Achieving A ‘Grand Bargain’

In picking the last three members of the new super committee on deficit reduction, once-relevant Nancy Pelosi said: “We must achieve a grand bargain that reduces the deficit by addressing our entire budget, while strengthening Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.”

The devil is in the details — or, in this case, the details are in the devil’s words. Socialist-turned-fiscal-conservative Pelosi, who has previously said she believes unemployment benefits are the greatest job creator known to mankind, is a true believer in her religion — a strange religion that centers around one objective: spending other people’s money.

So what, exactly, does Fancy Nancy mean by a “grand bargain?” Clearly, it’s code for Republicans caving in again and doing what Democrats want them to do to avoid being called obstructionists: increase the deficit even more.

Likewise, what in the world does Pelosi mean by “strengthening Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security?” In any event, why are we “strengthening” programs that are unConstitutional? Why are we not working on a plan to completely phase out these programs over a long period of time, while making certain that people above a certain age (say, 50 or 55) still receive all their benefits?

Republicans now boast that they have “changed the debate” in Washington. But the appointment of the new super committee on deficit reduction makes it clear that Americans are in for more of the same: more committees, more accounting tricks, more regulations, more redistribution of wealth and, above all, more B.S.

It’s no wonder that a recent Fox News poll showed that 81 percent of Americans disapprove of Congress, while only 10 percent approve. Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy probably could have achieved better poll numbers at the height of their careers.

But that 81 percent number is misleading, because it’s a good bet that about half of those people want government spending to be cut to the bone, while the other half want even more government handouts. Thus, the results of the poll question don’t really tell us much.

The real debate should be about the real problem: the size and scope of government. Do we want to live in a society where we share a collective, psychotic mixture of guilt, arrogance, victimization, envy, anger and demonization so all-encompassing that it motivates us to destroy the wealth-producing capacity of our Nation? Or do we want to live in a society where self-reliance is the hallmark of our cultural identity?

The reality is that the entitlement policies that left-wingers have succeeded in implementing over the past 70 years comprise one big scorched-earth policy. If they don’t get their way, they will take to the streets and turn us into Great Britain or Greece. If they do get their way, Atlas will shrug, the good life will disappear (even more than it already has), and, again, they will take to the streets and turn us into Great Britain or Greece. Heads, we all lose; tales, we all lose.

The late Isaac Asimov, the renowned science-fiction writer, once alluded to this suicidal conundrum when he pointed out that the danger in demanding special favors from government is that you risk the ultimate destruction of freedom and free enterprise, which necessarily means the destruction of your own special interest as well. Asimov emphasized his point by suggesting the following analogy: “If my right arm decided to stab my left arm to death, my right arm would die, too.”

The right arms of Great Britain, Greece, Portugal and most European countries are stabbing their left arms to death, and their right arms are dying in the process. Class warfare has wealth destruction built into it.

We can listen to the pudding heads on television and pretend as though we really believe that the big question is whether we’re headed for a “double-dip recession” when, in fact, we’re in a depression — and have been for a long time.

We can delude ourselves into believing that Congress just passed a deficit-reduction plan, even though the reality of that plan is that the U.S. will be increasing its deficit by at least another $7 trillion over the next decade.

We can continue to pretend we are offended by Standard & Poor’s recent credit downgrade of the U.S. to AA+, even though the truth is that our creditworthiness is rapidly heading toward zero.

We can continue to pretend the chances of a U.S. hyperinflation are nonexistent, when the historical evidence makes it clear that hyperinflation is a virtual certainty.

But worry not. We will soon have a super committee on deficit reduction composed of people with superior intellects who realize that: “We must achieve a grand bargain that reduces the deficit by addressing our entire budget, while strengthening Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.”

Now, if I could just figure out what all that means, I’m sure a feeling of American exceptionalism would sweep over me.

Robert Ringer

Just Who, Exactly, Is Delusional?

Isn’t it remarkable how the left is railing on and on about how the Tea Party members of Congress held the debt-ceiling talks hostage by demanding that there be no tax hikes? They have even referred to them as terrorists and suicide bombers, malcontents who ignored the heartfelt pleas of that paragon of unity, Barack Obama, to tone down the rhetoric after the Tucson shootings.

But something doesn’t quite ring true here. If the Tea Party contingency sabotaged the debt-ceiling talks, why would a majority of Republicans be so mad at them?

Democratic nonsense aside, the truth is that Republicans:

  1. Raised the debt ceiling enough to take the pressure off Obama until after the 2012 elections,
  2. Were not able to assure that there will be no tax hikes in the near future (trust me, there will be),
  3. And rather than cutting spending, merely slowed the growth of spending (as Republicans have been doing for decades) from an Obama baseline that would have been unheard of even in the George W. Bush years.

Nevertheless, along comes a real radical, MSNBC’s Martin Bashir, and conducts an anti-Tea Party interview with a left-wing shrink by the name of Stanton Peele. Peele (with the utmost objectivity, of course) told Bashir that Tea Party conservatives are “delusional,” “could become a very angry movement” and “could potentially become a violent movement.”

Really? Funny, but in all the Tea Party events I’ve been to, I haven’t seen anyone who looks like he has the “potential” to become violent. On the other hand, I’ve seen a lot of union thugs who are violent; but, for some reason, neither Bashir nor Peele mentioned any of those guys. Hmm, that’s weird… I wonder why? Must have just slipped their minds.

At one point, Bashir asked Peele: “So you’re saying that they [the Tea Party people] are delusional about the past and adamant about the future?” To which Peele responded, with an air of professional certainty: “They are adamant about achieving something that’s unachievable, which reminds us of a couple of things: It reminds us of delusion and psychosis. It reminds us of addiction, because addicts are seeking something that they can’t have.”

Something they can’t have? Hmm… I thought the Tea Party candidates won the midterm elections in a landslide, so gaining control of the House and increasing the number of Republicans in the Senate turned out to be something they could have.

Could it be that Martin Bashir, Dr. Peele and angry Democrats are the ones who are delusional? Do they not understand that history has repeatedly shown that radicalism and violence are overwhelmingly traits of the far (and sometimes not so far) left?

