Homeless Indian Kids Start Their Own Bank Reply

By Stuart Bramhall

In a shelter for homeless runaway teens in New Delhi, the residents have created an unlikely society where everything from healthcare to banking has been initiated, implemented and executed by the kids themselves.


The Question of Teen Age Rights

Makes you wonder whether know India will join Austria, Brazil, Cuba, Nicaragua and the Isle of Man, in letting teenagers vote at 16. Surely if adolescents are old enough to work and pay taxes, they are old enough to vote – taxation without representation was a driving issue in America’s rebellion against Britain.

I blog about this at Lowering the Voting Age. Teenage rights and the tendency of US and other western countries to infantalize adolescents is a major premise of my young adult novel The Battle for Tomorrow – about a 16 year old who leaves home to participate in the blockade and occupation of the US capitol.

I’m working on a sequel about a group of teens who occupy a vacant commercial building in Brooklyn and transform it into a teen homeless shelter. As the New Delhi example shows, adolescents are capable of incredible initiative. They just need to be allowed the opportunity to exercise it.

Taking Economic Advice from Monaco Reply

From Mad for Monaco

Once upon a time money problems were the rule rather than the exception in the Principality of Monaco. The Grimaldis seemed to be constantly cash-strapped and one of the things that had to be considered when marriage discussions were going on was usually how big a dowry the lady in question could provide. However, all of that began to change during the reign of HSH Prince Charles III, though it was not the events of his time which would bring really lasting success. Financial problems mostly became a thing of the past under Charles III because of the gaming industry, done in grand style in Monte Carlo at a time when gambling was illegal almost everywhere else. That, obviously, gave Monaco a considerable advantage when it came to attracting big-spending tourists. The gaming industry put Monaco on solid financial ground but it could not depend on such an industry forever. During the reign of HSH Prince Albert I more countries legalized gambling which cut into Monegasque profits and there was World War One which caused tourism to dry up and also cut down on the traditional customer base of Monte Carlo (royals and aristocrats). However, from that time on, particularly under Albert’s successors Louis II and Rainier III, Monaco adopted the policies that would lead to lasting economic success. Could other countries learn from her example?


The Much Maligned Free Market Reply

From Kyle’s Corner.


It’s official, the commies are winning. Recent Pew polls have shown a slow but consistent increase in socialism’s popularity, despite a 50 year Cold War fought ostensibly against the concept. Youth 18-29 years of age (AKA the future) now prefer socialism over capitalism, and one in three Americans at large now has a positive view of socialist ideology. On the other hand the term “capitalism” is falling from favor. Pollsters and tacticians are warning GOP mouthpieces against using the term and requesting instead that they use the phrase “free market” or “free enterprise”. The phrase “free market” is certainly more palatable to the public, but the growing hordes of commies have great animosity towards even this terminology. Why?

According to the commies and their sympathizers (which likely includes a significant portion of your family, friends, and neighbors) the free market is evil. If laissez faire economics is instituted in America workers will be “exploited”. Children will work in mines or perhaps as chimney sweeps a la Charles Dickens. They clamor for putting “people above profits!” and they constantly complain about the heartlessness of the market. They mock the invisible hand that Adam Smith spoke of, referring to it as superstitious nonsense. How little they know.

The Lockean concepts of private property and free markets have lifted large portions of the world out of destitution. What’s cruel, cold, and inhumane is opposing this great instrument of wealth creation.


The Serial Ineptitude of the Democrats Reply

By Ralph Nader

If the Democrats in Congress were all drinking water from the same faucet, there might be a clue to their chronic fear of the craven and cruel corporatist Republicans who dominate them.

But they don’t, so we have to ask why their fear, defeatism, and cowering behavior continues in the face of the outrageous GOP actions as the November election approaches.

The explanations go back some years. The Democrats have long receded from the Harry Truman days of “give ‘em hell, Harry”. But their political castration occurred in the late seventies when the Democrats were persuaded by one of their own, Congressman Tony Coelho (D-Calif.), to start aggressively bidding for corporate campaign cash.

