“. . . being named US Ambassador to the UN . . . brings out the inner mass murderer in people”

First up: Why Do Politicians Lie?

GoldSilver.com explains that

Politicians are known to be avid liars. Why is that? The obvious reason is because there are no ramifications. When a politician campaigns, he’s not under oath or contract. Legally, he can say whatever gets the votes. Once a government moves beyond the protection of liberty, it becomes a government by, for, and dominated by the greatest liars.  

We’ve got different kinds of lies with degrees of severity from little white lies to perjury. White lies, textbook lies, broken promises, the failure to keep one’s spoken commitment or promise . . . .  The lie of fabrication, the Bold-faced lie, the lie of exaggeration, lies of deception, plagiarism, compulsive lying, lies of omission, lies of commission, perjury, fraud, and other lies.

On the topic of textbook lies, Michael S. Rozeff asks the question, “Why Do Politicians Lie?”  He does an excellent job of examining Nikki Haley’s big lie 

A textbook example of a politician lying is Nikki Haley’s big lie about the Iranian deal. Another big lie is George Bush’s lie about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and “arsenal of terror”. Why do politicians lie?  

Continue reading.

And on the topic of the Nikki (Medusa) Haley, check out Daniel McAdams’ poignant appraisal.

There must be something about being named US Ambassador to the UN that brings out the inner mass murderer in people. Madeline Albright famously admitted that she thought 500,000 dead Iraqi children due to US sanctions was “worth it.” John Bolton never met a disagreement he didn’t want to turn into a war. Samantha Power barked about human rights while her Administration’s drones snuffed out human life in unprecedented numbers. The real “butcher of the Balkans” Richard Holbrooke sold the Yugoslavia war on lies. John “Death Squad” Negroponte sold the lie that Saddam Hussein needed to be killed and his country destroyed for democracy to flourish, and so on.

Continue reading . . . . 


Price Gouging During a Disaster Is Good

distribution after the storm becomes much more random when the prices are not allowed to rise.

Excellent interview by Michael Smerconish of Don Boudreaux, a Senior Fellow with the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.  Find the time to listen to this one

DONALD J. BOUDREAUX.  When prices rise that is a signal and an incentive to suppliers to exert the effort that is needed to rush much need supplies to people who need them desperately. The underlying reality is sad: a natural disaster destroys supply lines, it raises the demand for bottled water because tap water is no longer drinkable.  So you have this very sad underlying reality.  That’s what people should be upset about.  Of course you can’t scream at the hurricane.  The higher prices reflect the sadness of the underlying reality. By preventing the prices from rising that doesn’t change the underlying reality, that just hides the underlying reality.  It causes people to behave as if the underlying reality is not what it is.  And when you have, particularly a bad situation, like after a hurricane, you want people behaving in ways that correspond to that underlying, sad reality.  You want people to adjust to it properly.  When prices rise that prompts people to rush supplies to the area. If you stop the prices from rising you may satisfy your moral feelings, but you prevent the people who need the goods most from actually getting the goods.  You don’t increase the supply of goods which is what is needed. 

SMERCONISH:  it’s all a function of supply and demand.  In the case of a storm when you’ve got this excessive demand, like bottled water, if you don’t allow the vendor to increase their price then there won’t be a limitation. We won’t be dealing out the goods in a prudent fashion but instead we’d exhaust them more quickly. 

DONALD J. BOUDREAUX.  That’s right.  Distribution of the goods then becomes random.  The people who can get to the front of the line first, the people who have the best business connection, the best social connections, the best family connections, the people who happen to stock up before the storm, like the rich, who have larger homes, and more likely to have generators.  The distribution after the storm becomes much more random when the prices are not allowed to rise.  It’s not only the rise in prices allows cause the consumers to behave more prudently, it causes suppliers to behave more urgently.

Odd that there was no market in Houston.  To the extent that there was no market in Houston because Texas has a ridiculous prohibition on price gouging.  The storm is not what destroyed the market, to the extent that the market was destroyed, it was Texas’ own prohibition on allowing the market to work that kept the market from working.

SMERCONISH. If a case of water costs $50 if I don’t have that, I am shit out of luck, correct?