Nevertheless, even though the Tea Party won the midterm elections for Republicans, a majority of the GOP, both new and old, failed to do as instructed. Would that the accusations of the left were true and that Republicans really had held the debt-ceiling talks hostage to their demands. But it was not to be.

Congresspersons elected by Tea Party voters were not sent to Washington to compromise. They were not sent to Washington to raise the debt ceiling. They were not sent to Washington to “change the terms of the debate.” They were not sent to Washington to show how civilized they could be.

The Tea Party sent Republicans to Washington for the express purpose of cutting government spending.

Which is why it was breathtaking when John Boehner, after he signed on to yet another of the endless bad deals Republicans have made with Democrats over the decades, said, according to GOP officials, on a conference call: “It isn’t the greatest deal in the world, but it shows how much we’ve changed the terms of the debate in this town.” He added that the agreement was “all spending cuts. The White House bid to raise taxes has been shut down.”

Based on his analysis of the Democratic victory over raising the debt ceiling, John Boehner and his fellow sellouts in the Republican Party are the ones who are delusional — not the Tea Party members.

If you want proof that Martin Bashir, Stanton Peele and John Boehner are all delusional, just take a look at the latest Gallup Poll regarding the outcome of the debt-ceiling debate. According to Gallup, 64 percent of Republicans nationwide say they disapprove of the debt-ceiling deal made with the Democrats, and independents disapproved of the deal 50 percent to 33 percent.

On the other side of the coin, Democrats approved of the deal 58 percent to 28 percent, and even liberals approved by a 51 percent to 35 percent margin. The figures pretty much underscore what the end result really was, notwithstanding all the jabber about “changing the terms of the debate.”

I should add that the same Gallup Poll also found that a majority of Americans believe the debt-ceiling deal will make the economy worse. It certainly didn’t do anything to impress either Wall Street investors or Standard & Poor’s.

Would that the Republicans had thrown a temper tantrum (as Democrats and the left-wing media accused them of doing) and gotten their way. If so, we’d be looking at a very panicked Barack Obama today rather than the same cool community organizer who is focused on raising a billion dollars to aid him in anesthetizing the public once again and winning what should be, based on the results of his Presidency, an unwinnable election for him.

Maybe the Tea Party people do need to get violent, given that the left will continue to accuse them of doing so regardless of how civil they act. Even if they throw out of office enough RINOs who still don’t get the Tea Party message and bring in a whole new group of Republicans who are willing to take a chainsaw to the budget (rather than just getting excited about “changing the terms of the debate” in Washington), the violence that Messrs. Bashir and Peele so worry about is sure to happen anyway.

However, violence that results from real (as opposed to imaginary) spending cuts won’t come from the Tea Party folks. It will come from those who are unwilling to give up the good life they’ve become accustomed to as a result of the government’s redistribution-of-wealth policies.

But let’s see the spending cuts first. We can worry about the violence later.

–Robert Ringer


The spending-cut myth

As we move toward a business-as-usual finish to the phony debt-ceiling drama playing out in Washington, history will record that no one — not even the Tea Party members of Congress — ever got around to talking about specific, major spending cuts (other than defense spending). Isn’t that weird?

Everyone involved claims to be in agreement that the U.S. has to cut spending, but not one Congressperson has been willing to name a specific program or bureaucracy that should be completely eliminated. Even if Republicans had gotten their Cut, Cap and Balance proposal accepted, it wouldn’t have mattered, because “cut, cap, and balance” are nothing more than hollow words.

Cut and cap what? Which programs and agencies are you going to cut and cap, and by how much? In any event, the purported major cuts are always years down the road, while increasing the debt ceiling is immediate — meaning that out-of-control government spending continues on.

And, of course, balance simply guarantees American taxpayers that if Congress doesn’t make the necessary cuts — which it never does, and never will — their taxes will be raised in order to “balance the budget.” In fact, a cynic might say that balancing the budget is just a euphemism for raising taxes.

Again, back to my original point: No one in Congress wants to talk about making specific cuts. After all, when you cut a program or agency, you’re going to make the beneficiaries of that program or agency very angry. And since the main objective of the vast majority of Congresspersons is to get reelected, mad is bad. Thus, the reality is that cutting any program or government agency is unthinkable.

For example, as the debt ceiling circus has worn on, I’ve repeatedly heard media pundits say things like, “What happens to the guy who’s planned a camping trip to Yellowstone National Park with his son, only to find that the park has been closed because Congress failed to raise the debt ceiling?” The answer you never hear is: He takes his son somewhere else!

I don’t know how much you and I pay to keep Yellowstone National Park operating, but I do know that neither I nor any of my family or immediate circle of friends has ever visited Yellowstone National Park, nor do any of us have any plans to do so.

That being the case, why are we required to pay for the guy who wants to take his son camping? Is he willing to pay for my family’s outing to an Orioles or Redskins game? These are private corporations that charge customers enough to cover their overhead and, hopefully, make a profit. Government doesn’t have to worry about such mundane matters.

Just like all the other land it lays claim to, the United States government should sell Yellowstone National Park to a company like Disney or Universal Studios and use the proceeds to pay down the national debt. I’m talking about principle, not interest. Ditto all of the other national parks, which would cut billions from our bread-and-circus budget.

Speaking of Yellowstone National Park, what about the Department of the Interior? Do we really need it? On its website, it proudly states:

Our Mission: Protecting America’s Great Outdoors and Powering Our Future

Question: Why does a bankrupt nation need a bunch of bureaucrats to protect its “great outdoors?” The government is supposed to protect people and private property, not the “outdoors.” I won’t even comment on “powering our future,” since it has no discernable meaning.

Beneath the Department of the Interior’s mission statement are the words:

The U.S. Department of the Interior protects America’s natural resources and heritage, honors our cultures and tribal communities, and supplies the energy to power our future.

Again I ask, why does a bankrupt nation need a bunch of bureaucrats to protect its “natural resources and heritage?” How in the world does the government protect our heritage? Again, no discernable meaning.

“Honors our cultures and tribal communities?” Why does a bankrupt nation need to honor American cultures and tribal communities? Sounds like an interesting thing to do if you’re rich. But we aren’t. Psst… we’re broke!

Finally, “supplies the energy to power our future?” Government doesn’t know beans about supplying energy. In fact, it does everything within its power to prevent the U.S. from using its energy resources.