Victory in politics often goes to those who have the most energy and decisiveness, however wrongheaded. The Republicans have won these races for years. To
paraphrase author and lapsed Republican, Kevin Phillips, the Republicans go for the jugular, while the Democrats go for the capillaries.

The Democrats are tortured daily by Republican leaders, Speaker John Boehner and Eric Cantor but they do not go into these politicians’ backyards in Virginia and Ohio to expose the unpopular agendas pitched by these Wall Street puppets.


Sheldon Adelson and the End of American Anti-Semitism Reply

By Eric Alterman

Sheldon Adelson
Las Vegas Sands Chief Executive Officer Sheldon Adelson speaks during a media briefing in Singapore December 21, 2009. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash

If a Jew-hater somewhere, inspired perhaps by The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, sought to invent an individual who symbolizes almost all the anti-Semitic clichés that have dogged the Jewish people throughout history, he could hardly come up with a character more perfect than Sheldon Adelson.

The tax man cometh to police you on health care Reply

By Stephen Ohlemacher

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold most of President Barack Obama’s health care law will come home to roost for most taxpayers in about 2½ years, when they’ll have to start providing proof on their tax returns that they have health insurance.

That scenario puts the Internal Revenue Service at the center of the debate, renewing questions about whether the agency is capable of policing the health care decisions of millions of people in the United States while also collecting the taxes needed to run the federal government.

Under the law, the IRS will provide tax breaks and incentives to help pay for health insurance and impose penalties on some people who don’t buy coverage and on some businesses that don’t offer it to employees.

The changes will require new regulations, forms and publications, new computer programs and a big new outreach program to explain it all to taxpayers and tax professionals. Businesses that don’t claim an exemption will have to prove they offer health insurance to employees.


Biggest Financial Scandal in Britain’s History, Yet Not a Single Occupy Sign; What Happened? Reply

By Alexander Cockburn

Since what is now going is being described as “the greatest financial scandal in the history of Britain”  — the Barclays imbroglio – I have a question to ask. Where are those tents outside St Pauls? Or ones in solidarity this side of the Atlantic? Where are the vibrant reminders that – as has happened in the Barclays case – there is most definitely one law for the 1% (none, in fact) and another for the 99 %?

It was very hard not to be swept away by the Occupy movement which established itself in New York’s Zuccotti Park last September and soon spread to Oakland, Chicago, London and Madrid. And indeed most people didn’t resist its allure.
Leninists threw aside their Marxist primers on party organisation and drained the full anarchist cocktail.

The Occupiers , with their “people’s mic”,  were always a little hard to understand. And as with all movements involving consensus, everything took a very long time.
Was there perhaps a leader, a small leadership group, sequestered somewhere among the tents and clutter? It was impossible to say and at that point somewhat disloyal to pose the question. Cynicism about Occupy was not a popular commodity.
But new movements always need a measure of cynicism dumped on them. Questions of organization were obliterated by the strength of the basic message – we are 99 per cent, they are one per cent. It was probably the most successful slogan since ‘peace, land, bread’.

The Occupy Wall Street assembly in Zuccotti Park soon developed its own cultural mores, drumming included. Like many onlookers, I asked myself, Where the hell’s the plan?

But I held my tongue. I had no particular better idea and for a CounterPuncher of mature years to start laying down the program seemed cocky. But, deep down, I felt that Occupy, with all its fancy talk, all its endless speechifying, was riding for a fall.

Before the fall came there were heroic actions, people battered senseless by the police. These were brave people trying to hold their ground.

There were other features that I think quite a large number of people found annoying: the cult of the internet, the tweeting and so forth, and I definitely didn’t like the enormous arrogance which prompted the Occupiers to claim that they were indeed the most important radical surge in living memory.

Where was the knowledge of, let along the respect for the past?  We had the non-violent resistors of the Forties organising against the war with enormous courage. The Fifties saw leftists took McCarthyism full on the chin. With the Sixties we were making efforts at revolutionary organisation and resistance.
Yet when one raised this history with someone from Occupy, I encountered total indifference.

