From The Blaze.
As the old saying goes, “no good deed goes unpunished”.
By Erica Ritz
Angela Prattis has spent part of the summer distributing meals to hungry children in Pennsylvania, but now, the township has informed her that if she does not obtain a costly “ordinance,” she will be fined $600 each day she distributes food.
(Related: MI Teen Starts Hot Dog Stand to Help Disabled Parents, Shut Down by City Almost Immediately)
The Daily Times has more:
“I’m not stopping,” said Angela Prattis, who has been distributing meals she receives from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to about 60 children from a gazebo on her property this summer. “These kids are hungry. I’m not tearing down the community. I’m keeping the children out of harm’s way.”
Prattis, who has lived in the township for about three years, started distributing meals and drinks to underprivileged children at her church, the Church of the Overcomer in Trainer, several years ago. This year, after giving birth to her second child, she began distributing the meals from the gazebo in her yard.
The Daily Kos
Henry George(1839 – 1897) is a progressive hero that has been largely forgotten by time. In his heyday, he was one of the most famous living Americans in the World. Surpassed by only Thomas Edison and Mark Twain. His most famous book was translated into dozens of languages and sold 3 million copies in his lifetime. He was invited to speak and lecture all over the country and world, and his writings appeared in newspapers across the nation. At his funeral in 1897, 200,000 paid their respects by filing past his casket(as a comparison, when President McKinley was assassinated 4 years later, only about 100,000 people filed past his casket. So how did a 19th century printer, living in San Francisco , with no more than a 7th grade education become so famous? And why was he forgotten?
By Theodore Butler
There has been an explosion of interest and commentary these past few days as a result of a front page story in Monday’s edition of the influential Financial Times (of London). The story stated that the CFTC was set to drop its four year investigation into alleged silver price manipulation due to insufficient evidence to bring charges, according to three unnamed sources. I went to sleep Sunday evening when the story first appeared prepared to wake up to similar and confirming stories in other publications. Instead, there were no other stories confirming the case was set to be dropped; only strong statements that the FT was story was “premature” and “inaccurate in many respects” by a named source, Commissioner Bart Chilton of the agency.
The CFTC’s silver investigation is a hot button issue and the FT story, as well as Commissioner Chilton’s response to it, set off an outpouring of emotion and conjecture in the precious metals world. And for good reason, as this is an extremely important issue. There can be no greater concern than whether a market is manipulated in price. The issue of a silver manipulation is also a divisive matter, even within the CFTC itself; otherwise there likely wouldn’t have been leaks that the investigation was over and the immediate response of not so fast. As is usually the case with extremely divisive issues (like politics and elections), emotions take hold and the real issues can get distorted.
By Paul Craig Roberts
The bumper sticker on the beat-up pickup truck read: “Friends don’t let friends vote Democrat.”
The driver was obviously not affluent. Yet, despite all the news about mega-trillion dollar bankster bailouts, mega-million dollar bonuses for financial crooks, and unimaginable compensation packages for corporate CEOs who have moved middle class jobs out of America, something made the down-and-out pickup truck driver associate with the political party of the super-rich.
As I wondered at this strange alliance of the dirt poor with the mega-rich, I remembered that in 2004 Thomas Frank wondered about how the Republicans had managed to convince the poor to vote against their best interests. Frank’s answer, or part of his answer, is that the Republicans use “social issues,” such as gay marriage and Janet Jackson’s exposed nipple to work up indignation over the threat to moral values posed by liberal Democrats.
The working poor have been convinced by Republican propaganda that voting Democrat means giving the working poor’s tax dollars to the non-working poor, to providing medical care and schooling for illegal aliens, and being soft on terrorism.
By Kevin Carson
In classical logic, the standard model of deductive reasoning is the syllogism. Most people are probably familiar with this example: All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal.
The enthymeme is an incomplete syllogism with one of the premises left implicit. In classical rhetoric, a speaker uses an enthymeme to appeal to the unstated shared assumptions of the audience. The unstated premise is an unexamined cultural assumption — frequently a prejudice — shared by the audience, which is left unstated because to state it might invite critical examination.
In a class society, the enthymeme takes on special importance. The ruling class ideology is conveyed by enthymemes embedded in all the messages with which the cultural reproduction apparatus — political speeches, the schools, the news media, entertainment — bombards us every day.
One of the most effective weapons we have, in our fight against the ruling class and its ideology, is to make explicit the unstated premises of the enthymemes in ruling class propaganda and expose them to critical examination.
By Dean Baker
The case of the rigged Libor turns out to be the scandal that just keeps on giving. It reveals a great deal about the behavior of the Federal Reserve Board and central banks more generally.
