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Month: October 2017

How About Just Publicly Shaming Doctors Who Prescribe Addictive Opiate Drugs to People Who Don’t Need Them?

Donald Trump declares the widespread opiate drug addiction crisis a public health emergency. According to USA Today, “Trump signed a presidential memorandum ordering Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services Eric Hargan to waive regulations and give states more flexibility in how they use federal funds.”

Why is it that when there is a health-related crisis, it’s mainly, “What can government do to stop this?” “Federal funding, state funding, tax dollars.” Hmm, we know just how much throwing more tax dollars at a problem helps in other areas, such as education, national security, immigration, and so on. (i.e. zilch.)

Politicians get into their central-planning-on-steroids mode in their hubris of thinking that they can solve societal problems. So what will Trump and his government-must-solve-the-problem cohorts do about people getting addicted to opiates?

USA Today:

“Trump touted a ‘big meeting’ on opioids, and said a national emergency ‘gives us power to do things that you can’t do right now’.”

Thursday’s designation gives the administration specific powers to marshal federal, state and private resources. Those emergency powers would:

► Allow patients to get medically-assisted treatment for opioid addiction through telemedicine. Current law generally requires in-person visits for doctors to prescribe controlled substances. But for people in rural areas like Appalachia — where the opioid crisis has taken a particularly heavy toll — qualified doctors can often be hours away.

► Give federal and state governments more flexibility in hiring substance abuse specialists temporarily and shift federal grant programs for people with HIV/AIDS to get substance abuse treatment.

“I think our general feeling is, that’s a good step, but it’s a temporary step, and it’s a transitional step,” said Jim Blumenstock, chief of health security for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

► Make Dislocated Worker Grants available to people with opioid addiction through the Department of Labor. Those grants are usually available to people put out of work by a natural disaster, but a public health emergency could also make those grants available to people in treatment. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta told the opioid commission last week that pain and addiction sideline millions of American workers: Of men aged 25-54 not in workforce, 44% had taken a painkiller in the last day, according to the Council of Economic Advisers.

► Tap the Public Health Emergency Fund, a special fund that gives HHS maximum flexibility in a health crisis.

Central planning and fascism are what come to mind with the typical bureaucrats. For instance, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (a.k.a. Charlie Half-Baker) signed into law mandatory requirements that doctors may only prescribe certain drugs such as opiate pain killers for doses up to 7 days, and mandating a state-wide database of all medical patients being given opiate drugs. Hmm, perhaps this is the first step to including all medical patients’ prescription drugs of any kind in the database, because we really want the government and police to have that kind of personal information about us, don’t we? But with Gov. Charlie Half-Baker’s law, the state legislature decided against Baker’s proposal to involuntarily hospitalize (i.e. incarcerate, detain) drug addicts for 3 days. So we know where Charlie Half-Baker’s mentality is.

But is there anything we can do about the “doctors” prescribing these drugs so unnecessarily? According to CBS News, more than 1 in 3 Americans were prescribed opioids in 2015. According to Healthline News, prescription opiate drugs are leading to heroin addictions. You’ve probably already heard that. And according to the $1 Newsweek, opioid dependency begins in just a few days after its initial use.

Now, why are Trump and Charlie Half-Baker’s gut responses to centrally-plan proposed solutions, make orders like military generals, or get tax-funding involved in this crisis? If we know that doctors are over-prescribing these drugs, then why don’t the high officials use their power of the bully pulpit to persuade the doctors to stop giving these powerful, addictive drugs to patients who shouldn’t be getting them? Most of these medical patients don’t need strong pain-killers and shouldn’t be getting them.

It isn’t a matter of ordering the doctors by law to stop doing it. Perhaps shaming the doctors into letting go of their own addictions to handing out drugs? Ya think? And I think many of these “doctors” are literally addicted to handing out drugs like candy. They’re like Santa Claus, in some instances. And also many of them are getting free stuff from the pharmaceutical companies, such as coffee mugs and clipboards with the brand names of certain prescription drugs on them. I know that as a fact, from seeing it with my own eyes in doctors offices!

And instead of putting patients’ names into state-wide databases, how about putting the names of the doctors into databases, those doctors who are over-prescribing? Especially those doctors whose prescription opiates are leading to a patient’s death. (I know, that proposal is quite controversial, but let’s consider it anyway.) The “doctors” are being very irresponsible with the drugs.

It may be the case, however, that those people with chronic, long-term excruciating pain issues may need those kind of very strong drugs. But if a patient is in some pain, such as following surgery or an injury, why don’t doctors learn about nutritional support for people? e.g. magnesium, vitamin D and omega 3, and so on.

In the mid-1980s I had my 3rd molars yanked out, and the doctor told me to take Tylenol, and that’s what I did. It wasn’t too bad. (I don’t recommend Tylenol now, though.) A lot of these prescription drugs have terrible side effects, anyway. During my ongoing medical issues from the late 1990s through the late 2000s, one doctor gave me an anti-inflammatory drug and that caused swelling in my feet and legs, and I could hardly walk. And then another drug caused my usually-low blood pressure to then become high blood pressure. (Which went right back to normal after making necessary adjustments. But I didn’t find out what the cause of the higher blood pressure was from any go**amn doctor, but from the Internet!) I would like to eventually tell the whole story, of the one example after another of bad prescription drugs and bad advice from “doctors” at that time, but I don’t know if I want to do that.

But my main point of this post is, government bureaucrats have a one-track mind when crises happen. Fascism and central-planning will solve the problems, according to them. But in Donald Trump’s speeches on all this, why doesn’t he say anything about the doctors who are over-prescribing those addictive drugs? My answer to that is that our society looks to Establishment medicine like a god, just as it looks to government. The sheeple don’t want to question the judgment of doctors. And that really is a problem.

Immigration and Private vs. Public Property

Besides my issues regarding the “bad neighbor problem” in Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s recent speech at the Property and Freedom Society’s annual conference that I expressed in the previous post, I also have some issues with his statements on immigration and “public property.”

Here is the full speech by Hans Hoppe:

My first issue is Hoppe’s characterization of “fake libertarians,” at approximately 6 minutes into the video. In Hoppe’s view, a “fake libertarian” is one who “affirms or advocates one or more of” a list of several conditions, including “the necessity of a State, any State; of public or State property,” and including various rights, such as the “right to free and unrestricted immigration, which is the right to free trespassing.”

No, the right to “free and unrestricted immigration” is merely freedom of movement, freedom of travel and freedom of finding a better place to live and provide for oneself and one’s family, as long as one doesn’t trespass on private property. There’s no “fake libertarianism” there, in my view. I have more on that a little later.

Further into the speech, Prof. Hoppe enumerates 10 points, “specifics of a populist strategy for libertarian change, in no specific order except for the very first one, which has currently assumed the greatest urgency in the public mind.”

And that most urgent point of strategy? “Stop mass immigration.” Well, of course, stop any government-directed immigration (or deportation).

But in a free society we would have freedom of movement and travel. Private residents, businessmen, religious leaders and charity organizers would offer to help, house or employ newcomers, and be responsible for their involvement with the immigrants.

