LRC Blog

Michael Avenatti Charged With Extortion, Wire Fraud, and Bank Fraud

“Creepy Porn Lawyer” was attempting to extort $20 million from Nike.  Wire and bank fraud charges are for embezzling a client’s money to pay mounting debts and expenses.

3:46 pm on March 25, 2019

Walter E. Block Honored

Dear Folks:

I have just been accorded a signal acknowledgment: an entire volume of a refereed journal honoring me:

Estudios Libertarios: Vol. 1 (2018); special issue in Honor of Walter E. Block

http://www.notaslibertarias.com/vol-1-2018/;

https://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2019/03/congratulations-to-dr-walter-block.html;(EconomicPolicyJournal.com)

This compilation also includes two of my own contributions, one co-authored with a student of mine. I am delighted to be able to share this material with the LRC community.

Best regards,

Walter

2:18 pm on March 25, 2019

Mueller Report Decimates ‘Russiagate’ Hoax – What’s Next?

1:11 pm on March 25, 2019

Yes, There Was Collusion…

…it was between Hillary and foreign and domestic intelligence agencies. I am on RT International:

10:27 am on March 25, 2019

A Critique of Libertarian Private Property Rights Theory

From: R
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2018 8:56 AM
To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>
Subject: Private Property

Dear Walter,

My friend said he’s going to buy the property surrounding my house. I won’t be able to get in or out of my house because he won’t let me onto his property.

He also said he’s going to pollute the river he bought even though it’s well stocked with fish and frequented by fisherman.  He said he can do that because it’s his property.

Regards,

R

(more…)

2:35 am on March 25, 2019

Michael Tracey: Trump-Russia Hoax as Big a Fraud as Iraqi WMD

…and interestingly, it was promoted by many, if not most, of the same usual suspects: David Frum, Bill Kristol, etc., who have all gone completely unscathed since Iraq and will almost certainly continue as such.

11:44 pm on March 24, 2019

SPLC Deserves Its Fate

Five years ago, this blog of mine exposed the SPLC’s fraudulent hate group inflation, counting and mis-identification of hate groups. However, I mistakenly attributed the SPLC’s fraud to ideological bias rather than to its harvesting of money from unsuspecting donors. What’s that line in “Scarface” (1983)? It’s when Robert Loggia (Frank) advises Al Pacino (Tony) “Never underestimate the other guy’s greed.”

SPLC supplied “hate” to donors who felt good “fighting” hate by paying SPLC and who benefited by labeling political enemies as hate groups.

The entire business of singling out hate crimes and then hate speech has been a wrong turn in criminal and civil law from the start, which goes back to the 1980s, with incipient roots in the civil rights mass movement era. Its thrust is to emphasize trauma of victims and motives of perpetrators of crimes, with a seeming aim of keeping alive the idea that particular categories of people are victims of crimes motivated by hate, bigotry and prejudice. In other words, keep the civil rights movement alive and keep racial voting blocs intact, even though desegregation had already crowned the movement with success. The advertised idea has been that certain groups deserve special treatment because of hatred being directed against them. However, the whole business of adding a hate motivation to known crimes has political goals, rather than being aimed at crimes. The social effect of hate being promulgated as a cause of crime is to encourage people and especially political rabble-rousers to see and sense hate at every opportunity. Pouncing upon any crime as a hate crime or any speech as hate speech is a demagogic method of keeping the idea of victimized groups alive and firming up the role and position of the demagogue as a “leader” of a “community”.

The SPLC entered the hate industry successfully, until now, when its fraud is coming into the public spotlight. SPLC amassed huge amounts of money from people who are against hate, hate crimes and hate speech. But it was a leftist fountain of bias. As Tom DiLorenzo observes, “The SPLC is one of the many professional propaganda arms of the Democrat Party whose job is to smear critics of the Party of Leftism and Marxism as ‘haters,’ or worse. That of course is 100% illegal for a ‘nonprofit’ 501 (C)(3) organization like the SPLC which is tax exempt because of that designation.”

SPLC is being sued by multiple parties for its false designations. SPLC deserves its fate, which hopefully is bankruptcy atop its shame.

3:06 pm on March 24, 2019

Causes of America’s Demise

A thoughtful article by Steven Kessler argues that America will go socialist to an even greater degree than already. This means America’s demise as a classical liberal enterprise.

His summary mentions 4 factors that are precipitating the demise:

“America’s size, diversity, and democratic character are precipitating our demise. The emphasis on equity, a moral foundation that causes envy, will surely lead us to a political ideology, socialism, that is widely known as the ‘politics of envy.'”