There also seemed to be a serious level of political naivety about the shape of the society they were seeking to change. They definitely thought that it could be reshaped – the notion that the whole system was unfixable did not get much of a hearing.
After a while it seemed as though, in Tom Naylor’s question in this site: “Is it possible that the real purpose of Occupy Wall Street has little to do with either the 99 per cent or the one per cent, but rather everything to do with keeping the political left in America decentralised, widely dispersed, very busy, and completely impotent to deal with the collapse of the American empire…


Obamacare: Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems Reply

By Gavin McInnes

Last week, the Supreme Court decided we all have to buy government broccoli for $1.7 trillion. This is the analogy fiscal conservatives are using to describe the Obamacare mandate that insists everyone pay their “fair share.” John Derbyshire says that “healthcare isn’t broccoli,” because while emergency rooms are forbidden to turn away the uninsured, grocers can refuse to provide vegetables to those who can’t afford them. We already pay tax for the people who go to ER uninsured, so why all the outrage? The bill’s details seem pretty reasonable, but just as broccoli is not healthcare, America is not Europe. We have incompetent government just like Europeans do, but we also have 12-15 million illegals and 150 million fat pigs.

We’re told the healthcare system is “broken,” but I’m not convinced giving the government more money and more power would help. It never does. Besides, are things really that bad here? In Canada, we would regularly wait 12 hours in ER. My grandmother in Scotland had to wait an entire year to have her hip replaced. “I’ve had my health card for 90 years,” she told me recently. “It should be platinum by now.”

“We have incompetent government just like Europeans do, but we also have 12-15 million illegals and 150 million fat pigs.”
I have insurance but I called around various providers in New York to see how much it would cost if I didn’t. Aetna said I would be looking at $6K a month and when I said “WHAT!?” they said they could go as low as $4K if I paid for all my prescriptions. (They didn’t seem to care about pre-existing conditions, which surprised me.) The average American household income is $60K. Who has an extra $50k floating around on top of that? I said this to the Aetna rep, who told me about a Bloomberg plan they facilitate called Healthy NY where families making less than $50K can pay about $1K a month for full coverage. Again, pre-existing conditions did not seem to be an issue. The plan is especially forgiving with entrepreneurs. Sole proprietors get to subtract their business expenses and declare their net as their total income. Is this a system in crisis?

The Court and the “Ring of Capitalists” Reply

By David D’Amato

Last week’s 5-4 decision from the US Supreme Court, holding that Congress did indeed possess the constitutional authority to enact the individual mandate that remains Obamacare’s most controversial provision surprised many. The Court’s majority opined that although the US Constitution’s Commerce Clause doesn’t give Congress the power to impose the mandate, the legislative branch’s taxing power does.

Naturally, the decision has rekindled debate about healthcare reform in this country, one in which costs are seemingly out of control. There is arguably no industry whose relationship with the state is as illustrative of state-capitalist symbiosis as the healthcare industry; its power looms over every court decision, every regulation, every “reform.”

Writing in 1903, American anarchist Benjamin Tucker observed that “the government of the United States ha[d] sifted down into the monopoly of power by a ring of capitalists, who … bought their way into that puissant oligarchy.” Tucker was commenting specifically on the Senate and described a “system of capitalistic misrule” in which powerful monopolies suborned the legislature, purchasing the legal privileges that were essential to their continued dominance.


Spain’s Indignados: Decentralization and Neighborhood Association Reply

By Marta Sánchez

Post image for Losing strength? An alternative vision of Spain’s indignados

A silent revolution emerges from the underground. Far from losing strength, decentralization has allowed 15-M to become ever more dynamic.

Is the 15-M movement going invisible? Or is it rather gaining strength in the ‘underground’? The mainstream media keep claiming that the indignados have lost support since last year, that its only success is its ability to bring people together on special dates. Spanish newspaper El País concluded in May 2012 that, one year after the birth of the movement, popular support and sympathy for the indignados had decreased around 13% among the Spanish population, despite the massive mobilizations that took place from the 12th until the 15th of May, commemorating the anniversary of the movement. ABC opened its edition of May 15 stating that “the indignados movement shows less strength on their anniversary.” But the media misses the point. In reality, rather than losing strength, the movement has become stronger, more organized, better coordinated, and supported by the commitment of hundreds of people.