Last month, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke gave testimony before Congress in which he said that he had become aware of evidence that banks in England were rigging the Libor in the fall of 2008. According to Bernanke, he called this to the attention of Mervyn King, the head of the Bank of England. Apparently Mervyn King did nothing, since the rigging continued, but Bernanke told Congress there was nothing more that he could do.
The implications of Bernanke’s claim are incredible. There are trillions of dollars of car loans, mortgages, and other debts, in the United States, tied to the Libor. There are also huge derivative contracts whose value depends on the Libor at a moment in time. People were winning or losing on these deals not based on the market, but rather on the rigged Libor rate being set by the big banks.
The idea of “collapse”, social and financial, comes with an incredible array of hypothetical consequences ranging from public dissent and martial law, to the complete disintegration of infrastructure and the devolution of mankind into a swarm of mindless arm chewing cannibals. In an age of television nirvana and cinema overload, I have found that the collective unconscious of our culture has now defined what collapse is based only on the most narrow of extremes. If they aren’t being hunted down by machete wielding looters or swastika wearing jackboots, then the average American dupe figures that the country is not in much danger. Hollywood fantasy has blinded us to the tangible crises at our doorstep.
By Thomas Naylor
The new American flag forever postage stamp series recently released by the U.S. Postal Service represents a degree of hypocrisy heretofore unimaginable. Below the American flag on each stamp is one of the following four words – freedom, equality, justice, or liberty – followed by the word “forever.” For example, “freedom forever.” The not so subtle message of American exceptionalism is that the United States is a country in which freedom, equality, justice, and liberty will surely live forever. The sheer arrogance underlying this postage stamp series is almost beyond belief.
By Stephan Kinsella
Below is the proposed list of speakers and topics for the upcoming Seventh Annual Meeting of the PFS, which will be held in Bodrum, Turkey at the Hotel Karia Princess, from Thursday September 27 through Monday October 1, 2012. Those interested in attending should contact Dr. Hoppe or Mr. Grözinger, Administrative Secretary, regarding conditions, availability, and requirements.
(Note: The list of speakers for the Sixth Annual Meeting (May 26-30, 2011) may be found in theProgram; video of the presentations are available here.)
Property and Freedom Society
7th Annual Meeting
September 27 – October 2, 2012
Karia Princess Hotel
Speakers & Topics
Philosophy and Law
Literature and Literary Criticism
- Sean Gabb: On Literature and Liberty
- Benjamin Marks: On H. L. Mencken as a Libertarian Model (and some Romantic Libertarian Delusions)
- Karl–Peter Schwarz: Between Restitution and Re-Expropriation: Desocialization in Eastern Europe
- Norman Stone: Comparative History: Turkey and Spain
- Tom DiLorenzo: The Myth of American Exceptionalism
- Hunt Tooley: Engineering Tragedy: The Meaning of the CIA Coup d’Etat in Iran, 1953
Society and Politics
From The Daily Mail
A new study conducted by Finnish researchers has confirmed what many of us have known for years: our stressful jobs are making us age faster.
The research led by Kirsi Ahola of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health measured the length of DNA sections called telomeres and how the lengths varied in association with job stress. It found that people suffering from the most job stress tended to have shorter telomeres.
Telomeres, located at the ends of chromosomes, serve as a type of protective cap to the ropy strands, helping assure that the genetic instructions carried by genes on the chromosomes are accurately translated so cells get the right messages.
Stress lines: A new study found that work-related stress causes people to age prematurely
Telomeres shorten with age, oxidation and chemical insults. Often, when telomeres reach a critically short length, the cell dies in a process called apoptosis, NBC reported.
Some cells do not die, but rather become what scientists call ‘senescent’ – they start making genetic errors and causing damage.
As part of their research, which appeared in the journal PloS One this month, Ahola and her team analyzed blood cells called leukocytes – which are critical to immune function – in 2,911 people between ages 30 and 64.
They found that workers who experienced severe exhaustion from job stress had significantly shorter leukocyte telomeres than their relatively stress-free counterparts.
But it appears that frazzled wage earners have more to worry about than crow’s feet, wrinkles and greying locks. Telomere shortening has been linked to Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
By Shawn Wilbur
Anarchists can be touchy about any sort of authority, so we are frequently at pains to say that we are not followers of any particular leader or historical figure. That’s good. Among other things, the historical figures we’re most likely to follow were almost all pretty clear about how undesirable that would be. And there’s something a little disconcerting about anarchists when they do invest perhaps a bit too much of their identity in an identification with some one of those anarchist figure, whether historical or current.