The reason chaos occurs with government-directed migration is because government bureaucrats are not accountable for their central-planning intrusions into society, because, when the government IS the law, its bureaucrats are above the law. Private people, “civilians,” well, that’s different. The rest of us are the slaves who must follow the government’s rules.

Unfortunately Hoppe gets into some confusion between private property and “public property,” and some of his “rights to exclusion” seem quite collectivist, in my view. He seems to advocate a public, collective right to exclusion, whereas the only legitimate right to exclusion is the private property owner’s right to exclusion, and the individual self-owner’s right to exclusion, and the right to inclusion as well.

For instance, Hoppe states: “In a fully privatized libertarian order there exists no such thing as a right to free immigration. Private property implies borders and the owner’s right to exclude at will.”

But he goes on to say that “’public property’ has borders as well.” Wait a minute, the “public property” borders he’s talking about are government-drawn borders, therefore they are not legitimate.

Hoppe states that public property “is not unowned. It is the property of domestic tax-payers and most definitely not the property of foreigners.”

I have some questions here, using the U.S. as an example. Just how did the taxpayers come to own such “public property”? Did they inherit the property? Was it by way of a voluntary contract? Or was such ownership imposed on them involuntarily along with the tax-thefts that were imposed on them involuntarily?

My answer is that, if there is any ownership at all of so-called public property, and he suggests the owners are the taxpayers, then of course such ownership is involuntary just as are the tax-thefts imposed on them. Therefore, such ownership is lacking in any moral justification.

Some further questions: Millions of undocumented workers’ presence and labor in the U.S. have not received proper bureaucrat-parasite authorization, but they have paid billions of dollars in federal taxes. And while some of their legitimate, honest earnings are withheld by employers to pay the feds the demanded booty, they are nevertheless ineligible for Social Security from those earnings. But they are “taxpayers.” Do they thus share in ownership of U.S. “public property”?

And also, do you divide ranks in “public property” ownership”? For instance, do very wealthy people have a higher percentage of ownership than lower-class workers, and thus have more ownership rights of control than the others? What if many wealthy progressive thinkers have a larger percentage of ownership/control, and want to have marijuana dispensaries, abortion clinics, etc. on “public property,” but a minority of the tax-payers disagree with that scheme? Is that legitimate?

When Hoppe says that public property is the “property of domestic tax-payers and most definitely not the property of foreigners,” what about domestic non-taxpayers? What about “citizens” (non-foreigners) who do work for a living, but don’t make enough to be required to have to pay income taxes? Are they denied rights of exclusion or inclusion because of this? So in other words, those who don’t pay the feds anything in tax-thefts should have the same denied rights of access to public property as the foreigners/non-“citizens”?

And also, it seems here in Hoppe’s justification of taxpayers’ involuntary ownership of public property he apparently, at least for this topic, accepts the State’s existence. Although he does admit that “the State is a criminal organization,” but its inaction regarding border control “will lead to even more and much graver injustices, in particular to the domestic citizenry.” Does Hoppe here seem to abandon his description of so-called “fake libertarians” at the very beginning of the speech, in which he says a “fake libertarian” is one who “affirms or advocates” “the necessity of a State” or “of public or State property”?

But regarding the taxvictims’ involuntary public property ownership and the lack of a contract to which they are bound in such alleged ownership, in the past Prof. Hoppe has stated the importance of the contract.

The state, as ultimate decision maker and judge, operates in a contractless legal vacuum. There exists no contract between the state and its citizens. It is not contractually fixed, what is actually owned by whom, and what, accordingly, is to be protected. It is not fixed, what service the state is to provide, what is to happen if the state fails in its duty, nor what the price is that the “customer” of such “service” must pay.

Rather, the state unilaterally fixes the rules of the game and can change them, per legislation, during the game.

In an interview, the interviewer asserted that “the state is based on a social contract…” And Hoppe replied,

No, the state is anything but the result of a contract! No one with even just an ounce of common sense would agree to such a contract. I have a lot of contracts in my files, but nowhere is there one like this. The state is the result of aggressive force and subjugation. It has evolved without contractual foundation, just like a gang of protection racketeers. And concerning the struggle of all against all: that is a myth. Of course the racketeer protects his victims on “his” territory from other racketeers, but only so he can conduct his own racket more successfully. Moreover, it is states that are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of millions of people and immeasurable destruction in the 20th century alone. Compared to that, the victims of private crimes are almost negligible.

Now back to Hoppe’s recent speech (as shown at the top), he states that “immigration must be by invitation only,” and that “immigrants must be productive people and hence, be barred from all domestic welfare payments.” But he gets into a lengthy discussion of his proposed rules that seem very central planning-like, in my view.

For instance, immigrants “or their inviting party must place a bond with the community in which they are to settle, and which is to be forfeited and lead to the immigrant’s deportation should he ever become a public burden.”

And with whom in the community will such a bond be placed? Who is to be in charge of that? What if a foreigner peacefully travels to the community and doesn’t give anyone a bond?

So are you saying that the immigrant is morally obligated to pay some third party some payment, without any voluntary, mutually-agreeable contract? What if he finds a room to rent or buys a home, who is it that owns the property? Does the individual landlord or property seller own the property, or does the community share in ownership of those properties? Is the entire community collectively owned by its inhabitants (regardless of separate private property parcels)?

It seems to me that Hoppe is suggesting that the community shares in ownership of property within the community. Not good.

In the just society, each property owner has full, 100% sovereignty over one’s property and its property title that he and only he may decide to whom to transfer, and he and only he may decide to whom to rent, and for whatever reason.

Hoppe continues: “As well, every immigrant, inviting party or employer should not only pay for the immigrant’s upkeep or salary, but must also pay the residential community for the additional wear and tear of its public facilities associated with the immigrant’s presence, so as to avoid the socialization of any and all costs incurred with his settlement.”

Who is going to decide how much “wear and tear” one immigrant has caused or might cause in the future? Who has the authority to charge the employer such a fee and decide how much to charge? Sounds very central-planning, if you ask me.

This all sounds very communal or “private club”-like to me, and seems to abandon the principles of private property and freedom of association. My neighbor doesn’t own my property and has no authority to dictate to me whom to let on my property, quite frankly.

And Hoppe continues: “Moreover, even before his admission, every potential immigrant invitee must be carefully screened and tested not only for his productivity but also for cultural affinity (or ‘good neighborliness’)…”

“Carefully screened”? By whom? The employer? Landlord? Prospective home seller? The community? Who will be in charge of this? Who owns the lives of the immigrants? Do they lose their self-ownership when moving to a new territory, even though they are peaceful and there’s no reason to think they might be a burden on the public? What if some family from a different area just moves into a home they’ve bought or rented and they don’t submit to screening, and there’s no reason to suspect them of not having “good neighborliness”? How about just letting property owners, businessmen and home sellers make those decisions, not by some some preset rules but by random events that take into account multiple, spontaneous factors? Whatever happened to Hoppe’s promotion of “Natural Order”?