I do not think that size by itself is a cause or problem. I do not think that diversity by itself is a cause or problem. In my experience in this great country, America and Americans have been united enough to sustain a classical liberal government, even across a continent in which there were many peoples of different heritages.

A mistaken emphasis on equality is indeed a powerful contributing negative factor, but it too by itself isn’t causing our demise as a nation built upon rights.

Democracy is a bad form of government, and that too is a powerful contributing factor. However, it cannot make its negative influence felt unless the government’s power becomes great. When almost any law can be passed and still be “legal”, that is what destroys rights.

The key cause of our demise as a rights-bearing and just nation is the demise of limited government. Once it happens that anything can be voted on and become law, the negative forces are unleashed. There is then a struggle for power among the least moral people. They pander to people’s desires for equality. They stoke envy. They use the power of taxation to bribe whole classes of people and enmesh them in support of the powers of government.

As long as government is kept limited, size, diversity, envy, striving for equality and even democracy play a limited role.

The key to American economic success, based upon rights, has always been limited government and it still is. This is what Kessler misses in an otherwise good article that addresses an important question.

This diagnosis focuses our attention on a key question: Why have we moved further and further to unlimited government?

9:17 am on March 23, 2019

Now Southern Poverty Law Center President Richard Cohen Resigns

As his employees complain of a culture of racism and sexism there, and a longtime employee writes in The New Yorker that the place is in reality a “highly profitable scam.”  The hard-Left New Yorker must agree to have published such a condemnation as this.  The rats are jumping ship.

All the SPLC does is libel and smear any and all critics of the Democratic Party as racists, sexists, homophobes, bla, bla, bla, and then the Lying Media Scum (LMS) repeat the smears.  If that is not a scam then nothing is a scam.  This does absolutely nothing for minorities and has nothing to do with fighting discrimination, but the LMS and the Democrat Party (sorry for the redundancy) are very happy with it.

4:34 am on March 23, 2019

Why Employment Discrimination Laws Are Bad

Existing law lays down the pseudo-commandment that thou shalt not discriminate in employment by “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin”. H.R. 5 proposes to replace the word “sex” by “sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation”.

Detailed religious laws of those who voluntarily choose a religion are one thing. Detailed employment laws applied to a whole society by the powers of the state are an entirely different matter. Anyone can take or leave a religion within America. No one can leave a U.S. law without leaving America at considerable pain.

As the U.S. government chips and hacks away at the Statue of Liberty, freedoms disappear. A bathtub filled with water can be emptied with a teaspoon over time. The totalitarians are well-equipped with pickaxes and pneumatic drills, with tablespoons and cups.

H.R. 5 stops at the extension to gender and sexual orientation only because other voting blocs have not yet coalesced and pressured Congress for a remedy to the discrimination they experience or think they experience or imagine they experience. What blocs? Those who are not pretty, not beautiful, not strong, not graceful, not tall, too tall, unreliable, untrustworthy, petty larcenists, crooks, former felons, not citizens, lacking educational attainments, illiterate, too literate, slow, lacking in motor skills, unskilled, lacking experience, lacking in intelligence, unclean, lazy, unable to drive a car, unable to take dictation, unable to use a computer, unable to speak English, unable to speak Spanish, unwilling to dress according to a dress code, blind, deaf, diseased, handicapped, etc.

To see how far the totalitarian impulse is going of secular laws that regulate human relations in employment, see the U.K.’s law. The U.K. already has The Equality Act 2010. This covers 4 types of discrimination: Direct discrimination, discrimination by association, perception discrimination and indirect discrimination. It also includes harassment, harassment by others (outside the company) and victimisation. Everything applies to “age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.”

Totalitarians are happy to put an end to freedom of association and freedom of contract. They are happy to impose their own preferences on others. Sexual politics written into law gives the upper hand to groups who wish to impose their lifestyles on people who may wish to have nothing to do with them. The result is forced integration that relegates rights and freedoms to quaint memories of unfulfilled ideals. The result is totalitarian. That is the prime reason why these laws are so very bad.

There is no difference of principle between a law that says “You may not associate with LGBT people” and a law that says “You must associate with LGBT people”. What difference is there between a law that says “You may not do business with Jews” and a law that says “You must do business with Jews”? None. The only law that need be enforced is one that says “You may or may not do business with anyone and no one shall impede you,” that is, you have a right to association and it shall be upheld and protected.