ALEXA GELLMAN, LearnVest
A new report by the Consumer Federation of America found that two in five American households live paycheck to paycheck—that means no savings, retirement account or emergency fund.
The number of families living this way has increased by 7 percent over the last 15 years, in no small part because of the recession.
Now, only 30 percent of Americans say they feel comfortable financially, and only one third think they have enough saved to retire before age 65. In addition, the survey found that 51 percent of Americans feel behind on saving for retirement, a figure that has risen over the last decade and a half.
These findings go hand-in-hand with statistics Bankrate.com uncovered last month: Roughly half of Americans don’t have enough savings to cover three months of expenses, and a quarter haven’t saved a single cent.
This is big news. We know that the earlier we build up our emergency and retirement funds, the better prepared we’ll be and the greater return we’ll see on our money. But that quarter of Americans aren’t so concerned about saving enough–they’re concerned about saving at all.
More from LearnVest:
It is a central worry of many Americans: not having enough money to live comfortably in old age. Now an innovative paper co-authored by an MIT economist shows that a large portion of America’s older population has very little savings in bank accounts, stocks and bonds, and dies “with virtually no financial assets” to their names.
Indeed, about 46 percent of senior citizens in the United States have less than $10,000 in financial assets when they die. Most of these people rely almost totally on Social Security payments as their only formal means of support, according to the newly published study, co-authored by James Poterba of MIT, Steven Venti of Dartmouth College, and David A. Wise of Harvard University.
That means many seniors have almost no independent ability to withstand financial shocks, such as expensive medical treatments that may not be covered by Medicare or Medicaid, or other unexpected, costly events.
“There are substantial groups that have basically no financial cushion as they are reaching their latest years,” says Poterba, the Mitsui Professor of Economics at MIT.
By Anna Morgenstern
What if they built a factory and no one came?
A lot of people in the broader anarchist movement seem to focus more on goals or endpoints and ignore or underemphasize the means to achieving them. This is understandable, in that statists are constantly challenging us to identify what a stateless society will be like. (Statists are generally concerned much more with outcomes than the means to get to them, or most of them would be horribly shamed by the programs they advocate.) This creates a great deal of internecine squabbles that I think are unnecessary. Existentially, intentions are much less important in determining someone’s character than actions. Now there are many, many varieties of anarchist individuals and organizations with their own characteristics and philosophy, but I think, in terms of their program to achieve anarchism, we can divide them into 5 basic groups. I will attempt to explore these groups and their means, and see what their impact would be.
By Pat Buchanan
Since 1928, only Dwight Eisenhower and George W. Bush have won the presidency while capturing both houses of Congress for the GOP.
In his 49-state landslide, Richard Nixon failed to take either House. In his two landslides, Ronald Reagan won back only the Senate. Yet Mitt Romney is even money to pull off the hat trick.
With this hopeful prospect, why the near despair among so many Republicans about the long term?
In his New York Times report, “In California, GOP Fights Steep Decline,” Adam Nagourney delves into the reasons.
In the Golden Land, a state Nixon carried all five times he was on a national ticket and Reagan carried by landslides all four times he ran, the GOP does not hold a single statewide office. It gained not a single House seat in the 2010 landslide. Party registration has fallen to 30 percent of the California electorate and is steadily sinking.
Why? It is said that California Republicans are too out of touch, too socially conservative on issues like right-to-life and gay rights. “When you look at the population growth,” says GOP consultant Steve Schmidt, “the actual party is shrinking. It’s becoming more white. It’s becoming older.”
By Anna Morgenstern
The simplest way to put it is that they’re all a bunch of crooks.
The bankers are the chief con-men. They print up (so to speak) a bunch of fake money out of thin air. I can do that too, but no one is going to take “Annabucks” at the coffee shop. Where the government comes in, is that they “tax” people, forcing them to use that money to pay their “taxes”, thereby giving the fake money some sort of base value. In exchange for being the muscle behind this con, they get to use basically as much of that money as they want (up to a limit, they don’t want to spend so much they break the system) which goes largely into the hands of private contractors at the end of the cycle.
The rest of it follows from this basic cycle: the banks flow that money into the big corporations to keep them afloat and help them crush their competition, the government regulates away any opportunities to work outside the system, forcing people to compete to work inside the system. The “insiders” are outside the system in a sense of course. They can basically ignore the law. Once in a while the government has to put on a show trial, just to keep the con going, but by and large they only enforce the law against the outsiders.