So Hoppe’s “right of exclusion” seems to mean that the collective public may decide who gets in and who stays out. But how? By some sort of democratic vote? How else could a large group, such as U.S. taxpayers who supposedly own the public property, be able to come to a decision regarding who gets in and who stays out?

The true free market way is when an individual anywhere in the world who wants to make a better life for himself and his family travels to wherever he sees an opportunity, as long as he doesn’t violate the persons or property of another. He can rent a home or purchase one from a willing landlord or seller. And the property owner who rents out or sells a home is the owner, not his neighbors or the community.

I don’t see any moral obligation to pay the community some advance tribute, as the aforementioned family never entered into any contract with the “community,” only the employer, landlord or home seller, etc.

There is no collective ownership of an individual’s private property. The owner is sovereign over his own private property.

So Hoppe seems to abandon the individualist and free will/self-determination aspects of private property rights here, in my view.

And I know that Prof. Hoppe is obviously concerned about the cultural decline in society. If there is an “immigration problem” with immigration dysfunction contributing to the societal decline, then that is because of the involvement in immigration that the State has usurped for itself in its intrusions. So the answer to that problem is getting governments out of immigration matters.

And as Prof. Hoppe pointed out in his speech, it would also help to get rid of the welfare state, and the warfare state, too! In fact, as Hoppe noted, the warfare state is largely responsible for the mass migration of Middle Easterners to Europe. As Hoppe says, the U.S. government’s “ruling elites and their subordinate Western puppet-elites” must stop bombing and murdering people in foreign countries. Is that even possible?

In my view, the decline in civilization and culture is caused by governments intruding themselves into just about every aspect of everyday life. What needs to be done is abolishing all that criminal government meddling and intrusiveness to prevent such societal distortion and dysfunction.

Hans-Hermann Hoppe on Libertarianism and the Alt-Right: “Physically Remove” Bad Neighbors

Hans-Hermann Hoppe has given a terrific speech on libertarianism and the alt-right at his annual Property and Freedom Society conference. Here is the transcript that was linked by the PFS page of his speech.

Now, Hoppe does go into the modern alt-right phenomenon quite a bit, and if you want to hear that then click on the link above to the video or the link to the transcript to read it. I’m not going to discuss the alt-right stuff here, but wanted to concentrate on some other aspects of his speech. And I plan to get into some more important points of disagreement I have with Hans Hoppe in my next post.

In this most recent speech, Prof. Hoppe dismisses “live and let live” libertarians, which I have considered myself for many years. He seems to fuse the “live and let live” libertarians together with the egalitarian-humanitarian libertarians, a.k.a. “thick libertarians,” such as Jeff Tucker, those who see advocacy against “racism, sexism, homophobia,” etc. as a part of libertarianism (which it isn’t).

As far as libertarianism is concerned, I don’t agree that the egalitarians or humanitarianism has anything to do with libertarianism. Libertarianism is about freedom, the non-initiation of aggression (the “non-aggression principle,” or NAP), and self-ownership. In my view, it is also about freedom of thought and conscience. “Live and let live” means that even if someone espouses ideas one feels are abhorrent or offensive, such as racism or anti-Christian sentiments, the libertarian believes that the wrong-headed individual still has a right to think and believe whatever he wants, as long as he is peaceful. The humanitarian/”thick” libertarians don’t seem to agree with that.

So if someone owns a bakery, he has every right, within property rights and freedom of association/non-association, to not produce a wedding cake for anyone for any reason, even if he is a racist and refuses to serve someone of a different race, or is an atheist and doesn’t want to serve a Christian couple.

No one (such as a customer) has the right to force others (via the State or threats) to involuntarily serve him against their will or consent. The “live and let live” libertarians should understand this.

But as a part of Hoppe’s dismissal of “live and let live” libertarians he brings up the “bad neighbor” problem, in regards to the issues that come up when people are in close proximity to one another. “He is littering on his own neighboring property, turning it into a garbage heap; in the open, for you to see, he engages in ritual animal slaughter, he turns his house into a ‘Freudenhaus,’ a bordello, with clients coming and going all day and all night long; he never offers a helping hand and never keeps any promise that he has made; or he cannot or else he refuses to speak to you in your own language. Etc., etc.. Your life is turned into a nightmare. Yet you may not use violence against him, because he has not aggressed against you. What can you do? You can shun and ostracize him. But your neighbor does not care…”

I suppose the voluntaryist libertarian approach is to offer to buy the bad neighbor’s property. Or if you can’t afford that then get other neighbors to pitch in to buy the property. They can make a good offer. Hoppe does mention that they can pressure the neighbor to sell and leave, but he doesn’t mention the possibility of the neighbors offering to buy the property. You can even act preemptively in the first place to avoid such a bad neighbor: if you live in a neighborhood and most of your neighbors are like-minded, and a home does go up for sale, you and the neighbors can actually buy the home and resell or rent it to someone you know is also like-minded.

But sadly, the Jeff Tucker thick libertarians get needlessly upset if someone is a racist or a homophobe but not so much, it seems, toward the “bad neighbors” in the aforementioned example. Hoppe states that the tolerance of such “bad neighbors” is a part of the Jeff Tucker “live and let live” approach, but that’s not how I see “live and let live,” quite frankly.

And when Hoppe suggests to “physically remove” the bad neighbor “if need be by violence, and forced to leave for other pastures,” it isn’t because of the neighbor’s bad habits, garbage on the property, or running a bordello  — no, it’s because those neighbors “openly advocate communism, socialism, syndicalism or democracy.” Now, he’s not referring to government bureaucrats who have imposed such property-violating policies, or their enforcers with guns, who might live next door, but merely those who “openly advocate” the criminal State and so on.

Well, in my view libertarianism also involves freedom of thought and conscience, which I see as a part of self-ownership. So personally I wouldn’t let it bother me if the neighbor is an economic ignoramus or morally bankrupt. I’m not sure about the moral acceptability of “physically removing” a neighbor via violence merely because he advocated something I find abhorrent.

In his speech here Hoppe doesn’t seem to mention the possibility in his example of the neighbors attempting to persuade the bad guy who openly advocates communism or socialism that freedom and free markets are the better way of life. I am assuming Hoppe means “physically removing” the bad neighbor who advocates communism or democracy after all attempts to persuade him otherwise have failed.

The bad neighbor in the example is advocating empowering a State to be an agency of monopoly and compulsion and to confiscate our earnings, sure, but why don’t you concentrate on “physically removing” those who are actual employees of the State who are actually doing those things, those criminal things against us actual victims, those actual State criminals and the enforcers who are actually involved in the stealing of the people’s earnings? Now those are the kinds of neighbors I personally would not want to have. Perhaps they should be “physically removed,” but not those who merely advocate for more communism or more socialism than we already have. As long as people are peaceful they otherwise have freedom of thought and conscience, and should have the freedom to be economic ignoramuses. Perhaps they can be persuaded to advocate freedom.

As far as the criminal government employees, bureaucrats and the enforcers, perhaps even they can be convinced to quit their jobs and join the private sector, as Jim Davies has suggested (more here).

