shelf item to conduct hostile acts.

  97. Don Lake, late at night

    “….. [Blanton is one of the a people who, when trying to debate me, stoop to sputtering ad hominems and insults.] Most radical libertarians and fundamentalist Christians that I debate are able to remain relatively civil [but some of them aren’t emotionally equipped to learn that their polemical reach sometimes exceeds their grasp].”

    Plz introduce me to these more reasonable folk. I have met sorry, sorry few of them, and the proof is that Cory Quirk and Doctor Donald Gundermann are not all that rare, just verbose.

  98. Michael H. Wilson

    Brian here is a definition of “asymetrical warfare”. I know you like big words. How about trying to understand simple ones?

    “What Is Asymmetric Warfare?
    Biot Report #167: January 22, 2005

    The concept of asymmetric conflict has been around a long time, but has become a topic of great interest since the repeated attacks by Islamic terrorist groups against the U.S. (e.g., USS Cole, World Trade Center 1993 and 2001, Pentagon). Political scientist T.V. Paul in his 1994 book titled “”Asymmetric Conflicts: War Initiation by Weaker Powers,” provides a traditional definition of asymmetric conflict:

    Asymmetric conflict is a “conflict involving two states with unequal overall military and economic power resources.”* (p. 20)

    Kenneth McKenzie, a National War College military theorist, in 2001 updated the definition of asymmetric warfare to reflect the new age of terrorism:

    Asymmetric warfare is “leveraging inferior tactical or operational strength against the vulnerabilities of a superior opponent to achieve disproportionate effect with the aim of undermining the opponent’s will in order to achieve the asymmetric actor’s strategic objectives.”**

    Iraq’s deposed leader Saddam Hussein described asymmetric conflict from the perspective of a weaker adversary in 1990:

    “If you use pressure, we will deploy pressure and force. We know that you can harm us although we do not threaten you. But we too can harm you. Everyone can cause harm according to their ability and their size. We cannot come all the way to you in the United States, but individual Arabs may reach you.”***”

    http://www.semp.us/publications/biot_reader.php?BiotID=167

  99. Brian Holtz Post author

    “NORAD is not much help in a world where people use [asymmetrical warfare].”

    Wrong. There are still thousands of strategic nuclear weapons in the world. Would you seriously claim that there is no longer any point in having a system to detect whether some of them are inbound? Unless you can claim that, you just aren’t disagreeing with me.

    Saying NORAD is not useless is hardly the same thing as denying that asymmetrical threats exist. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_herring.

    It’s very obvious what’s going on here. You don’t feel it’s edgy/cool/controversial enough to say A: “NORAD is not much help against assymetrical opponents”. So instead you make the sweeping claim B: “NORAD is not much help in a world where people use [asymmetrical warfare]”. This sounds edgy/cool/controversial, but unfortunately is simply false. This world, called Earth, has both nuclear ballistic missiles and asymmetric warriors. You were trying to pretend that (A) and (B) have the same semantics, in order to dodge the argument that the omnimalevolent state actually does something useful by running NORAD.

    Sorry, but that trick just ain’t gonna fly.

    Unless in your next response you can actually type “there is no longer any point in having a system to detect whether ballistic missiles are inbound”, I invite readers to decide for themselves whether you actually defend the claim that I’m disagreeing with.

  100. Robert Capozzi

    Yes, some Ls employ a logic sleight of hand that is transparent to most.

    I’m waiting for this Duensing “Assassination” Attempt to dredge up the “see, we don’t need cops” argument. Cops have a monopoly on aggression, which they used against Duensing, therefore we need competing, private cops.

    This despite the history of private security being riddled with injustices, too. The standard Rothbardian/Hoppean response is: yes, a “libertarian society” wouldn’t be perfect, but it would be much better and, more importantly, much more “moral,” since monopoly-aggression powers would be banned. Abolition would be better than the status quo.

    It’s a prediction that requires QUITE the imagination.