A bankrupt nation that fails at everything it attempts to do should get out of the way so private industry can exploit our natural resources, beginning with oil, natural gas and coal deposits. The government has never produced a drop of oil, a cubic foot of natural gas or a single chunk of coal — and never will.

Trees, of course, are a natural resource that present no problem whatsoever, because, thanks to capitalistic forestry corporations, we have more trees today than we had 50 years ago.

You can go right down the list of government agencies and draw the same conclusion:  They should be shut down!

Do we really need a National Labor Relations Board to prevent Boeing from creating 1,000 jobs in South Carolina?

Do we really need a Securities and Exchange Commission to give a guy like Bernie Madoff a stamp of approval for 25 years while he bilks gullible investors out of billions of dollars?

Do we really need an Environmental Protection Agency to stifle economic growth in America and create ever-increasing unemployment? Closing down the EPA not only would save billions of dollars a year in operating costs, but would explode the economy and send the Dow Jones industrial average soaring. Who knows, we might even be able to compete with China someday.

The Department of Labor, the Commerce Department, Amtrak, the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, the Department of Health and Human Services (which runs 400 separate subsidy programs!)… the list is endless.

Message to the government: Stop protecting our resources, stop redistributing our hard-earned income and start focusing on protecting, not stealing from, the people you work for.

The truth is that no one — whether Democrat or Republican — will propose legislation to reduce, let alone close down, any of these government agencies. They will keep growing until their employees are paid in worthless dollars — or not paid at all. And there is a 100 percent certainty that when government employees don’t get paid, it will lead to protests… followed by “civil unrest”… followed by violence… followed by a government crackdown on civil liberties.

As everyone now knows, the government has plenty of money coming in each month to pay interest on the national debt, Social Security, Medicare and our current military obligations (all of which total about 70 percent of current revenues). It’s the other 30 percent or so of “scheduled expenditures” that need to be “prioritized” — meaning that some of them have to be cut.

But when you ask a politician which ones he would cut, he unfailingly skirts the question. That’s why the debt ceiling will continue to be raised — again and again and again (75 times since 1962!) — and the U.S. debt will continue to spin out of control until the only thing left of the U.S. economy is a (hopefully) thriving black market.

Russian historians can tell you all about the phenomenon of the black market when the government shuts down the free market. It’s the only thing that kept even more people from starving to death in the Soviet Union during the heyday of communism.

Of course, if you’re the adventuresome type, you’ve got to be excited thinking about what living in a runaway-inflation society might be like. Hint: Sieg Heil!

–Robert Ringer

Obama Following In Hitler’s Footsteps

Watching the nonstop commentaries on television about the debt ceiling debate only reinforces the reality that most people — including many perceived conservatives — still don’t get it. If they did, they would not allow themselves to be diverted by a political circus.

It amazes me how the vast majority of conservatives — both inside and outside of the media — still take Barack Obama seriously and believe he is desperately trying to save the United States from economic disaster. Don’t get me wrong. Obama wants to do what is right for America, but his vision of “right” is wealth redistribution on a massive scale carried out by an all-powerful Federal government.

As Obama continues to toy with Republicans over raising the debt ceiling, he is well aware that the continuation of his policies will destroy the U.S. economy beyond repair. I believe his strategy from the outset has been to follow the Saul Alinsky model: Win the Presidency through a semi-legitimate election, then tighten your grip over everything and everybody, move swiftly to create economic chaos, and use the chaos you’ve created to establish a dictatorship.

Now don’t go giving Obama too much credit for originality. He’s really just a slick and clever copycat. Getting elected and then using your powers to eliminate all competition is an old trick used by power-hungry thugs throughout history.

Of all the dictators over the past hundred years, I believe Obama’s rise to power mirrors that of Adolf Hitler’s more than anyone else. I know, I know… I can practically hear readers chuckling. Enslaved people throughout history have a propensity for chuckling — until they wake up one morning and find themselves in chains. So, by all means, feel free to chuckle — but do hear me out.

Though most people don’t realize it, Hitler was legitimately chosen to be chancellor of Germany in 1933 by President Paul von Hindenburg. At his swearing-in ceremony, Hitler faithfully repeated the oath of office: “I will employ my strength for the welfare of the German people, protect the Constitution and laws of the German people, conscientiously discharge the duties imposed on me, and conduct my affairs of office impartially and with justice to everyone.”

Nice words… similar to those uttered by Obama when being sworn into office. Hitler was a charming, eloquent speaker who carried on incessantly about change. (Sound familiar?) Then, once elected, he moved quickly to establish a dictatorship, accomplishing that seemingly impossible feat in 52 days. Obama moved swiftly as well, but opposing forces in America made it impractical to establish a quick dictatorship.

The upstart Nazi Party (which was the commonly used name for the National Socialist German Workers’ Party… repeat, Socialist) staged a slobbering love affair between Hitler and the German people. (Sound familiar?) When Hitler spoke for the first time as chancellor, it was said that he “was greeted with an outpouring of worshipful adulation unlike anything ever seen before in Germany.” (Sound familiar?)

In The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek explained the way countries travel the road from democracy to dictatorship:

It is important to remember that, for some time before 1933, Germany had reached a stage in which it had, in effect, had to be governed dictatorially… Hitler did not have to destroy democracy; he merely took advantage of the decay of democracy and at the critical moment obtained the support of many to whom, though they detested Hitler, he yet seemed the only man strong enough to get things done.

Under the Articles of Confederation, the central government of America was very weak — which was a good thing. It was true then, and it’s true now: You can have a strong government and a weak people, or a strong people and a weak government — but you cannot have both. Today, we have a draconian, out-of-control government and a very weak people.

Arguably, democracy in this country started to break down in 1787 when the Constitution created a strong Federal government. It got worse — much worse — under the fascist policies of Woodrow Wilson’s reign from 1912 to 1920. Then, beginning in 1932, FDR’s failed socialist policies took away even more individual freedom from American citizens. And the final disintegration of true democracy in the U.S. was catalyzed by the left-wing revolutionaries of the 1960s.