3:39 pm on March 22, 2019

Civil Rights Act of 1964 and H.R. 5 vs. The Declaration of Independence

The 116th Congress is considering H.R. 5, a Democrat monstrosity of so-called “law” (237 Democrat and only 3 Republican co-sponsors).

This “law” doesn’t deserve the name of law because it perverts the law principle enunciated in our Declaration of Independence.

H.R. 5 expands the 1964 Civil Rights Act into new areas of human relations in America. The 1964 Act already contains very bad law enough by outlawing what should be private rights in employment. It prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of an “individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

H.R. 5 amends the 1964 law “To prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, and for other purposes.” The “Findings” section of H.R. 5 is simply awful. LGBT activists, who need to be distinguished from good people who are LGBT, apparently wrote parts of it. Other parts have such incredible language as this: “For example, discrimination against a married same-sex couple could be based on the sex stereotype that marriage should only be between heterosexual couples, the sexual orientation of the two individuals in the couple, or both.” Since when is marriage between a man and a woman a “sex stereotype”?

Basic principles are in play here. Does a human being, any human being, have a right to choose with whom to associate, or is this freedom to be disallowed by legislated “law”? May a human being make a contract with some other human beings and not with others, or is this freedom to be disallowed by Act of Congress?

The answer given by H.R. 5 and the Act it amends is that these basic rights and freedoms are subject to control, curtailment and even destruction by Congress. This has been held to be consistent with the Constitution. Yet it clearly demolishes the principle of rights in the Declaration of Independence.

Once having made “laws” that eliminate such basic freedoms and gotten away with them, what new areas of human relations become targets of the government totalitarians?

H.R. 5 is called the Equality Act. This goes to show how badly Americans are being led astray by single-minded devotion to a false principle, that is, a misunderstood, misread, misinterpreted and bowdlerized principle. The Declaration of Independence reads “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

This says that we are born equal by virtue of our equal possession of rights to live, to be free and to pursue our lives and happiness. It doesn’t say or imply that our government may mold our pursuits or tell us whom we may associate with in employment or in any other context. It doesn’t say that our government exists to create equality of opportunity or equality of service or equality of hiring or equality of our thoughts or preferences, our clothing, our income, our religious views, or how others treat us. It says that our Creator has already seen to equality in the sense of giving us life and endowing us with certain Rights.

10:04 am on March 22, 2019

SPLC Had Racism and Sexism Problem for 25 Years, National Media Covered It Up

So bad it belonged at the top of its own list of hate groups. Former black employees referred to organization as “plantation.”

7:37 pm on March 21, 2019

Polar Bears Must Love “Climate Change”

Their numbers may have quadrupled in recent years.

4:22 pm on March 21, 2019

FDA-Approved ADHD Drugs Linked to Psychosis

Symptoms include “paranoia, hallucinations, delusions and hearing voices.” Adderall and Vyvanse pose the greatest risk.

2:34 pm on March 21, 2019

A Discussion About Careers, Libertarian Issues.

From: V
Sent: Friday, September 28, 2018 10:18 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Query

Hi Dr.Block,

It’s been almost a year since I started my PhD in International Business (currently in my 2nd year), a decision that you encouraged me to do has it was the most fun for me. I have the following concerns:

V: This Question have been circling my mind me for a while; How an an-cap society will work if we know not every individual is rational?

WB: why not? Private police will be more effective in banning from society irrational criminals.

V: I will like to participate in Mises RGS or Fellowship, do you have any advice on a topic for research? I’m currently working in an association of FDI and the exports of goods and service in Latin America and the Caribbean

WB: That’s a good topic.

V: I will like to step-up my writing any recommendations?

WB: Spend lots of time writing. Eschew perfectionism. When I first started writing, I put a little sign up near my wall. It said, the next thing I write will be perfect. This one, my present project, I’ll just do the best I can. I used to suffer from perfectionism. I thought, I must write perfectly, and I never can. No one can, not even Mises or Rothbard. So, wouldn’t write at all, since my contribution wouldn’t be perfect.

V: I believe that combing my PhD with law school will help my career has and scholar and professionally speaking, are you aware of any libertarian friendly schools?

WB: G Mason, Chicago, there are many others.

V: Thank you in advance

WB: My pleasure

1:16 pm on March 21, 2019

‘Shock & Awe’? 16 Years Later, Who Won The Iraq War?

12:48 pm on March 21, 2019

Socialism’s “Secrets” that Must be Hidden from America’s Youth

That socialism is the mortal enemy of human civilization in whatever form, and at whatever place.