  101. Michael H. Wilson

    Gosh I guess I got caught tryin’ to be cool and usin’ big words. Better get over in the corner and get my spellin’ book out and do some learnin’.

  102. Brian Holtz Post author

    No, you were trying to use sleight of hand to dismiss as “non-effective” one of the few services of the omnimalevolent state that minarchists would argue has been both legitimate and effective.

    And you would have gotten away with it, if it wasn’t for us meddling kids. :-)

  103. Tom Blanton

    Michael, taking on Holtz and his follower is like trying to get Richard Perle and William Kristol to admit al Qaida poses no existential threat to America.

    They think they are playing a debating game where losing is not an option. Facts and logic don’t matter. The glory of militarism is all that matters. This is why they despise noninterventionists and mock those who reject the initiation of force.

  104. Tom Blanton

    I wouldn’t put too much thought into which minarchists are arguing that NORAD has been effective.

    Effective at what? Detecting ICBMs with nuclear payloads? Or maybe detecting Islamofascists on flying carpets equipped with hi-tech magic lanterns.

    I do know Capozzi is concerned about alien invasions. Maybe that is why NORAD is important to him.

  105. Brian Holtz Post author

    Readers here don’t need to be told which side here thinks “facts and logic don’t matter” regarding the question of whether it is still useful to detect incoming ballistic missiles.

    Perl, Kristol, Qaida, “militarism”, flying carpets, etc. — more entrants in an unending http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_herring parade.

    But the funniest thing here is how they just keep coming back for more, without the slightest intention of substantive debate. Reminds me of this guy:

  106. Michael H. Wilson

    BH above once again tried to twist words to suite his wishes when he wrote;” regarding the question of whether it is still useful to detect incoming ballistic missiles”.

    Brian give it up and get a job in a bakery. Ya can twist dough all day there and get paid for it as well. :}

  107. Brian Holtz Post author

    Michael, one can’t “twist” one’s own words. I’m just stating my position on NORAD and asking you to confirm my suspicion, based on your earlier NORAD hyperbole, that you disagree with it.

    It’s somewhat obvious why you refuse to either agree or disagree with my position. Disagreeing would be silly, and agreeing would undercut your earlier hyperbole — so you keep blowing smoke.

  108. Brian Holtz Post author

    I left a series of clues for you. See if you can piece together my position from them:

    @105 The point of NORAD is so that nuclear opponents won’t think they can achieve a successful surprise first strike.

    @113 There are still thousands of strategic nuclear weapons in the world. Would you seriously claim that there is no longer any point in having a system to detect whether some of them are inbound?

    @116 Repeating from @105 for the memory-impaired: “the point of NORAD is so that nuclear opponents won’t think they can achieve a successful surprise first strike.”

    @120 There are still thousands of strategic nuclear weapons in the world. Would you seriously claim that there is no longer any point in having a system to detect whether some of them are inbound? Unless you can claim that, you just aren’t disagreeing with me.

    @123 one of the few services of the omnimalevolent state that minarchists would argue has been both legitimate and effective.

    @127 whether it is still useful to detect incoming ballistic missiles.

  109. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 46 I wrote: “In a world of assymetrical warfare NORAD is pretty much none effective and given the way things are it is doubtful that we will ever fight a set piece war again.”

    No where in here did I say that getting rid of NORAD was a good idea. I don’t think I implied that idea but if that is what you read into then that is a problem you have to deal with.

  110. Brian Holtz Post author

    Ah, so my mistake was not realizing that you sometimes favor keeping a government program even if it is “pretty much non-effective”, and even if you are “doubtful” it will ever be used in the future.

  111. Michael H. Wilson

    I have yet to figure out how to rid ourselves of the expense of the miltary at this point but I think we should be working to remove our troops from abroad and reduce our carriers strike forces and maybe over a period of time other components can be reduced. Perhpas a hundred or ten hundred years from now future libertarians can argue for total end of the military. I’m not foolish enough to suggest that it can be done today. I will suggest that we should be working in that direction. Our government should not sell or subsidize the sale of weapons to any nation or group.