So if you’re wondering how Obama and his Marxist cronies have been able to violate the Constitution as though it didn’t exist, the answer is that they are merely taking advantage of the decay of democracy in the U.S. that was already present when they came to power. While Americans have been busy focusing on sports, reality TV, eating out three nights a week and trying to pay their mortgages, the fascistic socialists in Washington have been quietly working to establish a dictatorship based on the ruins of our democracy (which actually began as a republic).

Get it? I hope so. Because if a vast majority of everyday folks don’t get it soon, it will be too late. As I have repeatedly said, the debt ceiling debate is nothing more than a distraction from the real, underlying problem we all face: We are losing our freedom.

Our focus should be on stopping Barack Obama and his Marxist allies in Washington from establishing a communist dictatorship — politely referred to by conservative media commentators as an “imperial presidency.” But regardless of what one calls it, the important thing to understand is that under a dictatorship, everything else becomes irrelevant — including the debt ceiling “crisis” that political junkies are spending so much time fretting about.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

–Robert Ringer

Sticking It To The Grandkids

I think by now everyone who is halfway honest and has an IQ above 32 realizes that the claim that the U.S. will default its debt if the debt ceiling isn’t raised by Aug. 2 is just another shameless Democratic canard.

Thanks to cable TV, talk radio and the Internet, the facts are well known:

First, while the exact amounts vary from month to month, the government brings in, on average, about $200 billion a month from (mostly unwilling) taxpayers and pays out, on average, about $20 billion in monthly interest charges. That’s a tenfold coverage.

Second, Social Security and Medicare, at least right now, are easily covered by government revenues each month. There’s no nice way to say it: Barack Obama has been blatantly lying about Social Security and Medicare payments being in jeopardy, as has the rest of the Democratic leadership.

Third, there would also be enough money available to meet our current military obligations (though we need a good debate about how much military we really need in order to defend our country).

Fourth, everything that’s left (about 30 percent of scheduled expenditures) can be prioritized, with the only question being who should make the decisions as to what goes at the top of the list and what goes at the bottom. Not doable, says Turbo Tax whiz Timothy Geithner. Turbo Tim insists that prioritizing government payments won’t work because it would “spur deep cuts in other disbursements and still cause investors to shun U.S. Treasury securities.”

No question about it, it definitely would cause deep cuts in other disbursements, but that’s a good thing. It’s a forced solution to government’s spending addiction. And the notion that cutting spending would cause investors to stop buying U.S. Treasuries is questionable, at best. On the contrary, the rest of the civilized world has made it clear that it is gravely concerned about rapidly increasing U.S. spending and debt.

Continued out-of-control spending is far more likely to cause investors to pull their money out of U.S. Treasuries than a fantasy default. Geithner, who was wrong on the Troubled Asset Relief Program (even though TARP was his predecessor’s creation), wrong on the “stimulus,” and wrong on his own taxes, said: “Ultimately, the notion of ‘prioritizing’ payments is futile because the debt limit must be increased regardless of which spending path is adopted. There is no credible budget plan under which a debt-limit increase can be avoided.”

Wrong again, Timmy. There most certainly is a creditable budget plan to avoid raising the debt ceiling. It’s called: Cut spending. That’s right, just cut spending enough, and you don’t have to raise the debt ceiling one dime.

And once that’s accomplished, a new House, Senate and President in 2013 could start making serious cuts in the budget, with the litmus test being whether a given program or expenditure is constitutional. Such a litmus test would make it possible to dramatically reduce taxes, borrowing and fiat-money creation.

Geithner warns that because the United States now borrows about 40 cents of every dollar it spends, prioritizing payments without raising the debt ceiling would force the U.S. to cut 40 percent of all government expenditures. Darn. And here I was hoping to see spending cuts more in the area of 80 percent of current expenditures.

Finally, Geithner got to the heart of America’s impending financial doom when he said that such spending cuts “would have painful implications for people in every walk of American life.” He included military families, veterans and government employees — all commonly referred to by politicians as voters.

The military families and veterans obligations can be whittled down over a period of time by closing most of our 700 overseas military bases and staying out of nation-building wars. For a fraction of current costs, we can bring our troops home and have them focus on defending our own porous borders rather than bombing, then rebuilding, countries on the other side of the globe that have no interest in establishing a democratic form of government.

As to government employees, do you know anyone who would be unhappy with getting rid of as many “public servants” as possible?

Those who insist that not paying for programs and employees already on the books is just as much of a default as not paying interest on the national debt are, in effect, saying: “Even though we have to go deeper into debt to pay for these government programs, which assures that default is only a matter of time, we have no choice because we’ve already made those commitments to people.” What great logic.

Sorry, but if Congress passes unConstitutional legislation to implement unConstitutional programs, it is not your obligation to pay for them. On the contrary, it is Congress’s duty to repeal all such legislation, because, first and foremost, members of Congress made a commitment that trumps all other commitments — the commitment to uphold the Constitution!  I’m feeling a bit lonely wondering about how many other people even care about this little inconvenient truth.

But let’s get real here and face reality. The U.S. will ultimately default on its debt obligations regardless of what deal Congress strikes. Every halfway honest person with an IQ below 32 knows that. All Democrats and most Republicans are doing is playing politics in an effort to prolong the inevitable so our children and grandchildren will be left holding the bag of hyper-inflated currency when the U.S. does finally default on its debt. Lots of luck, kids.

Our problem is not how to deal with the debt ceiling. It’s much bigger than that. Our real, underlying problem is that we have lost our moral compass.

–Robert Ringer

Raising The Bar For Guilty Verdicts

I thought Aphrodite Jones summed it up best on Hannity when she said that the jurors in the Casey Anthony trial had taken the concept of “reasonable doubt” and extended it to “shadow of a doubt.” If you look up the word “reasonable” in the dictionary, you find: “not exceeding the limit prescribed by reason; not excessive.” In this case, the jurors clearly exceeded the limit prescribed by reason.

In his closing remarks, Jose Baez turned reasonable doubt on its head and convinced the jurors they were obliged to convict only if they had no doubts. In other words, he successfully misled them as to the intent of the law.

If the bar for conviction is any doubt rather than reasonable doubt, we’re likely to see more verdicts like O.J. Simpson’s and Casey Anthony’s in the future. Based on F. Lee Bailey’s wild theory that Mark Fuhrman rolled up one of O.J.’s socks in his pant leg, I guess you could argue that it justified some doubt about O.J.’s guilt. But if the doubt is one in 10 million (which are the odds I would ascribe to Bailey’s totally unsubstantiated theory), that would exceed the limit prescribed by reason.