I plan to write another post following this one, responding to some more points Hans Hoppe made in his speech. And I plan to embed the video of that speech as well. Stay tuned.

Countering the Irrational With the Rational on the Flag Issue

Some people apparently don’t like my comments on this hysteria of “disrespecting the flag,” the American flag, as in the Colin Kaepernick case. Well, I’m sorry that some people view a flag as sacred, and there are many people who do so in a mystical, superstitious kind of way. Yup, 12 years of government-controlled schooling and usually an authoritarian-collectivist upbringing will do it.

For example, the San Luis Obispo, California Opera performed Madama Butterfly, which included a scene in which a character takes an American flag and lets it touch the floor (a no-no in the nationalistic American flag superstition if there ever was one). According to a classical music blog I read, Slippedisc.com, a couple attending the performance complained to the opera company, stating, “we were stunned — appalled, really — to see the grief-stricken character Cio-Cio San grab the American flag off its pole (stage right), throw it onto the floor, then drag it as she sang. There were audible gasps in the audience, indicating there were many others among us deeply offended by such abuse of our flag, which is never to touch the ground.”

“Abuse of our flag”! Maybe you should give it some “Relief Factor.” But anyway, I am extremely impressed by the commenters on this blog and here are some good quotes:

Edgar wrote,

Apparently, America needs to endure its own homegrown brand of fascist totalitarian nationalism in order to really understand what it means when respect for the flag turns into the cult of the flag. They might indeed learn from German experience: the terrible cult of the Reichsflag, and, after 1945, the cult of the flag in communist East Germany (both not in unsignificant part in lies, which, according to Joseph Goebbels, will firmly establush themselves in peoples’ minds when repested often enough). As the German poet Rainer Kunze said: “Mein Freund, des Fahnenhissens bin ich müde” – “My friend, the hoisting of the flag has tired me.” Obviously, the protesting couple, blinded by unreflected nationalism, has lost, or, worse, knowingly refuses (thereby conciously or unconsciously condoning the protofascist tendencies affecting the republic and the nation of America to an ever serious and dangerous degree) to intellectually engage with any form and expression of art. Sadly, their behavior bodes ill for the cultural and intellectual health of the democracy they claim to uphold, and which, by their very action, destroy. I hope they will overcome their misguided narrowmindedness, and give generously to both the wounded soldiers and the opera company.

The “cult” of the flag. Yes, I would agree with that.

Alex Davies observed,

It seems that these people do not wish to see on stage anything which they would not wish to see in reality (or, what happens on stage is, to them, a part of reality). They seem to be unable to distinguish between a representation of a thing and the thing itself. One cannot resist the conclusion that they believe that the flag—not only the idea of the flag, but any instantiation of the flag—possesses some inherent quality of sanctity (or something close to sanctity) which is violated whenever any representation of the flag is brought into contact with the ground no matter what the circumstances. It seems similar to the manner in which Catholics and members of the various Eastern Christian Churches regard the consecrated bread and wine (i.e. as being in a real sense a physical manifestation of God). However, there is in fact no sound reason for a Catholic or Eastern Christian to object to a theatrical representation of an abuse of the Sacrament using unconsecrated bread and wine (i.e. nothing more than wheat and grapes), such as, for example, may be said to take place in Tosca. It is indeed a curious state of affairs when a simple piece of printed cloth is held to possess such metaphysical and transcendent qualities that a kind of profanation occurs when it is allowed to touch the stage of an opera house.

ACN commented,

It’s utterly dismaying that someone could sit through Madame Butterfly and be outraged by, nope, not the injustice and tragedy portrayed, but by the flag touching the floor – that someone could be more offended by a (mis)perceived “disrespecting” of the flag than by the human cruelty and the all-too-real human cost of imperialism as depicted in this opera. When flags and nationalist paraphernalia take precedence over human lives, something has gone seriously wrong. These people, shall we say, completely missed the point. The artistic director’s response is spot on – and very gracious.

And Herrera said,

I was there and I too was shocked, shocked, shocked that my pleasant evening of watching a 20+ year old man — and eventual bigamist dead-beat dad — impregnating a 15 year old girl, and then kidnapping the child from his mother’s corpse, was ruined by the horrors of seeing the American flag touching the floor.

I was also deeply offended when every time snippets of the Star Spangled Banner played in Puccini’s score that Cio-Cio-San took a knee! (Oh, the Japanese kneel a lot as part of their culture? Well, that’s no excuse, she should’ve stood up and put her hand to her heart anyway, especially after being statutorily raped by the American character.)

It’s always uplifting to read the classical music blogs and their rational commenters. I hear the complaints about “disrespecting the flag” constantly on talk radio, those nation-state worshiping nationalists who seem to see a flag as having the qualities and right to life as a living being has. Wasn’t it Dennis Prager who wrote a column titled, “It’s a Lion,” about Cecil the Lion who was killed in Zimbabwe by an American tourist? After all, it’s a lion, not exactly a human being. So, it’s a flag, people. Get real.

Unnecessary Sacrifice

Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Gen. John Kelly, held a press conference Thursday defending Trump’s phone call to the widow of a U.S. soldier killed overseas, and criticizing a Congresswoman who supposedly listened in on the phone conversation. (Hmm, didn’t I hear about Kelly constantly listening in on Trump’s phone calls with Ivanka and others?)

Kelly described what happens to killed soldiers, describing how officials prepare the soldiers’ bodies for transfer back to the U.S. And Kelly described them as the “best 1 percent this country produces. Most of you, as Americans, don’t know them. Many of you don’t know anyone who knows any one of them. But they are the very best this country produces, and they volunteer to protect our country when there’s nothing in our country anymore that seems to suggest that selfless service to the nation is not only appropriate, but required.” (“Required”? Don’t tell me, “required” as a payback of “gratitude” for the freedom that the nation “gives” us? If that’s what he means, then apparently he didn’t read the Declaration of Independence, that refers to unalienable rights, among them the rights to life and liberty. Not atypical of today’s bureaucrats, however.)

And he later stated “But at the end of the day, ladies and gentlemen, you have to understand that these young people — sometimes old guys — put on the uniform, go to where we send them to protect our country.”

Well, they actually are not being sent overseas to “protect our country.” That just isn’t true, as Jacob Hornberger pointed out again recently. As Hornberger wrote,

If a foreign nation were to invade the United States, U.S. troops would be said to be defending their country. But no one is invading the United States. Instead, it is the U.S. government, operating through the troops, that is invading other countries.

Therefore, it stands to reason that U.S. troops who have died in Niger, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Vietnam, or Korea have not died for their country. They have died for their employer, the U.S. government, which has ordered them into those faraway lands to kill or be killed.

Gen. Kelly went on to say, “You know, when I was a kid, every man in my life was a veteran — World War II, Korea, and there was the draft. These young people today, they don’t do it for any other reason than their selfless — sense of selfless devotion to this great nation.” (Nope, it’s because they were duped into serving and sacrificing their lives, to get shot, bombed, wounded, crippled for life, or murdered, and for no good reason except to serve the egos of the bureaucrats and the profits of the defense contractors. And that’s the truth, now. That really is the case, whether the people want to acknowledge it or not.)