    I do not believe that we can build a world of peace by using coercion and that includes a coercive government.

    Now back to the news letter.

  112. robert capozzi

    Seems like NORAD’s effective BECAUSE it’s not used. We’re in for a heap of trouble if it’s actually tested. Living near the Pentagon as I do, I’ll not likely live to see the aftermath.

  113. robert capozzi

    mhw, some Ls won’t draw a distinction between NORAD and,say, the NEA. The logic seems to go: both are coercive, so both must be abolished as they are both immoral abominations.

    Other Ls find that logic tortured, as some force initiation seems necessary for the foreseeable future in order to maintain a semblance of domestic tranquility.

    Abolitionist anarchist Ls often brand non-abolitionists as “statists” and NOT L for the”crime” of seeing the utility in maintaining NORAD and other baseline peacekeeping functions. Short of converting to abolitionism, they want the LP to remain silent on the utility of a State. Many non-abolitionist Ls refuse to abide by that desire for silence, mostly because such a stance restricts our ability to advocate for more liberty in a credible, plausible way.

    That’s my summary of the abolitionist/lessarchist divide that has held the LP back all these years.

  114. Brian Holtz Post author

    Ditto. I work just down the street from the Space and Missile Systems Center’s “Blue Cube” satellite downlink station, a prime target in any first strike.

    And if a North Korean madman has only one missile with which to nuke a West Coast target, where would he aim? Most of Silicon Valley’s high-tech campuses are along this 10-mile stretch of Hwy 101, with Yahoo here in the middle. Or if he targets the Silicon Valley’s cerebral cortex, my house is on a hilltop only 3 miles from Stanford campus.

    With al Qaeda, you could count on them to aim such a nuke at Hollywood, but a North Korean would be smarter than that.

  115. Brian Holtz Post author

    Michael @134, I think there should be room in the LP for people who hold these anarchists beliefs, and the LP’s foundational texts should neither mandate them nor contradict them. That’s why I support the St. Louis Accord.

  116. robert capozzi

    …and I think our Abolitionist Brethren would say that the USG provokes NK and AQN. If I get their view, end the provocation, then end NORAD. I’m down with ending the provocation, but REALLY doesn’t follow that distributing rifles and abolishing NORAD is indicated, as Comrade Blanton seems to advocate.

  117. Tom Blanton

    If you boys want to feel safe, you should get teddy bears and snuggle up to them at bedtime and quit worrying about nukes.

    NORAD won’t protect you and probably can’t protect you. It has been used for drug interdiction for years and somehow there are still plenty of drugs.

    Guess what. Radars can’t make ICBMs with nukes go away. Why are you neolibertarians so hung up on having advance notice of a nuke attack? Have you all got secret bomb shelters in your back yards?

    What good is NORAD going to do you if Osama bin Hitler of North Korea delivers a giant nuke in a moving van to the Pentagon?

    It’s a 4th generation world and you guys are getting aroused over a glorious 2nd generation war fantasy.

    If you really want to feel more secure, you would be demanding an end to America’s provocative interventionism and keeping a rifle handy. That way when the spooky bad guys with dark skin come to make you wear a burka as they have their way with you, you can shoot at them.

    Again, if NORAD can’t stop dope smugglers, why are you so confident that it will protect you from being nuked?

    I’m quite sure your NORAD rhetoric sounds quite reasonable to the average rube who believes whatever the government tells him to believe. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t bullshit.

  118. Brian Holtz Post author

    Fact N: As long as there exists a strategic nuclear arsenal capable of attempting a first strike on America’s, then in any potential nuclear-blackmail crisis we want that arsenal’s owners to worry that we might go to a launch-on-warning posture.

    Fact N is an undeniable feature of the Real World inhabited by grownups. Blanton doesn’t want to face Fact N, so he digs deep into his toychest of red herrings: teddy bears, arousal, dope smugglers, trucks, skin colors, burkas, hijackers, bomb shelters, etc.