DONALD J. BOUDREAUX.  What is the prospect that a poor person is more likely to have the connections and abilities to get these artificially restricted supplies compared to a more well to do person?  People who argue for a prohibition on price gouging, people assume that it’s the poor people who get the goods.  Maybe.  It’s possible.  But let’s be realistic.  You’re a merchant.  You have a supply of goods and you know they’re valuable.  Who you’re going to sell them to?  You’re going to sell them to the poor people who are coming to your door at low prices or are you going to sell them or might you horde them to sell to the mayor and to the mayor’s family or give to your own family members?  Not realistic that if prices are kept low that the poor will be the ones who get the goods.  In fact, I think it will be the opposite.  Prohibition on price gouging prevents the supplies from increasing rapidly that actually you will restrict over time the amount of goods that the poor are able to get.  No one likes to pay higher prices.  But the government prohibition that keeps those prices low again it doesn’t change the annoying reality.  And what we need in these situations is as much effort as possible from people all around the world, rushing supplies to the damaged areas.  And what prohibition on price gouging do is stymie those efforts. 

SMERCONISH. If we didn’t have those limitations more would want to participate in this free market exchange of goods and services.

DON. We all applaud people who act philanthropically.  There are people, of course, who donate their own time, their resources, and incur risks by bringing supplies to the damaged areas. That does keep prices low, that does help people.  Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to happen enough because whenever these natural disasters occur we see these pressures on prices to rise.  What these rising prices do is to in effect call forth other hands from around the world to engage in the effort to help the damaged area.  Most people are doing it purely out of self-interest.  But I’d rather have someone acting self-interestedly to try to help me than someone not acting at all and doing nothing to help me.  I’d rather have the option to have of paying $40 for a bottle of water and be able to get the bottle of water and need water and not having the option of getting water at all. 

SMERCONISH. If the market value of a bottle of water is $25, preventing merchants from charging a price higher than $5 shields consumers from the fact that potable water is now more precious than it was pre-disaster.  The price cap also shields suppliers from this same truth.  The inevitable consequence of this hoax only add to the problems caused by the natural disaster.  With the price artificially kept low, at its pre-disaster level, consumers will try to use this now more precious commodity today with no more care than they used it yesterday.

Continue listening



“Social Justice Warriors, I find, are the most racist of all”

h/t Lew Rockwell

If you pay taxes, you’re not privileged.

If you go to work every single day and work 40 hours a week, you’re not privileged.

If you had to apply for your job, you’re not privileged.

Affirmative Action has provided black people with more privilege than whites.  

The real oppressed people are white men.  

Reverence for Leaders: A Misplaced Conservative Ethic

from Tom Woods Podcasts

There are so many podcast episodes that come out of Tom Woods and TomWoods.com that saying “This is the best podcast ever” loses its meaning . . . but only a bit. He highlights a talk he gave at a Mises Institution Conference on fascism on the how the leader is the embodiment of the people’s will and the infatuation of executive power, in particular of the conservative movement, and he was talking about that as an undesirable aspects of mainstream conservatism.  He quotes regularly from Robert Nisbet.  He quotes often from Nisbet’s Twilight of Authority.  See some terrific quotes from Nisbet here

The introductory note at the Mises Institute gives this description of Nisbet

Robert Nisbet (1913–1996), the eminent sociologist, taught at Columbia University and made his mark on intellectual life through observing the intermediating structures in society that serve as a bulwark between the individual and the state. He was known as a conservative, and his work is on every list of conservative contributions to the social sciences, but far from being a typical conservative, he blasted conservatism as a species of militarist and invasive interventionism, one that abused people’s public and private pieties in the service of a ghastly civic ethic of statism. He is the author of The Present Age: Progress and Anarchy in Modern America and Twilight of Authority.

Following his opening quotation, Tom Woods references George H. Nash’s book, The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945, 2006.

“The U.S. Air Force estimated that North Korea’s destruction was proportionately greater than that of Japan in the Second World War”


This was staggering

U.S. bombings destroyed 100% of Sinanju, 95% of Sariwon, 85% of Hungnam, 80% of Wonsan and Hamhung, and 75% of Pyongyang.

from the National Interest

As tensions between North Korea and the United States reach a fever pitch, it’s worth remembering the origins of the hostility: the Korean War.