Apparently, like many Americans Gen. Kelly seems to have been indoctrinated throughout years of government schooling, and probably an authoritarian upbringing, made to recite a Pledge of Allegiance to a flag that is really a pledge of loyalty to the government, and probably raised to glorify the U.S. State. I’m only speculating here.

And I am assuming that Kelly probably views the American flag as “sacred,” and something to be honored (really, worshiped). But the truth is, these authoritarian nationalistic attitudes, promoting self-sacrifice to serve the “nation” and dependence on its central planners in Washington, are really mystical and collectivist in nature. And they are contrary to the principles and philosophies which are the underpinnings of the “America” the early pioneers dreamed of: individualism, freedom of thought and conscience, self-governance, self-determination and independence.

You Must Worship and Glorify the National State and Its Flag – Or Else!

It is remarkable to me that in 2017 there are still millions of people who feel so upset if someone such as Colin Kaepernick “disrespects” the American flag. The flag worshipers are triggered and become very angry if they see in the news that protesters have set fire to a flag, in the same way that college snowflakes get very upset and cry like Lucy Ricardo if they perceive a classmate’s innocent remark as “racist,” “sexist,” “homophobic,” etc. I know, I know, some people feel offended at my comparison of them to weak and immature snowflakes, and they feel offended at my referring to their flag worship as “flag worship,” but that’s their problem.

Many of the people who believe in “protecting human life” and who believe that human beings have unalienable “natural rights” to life and liberty according to the Declaration of Independence they frequently cite, and who don’t believe that inanimate objects have “rights” (except for the private property of the humans who have property rights), are the same people who believe that flag-burners should be deprived of their liberty and thrown in a cage for “disrespecting the flag,” i.e. for “violating that flag’s rights” is really what they seem to believe. And they get emotional about it, too. I mean, rather than see a flag get “abused” or damaged, it’s preferable for them to see the flag-burner thrown in a cage, or preferably that he is beaten up. Hmph! That’ll teach ’em! “How Dare They!” as Al Gore would say.

I don’t agree with Colin Kaepernick, by the way, that America is a “racist” country. Unless you’re talking about all those racist white voters who elected Barack Obama President in 2008 and reelected him in 2012, as I have mentioned previously. And now we are hearing about Kaepernick suing the NFL or doing something, to show how narcissistic he is, like all those other young snowflake morons.

Listen, Colin, you’re lucky to have such a high-paying job, paying you millions of dollars, so you really ought to just shut up and stand for the damn flag and the national anthem. If workers don’t like the terms or requirements of employment, then go work somewhere else or do something else for a living.

And there really are a lot of people who feel insulted by my saying they “worship” the flag. A lot of people see the flag as “sacred,” and worthy of special protections, like it’s a living being. And I think they are really America worshipers. But the America they worship is this mythical storybook thing. But really the America worshipers are worshiping collectivism. Washington, D.C. and central planning. Part of the worship of central planning is this military worship (and in part, local police worship as well). My previous posts cover why it is not healthy to worship the military.

America worship a.k.a. central planning worship is for many Christians their excuse to abandon their Lord and God worship in favor of the secular: The State. They abandon the Golden Rule. It’s okay for the U.S. government to have its military bases on all those other foreign territories, but it’s not okay for a foreign government to place its military bases on U.S. territory. God forbid. And it’s morally acceptable to them for the U.S. government to start wars of aggression against other countries, such as Iraq in 1991 and again in 2003 and Afghanistan in 2001, but it’s immoral for foreign regimes to start a war against the U.S. And we better not question that!

When the collectivists glorify the national State in Washington, which is what they do with their flag worship and America worship, they have accepted one central planning scheme after another, mainly out of blind obedience. They accept NSA and FBI spying on them and invasively prying into their private lives even though they are not suspects. They accept CIA false flags. Do the State glorifiers even know about the fedgov’s psy-ops, a.k.a. psychological operations, which are propaganda tools to be used mainly on a foreign “enemy” especially during a time of war? What about when the government uses such psy-ops on its own people? The government using the apparatus of war-making intended for the “enemy” on its own people can be considered part of the actual constitutional definition of “treason.” According to Article III Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort…”

But the central planners in Washington are “keeping us safe” (while they make us less safe — how Orwellian). Yup.

I know a lot of people don’t like being called “sheeple,” as I was referring to in my previous posts, but if the shoe fits…Especially in this post-9/11 era, there are sheeple who are being urged by the government to report on their neighbors, co-workers, and family members, for “suspicious” activity or statements. And I believe this is part of what the flag-worship is all about. Everyone must stand and place their hands on their hearts in unison and show their collective loyalty (to the government). No one may remain seated or kneel. There must be conformity. We must all blindly and obediently support the government that is “keeping us safe” and all its wars of aggression and domestic criminal intrusions against us, and so on.

As a part of the report-on-your-neighbor fascism that the U.S. government has been encouraging, the Trump regime has been stepping up the “National Insider Threat Task Force,” which is a part of the Regime’s war on government whistleblowers like Bradley Manning, Edward Sbowden and William Binney, according to Jesselyn Radack. DoD training manuals and videos mix whistleblowers with actual criminals and murderers, and train government “workers” to watch out for and report on those who show a lack of loyalty to the U.S. government! As Radack points out, those government employees swear an oath to obey the U.S. constitution, not the government or the Rulers! The current regime is just as much an authoritarian anti-First Amendment regime as were the Obama and Bush regimes.

Speaking of the FIB FBI, James Bovard has this recent article on the FBI’s crimes over the years. As I have been saying, the FBI is a criminal racket, as are the NSA and CIA. Each one is truly an “un-American” organization if there ever was one. But the U.S. government-worshipers and State-glorifiers hold those rackets up as something to respect, admire and revere. James Bovard, incidentally, is the author of Attention Deficit Democracy, Terrorism and Tyranny, and several other books on modern America’s ruling bureaucrats in Washington.

Anyway, obviously the America worshipers and flag-worshipers aren’t going to get deprogrammed any time soon, and they will not let go of their flag-fetish and their love of authoritarian collectivism, central planning, and their glorification of the State. They will continue to love and support the national security state to “keep us safe” while it keeps us less safe, and support their beloved domestic Soviet-style central-planning socialism such as Social Security, Medicare, the Federal Reserve System that have been gradually ruining America for over a century. Unfortunately, it’s probably going to take some kind of major economic catastrophe to finally force people to accept the decentralization and privatization that will have to occur. It should occur now, to avoid such a catastrophe.

Conservatives Need to Understand That Their Support of These Wars is Not “Pro-Life”

I just heard “conservative” radio personality Mike Gallagher discussing the congresswoman who criticized Donald Trump’s insensitivity toward a killed U.S. soldier. Gallagher was calling the congresswoman this or that and that her criticism of Trump was all political. Oh, well. These conservatives on the radio tend to side with the warmongers. I try not to let these talk radio people bother me, the Salem ones Gallagher, Prager, Medved, and of course Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. But I listen anyway.

