Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Episode 38. The Constitution--Obsolete? Or obstacle to liberty?


A watershed podcast for your slow-learning correspondent.

Answer this important question, if you can: Do we have the current national government we have, as bloated and oppressive as it is, in spite of the Constitution, or because of it?

Hologram of Liberty is a remarkable book by Boston T. Party (Kenneth W. Royce) providing ample evidence that the winning side of the Framers' struggle planned and fought for exactly what we've got. Well, maybe they didn't envision full-body scanners in airports, but they created a model of centralized government that SEEMED to limit its power, and yet upon further review the "genius" restraints have been revealed as shockingly weak, easily broken or bypassed.

This was by design. The men of that time had theoretical and personal interests in creating a strong central government.

We've been trained (those of us who were actually taught about the Constitution in school) to revere the Constitution and the Founding Fathers who created it. These angelic men, put here among us by Providence at a key moment of history, created the most perfect document of self-governance ever conceived. Right?

If Providence had seen fit to send us nothing but Thomas Jeffersons for the past 200 years, then maybe the rose-colored glass version of the Constitution would have prevailed. Instead, the raw-nature-of-man rulers kept coming, and we've ended up with the Federal Reserve, the IRS, the EPA declaring CO2 to be a dangerous pollutant, and all manner of central controls that substitute collectivist crap for individual liberty.

The lesson? Be careful what you hold in reverence, for it may prove unworthy.

Oh, and there is always a villain, in this case, the despicable Alexander Hamilton. Aaron Burr was a couple of decades too late, if you know what I mean.

P.S.: A thanks to early listeners who caught a couple of verbal slips on my part--I talk about how the Judicial branch is like the "sheep guarding the hen house." Whoops, should be fox, not sheep, of course. And in the midst of a soft-voiced tirade against Alexander Hamilton, I slip up and say that (James) Madison initiated the First Bank of the U.S. It was, of course, the loathsome Hamilton. (Of course, Madison was also a Federalist, and architect of much of the structure of the national government, so no love lost on him either.)

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Episode 37. Hope You're Paying Attention to What's Happening


My dear friends, we are living in the gloom of a swiftly gathering storm. Five articles summarize our plight from several perspectives:

- The US central role in the coming global economic meltdown: It's almost a scene from a bad B-movie, with Ben Bernanke's hands on the detonator, holding China, Europe, and other economies hostage to the fate of the value of U.S. Treasury bonds. "Keep buying our debt, or we'll repudiate it with inflation, and take you down with us!". Reminds me of the old joke: When you owe the bank a thousand dollars you're in trouble, but when you owe the bank a million dollars, the bank has a problem. (Link to this article)

- Inflation or deflation? That is the question. Is it possible we will have both? (Link to this article)

- Debunking the great myth of US consumers deleveraging. Everybody knows that people have quit spending, right? They've gotten the message on austerity, fiscal discipline, and all that, right? Wrong-o, according to this article.

- The Committee to Wreck the USA, or what is the real solution to the economic crisis? The committee proposing to wreck us, instead of them, comprises the big banks that made foolish mortgage loans. Erik Janszen proposes, as he has for a while, a mortgage cramdown on lenders as a way to wipe out the mortgage debt overhang acting as an anchor on the US economy. Interesting concept, but does it have a chance given the Washington connections of the big banks? (Link to this article.)

- Fort Worth Pension bubble will blow up in our faces. A local story, for me anyway, about how your average decent-size city, even in a conservative stronghold like Fort Worth, succumbed to the siren song of public sector unions, and will wind up bankrupt soon as a result. A model for hundreds, and potentially thousands of local, county and state governments all over the US in the coming months and years. (link to this article)

What is the lesson from all of these stories? It is to prepare, seriously, for the economic collapse that is coming. Denial is a powerful force, and you MUST leverage your love for your family and friends into the will to persuade the doubters among them to take steps now, immediately, to prepare. Everything we do these days is being done under the shadow of a looming financial (and societal) crash that will rival the one experienced by our forebears (but by none of us) during the Great Depression.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Episode 36. Labor Day, that collectivist joke of a holiday


Well, Labor Day for this year is in the rear view mirror, and considering its history and what it celebrates, good riddance.

Sure, everyone loves a "free" day off, but we would be better off celebrating Adam Smith Day, which would represent the miracle of economic freedom and the free exchange of value between individuals and organizations. Something much better than extolling the worthless collectivism of modern organized labor.

The modern labor movement is nothing more than the application of political coercion where free markets would normally be much better for all concerned. Monkeys who want something for nothing won't understand that, but the intelligent listeners to this podcast certainly will.

I talk about a real world example (of which I am intimately and painfully aware) in which a labor union organizes a small, successful business, harming the business substantially and ultimately resulting in the loss of worker jobs and net reduction of economic value to the town and all involved. All except the union organizers, of course, who end up laughing all the way to the bank. Ho, freakin', ho.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Episode 35. Tom Baugh on restoring the Constitution


Is the USA like a dilapidated old house we can restore to greatness by returning to Constitutional principles? Is the Constitution a document about individual liberty? How did the Constitution actually come together, and what did it accomplish in the eyes of some of the key people involved in its construction?

Tom Baugh, author of Starving the Monkeys (the number one book on the Shrugging Out reading list), explores these and other questions in his second visit to The Shrugging Out podcast.

Tom cites research documented in Boston T. Party's (aka Kenneth Royce) book, "Hologram of Liberty", another book sure to appear soon on the Shrugging Out reading list.

Tom also describes a number of projects he is working on to help people prepare for the coming crash.

An eye-opening show for me, and I hope for many of you too.

P.S. Listenership of The Shrugging Out Podcast continues to grow, and I have to say that I am both inspired and humbled by that. Thank you so much for taking time to listen. I also greatly appreciate the e-mails I've received that have encouraged me to continue, provided me interesting information for the show, and have challenged me to consider alternative ideas. Very smart and very independent thinkers listen to The Shrugging Out Podcast, that's for sure!

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Monday, September 6, 2010

Episode 34. A Republic, if you can recreate it


What SHOULD America be Like? We weren’t able to keep Ben Franklin’s republic the first time. But how might we recreate it?

A republic is a form of government in which the people being governed retain control. America became a runaway democracy in the 1930s.

The Constitution did a pretty good job for nearly 200 years--what was wrong with it? What happened to undermine it? And should we convene a new Constitutional Convention to try to write a better document? Or is this a bad idea?

What can we do to recreate the Republic we once were? Hint: It involves an immense but rarely-considered object, the US Code.

What would we have, and what would we NOT have, if we hit the giant "reset button" in the sky and restored republican (small "R"!) to our federal government? And when will be the most opportune time to do that?

(Minor note: In the podcast I say the Constitutional Convention ended in July 1789, but it was July 1787. A mysterious slip of the tongue, since my notes had the correct year.)

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