    And for good measure, Blanton throws in some bonus fallacies: 1) the Excluded Middle between complete immunity to nukes and abject vulnerability to them, 2) the False Alternative of preparing for either old threats or new threats, and 3) the False Alternative of either keeping NORAD or practicing non-interventionism.

    The more logical fallacies Blanton throws out, the more desperate you can tell he is to flee from Fact N. But Fact N just won’t go away, no matter how fast Blanton runs. Wherever he runs, Fact N is already true there.

    But my favorite part is where Blanton concedes that the standard NORAD analysis “sounds quite reasonable”. You can almost hear the cognitive dissonance grinding away inside his skull.

    OK, let’s hear the next excuse that comes out of Blanton’s toychest to try to distract from Fact N.

  119. Michael H. Wilson

    NORAD also has an excellent record of tracking Santa.

    BTW I always liked Smedley Butler. He said something about War being a racket. Apparently he had a lot of experience at as a Marine Corp General and two time Medal of Honor recipient. ya might wanna read his book.

    How many wars can you name that weren’t a racket?

  120. Brian Holtz Post author

    Right on cue, the next herring is literally red: Santa.

    Fact N remains. Fact N doesn’t sleep.

    What was that Blanton quote @125? Oh yeah: “facts and logic don’t matter”.

  121. Michael H. Wilson

    Santa is not a red herring. If you watch Television you’ll see the reports every year. Pay attention for once! Dammit!

    And while you are waiting for the Santa report. Read the works of George Keenan. Every so-called Libertarian Policy maker should read his work and think them through.

  122. Brian Holtz Post author

    Sorry, I had a full dinner tonight, so I don’t have room for any red herring for dessert.

    Maybe after you directly answer to the single sentence I personally wrote to you @133, I’ll get right on answering the “works” of some author who isn’t a party to this discussion.

  123. Tom Blanton

    Wow, it really is like Richard Perle crawled out of his coffin.

    Brian, did your American Enterprise Institute coloring book come today or have you been reading old press releases from the Committee on the Present Danger?

    It’s been a long time since I’ve run into anyone from the Duck and Cover Fear Brigade. I’m just wondering what evil-doer is going to be lobbing nukes at us.

    Maybe we should just go ahead and nuke the rest of the world so you and your follower will feel safe.

    Fact N only exists in your mind, Brian. Just like the idea that NORAD will keep you safe. Just like the idea that you are a grown up living in the real world.

    You worry about nuclear blackmail but fail to acknowledge that nuclear weapons could more easily be delivered by truck than by missile – with or without NORAD.

    Face it Holtz, the government you trust to protect you is unable to protect you. NORAD won’t stop a nuke from melting your pasty flesh right off your shaking bones.

  124. Brian Holtz Post author

    Let’s see what nonsense Blanton pulls from his toychest to try to flee from Fact N:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_herring:

    • American Enterprise Institute
    • coloring book
    • Committee on the Present Danger

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bare_assertion_fallacy:

    • “Fact N only exists in your mind”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man:

    • “Nuke the rest of the world”
    • “NORAD will keep you safe”

    My actual position is: NORAD helps deter a counterforce first strike by making an aggressor worry during a crisis that a launch-on-warning posture is in place.  Man up, and argue against my actual position by trying to complete this sentence: “NORAD wouldn’t help deter a counterforce first strike during a crisis because…”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lie:

    • “You fail to acknowledge that nuclear weapons could more easily be delivered by truck”.

    I wrote @105: “I completely agree that America’s borders are porous to warhead-sized objects.  In fact, I pointed that out yesterday in a separate blog posting, and it’s a reason why I’ve always opposed the Strategic Defense Initiative.”  You can’t effect a counterforce first strike against the U.S. nuclear arsenal using trucks.  Truck-based nuclear terrorism is one kind of threat; a counteforce first strike is another. It’s inane to claim that because you can’t deter all threats, you shouldn’t deter any of them.

    I can keep diagnosing your nonsense as long as you keep generating it.