The general parameters of the war are well known. The conflict began when Kim Il-sung’s forces invaded South Korea in June 1950 with the tacit (if reluctant) support of Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong. Kim’s forces quickly overran their southern counterparts and were on the brink of unifying the peninsula before U.S. forces intervened under the guise of the United Nations. They quickly pushed the North Korean forces back across the thirty-eighth parallel and threatened to unify the entire peninsula until a massive force of Chinese “volunteers” intervened and pushed the American and South Korean forces back to the thirty-eighth parallel. Thereafter, the two sides settled into a stalemate that more or less persisted until an armistice was signed in 1953.

Less well remembered, at least in the United States, is that America waged a mercilessly air campaign against North Korea during the conflict. As the eminent historian on the war, Bruce Cumings, puts it: “What hardly any Americans know or remember . . . is that we carpet-bombed the North for three years with next to no concern for civilian casualties.”

Indeed, Maj. Gen. Emmett O’Donnell, who led the Far East Bomber Command of B-29s that participated in the bombings, described the plan as going “to work burning five major cities in North Korea to the ground, and to destroy completely everyone of of about 18 major strategic targets.” Curtis Lemay boasted that Strategic Air Command “burned down just about every city in North and South Korea both.” He also estimated that “over a period of three years or so, we killed off . . . 20 percent of the population.” And future secretary of state Dean Rusk, who also served in the State Department under the Truman administration, would say that the United States bombed: “Everything that moved in North Korea, every brick standing on top of another.”

The sheer number of explosives used is absolutely astonishing. As Tom O’Connor has recounted in Newsweek, the “U.S. dropped 635,000 tons of explosives on North Korea, including 32,557 tons of napalm.” To put this in perspective, throughout the entire Pacific Theatre in World War II, the United States dropped 503,000 tons of bombs. And that was throughout an area that was multitudes larger than North Korea (Japan alone is roughly three times the size of North Korea). Not surprising, then, that the historian Charles K. Armstrong has written, “The U.S. Air Force estimated that North Korea’s destruction was proportionately greater than that of Japan in the Second World War, where the U.S. had turned 64 major cities to rubble and used the atomic bomb to destroy two others.”

North Korea’s lack of industrialization limited the number of enticing targets for strategic bombing. Consequently, as Armstrong again points out, “By the fall of 1952, there were no effective targets left for US planes to hit. Every significant town, city and industrial area in North Korea had already been bombed.” This is barely hyperbole: the bombings destroyed 100 percent of Sinanju, 95 percent of Sariwon, 85 percent of Hungnam, 80 percent of Wonsan, and Hamhung, and 75 percent of Pyongyang.

Thereafter, American and allied aircraft turned their sights to North Korea’s hydroelectric plant and the the twenty dams in North Korea that controlled 75 percent of the country’s water, which was needed for agricultural and the production of rice. In May 1953, U.S. forces knocked five of these dams out, causing massive flooding. It also put millions in North Korea at risk for starvation, although the worst of that was prevented because of a massive influx of food aid from the Soviet Union and China. The bombings did cause widespread electrical outages, and by the U.S. Air Force’s estimates destroyed all but 4 to 5 percent of North Korea’s railways.

As the official U.S. Air Force history noted of this time period: “During the last year of the Korean hostilities, American air power executed the dominant role in the achievement of the military objectives of the United States and of the United Nations. . . . No single air operation so gravely affected the Communists as the simple destruction of two agricultural irrigation dams, for this operation, too terrible to execute in its entirety, portended the devastation of the most important segment of the North Korean agricultural economy.”

Most outside analysts are far more skeptical that the U.S. strategic bombing campaign had much impact on the course of the war. The political scientist Robert Pape argues that North Korea and China’s major concessions in 1951 were the result of the air campaign weakening their military forces’ ability to achieve their objectives (coercion by denial) rather than the strategic bombing (coercion by punishment). Many others have argued that air power’s most effective contribution to the Korean War was in the interdiction of enemy lines. In particular, aircraft focused on destroying the bridges near the Yalu River to cut off Chinese and Soviet support. Still, since these bridges were often heavily defended by antiaircraft weapons, and the aircraft of the day had severe limitations, this campaign also had only limited success.