12:18 pm on March 21, 2019

Are Parents Responsible For The Evil Done By Their (Adult) Children? No.

From: M
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2018 9:54 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Hello Walter

It has been a long time, I hope this email finds you well.

Watching your video re: Blockian Proviso…. https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/some-speeches-interviews-of-mine/ the debate video.

Instead of “Positive Obligations” why don’t you say, the parties involved in the sex that led to pregnancy, have “ASSUMED THE RISK” such that, they are required to handle all outcomes of their sex with the least force necessary to harm all parties.  To wit, they will not cry Rape if they simply regret the sex in the morning, and if she gets pregnant, even if she was on the pill, even if he used a condom, yes the risk was say less than 5% but it is still a risk.

Anyone who buys property between two other property lots, say an empty green space, for the purpose of building a house, ASSUMES THE RISK of the building of the house not to damage the property of neighbors on each side.  In other words, you could just buy the land- (have sex) but if you build the house (make a baby) you must take care of it, and not hurt your neighbors or their property in the building of your house.  In general, we are responsible to raise our kids not to harm our fellow man.

The Assumption of Risk is a very old concept.  If you want everything for free, and you do not want responsibility for your own actions- that is not how things (are supposed to) work.

Regards, M

 

Dear M:

Hitler’s parents are not responsible for what he did.

Best regards,

Walter

2:19 am on March 21, 2019

Why Are You Thanking Me for My Service?

Asks an Afghan War veteran. “I didn’t do anything. I didn’t help anyone. I just perpetuated a system of senseless violence.”

9:45 pm on March 20, 2019

Superficial Trump-McCain Brouhaha

John McCain is dead. His interventionist ideas are alive. They are subject to the same criticisms as when he was alive. See this lengthy article for reasons why his principles, now being adopted by Trump, are wrong.

All the leaders in our land, whether in government or out, should want to create peace and freedom. That is what any right-thinking person should want and treasure. It is not easy to know how to do that. It is not easy to figure out what is right in many situations.

Interference militarily seemed always right to McCain, and it now seems right to Trump in Venezuela. Yes, Trump is advocating for Venezuela precisely what McCain would be advocating had he lived. Yet, it is the wrong course of action.

The current brouhaha over something Trump said about McCain has nothing to do with the heart of the matter, which is what principles should be fundamental to the foreign policies of the U.S. and how to apply them in many different and complex situations so as to bring us closer to peace and freedom.

9:40 pm on March 20, 2019

Seattle Being Destroyed by Progressive Politicians and Policy

The San Francisco-ization of the Emerald City. Seems though its politics have been “off” for quite a while. Isn’t there still a statue of Vladimir Lenin there?

Update: Here’s the statue of Lenin in Fremont (source):

2:38 pm on March 20, 2019

Trump Wants Brazil In NATO…To Help Oust Maduro?

12:25 pm on March 20, 2019

Downsizing the Pentagon Receives Criticism

I ran across an article by John Doble taking me to task for suggesting that we cut defense spending by 75 percent. Both articles date from 2012. I will respond to the most important parts of his article.

Doble and I agree on one thing, at least in 2012 we did. He writes “It is true that defense spending can and should be cut; for example, the army could be shrunk, waste curtailed, and parts of the nuclear arsenal abolished (in an age of ICBMs, do we really need both nuclear bombers AND nuclear submarines?).”

How big a cut? Suppose our defense budget was the same size as that of Russia and China combined. I say this because the Pentagon sees them as our biggest threats. The Russian budget was about $61 billion in 2017. The Chinese budget was $175 billion. Their sum is $236 billion. How about if we spent $236 billion? Shouldn’t that be enough? Are we not as efficient as our two biggest Pentagon-identified threats? Trump’s 2019 budget, already passed, is $716 billion.

If we reduce our budget from 716 to 236, that’s a 67 percent reduction.

It’s not worth arguing about the difference between 75 percent and 67 percent because we spend another $50-70 billion on intelligence.

Doble’s main point is shared by our cadre of experts in our military and government. The establishment view is that our defense spending buys international peace. Is this true? If it’s true, then we should see two things. We should see that low spending on defense is accompanied by more war and that decreases in spending generate more war. Conversely, we should see that high and higher spending generate less war.

Where is the evidence to support these claims? I see no evidence to support the establishment view. If anything, the opposite is true.

Here’s a chart of actual defense spending as a percentage of GDP.