“Taxpayer” Tragicomedy!! Carr Contra the Cuntservatives 1

My latest from the Inferno.


Last week saw comedian Jimmy Carr spotlighted and strung up under the media lamppost as something of a pecuniary piñata. For some reason, King Cameron of Cuntalot, the current British PM, saw fit to name and shame him as a protection fee tax-avoider in an ITV News interview

I think some of these schemes – and I think particularly of the Jimmy Carr scheme – I have had time to read about and I just think this is completely wrong.

People work hard, they pay their taxes, they save up to go to one of his shows. They buy the tickets. He is taking the money from those tickets and he, as far as I can see, is putting all of that into some very dodgy tax avoiding schemes.

That is wrong. There is nothing wrong with people planning their tax affairs to invest in their pension and plan for their retirement – that sort of tax management is fine.

But some of these schemes we have seen are quite frankly morally wrong.

The Government is acting by looking at a general anti-avoidance law but we do need to make progress on this.

It is not fair on hard working people who do the right thing and pay their taxes to see these sorts of scams taking place.


Health care: What the Supreme Court’s ruling means for US consumers Reply

By Mark Trumbull

The US Supreme Court‘s decision on health-care reform Thursday opens the door to a major expansion of health insurance, affecting households across America.

Chief Justice Roberts, Economic Fascist Reply

By Gary North

On July 2, 1776, Congress voted for the Declaration of Independence. Most of the members signed it on July 4, although more signed over the next month.

The problem was this: a declaration of independence from King George III (and from Parliament, which was really the source of bureaucratic meddling and taxation of a staggering 1% of GDP), was that it led within six years to massive debt, hyperinflation, and increased taxation. After 1788, it led to more of the same. It has finally led to Nanci Pelosi’s ideological agent on the bench, John Roberts.

In upholding Obamacare, which is in fact Pelosicare, Chief Justice Roberts wrote the majority opinion. He indulged in some lawyer-like deception, as lawyers are paid to do. The law specifically says that the mandatory payment for not buying insurance is a penalty, not a tax. He determined that this penalty would be unconstitutional if it were a penalty (commerce clause), so, lo and behold, it’s a tax!


Romney losing ground to Obama without support from Paul Nation Reply

This analysis is consistent with my own. The combination of widening class divisions and demographic and cultural change means the Repugs are screwed.

By Kevin Kerwick

National Republicans may have some serious thinking to do. Their presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney looks to be in serious trouble on multiple fronts today.

Governor Romney has lost ground to President Obama and is now trailing in all of the national polls with the exception of the Rasmussen Reports poll which has been the poll most favorable to Governor Romney. Governor Romney is now tied with President Obama in the latest Rasmussen poll, which is asteep decline in that poll for Governor Romney relative to President Obama since early June.

In battleground states, Governor Romney is seeing similar declines. According to the poll numbers at Real Clear Politics, Governor Romney is behind in Florida, Iowa, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Obama groups are running hard-hitting television advertisements against Governor Romney in several battleground states that appear to be having an impact. The ads are portraying Governor Romney as a vulture capitalist whose business practices created a net job loss instead of a jobs gain, which is a narrative that is challenging the cornerstone of the Romney campaign strategy. If the Romney job creating narrative is tarnished, he may not be able to find another narrative on which to run.

The Truth about the Healthcare Bill By Someone Who Actually Read It Reply

By Michael Connelly

Well, I have done it! I have read the entire text of proposed House Bill 3200: The Affordable Health Care Choices Act of 2009. I studied it with particular emphasis from my area of expertise, constitutional law. I was frankly concerned that parts of the proposed law that were being discussed might be unconstitutional. What I found was far worse than what I had heard or expected.

To begin with, much of what has been said about the law and its implications is in fact true, despite what the Democrats and the media are saying. The law does provide for rationing of health care, particularly where senior citizens and other classes of citizens are involved, free health care for illegal immigrants, free abortion services, and probably forced participation in abortions by members of the medical profession.

The Bill will also eventually force private insurance companies out of business, and put everyone into a government run system. All decisions about personal health care will ultimately be made by federal bureaucrats, and most of them will not be healthcare professionals. Hospital admissions, payments to physicians, and allocations of necessary medical devices will be strictly controlled by the government.