Jacob Hornberger comments on Donald Trump’s remarks to the widow of the killed U.S. soldier that the soldier knew what he signed up for. (Or he should have known.) A lot of people believe the myth that the U.S. soldiers are fighting “for our freedom,” and so on, when in reality they are fighting for the sake of building the egos of U.S. government bureaucrats, the profits of the “defense” industry, for covetous resource-grabbing, and for hegemony and control as Jacob Hornberger notes. And then there are a lot of people who know all that’s the case, yet they blindly and obediently support the government and will not question those policies. I think that many warmongers, neocons and conservative sheeple fall into either of those two categories, quite frankly.

But as Hornberger points out, we’re not really allowed to say the truth out loud. He writes:

When he signs up to join the military, every U.S. soldier knows that America is not under any foreign invasion or threat of invasion. He also knows full well that he is now required to obey the orders of the president to go to Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Korea, Vietnam, or anywhere else to kill or be killed. While the soldier inevitably gets convinced that it’s all for “freedom” here at home, it’s all a lie because no one in those faraway lands is threatening the freedom of the American people.

But here’s the rub: No one is supposed to say that. Everyone is supposed to say that U.S. soldiers are killing and dying overseas to keep us safe here at home and to protect our rights and freedoms.

It’s a lie that is repeated all across the land, including by those who criticize President Trump for lying. It’s repeated in big sports events, airports, and even church services, the one place where you would expect truth to be stated.

Notice that even while criticizing Trump for his horrifyingly truthful statement to Mrs. Johnson, no one asks the important question: What in the world was La David Johnson or other U.S. soldiers doing in Niger?

In fact, once again the alleged military “deserter” Bowe Bergdahl is in the news. He has given a “naked plea” of guilty to desertion. As usual, the dittoheads, neocons and conservative sheeple on the radio have been condemning Bergdahl as a “traitor” and all the rest from the beginning of his controversy, without knowledge of the facts (which many of the conservatives have been accusing those on the Left of doing in their own causes).

Kelley Vlahos has an article in which she mentions a 2012 profile of Bergdahl by the late Rolling Stone writer Michael Hastings. (Hastings subsequently died in a suspicious car crash.) But Bergdahl had legitimate criticism of the war he was sent to go serve in and sacrifice for, unlike most (if not all) of the talk radio dittoheads and conservative chickenhawks, who were never in the military. Vlahos writes in that American Conservative article that “Hastings’ story was the first to suggest in detail that Bergdahl was disenchanted with the war in language that many critics of the Afghanistan-Iraq counterinsurgency policy would recognize. In increasingly dark emails written to his family and shared with Hastings, Bergdahl spoke openly about being deceived by his country and how he was ‘ashamed to be an American’.” Vlahos provides this quote from the Hastings article on Bergdahl’s emails:

Bowe wrote about his broader disgust with America’s approach to the war – an effort, on the ground, that seemed to represent the exact opposite of the kind of concerted campaign to win the “hearts and minds” of average Afghans envisioned by counterinsurgency strategists. “I am sorry for everything here,” Bowe told his parents. “These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid, that they have no idea how to live.” He then referred to what his parents believe may have been a formative, possibly traumatic event: seeing an Afghan child run over by an MRAP.

But a lot of people really gullibly believe that bureaucrats in Washington have been sending U.S. soldiers to their deaths to “defend our freedoms” and so on, even though that has not been the case for many decades, as Hornberger pointed out.

And Americans do not seem to have learned anything from the Vietnam War. In this other American Conservative article, Peter van Buren writes that Ken Burns’s documentary on the Vietnam war is “no profile in courage.” And in this liberal “Common Dreams” article, Vietnam War protester David Zeiger writes that Vietnam War protesters have nothing to apologize for. (That’s because they don’t.) And in this article on the Intercept, Nick Turse writes that Ken Burns’s documentary glosses over a devastating civilian death toll. And besides the 2 million civilians murdered in Vietnam, there were the million civilians slaughtered by the U.S. military in North Korea during the Korea war, and on and on.

And that’s another problem with today’s conservatives: their moral relativism. While they condemn street criminals murdering innocents, and they condemn people having abortions, they still continue to rationalize all the murders of innocent civilians that our government and the U.S. military’s soldiers have caused for decades and decades. It is really sickening listening to some of these guys on the radio. But, I listen anyway, maybe because I’m a masochist. They’re good on the political correctness stuff and the college campus craziness, though. Although they show further hypocrisy in their condemning of college censorship yet call for the imprisonment or firing squad for Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, and also in their condemning of people who criticize Israel’s government.

John McCain, Bill Clinton, Yet Another Case for Total Decentralization of America

So now John McCain has received the “Liberty Medal” from the National Constitution Center. And I thought I heard everything. That’s like Harvey Weinstein getting the “Respect for Women” award or some such thing. (I’m sure some people have already made such a comparison.)

John McCain? “Liberty”? Do you mean anti-liberty? And this so soon after he was the lone vote against repealing ObamaCare.

Mr. Liberty has wanted to “Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran” for years and it looks like he’s going to get his wish. (Perhaps they meant the USS Liberty?)

And Bill and Chelsea Clinton were in Boston to harass and intimidate young people as part of their phony Clinton Globalist Schemes “Clinton Global Initiative,” probably uttering the word “sustainable” about a million times.

What a bunch of schmucks. McCain and Clinton, a bipartisan circus of statist buffoons.

Speaking of “liberty,” Donald Trump’s nominee for the Orwellian “drug czar” post, Tom Marino, has withdrawn his name for nomination, because of his getting a law passed to protect drug companies’ profits regardless of their involvement in the opiate addiction crisis. (Even though there is no place in a free society for government to get involved in drugs in any way whatsoever.)

Related to that, another corporate crony lobbyist, Mark Esper, is Donald Trump’s nominee to be Secretary of the Army. As Raytheon’s VP for “government relations,” Esper has squandered $473,000 of Raytheon’s PAC on U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee members, which has obviously enriched Raytheon with billions in military contracts. Perhaps next year the “Constitution Center” can give Mark Esper that “Liberty Medal,” as they did the warmonger McCain.

In fiscal year 2016, Raytheon raked in $12.8 billion from the Pentacon.

And then there’s James Comey. Between his time as U.S. Deputy Attorney General 2003-2005 and as FBI director, James Comey was “general counsel” and Senior VP for Lockheed Martin, another war profiting merchant of death which in fiscal year 2016 raked in $36.2 billion. Besides that bit of cronyism, Comey’s involvement with the Clinton Foundation explains his deciding not to pursue criminal charges against Hillary Clinton, another corrupt psychopath.

Can you imagine repealing the forced, compulsory, involuntary confiscatory income tax-theft by bureaucrats of Americans’ wealth and earnings? Gary North says repealing withholding and moving tax day from April 15th to the day before the November elections might change things. Americans have to stop being such gullible dupes and cut off the spigot that criminal parasites have been sucking on for a century or more.