The fact is that O.J. was clearly guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. And, don’t kid yourself, Johnny Cochran, F. Lee Bailey and all 12 jurors knew it. So did attorney Robert Shapiro, which is why he resigned from the case.

Let me be clear that I never want to see an innocent person put in prison, let alone executed. But it’s happened in the past and it will happen again, because — sorry, liberals — life isn’t perfect. It has often been said that it’s better that 99 murderers go free if it means saving the life of one person falsely accused of murder.

Perhaps. But what about 1,000 murderers going free in exchange for saving the life of one innocent person? Or 10,000 murderers going free in exchange for saving the life of one innocent person? Where do we draw the line? Answer: where the evidence is beyond a reasonable doubt.

If you set the bar for conviction so high that defense attorneys know that it’s just a game of throwing enough legal excrement against the wall, they can always raise some doubt. But that’s not where the bar is supposed to be. The law clearly states reasonable doubt.

Set aside the chloroform; set aside the duct tape; set aside the claimed childhood sexual abuse; set aside George Anthony’s supposed affair. All these are secondary issues. The three key issues that are indisputable — and that represent evidence that makes Casey Anthony’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt — are:

First, in the history of the world, no mother, no matter how good or how bad she may have been in the past, ever went partying for 31 days after her child disappeared, never calling the police and never displaying any concern about her. To say this was just her way of dealing with emotional distress is not a reasonable conjecture.

All the DNA evidence in the world can’t stand up to common sense. Casey Anthony’s behavior was overwhelming circumstantial evidence that made her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Second, in the history of the world, no one ever sat in a prison cell for three years, claimed she didn’t know what happened to her child (in this case, after her Zanny-the-nanny tale was exposed), then, at her trial, told her attorney to tell the court that the child died as a result of a drowning accident. (I’m assuming here that Jose Baez didn’t make up this story on his own and subject himself to criminal prosecution.)

Again, you don’t need DNA here. If you blatantly lie about your child’s cause of death, it’s beyond a reasonable doubt that you killed her.

Third, in the history of the world, no mother, after finding her child drowned, ever decided not to call the police and instead wrap the child in a plastic bag and throw her in the woods. There is no reasonable explanation for even a world-class idiot turning a drowning accident into a potential death-penalty homicide. To believe someone could have done this is to go far beyond a reasonable doubt.

As a side note, if I learned anything from this case, I guess it’s that I will never again get suckered into believing that a quick jury verdict implies a conviction. How well I remember when the jury came back with a verdict in the O.J. trial after just three hours of “deliberation.”

At the time, Jeffrey Toobin, now a legal analyst for CNN, opined that such a quick verdict had to mean a conviction. He was so naïve that he didn’t realize that the jurors had decided they were going to acquit O.J. before the trial had even begun.

While I didn’t buy into Toobin’s opinion in the O.J. circus, I have to admit that in the Casey Anthony trial I did believe that the quick verdict meant a conviction. With such overwhelming evidence against her, there was no way the jury could arrive at an acquittal without many days of deliberating. This time around, I guess I proved to be just as naïve about juries as Toobin.

The reason one cannot draw any conclusion from a quick verdict is because the hype about how jurors, on the whole, are intelligent, deep-thinking people who carefully weigh the evidence is just another self-delusive example of American feel-good talk.

No doubt, some jurors are intelligent and well informed. But the politically incorrect reality is that a significant percentage of jurors are totally unqualified to make sound and honest judgments based on the law. Perhaps professional juries in high-profile cases are a possible alternative to some of the dolts who now sit on juries and insist on ignoring evidence that is beyond a reasonable doubt.

That said, the guy who should be really mad about the outcome of the Casey Anthony trial is Scott Peterson. He had much less evidence against him than she did, but, thanks to Mark Geragos’ obnoxious arrogance and puffery, Peterson ended up on death row.

In closing, I would also opine that the biggest giveaway to guilt is the one thing that Casey Anthony, O.J. Simpson and Scott Peterson all had in common: None of them showed a lick of grief or sorrow at any time.

Defense attorneys are fond of saying that no one can predict how he might act if he were under indictment for a murder he didn’t commit. Hokum, I say. Any person who’s had a loved one (or even an ex-spouse, as in the case of O.J.) murdered would be grief-stricken — and would show it. I wouldn’t say this one piece of circumstantial evidence demands a guilty verdict beyond a reasonable doubt, but I’d wager that the emotionless person on trial would be guilty in 99 percent of the cases.

Final thought: Casey Anthony should work on repressing her laughter, because what lies ahead for her is a life of overwhelming problems and unhappiness. She’ll probably make a few million dollars quickly, but her story is likely to have a tragic ending.

There’s a part of me that almost feels sorry for this emotionally disturbed young lady, but the thought of how her 2-year-old daughter’s life ended makes that an impossibly high bar to clear.

–Robert Ringer

The Avaricious Progressive Homo Sapiens

Americans are easy prey when it comes to political distraction debates. The National Labor Relations Board’s outrageous attempt to block Boeing from opening a new plant in South Carolina is a distraction. Proposed card-check legislation is a distraction. Our obsessive meddling in Middle Eastern countries is a distraction.

All these are important issues, but they are merely subcategories of the foundational issue that Americans should be focused on: loss of freedom. In a truly free society, none of these issues would even arise, because they are outside the scope of human freedom.

Unfortunately, we are being cleverly engineered into social-justice automatons by left-wing zealots who run Atlas Shrug-like bureaucracies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the NLRB and the Department of Education, to name but a few of our worst enemies from within.

The antithesis of freedom is communism. Karl Marx and his lackey benefactor, Friedrich Engels, firmly believed that violent revolution was the only way to bring about pure communism, and that such a revolution was possible only where capitalism existed. Capitalism, they insisted, was necessary in order to create a large financial disparity between workers and the privileged class.

I’m still baffled as to why Marx and Engels would want to increase the income disparity between the classes, only to rectify the disparity through violent revolution. It sounds like angry, left-wing mischievousness to me. Perhaps it was based on their knowledge of the utter failure of the French Revolution, which had led only to mob violence, unthinkable human carnage and, ultimately, a Napoleonic dictatorship.