  125. Robert Capozzi

    tb, for the record, I’m in no way a “neolibertarian,” “liberventionist,” or “neocon.” I opposed both Iraq wars, Vietnam, Korea, and want to bring US troops home.

    NORAD may well be less necessary in a relative sense than it was during the Cold War. But, last I checked, Russia and China still have first-strike capabilities. Hunkering down with a rifle, freeze-dried food, and water rations in a backyard bunker ain’t a sufficient defense to the land mass known as the USA.

    I’m hopeful that your postings will wake some people up, although perhaps in ways you don’t intend. Your inability to engage a point and use gigantic logic leaps might register with those who are sympathetic to your atomistic views.

    Keep up the good work.

  126. Tom Blanton

    I would like Holtz to estimate the odds that Russia or China would initiate a first strike on America using nuclear weapons. I would also like to know how such a strike would benefit either nation. Why do you think there is a reasonable possibility that this might occur?

    It could be argued that a glitch, either by error or even by an outside hacker, from the NORAD end could possibly trigger a nuclear response from America where there has been no launch against America. The possibility of this happening may even be greater than China or Russia launching a nuclear attack on America.

    The only red herring in this room is the rotting carcass of delusional paranoia left over from cold war fear mongering.

    In the real world of grown ups there exists the NPT which America is in violation of. The only way to be safe from nuclear weapons is to eliminate them.

    Holtz has also neglected to tell us how NORAD will keep us safe from nukes. Does NORAD provide some magic shield against attack? It does provide a warning, setting off shrill sirens – the purpose of which was originally to give people a chance to duck and cover as they face death, or to seek refuge in their backyard bunkers. It would appear that Holtz is arguing that the backyard bunker is the only real defense on a personal level.

    Mutually Assured Destruction may be a deterrent, but it also could be a recipe for disaster in the event of mistake. The best deterrent might be something Holtz seems to reject and that is a noninterventionist foreign policy.

    As for Capozzi, I suppose anyone who is concerned that his neighbors might be building nukes in their tool sheds would most likely be concerned about Russia and/or China nuking America. My guesstimate is that it is more likely that neighbor Ernest is more likely to be building an A-Bomb using his weed eater as a centrifuge to enrich radioactive material collected from old watch faces.

    I’m sorry that I can’t remember the paragraph-long description you use to describe your political classification, Capozzi. So, just for the sake of brevity, I refer to you as a neolibertarian (or new libertarian) as you certainly aren’t a paleolibertarian or even a regular libertarian. Once you’ve gone beyond one hyphen, you enter a realm aside from just plain “libertarian”.

  127. robert capozzi

    tb, once again, your wild and false accusations damage tour credibility. I’m not especially concerned about people making private nukes. I just use the language in the 04 platform to *illustrate* the weakness of absolutist statements.

    Thanks for recognizing that I’m not a “paleo.” Actually, my assessment is my views are pretty centrist L, actually.

  128. Michael H. Wilson

    The big problem that many people overlook is that missle technology is very difficult to develop. It is much easier once you have developed the weapon to deliver it in any number of ways other than using a missile.
    Thus you not only save the costs of developing the misile technology but you might also keep the recepient nation from know where it came from.

    Here’s what I was told, somewhat altered, some years ago in a training seminar. Given the state of technology at the time it was possible to develop a weapon with a timing device and plant it on our soil unknown to us and have to go off some years in the future.

    Which is why it is importanat for us to change our ways but that doesn’t get much traction around here.

  129. robert capozzi

    mhw, I favor changing our ways, which is why I advocate for a St Louis Accord. In my case, I’m a Randian/Rothbardian in recovery, so change of POV is *certainly* possible.

  130. Alexander S. Peak

    I completely disagree with Mr. Scott Lieberman’s assessment that we can more easily gain recruits from conservatives than from “liberals.” Conservatism is a dying ideology.