And there’s this drug war neanderthal Jeff Sessions who wants to force tech companies who have their servers overseas to reveal customers’ account information, even though the U.S. government doesn’t have jurisdiction in areas that are not U.S. territories. As Tom Knapp notes, Sessions believes in “national sovereignty” when it comes to the immigration issue, but not when it comes to Sessions’s overreaching police state.

Again, there is no place in a free society for bureaucrats to dictate what drugs, beverages, food or chemicals the people may or may not ingest. Alas, fascists don’t understand this. They are thoroughly opposed to the idea of a free society.

Speaking of the FBI, Activist Post reports on evidence that FBI was behind the 2015 terrorist attack in Garland, Texas, at Pamela Geller’s “Draw Muhammad” contest. Again, there is no place in a free society for a government-run “bureau of investigations” or anything of an investigative nature to be monopolized by bureaucrats. All that happens is that such Soviet-like bureaus squander the tax money they receive (that wouldn’t be in such extravagant amounts if those agencies were in the private sector) and the bureaucrats are actually addicted to receiving such funds without any actual accountability (that would be required of them were they in the private sector), and they stir up trouble as an excuse to hike up their tax-funded budgets. (Private investigative workers don’t stir up trouble, or else, unlike the FBI, they’d go to jail!)

Scott Horton wrote in his book, Fool’s Errand, that it is time to end the war in Afghanistan. Well, it’s time to end that war, and all the other wars and U.S. drone bombings that do nothing but murder innocent civilians abroad and provoke retaliation. And it’s time to close down all those invasive and occupying U.S. foreign military bases all over the world and bring all U.S. troops back to the U.S. as well.

It’s also time to completely dismantle and close down the national security state, the CIA, FBI, NSA, DEA, ATF, as well as the IRS, the FTC, FCC, and all the other unconstitutional federal departments including Education, HHS, Energy, EPA, and so on. If it’s not authorized by the Constitution, then get rid of it. No more forced confiscations of the people’s wealth and property, no more crony-socialist redistribution of wealth schemes, end the plunder, end the death and destruction that Washington has wrought for well over a century.

Very sadly, most people have been duped to believe that we need the central planners in Washington to “keep us safe” or protect us in some way, even though the opposite has been the case. Just check out these very informative articles: The Production of Security by Gustave De Molinari, The Private Production of Defense by Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Foreign Aggression by Morris and Linda Tannehill, No More Military Socialism and The Myth of Efficient Government Service by Murray Rothbard, If Men Were Angels and The Living Reality of Military Economic Fascism by Robert Higgs, and Wall Street, Banks, and American Foreign Policy by Rothbard.

What we do need is freedom. We would have so much more freedom, prosperity and security if we could completely close down that criminal racket in Washington. Really.

Trump Signs Executive Order to Nullify Some of ObamaCare

It seems that Donald Trump is nullifying some of ObamaCare by Executive Order, with the help of Sen. Rand Paul, who says that such executive nullification will “allow individuals to form Health Associations and purchase insurance across state lines.”

Well, good for them! Any action taken by government officials that liberates the people in any way is always a good thing. Doesn’t matter if the action is “unconstitutional,” unlawful, without Congress’s approval, whatever. As long as the people are liberated, that’s what matters.

(In contrast, any government action that reduces any individual’s freedom or violates the life or person or property of any individual is always a bad thing.) Good for The Donald.

Yes, The Donald Is a Socialist, and He’s Pro-Establishment

Talk about the “pot calling the kettle black.” At the UN General Assembly, Donald Trump, with a straight face, said that “the problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.”

And he said that with a straight face not because he’s an actor but because he really believes he’s being critical of socialism, while at the same time he himself is a diehard socialist. And I’ve been saying this for a long time now.

Trump also declared: “From the Soviet Union to Cuba, Venezuela — wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish, devastation, and failure.”

How ironic, given that he is presiding over a federal government which implements one failed or failing socialist program after another, and he himself loves the welfare state and the warfare state. And he’s shyster and a con man to boot.

So after Trump’s failed effort to repeal ObamaCare and liberate the people and their medical matters, now it’s Trump’s so-called tax reform scam-shell game. The feds probably will lower taxes for the higher income people, but they will raise taxes on the lower and middle classes. Read Ron Paul’s commentary on the Trump tax proposals. And David Stockman’s analyses of the Trump tax plan proposals here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Also Veronique de Rugy, Tax Policy Center, Rand Paul, and Jeff Deist at the Mises Institute.

And on health care issue and other issues, Trump has expressed the need for compromise with Democrats. He is now with Sen. Chuck Schumer who says that repealing ObamaCare is “off the table.”

Why do those who say they favor free-market capitalism and freedom continue to believe this guy?

But all this is no surprise to those of us who could see early on that Trump has always been a Big Government tax-and-spend socialist, certainly not a conservative, and certainly not a free-market capitalist.

For example, in my November 20, 2016 post asserting that Trump is a central-planning socialist, I wrote:

Donald Trump is also against free markets in the medical care and insurance industries. For many years he has been advocating nationalized, universal health care. And this past year in interviews he has promoted an expanded medicaid-for-all scheme, but says he wants “competition,” and so forth. Here he is with Scott Pelley:

However, even though Trump says he wants private competition, when he says that he still wants the government to take care of those who can’t take care of themselves, he is really advocating a public option, which, as the leftist schemers know well, will eventually put the free-market insurers out of business, because the government insurer need not worry about competing.

And a while ago, I could already see that “businessman” Donald Trump was against free-market capitalism. For example, on April 30, 2011, I wrote:

Along with all the obscenities that show how much class he really has, Trump proclaimed his lack of knowledge of economics and understanding of basic principles, including,

“They (Saudi Arabia) go in and raise the price of oil, because we have nobody in Washington that sits back and say, ‘You’re not gonna raise that f—— price. You understand me?”

So he wants U.S. government bureaucrats to order the Saudis not to raise prices? Do U.S. officials have that kind of authority over others in other countries? Why doesn’t he look further into the situation as far as why the price or oil and gas is so high now? Has Trump addressed the fact that the U.S. government — with all its wacky, destructive environmental laws and energy regulations — is restricting Americans’ right to explore for and make use of energy resources on their own lands? Could he possibly consider the idea that the people of the states actually have more of a right to control their own lands and resources than the U.S. government has?

If Trump were truly “pro-America,” he would advocate that the people of the states nullify and ignore all federal environmental and energy-related laws and regulations, and drill for oil and gas anyway, and build and use nuclear power plants anyway, regardless of what federal bureaucrats say. Trump could make better use of the f-bomb by telling the U.S. government to go f itself.

And in his fascist stand against American consumers and their right to make choices on a free market, Trump said that he would tell the Chinese, “Listen you motherf——, we’re going to tax you 25%.” Trump has already stated in the past that he “would love to have a trade war with China.”

Trump supports the strong-arm, union-like tactics of Big Government to protect Big Business at the expense of small business, to protect union workers at the expense of non-union workers and American consumers. In other words, the socialist, central planning power of governments to trespass into Americans’ private economic matters (and for political reasons).