You’ll often hear that cliché that only 1 out of 10 small businesses ends up successful. They say that like it’s a law of nature, but it’s not. They have to keep it that way. If 3 out of 10 small businesses were successful, or 4 out of 10, they’d be ruined. If everyone “leveled up” mentally, and became more competent, economically nothing would change for the little guy. They would just adjust the parameters of the system again. In fact, all that would do is make more money for the insiders, because they’d have more to steal. (Which is why they push education so hard, a society with 10 million engineers is a society where engineering is cheap)
Libertarians don’t do their cause any good at all when they try to defend big business on free enterprise grounds. There is no free enterprise at that level. No business is going to become big, in this economy, without approval from the gatekeepers. Free enterprise is a system which never existed, except for brief periods of time during historical social unrest. Once an elite is re-established, it’s back to the game.
By Kevin Carson
It’s gradually emerged in recent months that the Food and Drug Administration not only spied on its employees, but did so on a massive scale — collecting tens of thousands of employee emails to one another, as well as to journalists, members of Congress and congressional staff workers. The FDA also intercepted draft statements to the Office of Special Counsel, which investigates complaints of whistleblower harassment and reprisal. This monitoring, authorized by the agency’s chief counsel, was clearly a deliberate policy of the highest levels of FDA leadership.
So what problem was all the surveillance directed against? Embezzling? Sexual harassment? No. The FDA was out to punish whistleblowers for talking out of school about dangerous radiation levels in medical imaging devices approved by FDA for mammograms and colonoscopies.
That’s right. FDA leadership was out to prevent employees from talking to members of Congress — which the civics books tell us safeguards the public safety and welfare by, among other things, creating regulatory agencies like the FDA — about the very kinds of concerns the FDA was allegedly created to address.
If you think this is just a case of post-Reagan “regulatory capture,” by corporate money, of an agency originally created for idealistic purposes back in Art Schlesinger Jr’s Golden Age — well, think again. The regulatory state hasn’t been “captured” by the regulated industries; it was created by them.
According to New Left historian Gabriel Kolko, in The Triumph of Conservatism, Progressive Era regulatory measures like the FDA were created primarily to serve the corporate economy’s need for stability.
Video: Riot breaks out at police station in Anaheim
ANAHEIM, Calif. – City officials voted unanimously Tuesday to ask the U.S. attorney’s office to investigate recent police shootings, including one of an unarmed man over the weekend, that have sparked four days of protests and a fiery clash between residents and officers.
Police stepped up patrols and some donned riot gears as hundreds demonstrated outside City Hall while many more packed the council chamber inside to discuss the shootings that have stoked anger over a spike in police shootings in the city. On the street, protesters tossed rocks and bottles at police and ignored warnings to disperse, forcing officers to form skirmish lines and fire pepper balls at the crowd.
At least two people were arrested, police Sgt. Bob Dunn said. At one point, police shut down a gas station when protesters were seen filling cans with gas, Dunn said.
By Anna Morgenstern
Those of us who mistrust the evolution of our current politico-economic system, often look toward dystopian novels to portray a warning glimpse of where we are headed. The two most common examples are 1984 by George Orwell or Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. While there certainly are elements of each of these systems in our recent history, for instance, the deliberate maleducation and permanent warfare systems of1984, and the technological bread and circuses mentality of Brave New World. In reality our ruling class cannot afford to go too far in either of these directions, lest they undermine our own ability as slave labor to keep them empowered.
The progressive managerial class revolution and the banking mafia consolidation of the early 1900s conspired to create something that looks, more than anything else, like a warped version of Marxism. Taking Marx’s revolutionary mechanics and applying them against their own original objective in a sense, creating a dictatorship of the super-proletariat, and thus, forming a much more stable class system than before. In fact one might say that Marx’s greatest error was in thinking that the proletarian revolution would be some sort of endpoint in history, when in fact it was just one more cyclical change of hands. Therefore, I submit that the dystopian novel that was the most prescient was the lesser known of Orwell’s: Animal Farm.
Animal Farm was Orwell’s warning to the left about what he saw becoming a greater and greater danger. This danger can be summed up in his quote, “All animals are equal, But some animals are more equal than others”. The book was essentially damned with faint praise. Brilliantly written, yet more subtly than 1984, it could not be roundly thrashed by either right or left critics; but it could be put aside as an afterthought.
Looking at the history of what broadly constituted the labor movement arising in the aftermath of the abolition of chattel slavery, one sees a definite progression in the direction of Animal Farm, in the countries that did not fall completely under the spell of Totalitarianism. At first, the goals were often simple and quite egalitarian, and yet also surprisingly libertarian as well. Freedom for the working man from the oppression of the capital oligarchy (which was itself the result of the British/Hamiltonian system of neo-mercantilism) and the wage slavery which resulted from it.