The fact is that there has never been a communist revolutionary threat in capitalistic societies such as Japan, Taiwan or Hong Kong (before it came under the rule of mainland China). The most notable communist revolutions have occurred in Russia, China, Vietnam and Cuba, none of which could have been considered capitalist countries at the time. Thus, Marx and Engels would have considered the United States to be a perfect crucible for testing their convoluted class warfare theories.

Of course, only naïve dreamers believe in the communist fairy tale that under communism, the State will eventually “wither away,” because there will be so much of everything for everybody that government will no longer be necessary. But I do believe that Marx and Engels were onto something in their belief that socialism would precede communism. In fact, they referred to socialism as a “transitional stage of society” between capitalism and communism.

Nevertheless, here in the United States, we have long suffered from the delusion that “European-style socialism” is a nice, peaceful, cradle-to-grave compromise between capitalism and communism. Over the past several decades, elitists on both the right and the left have come to believe that European society was static, and that so long as European countries kept their redistribution-of-wealth programs finely tuned, capitalists would go right on producing enough to support the parasitic masses.

What they did not take into account, however, was a crucial factor known as human nature. Homo sapiens — particularly its progressive subspecies — is, by nature, an avaricious creature. Worse, the more goods and services a man acquires without work, the more avaricious he becomes. In fact, the human appetite for wealth without work is insatiable.

The result is that when producers can no longer create enough wealth to appease the voracious appetites of the masses, those on the receiving end become increasingly upset. That’s why the riots we have witnessed in Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy are not mysterious events. On the contrary, they were predictable decades ago.

If a man has spent his whole life believing it is his right to retire at age 58 and someone else’s obligation to support him in his retirement in the lifestyle to which he has become accustomed, he is incapable of comprehending that he must work until — Gasp! — age 60.

It was just as predictable that the rioting would come to the United States. Madison, Wis.; Indianapolis; Columbus, Ohio; and other State capitals are but a mild preview of what the United States can expect once the invisible depression becomes visible even to those who are still in a Keynesian coma.

With the coming debt-ceiling increase, no cutbacks in store for Social Security or Medicare, and a majority of politicians unwilling to make serious spending cuts in other unConstitutional, redistribution-of-wealth programs, my view of what’s on the near horizon is pretty clear. I see the (admitted) unemployment rate at 25 percent or more, housing prices collapsing at least another 50 percent, the Dow Jones industrial average free-falling several thousands of points in a single day and inflation rising to 30 percent, 40 percent or perhaps even higher.

All of which would set the stage for the cherished uprising Marx and Engels so passionately longed for — and that Barack Obama and his Marxist pals believe they are near to achieving. The reason the United States has been able to avoid violent revolution until now is because even through the eras of the most left-leaning Presidents and Congresses of the past 100 years, there was always enough pushback to keep capitalism alive. But that pushback has been rapidly declining, and now comes from only 50 percent or less of the population.

Ironic, isn’t it? Marx and Engels believed capitalism was necessary in order to create more wealth disparity. And they were right. Capitalism does create disparities in wealth. But the nature of the system is that it creates more wealth for those on the lowest rung of the income ladder than any other system, so income and wealth disparities (while interesting phenomena for academic eggheads to ponder) are irrelevant. The only thing that’s relevant is how well off each individual is in absolute terms — not in comparison to others.

The bottom line is that without capitalism, there is no such thing as prosperity for the masses. And without freedom, capitalism, by definition, cannot exist, because it is nothing more than a subcategory of freedom. Capitalism is the freedom to trade goods and services with others without interference from government.

If you agree with most of what I’ve said here, you should make it a point to vote only for those office seekers who you are convinced truly understand that our main threat is our loss of freedom. My pessimistic vision of the future would change substantially if pro-freedom types were able to win the Presidency and overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress in 2012.

The optimistic side of me hopes it will happen, but my realistic side keeps reminding me that history has not been kind to those who put their trust in politicians.

–Robert Ringer

Slavery To Continue At Walmart

In a June 20 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court struck a note for liberty when it overruled Federal courts in San Francisco that had allowed all women who worked for Walmart since December 1998 to join in a single, nationwide suit seeking back pay. I say struck a note for liberty, because this was about far more than Walmart’s winning out over a bunch of high-priced litigators who represented a group of ungrateful Walmart employees.

The court ruled that the 1.5 million women at 3,400 Walmart stores in the United States had too little in common to allow a class-action lawsuit to move forward. In the court’s opinion, there was no proof that Walmart employed a general policy of “systemic discrimination.”

What makes the Supreme Court’s decision especially delightful is that the law firm of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll lost roughly $7 million in pursuing this classic deep-pockets case. It’s enough to make one fantasize about how different our court system (and our economy) would be if attorneys who lost frivolous lawsuits would be required to pay the winners’ legal fees.

But let’s get back to Walmart’s employees. Forget that Walmart is the No. 1 employer in the country, employing 1.4 million Americans in 4,424 stores. (Worldwide, Walmart employs more than 2.1 million people in 9,198 stores.) Forget that Walmart saves consumers billions of dollars each year on retail purchases. Forget that its employees, on average, earn about double the minimum wage. It doesn’t matter how much good Walmart does, the raw-meat crowd continues to call for beheadings. Bring on the Jacobins!

The word from some disgruntled employees has long been that Walmart doesn’t treat its employees “fairly” — whatever that’s supposed to mean. But, definitions aside, this is your lucky day. Because if you think Walmart is “unfair,” guess what? You don’t have to shop there.

Wow! What a novel idea: shopping with your feet. If you don’t like the fact that Walmart carries too many products made in “sweatshop” countries, shop with your feet. If you believe Walmart puts smaller retailers out of business and you’re unhappy about that, shop with your feet.

Nevertheless, to make it easy on the social-justice crowd, let’s assume there is such a thing as absolute fairness. And let’s further assume that Walmart does, indeed, treat its employees unfairly. That, of course, begs the question: What in the world can be done to protect Walmart’s paid slaves?