SCOTUS: Render Unto Caesar … er, Kaiser Permanente Reply

By Thomas Knapp

Well, here it is, folks: The Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the “individual mandate” provision in the Affordable Care Act, aka “ObamaCare.” As of 2014, all Americans will pay a portion of their taxes to an insurance company of their choice instead of to Uncle Sam (or Uncle will come calling).

Canned consternation from the usual critics on the right, of course — you know, the people who brought you HMOs, Medicare Part D, and RomneyCare, all in the name of “free enterprise.” Forcing you to buy “insurance,” whether for yourself or someone else, is only bad when Democrats or New York’s “Five Families” do it.

In reality, the right should be celebrating CannibalCare … er, ObamaCare. Not only did Republicans lay three decades of its groundwork, not only was the template for the law laid down by none other than GOP presidential Mitt Romney, not only was the deciding SCOTUS vote cast by a George W. Bush appointee, Chief Justice John Roberts, but it’s the ultimate triumph of “privatization.”

Huh? What? Yes, “privatization.”


The Manufactured Debate Over Obamacare Reply

By Kevin Carson

Contrary to outraged cries from Republicans that it’s some sort of radical departure from our “free enterprise” system, Obamacare is in fact a direct continuation of the bipartisan neoliberal consensus of the past thirty years. The guiding principle of this consensus is the use of state power to protect corporate profits — which consist mostly of rents on artificial scarcity — from the radical deflationary effects of technologies of abundance. In the spirit of the original American state capitalist, Alexander Hamilton, this consensus seeks to maintain the value of the enormous concentrations of land and capital owned by the rentier classes, and guarantee the returns on them.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act and subsequent draconian digital copyright legislation sought to guarantee the artificial scarcity rents of the proprietary content industries in the face of technologolies of abundance like file-sharing. Both the Paulsen and Geithner versions of TARP use taxpayer money to prop up bubble-inflated real estate prices. And now we have Obamacare, which operates on essentially the same premises as Bush’s Medicare Part D:


Roberts Affirms the Total State Model Reply

From The Ruling Class

Yesterday, the Roberts court affirmed the Obama defense of the so-called “Affordable Care Act.” To me, it is not a particularly surprising result. Two years ago, I noted thatthe Obama Admin’s principal argument relied on the classification of the mandate as a tax and that the legislation–all 2000 pages plus–was carefully crafted to categorize any penalty as an excise tax. As I wrote at the time, Obama–his “socialist” caricature notwithstanding–wasn’t arguing the case by making appeals to the Communist Manifesto. He was merely relying on past American constitutional precedent. He had “the firm’s” legal team carefully draft the new rules of the health care political economy to pass compliance strictly with the firm’s monopoly power to tax.


Government Medical “Insurance” Reply

Murray N. Rothbard

[Making Economic Sense (1995; 2007)]

One of Ludwig von Mises’s keenest insights was on the cumulative tendency of government intervention. The government, in its wisdom, perceives a problem (and Lord knows, there are always problems!). The government then intervenes to “solve” that problem. But lo and behold! instead of solving the initial problem, the intervention creates two or three further problems, which the government feels it must intervene to heal, and so on toward socialism.

No industry provides a more dramatic illustration of this malignant process than medical care. We stand at the seemingly inexorable brink of fully socialized medicine, or what is euphemistically called “national health insurance.” Physician and hospital prices are high and are always rising rapidly, far beyond general inflation. As a result, the medically uninsured can scarcely pay at all, so that those who are not certifiable claimants for charity or Medicaid are bereft. Hence, the call for national health insurance.


Ron Paul Audit Fed Legislation Passed by House Oversight Committee Reply

Joshua Zumbrun

A U.S. House committee approved legislation introduced by Representative Ron Paul that would subject the Federal Reserve to an audit of its activities, including monetary policy decisions.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in Washington approved the bill today in a voice vote. The bill now advances to consideration in the full House.

Paul, a Republican from Texas and author of the book “End the Fed” calling for the abolition of the central bank, seeks through the bill to require an audit by the Government Accountability Office of the Fed’s board of governors and 12 regional banks.