North Korea attacked South Korea despite our high spending (10% or so) and the knowledge that we had just defeated Japan. North Vietnam attacked South Vietnam also when spending was high (10% or so). We joined these wars partly because we already had big defense spending.

Relative quietude occurred as defense spending fell between 1975 and 2000 (to 3-5%). We made wars recently on Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen. One reason for this was that we could. That was because of defense spending. It didn’t buy peace. It created a war machine that our leaders made use of. Notice that the Cold War came to an end in 1989, which was amid the period of falling defense spending, a small bump up having occurred under Reagan.

None of these cases support the much-repeated theory that our defense spending buys international peace. They are consistent with the opposite.

Keeping the peace doesn’t require high levels of spending and a worldwide empire of bases and meddling in other countries. Potential foes need only be aware that if they attack us, we will mobilize and counterattack. Potential might is what counts and willingness to use it. They need to know that we have the wherewithal to build an overwhelming conventional counterattack, even if one isn’t immediately available. For nations that have nuclear weapons, they need to know that a nuclear attack on us will be met with a totally destructive retaliation. This actually means destroying the planet. All nuclear powers have a strong incentive for this doomsday reason to negotiate a nuclear-weapons free planet. Increased defense spending in this context raises intolerable risks.

8:03 pm on March 19, 2019

“Damn Socialism”

Many Chinese immigrants to America are horrified at the embrace of communism (same as socialism, as Ludwig von Mises explained) by the Demo-Marxist Party and so many millennials.  One Chinese-American, Zhou Li, says he just wants “America to be America” and not “another Soviet Union, Cuba, or China.”  This of course is the exact opposite of the desires of Bernie Sanders, Sandy Ocasio, “Beto” O’Rourke, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Van Jones, and all the other Demo-Marxist loudmouths, bigshots, and presidential wannabes.

7:56 pm on March 19, 2019

Trump’s Record Spy Budget – What Do We Really Get For $86 Billion?

1:27 pm on March 19, 2019

Alan Kreuger, R.I.P.

I just read that economist Alan Kreuger has died (an apparent suicide).  Condolences to the Kreuger family.  Much will be written about this in the next couple of days since Kreuger was a Clinton and Obama adviser.  His biggest claim to fame (notoriety is more like it) is a study that supposedly repealed the economic law of demand by claiming that increases in the minimum wage do not increase unemployment but may actually decrease it.  The study was debunked by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and by other peer-reviewed research, but to this day many commentators who are fully aware of the debunking pretend that it never occurred while citing Kreuger’s sloppy, debunked, if not dishonest study.  Expect them to do a lot of this for the next week or so.

12:25 pm on March 19, 2019

Taking Care of Non-Economic “Goods”

From: A
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2018 11:14 AM
To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>
Subject: Re:

Dear Dr. Block,

I found this point in the book summary interesting: “…This gives rise to the tragedy of the commons: when something is unowned, people have less of an incentive to care for it, preserve it, and protect it…

Would this mean that if a good is noneconomic,  it isn’t possible for there to be incentive to take care of it? If this is the rule, are there any exceptions?

Dear A:

If something is non-economic, non-scarce, it isn’t a good.

Butterflies, dirt, air, are not economic goods. And, yet, nothing precludes someone from taking care of these items

2:28 am on March 19, 2019

Big Medicine Changes Its Tune Again on Aspirin (Don’t Take if You’re Older…)

…unless you don’t mind the elevated risk of stomach or brain bleeding.

10:06 pm on March 18, 2019

Climatologist Greg Wrightstone on Bill Nye, the Lefty “Science” Guy

Failed climate models overpredict warming. NASA also full of it on predicting unprecedented droughts.

9:47 pm on March 18, 2019

FOX News, R.I.P?

So Rupert Murdoch’s liberal PC sons take over FOX News, and this week they: 1). suspended Judge Jeanine Pirro’s show because the judge questioned whether Sharia law was consistent with the U.S. Constituton; and 2) hired Clinton political hack/fixer Donna Brazile who, when employed by CNN, confessed to rigging the CNN “debate” for Hillary Clinton.  Meanwhile, the Demo-Marxist totalitarians in the Democrat party continue to smear and libel Tucker Carlson who is far more politically incorrect than Judge Jeanine Pirro is.  Is there any doubt that, were they to occupy the White House, the Demo-Marxist totalitarians would declare any and all criticisms of their communistic notions to be sedition or treason?

The collapse of FOX into just another megaphone of leftist babble will create a giant profit opportunity for other television industry investors and entrepreneurs.

4:46 pm on March 18, 2019