More good news: In a truly free society, unfair treatment of employees would never be an issue, because workers would be free to sell their services for the highest possible wages in the open market. If someone chose to work at Walmart, he would do so only because he believed, consciously or otherwise, that it afforded him the best opportunity to be adequately compensated for his skills, his experience and his efforts.

An employer doesn’t ask a job applicant to present a list of his job requirements when he submits his application. On the contrary, the employer lets the applicant know, in advance, what the company’s conditions of employment are.

If those conditions call for 15-hour workdays, minimum-wage pay and no paid sick leave, so be it. How can I say such a dastardly thing? Because an employee not only does not have to take such a job, he also has the right to quit his job at any time.

Furthermore, since an unhappy employee is free, he can apply for another job anywhere he chooses. No permission needed. On the other hand, if he chooses to stay in his present employment situation, he is making a clear statement that he believes it’s the best position he can hope to obtain at that particular time. If this were not true, he would be insane, or perhaps masochistic, to remain in his present job.

It doesn’t take a Ludwig von Mises to explain it. In a free market, everything works smoothly because both employers and employees are free to make their own choices. It’s only when government bureaucrats or labor thugs (aka labor unions) enter the picture that freedoms are violated.

All government intervention between employers and employees results in infringements on the rights of one or the other — or both. The same goes with labor unions. The actions of most labor unions are fundamentally immoral and in violation of the Constitutional rights of both employees and employers.

The so-called union shop is a violation of the natural rights of every employee who is forced to join a union against his will — even without the new card-check legislation being proposed by the National Labor Relations Board. And, worse, it is a violation of the rights of an employer to hire whomever he wants, whenever he wants, for whatever reasons are important to him.

Unfortunately, that’s not reality in today’s People’s Republic of America. After decades of artificially high wages and benefits, job-protection schemes and government-mandated safety standards, spoiled American workers demand still more.

I would make the case that an excellent investment for Walmart would be to spend mega-millions of dollars to educate its employees about the morality and efficacy of liberty and laissez-faire economics. It would be a lot less expensive than the draconian legal fees it is certain to continue incurring in the coming years.

Now that we’ve come face to face with the ugly realities of Marxism in the United States, it’s time for corporate leaders to man up and start educating their own employees, as well as the public at large, about the wonders of capitalism. History has clearly taught us what to expect if good men do nothing.

However, educating muddled minds does not begin with the worker; it begins with big business. If corporate America does not truly believe in laissez-faire capitalism, why should its workers? And if it does believe in laissez-faire capitalism, but is unwilling to suffer “mortification of the flesh” (in the words of Frank Chodorov) in presenting the truth to the public, then the case for free enterprise is lost.

In the meantime, it’s up to each of us to become proactive and not wait for corporate America to come to our rescue. Take every opportunity you can get to extol the virtues of capitalism; when you do so, you extol the virtues of freedom. It’s true that you are but one person in a sea of millions, but it is completely within your power to be part of the solution to America’s ills rather than part of the problem.

If the Supreme Court can rule in favor of liberty, anything is possible.

–Robert Ringer

Remembering The 25¢ Hamburger

It’s funny how seemingly small or fleeting incidents stick in your memory throughout life. Hyperinflation, aka runaway inflation, is becoming a very real possibility to millions of Americans who heretofore clung to their weekly visits to Outback Steakhouse and the feel-good mantra of “American exceptionalism.” Considering this, my memory takes me back to my teenage years.

Growing up on the east side of town, the Towne House Drive-In was a real-life “American Graffiti” hangout for cool and hungry teens who loved burgers, fries and milkshakes. I thought nothing of having a midnight gorge of two double cheeseburgers, a large order of fries and an extra-large shake. I don’t think I ever heard the words “cholesterol” or “saturated fat.” Had I, I doubt it would have phased me.

The Towne House Drive-In did a bang-up business in those days. But just two blocks west, on the same side of the street, was a less-popular eatery, the Eastmoor Drive-In. I went to the Eastmoor every now and then, but was never particularly impressed.

Then, one day, it happened. The Towne House Drive-In raised the price of its hamburgers from 25 to 30 cents. The thought had never crossed my mind that the price of anything in my little cloistered world would ever increase. For me, not only was the universe static, but so was my hometown, my house, my life and the people I hung out with.

Shortly after the Towne House’s earthshaking announcement that it was raising the price of its burgers, one of my friends happened to mention he preferred the Eastmoor Drive-In to the Townhouse. When I asked how he could possibly prefer the Eastmoor to the Towne House, he responded: “Because, as matter of principle, I would never pay 30 cents for a hamburger when I can get one for 25 cents at the Eastmoor.”

I thought about my friend’s comments all these years later when my wife and I recently visited a newly opened mid-priced restaurant. I didn’t particularly like anything on the menu, so I decided to be daring and order the “gourmet” hamburger. Price: $10! I consoled myself by recalling that in New Orleans, a restaurant called Luke features a $16 burger on its menu. Granted, the Luke burger is a mix of brisket and sirloin and is delectable, but it’s still $16.

In any event, as it turned out, the $10 burger wasn’t anything special, but that’s beside the point. The question is: How can the price of a hamburger rise from 25 cents to $10 with the passage of time?

The answer is monetary inflation. In truth, the increased cost of a burger over the past 50 years is a delusion. It’s just a symptom of the real problem: a decrease in the value of the dollar. As a result of this decrease in value, it takes a lot more money for someone to buy what he did one, 10 or 50 years ago.

I was first introduced to this reality by Harry Browne, through his 1970 classic How You Can Profit from the Coming Devaluation. Browne was a legendary teacher and master of simplifying complex issues. In his book, he confidently predicted that then-President Richard Nixon would be forced to devalue the dollar, at a time when Nixon was pledging to the American public that he would never do such a thing.

But within a matter of months of Browne’s book coming out, the most powerful man on the planet, the President of the United States, was forced to do precisely what he swore he would never do — and what a relatively unknown author had said the President would have to do — devalue the dollar and sever its ties to gold.

That made it possible for government to simply print whatever it couldn’t borrow in the open market or steal from working Americans (through “taxation”) in order to expand its vote-buying entitlement programs and outrageously wasteful spending on politicians’ endless pet projects.