    Now, perhaps I’m wrong, perhaps I’m assuming it’s easier to convert “liberals” than conservatives because I actually used to be a “liberal.” But it seems to me that the thing that primarily attracts “liberals” to the modern, American perversion of liberalism is a general civil and social libertarianism. They don’t start off saying, “Man, I love social security,” only to later think, “maybe marriage equality is good and censorship horrid.” No, it’s just the reverse. They only ever start supporting government control over the economy because (A) they are convinced that a person who opposes homosexuality must also be wrong about everything else, including economics; and (B) because the democratic socialists seem (and usually generally are) genuinely concerned about people’s well-being (even if their solutions create problems for the very people for whom they are concerned).

    I understand how “liberals” think, what I cannot understand, and have never understood, if how conservatives think. As a result, I really don’t think I have a good grasp on how to approach them. I mean, after all, how can someone understand something as esoteric as economics and yet not understand something as exoteric as marriage equality? And this is precisely why modern “liberalism” even exists.

    Now, I must say that it does seem much easier to convert minarchist libertarians to anarchist libertarianism than to convert non-libertarians to libertarianism. I have converted (or helped to convert) a number of minarchists to anarchism, but have only helped to sway a single non-libertarian to libertarianism. But, very interestingly, while discussing market anarchism a couple weeks ago with a democratic socialist I know, I found that he was very receptive to my suggestions. I pointed out that people have a natural demand for safety from rape, theft, and murder, and that thus private protection companies could arise on a stateless, purely-free market, and although I suspect he has not adopted my position (he specifically rejected the idea of advocating anything that sounds too radical or voting outside of the Establishment), he nevertheless seemed very receptive and appreciative of my position.

    Converting “liberals” appears to simply be a matter of explaining why the free market is far more humanitarian, and far less utopian, than the state; they will thusly revert to their underlying libertarianism, the very same underlying ideology that informed their first, core views, the very same anti-government persuasions that would have blossomed if not for the fact that they found democratic socialists and modern “liberals” were the only people actively courting, in large numbers, their core, social and civil libertarian beliefs.

    Conversely, converting conservatives appears difficult for it involves first explaining why free markets work, since conservatives tend to be much more lukewarm on economic libertarianism than liberals are on social and civil libertarianism.

    To Mr. Robert Capozzi,

    If Barr had become a libertarian, or better yet, a libertarian anarchist, he would have made for a far more interesting candidate to the media. Think how interesting it would be, and how much you could do with ratings, if you are interviewing a former member of Congress who has since become an anarchist. Granted, I do not wish to imply that a candidate is only worth voting for if she or he has become an anarchist—it merely suffices for a candidate to advocate massive reductions in government control like Ron Paul. Nevertheless, I found it disheartening that Barr, despite being in a third party, was not at least as radical as Dr. Paul who, notably, was in an Establishment party. When Barr goes on Hannity and tells the world that he supports the war on drugs, that ending modern prohibition would be crazy, this just makes our party look like advocates of more-of-the-same, and who would ever vote for a third party in order to get more of the same? In the future, we ought to resolve never to nominate any candidate who is not at least as radical as Ron Paul.

    Respectfully,
    Alex Peak

  131. robert capozzi

    ap, guess we’re watching a different movie, then. Barr got a lot of media, Browne back to Clark, almost none.

    You seem to be suggesting that the media finds “radicals” interesting, but I see no evidence of that, short of their coverage of violent radicals like McVeigh and the Unabomber.

    Barr certainly called for a more significant change in direction than Obama and McCain.

    And, while there may well be liberals not mostly interested in “economic justice,” your experience differs vastly from mine. Most liberals I know are concerned first with redistribution, then environment, then choice. If only your sampling were true! Liberals should be our top target market.

  132. Michael H. Wilson

    May I suggest that we should not focus on recruiting either of the two groups. Instead we should focus on telling our story and see who comes to the effort.

    Actually if we shape our message with the right words and examples we can appeal to many groups, young, old, black, and white, conservative and liberal.

  133. Michael H. Wilson

    LG you are right on target and we can show people how our ideas can help them. Open markets are beneficial to all.

  134. robert capozzi

    mhw, I like the sentiment of not targeting, but I’d suggest that crafting messages involves a form of targeting.