North Korea actually repaired the war damage faster than South Korea, which had been far less damaged during the war. A more enduring impact of the bombing is that it has been used as a propaganda tool by the Kim regime to instill hatred in all their citizens from a very young age. As Bruce Cumings explained: “Every North Korean knows about this, it’s drilled into their minds.”

Zachary Keck is the former managing editor of the National Interest. You can find him on Twitter: @ZacharyKeck.

“The biggest loss when you price teenagers out of a job . . . is the experience on the job.”

h/t Lew Rockwell

Terrific interview.  This may be one of the more enjoyable phone conversation that you’ve ever been invited to join.  You’ve got the great Walter Williams and the awesome Thomas Sowell.  Here are a few of the points covered: 

The Thomas Sowell Reader

One topic is the minimum wage.  The labor unions want a minimum wage and they spend million and millions of dollars lobbying for increase in the minimum wage because it reduces the competition in their labor market.  Also some good people supporting the same policy.  

SOWELL, a great deal of blame goes on the economics profession.  Outside of economics, most faculty members at leading universities, is that it have no conception about the minimum wage that it will raise the pay of people at the bottom and that’s a good thing.  It prices low skilled, inexperienced people out of a job.  I remember when I was a teenager and had my first job, I thought my boss was very harsh.  In retrospect, I don’t know how my boss put up with my incompetence.  I certainly wouldn’t put up

I’ve worked since I was 12 years old.  Caddying on golf courses, delivering mail during the Christmas holiday.  If there were a high minimum wage, I might not have had those jobs and the early work experience that kids have teaches them things that go well beyond the little bit of money that they can earn.  Things like well you come to work Thursday even though you got paid Wednesday.  You can’t spit in the foreman’s face and still keep your job.  And many young people growing up in poor households and going to rotten schools, don’t have the opportunity to learn things while they’re young, make mistakes while they’re young that will make them a more valuable employee in the future.  

SOWELL  The biggest lost when you price teenagers out of a job, is not the little bit of money they could have made, it’s the experience on the job.  Doing things that we take for granted when we’re middle aged, finally got it when we were teenagers.

WILLIAMS  People don’t realize is that aside from destroying job opportunities, continues to be the most effective tools in the arsenal of racists around the world.   

SOWELL  In South Africa during the Apartheid era white labor unions wanted minimum wage laws and equal pay for equal work not because they wanted to help blacks but because they wanted to price out of a job and keep the jobs for themselves.  

WILLIAMS  1975, a white laborer on a construction project was getting $1.91 an hour, while a black laborer would do the job for $.39 an hour.  So there was a lot of incentive for contractors to disobey the job reservation laws and hire blacks because it was a lower cost.  

SOWELL  That was the idea behind the Davis Bacon Act of 1931, as black construction workers from the south were coming north, and the construction companies were under bidding the local unionized labor to get contracts, because they had non-union labor from the south.  The law then priced blacks out of a job.  

WILLIAMS  The congressional testimony at the time, Congressman Miles C. Allgood from Alabama, said see that contractor over there he uses cheap colored labor and puts them in cabins and its labor of that sort that is in competition with white America today.  The rhetoric behind today’s support of the Davis/Bacon Act has changed but the effects are the same.  that is the Davis Bacon act discriminates against non-union labor, and most blacks in construction are in the non-union sector.  

SOWELL  During the period of the 1940s with the national minimum wage law

Give a listen to the entire interview.

How Do Marxists Answer this Question: What About the Over 100 Million Slaughtered?

h/t EconomicPolicyJournal

This is superb.  

For me at least is one of the repellent and unanswered questions surrounding any advocacy for communism or socialism is how do these socialists account for the 100 million [plus] dead?


I loved Peterson’s ending remarks in this video:

There is absolutely no excuse whatsoever to put forth Marxist doctrines as the bomb that’s administered by the compassionate to the downtrodden.  100 million corpses is enough: if it’s not for you, then you should do some serious thinking about your historical thinking or your moral character.