By the late 1970s, I, along with a handful of other writers who understood the inflation con, began predicting that runaway inflation was just around the corner. After all, Jimmy Carter, probably the second-worst president in U.S. history (don’t ask), had the (admitted) inflation rate roaring at 18 percent. In an article on March 24, 1980, even Time magazine noted: “Usually confident businessmen and bankers have begun talking of Latin American-style hyperinflation, financial collapse, major bankruptcies, a drastic drop in the American standard of living.” Does that sound familiar?

The hyperinflation didn’t happen, and neither did the drastic drop in the American standard of living. Through a combination of optimism, tax-rate reductions, “controlling” the money supply, deregulating business and the economy, and reducing government spending, President Ronald Reagan came to the rescue, spurred economic growth and temporarily staved off financial Armageddon.

In fact, after Reagan left office, Americans felt so good about things that even those who should have known better let their guards down and forgot Thomas Paine’s warning: “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”

Comforted by artificial prosperity and distracted by wars, sex scandals and brain-dulling TV fare, Americans hardly noticed the gradual increase in prices. In fact, when George W. Bush took office in 2001, the dollar had lost only about one-third of its value since the end of Ronald Reagan’s second term in office.

Of course, in 1980 the Bureau of Labor Statistics removed the two most frequently purchased items — food and energy — from the Consumer Price Index in an effort to delude the citizenry and prolong the inevitable. But now, the day of reckoning is at hand.

With House Speaker John Boehner playing lovefest rounds of golf with President Barack Obama, the debt ceiling is sure to be raised again, most likely without a corresponding reduction in government spending. As a result, the misery index (the unemployment rate plus the inflation rate) is also sure to increase at an accelerating pace as millions of people are torn between filling their gas tanks and putting food on their tables.

I find it interesting that my introduction to inflation began so innocently with that nickel rise in the price of a hamburger at the Towne House Drive-In five decades ago. But, at the time, I was clueless — as were most Americans. After all, it had nothing to do with girls or basketball.

By the way, that friend of mine who balked at the nickel increase later became a Bobby Kennedy “social reform” groupie. I wonder what he thinks of the steak-like price of a good hamburger today, and if he has any idea that the price is a direct result of those compassionate social-reform programs (entitlement programs) that his beloved Kennedy so aggressively pursued.

Robert Ringer

Judgment Day For Obama?

A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 48 percent of Americans believe the U.S. economy is headed for another depression within a year. This is great news, because it means nearly half of all Americans are starting to awaken from their slumber and realize President Barack Obama and his media allies have been lying about the existence of a nonexistent recovery.

I say “starting,” because I have no way of knowing how many of these people truly understand the underlying causes of the depression they believe is on the way. (I hasten to add that, in truth, we have long been in an invisible depression — a depression shielded from the public by easy credit and excessive money creation. But that’s a story for another day.)

There’s another piece of good news to go with CNN’s 48 percent figure. In a recent Allstate/National Journal poll, 47 percent of Americans said they “would definitely or probably” not vote for Obama. The 48 and 47 percent figures sound like a winning combination — or, put another way, a losing combination for Obama.

The bad news is Mitt Romney is the early front-runner for the Republican nomination, with the Tea Party candidates stuck at the back of the pack. Nevertheless, if Romney does end up winning the nomination, I believe he will make Obama look and sound like a fumbling, stumbling high school kid in head-to-head debates.

So what’s the problem? If Romney becomes President, probably the best we can hope for is that he will be another George W. Bush. Yes, I’m talking about the same George W. Bush who, just as Herbert Hoover did for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, gave Obama the Presidency with his big-spending policies. And the worst that might happen to the United States, courtesy of the guy who created the model for Obamacare, is too bad to even contemplate.

Another piece of bad news offsets the 48 and 47 percent anti-Obama figures. The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll also shows 75 percent of Americans approve of Obama “personally.” Huh? What planet do these folks live on? They obviously know little or nothing about Obama’s upbringing, his past and current associations, his debt and spending policies, and his endless, ongoing lies that everyone can easily witness on television and the Internet on a daily basis.

Obama will obfuscate, lie and spin the truth thousands of times over the next 17 months. He will unmercifully smear whoever his opponent may be. That’s the problem. It isn’t hard to imagine Obama swinging enough voters over to his side to dramatically reduce the 47 percent figure (people who say they won’t vote for him) and, in the process, win re-election.

Once he is out of campaign mode, you can be sure Obama will go right back to putting the redistribution-of-wealth throttle on full thrust in an attempt to finish the job he was taught to do by his radical mother, his proud-to-be-a-communist father (his mother’s words), his ideological mentor Frank Marshall Davis, his spiritual mentor Reverend Jeremiah Wright, community-organizing guru Saul Alinsky, American-hating terrorist Bill Ayers, Frances Fox Piven (of “overwhelming the system” fame), etc. The list is endless, ugly, Marxist and lethal.

Clearly, the Republicans need a Presidential nominee who is willing to be bold and aggressive in exposing the truth about Obama, his background, his allies, his ideology, his policies and his vision of America as a model collectivist state. What will not work is the make-nice stuff like Jon Huntsman’s self-righteous statement, “I believe we ought to have a civil discourse in this country.” The Republican Party needs to nominate a Tea Party type.

Unfortunately, another poll — this one by Rasmussen Reports — makes it clear the Tea Party folks are going to have a huge hill to climb to get one of their own nominated. The poll found only “16 percent of all voters now consider themselves members of the Tea Party movement, down from 21 percent at the end of last year.” That is not good news.

So the big problem Republicans now face is how to find and nominate a candidate who believes, deep down in his or her heart, in Ayn Rand’s tenet: “Judge and prepare to be judged.”

The Master of Misdirection has had nearly 2½ years to show us what he meant by “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” Now it’s time for him to be judged — candidly and harshly — for bringing America to its moral and financial knees. It’s time for his free pass to come to an end.

But if Romney is the guy who ends it, don’t get your hopes up that we will see smaller government, lower taxes, less regulation and more freedom. I could be wrong, but … in any event, stay tuned. Things are likely to change every week. Let’s just hope the changes are for the better. We have already found out the hard way that change can also result in our worst nightmare.

(On that note, please keep in mind that this article was submitted Monday morning, prior to the CNN Republican Presidential debate Monday evening.)

–Robert Ringer