    Leading with “we oppose the initiation of force” is likely to elicit lots of blank stares.

    Leading with “we oppose the corporate form” or “intellectual property,” ditto.

  135. Brian Holtz Post author

    Alex, you refute your own argument when you ask “how can someone understand something as esoteric as economics and yet not understand something as exoteric as marriage equality?” As I said @10, it’s easier to find the tolerant minority among conservatives, than to find the economically educable minority among liberals. Creating tolerance among conservatives is another matter altogether.

    Bob’s experience dovetails with mine when he reports that liberals care more about redistribution than about tolerance or civil liberties. It sounds like you’re reporting from another planet when you say that most liberals start with “general civil and social libertarianism” and then support redistribution merely because social conservatives oppose it. On that theory, merely meeting a libertarian should make the scales fall from their eyes. It doesn’t.

    In fact, my conversations with liberal friends always bottom out at their judgment that too many people simply are not competent to make the right choices in their economic lives. This is precisely analogous to the conservative judgment that too many people are not competent to make the right choices in their personal lives. That’s why liberals want the State to be your loving nanny/Mother, and conservatives want the State to be your stern minister/Father.

    Ron Paul is certainly an iconoclast, but let’s not confuse iconoclasm with radicalism. Paul had his chance on network national television to show how radical his 2008 campaign was, and he wet his pants. When cornered by Tim Russert, he stammered that “abolishing public schools, welfare, Social Security and farm subsidies” is “not part of my platform”. Paul also said he’s “the one who has saved Social Security”. But what did Bob Barr say about the nanny state when he got his shot on national network television? He said on the Stephanopolous show: “You stab it, you shoot it, you cut off its head, you put a stake through its heart, you burn it, and you scatter the ashes to the four corners of the Earth.” Unlike Paul, Barr didn’t back off one iota when confronted with his own position on the nanny state. Never in the entire 2008 campaign did I see Barr give the nanny state a pass like Ron Paul did — and certainly never on national network TV.

    Michael, I totally agree that the LP should not rule out or de-emphasize recruitment from either the Left or the Right. Indeed, I’ve always said that they key to our branding is to point out that we are the only choice that is neither Left nor Right, neither liberal nor conservative.

    Bob, we don’t have to use the exact words “initiation of force” in announcing our opposition to aggression. We can say it in other ways:

  136. Michael H. Wilson

    RC writes; ” I like the sentiment of not targeting, but I’d suggest that crafting messages involves a form of targeting.

    Leading with “we oppose the initiation of force” is likely to elicit lots of blank stares.

    Leading with “we oppose the corporate form” or “intellectual property,” ditto.

    I guess we could say your first comment is correct. So are you suggest we not say anything?

    As to your other two comments. We can write a whole lot of literature and never come close to what you are suggesting.

    Perhaps we should make clear the libertarian stance on necrophila before we address any other issue.

  137. Michael H. Wilson

    Oopsie I forgort to put Robert’s comments in quote and maybe I should have plae my initials befor my comments as in :
    mhw: I guess we could say your first comment is correct. So are you suggest we not say anything?

    As to your other two comments. We can write a whole lot of literature and never come close to what you are suggesting.

    Perhaps we should make clear the libertarian stance on necrophila before we address any other issue.

  138. Robert Capozzi

    bh and mhw, yes, I was overstating. I like NIOF-type messages as bumper stickers. I don’t even mind when some Ls iconoclastic positions that get us close to NIOF very fast, if not immediately. I find dysfunctional those Ls who say only those who advocate iconoclastic positions are L. Those who don’t — like me — need to be re-educated.

    That doesn’t work.

  139. Robert Capozzi

    more on alex peak’s point:

    If there’s any doubt that liberals generally focus more redistribution issues than all others, I offer 2 data points:

    1) Executive compensation, especially Wall St. bonuses. They even have a pay Czar now.

    2) Health care reform, which — for liberals — is necessary because of greedy insurance companies and doctors.

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