And on July 16, 2015, I wrote:

So besides being anti-immigration, Trump also supports trade wars with Mexico and China, and believes that the U.S. government should continue to impose restrictions on Americans’ freedom of trade with foreigners.

It’s yet another disappointment from a businessman turning to the political world, joining the graveyard of businessmen turning to politics Willard Romney, Steve Forbes, Ross Perot, Pete DuPont, and on and on.

For example, instead of threatening to impose further tax burdens on Ford Motor Company for moving manufacturing plants to Mexico, burdens which are then handed down to American consumers, why doesn’t Trump insist that the U.S. government remove the existing tax-thefts, regulatory nightmares, and wage and price controls which are motivating American companies to move out in the first place?

Even worse than Trump’s views on trade (if they can get any worse), he actually supports nationalized health care. In his own words, Trump has stated, “We must have universal healthcare … We should not hear so many stories of families ruined by healthcare expenses.”

So the Donald agrees with Obama on health care. But wouldn’t you think a real capitalist would call for repealing all the regulations, taxes, licensure requirements and mandates already imposed by the government which are the real causes of skyrocketing medical expenses?

In my March 15, 2016 American Thinker article on free trade and “making America great again,” I wrote:

Some Presidential candidates such as Donald Trump want to “make America great again.” But how can someone make America “great” when he wants to empower the government to intrude itself into the people’s economic matters? Government-imposed managed trade (a.k.a. “fair” trade) rules, governments imposing punishments on companies locating abroad, etc. — those kinds of intrusions have contributed to making America less great over the past century.

NAFTA (The Orwellian North American “Free Trade” Agreement) and other such agreements do not involve free trade. Those are government agreements which create anti-market bureaucracies, arcane rules and regulations, corporate cartels. Such schemes cause economic distortions resulting in higher prices for consumers and job losses for workers. Donald Trump can no better concoct such deals to “work for Americans” than can Barack Obama come up with an “affordable care act” that works for medical patients.

In my July 10, 2016 Economic Policy Journal article “Libertarians for Socialism,” I wrote:

Sorry. Trump is not a boat-rocker. He is a deal-maker. A cahooter.

Trump believes strongly in making deals, which is fine in the private sector. But government deals are political deals. If conservatives and libertarians think that Trump will not sign bills with more anti-discrimination amendments, tax-raising amendments and on and on, they are kidding themselves.

And:

On healthcare Trump states on his official campaign website that the government must “make sure that no one slips through the cracks simply because they cannot afford insurance. We must review basic options for Medicaid and work with states to ensure that those who want healthcare coverage can have it.”

As Trump made clear in his interview last September with Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes, Trump is “going to take care of everybody,” and that “the government’s gonna pay for it.” And he promised to fund all that by raising taxes on the wealthy. In his February appearance on a CNN Town Hall with Anderson Cooper, Trump stated that while he wants to repeal ObamaCare he nevertheless likes the mandate because he doesn’t want “people dying on the streets.” In reference to his Medicaid expansion proposal (which he referred to as “Medicare” in the CNN interview), Trump stated, “That’s not single payer, by the way. That’s called heart. We gotta take care of people that can’t take care of themselves.”

And by “we” he doesn’t mean private charities or businesses, which is the free-market way, but government, which is the failed socialist way.

In my October 2, 2016 American Thinker article on conservatives’ acceptance of progressive government, I wrote:

All the increased spending Trump wants to impose is the opposite of what the country needs to restore our freedom. Unfortunately, Trump does not seem to understand that the government is not a business. It’s government, a forced monopoly on the people. And regardless of his purported tax-cut plan, the money with which he wants to spend in the trillions is other people‘s money, taken from them involuntarily. Like most politicians, Trump seems to show contempt for free markets, private property and privacy.

And in this January 28, 2016 post, I wrote:

when I hear the delirious Trump-supporting talk radio crowd, yikes, and their sheeple callers. In Trump they are supporting a liberal Democrat who, besides his love for eminent domain, still defends nationalized health care and single payer because he thinks the government should take care of the people, who believes in “fair trade not free trade,” who supports ethanol mandates and subsidies, who supported bailing out Wall Street banks and nationalizing them, and who supported Obama’s shovel-ready stimulus package.

No, not Bernie Sanders, I’m talking about Trump!

And in that same post, as we can now see from Trump’s compromising with Democrats on healthcare, I wrote:

No, sorry to burst your bubble, but Donald Trump will not “shake things up.” If he is so good at deal-making, he will make deals with Congress, he will agree to that dreaded “bipartisan consensus” that has already taken America down economically and morally.

Regarding Trump’s authenticity in being an “anti-Establishment” shaker-upper of The System, I wrote on April 28, 2016:

Trump was a registered Democrat from 2001 to 2009, and has gone back and forth between Republican and independent at other times. He has also contributed thousands and thousands of dollars to Democrat hacks, particularly during the mid-2000s to help bring back the Democrat majority in Congress. It is probably not because Trump wants some kind of “quid pro quo,” as he has maintained, but because he agrees with Democrats on many issues. And for those reasons I have asked in the past whether Trump is really a straw candidate and on behalf of Democrats or more specifically Hillary. I have also noted that in this interview (at a little after 11:00) with Hannity, Trump makes a possible Freudian slip when he says, “I want to beat the Republicans,” and he wasn’t referring to the primaries but the general election. But whatever. You can have him.

Justin Raimondo has said he’s not supporting, only “rooting for” Donald Trump. Raimondo points to this article by Murray Rothbard, who gives three reasons to defend demagogues. One is because “they disrupt the body politic and stir things up.” So far so good. Trump is doing that. But the other reasons are that the demagogue appeals directly to the masses’ base emotions and goes over the heads of the State’s “bodyguards,” the “intellectuals” and the mainstream media who traditionally mold public opinion. However, Rothbard notes that the reason to support this kind of demagogue is because that demagogue is bringing “the truth” directly to the people. That is clearly not what Trump is doing. Trump is merely mirroring the anti-free market masses’ authoritarian-statist impulses, Build a government wall, restrict the rights of businesses and laborers to sell their products, services and labor as they see fit, restrict the rights of American consumers, and so forth. Trump’s message is, in other words, nothing any actual libertarians should support. Trump is anti-liberty, anti-private property, and anti-free markets if anyone ever was.

So Trump appeals to authoritarians and collectivists, those conservatives and nationalists who love central planning as the answer to “America’s problems,” whatever they might be.

And I then wrote on April 30, 2016:

there have been plenty of wake-ups and rising up, such as with the 2011-2012 Occupy movement, the 2009-2011 Tea Party movement, and, in earlier times, the 1994 “Republican Revolution,” the 1980 “Reagan Revolution,” and so on. I don’t think this Trumpist nationalist populism is going to result in any kind of revolution as Raimondo seems to be hoping for. That is because many amongst the masses support an even further expansion of the federal government’s power and control: many of them are very anti-foreigner, anti-immigrant and they want a government wall on the border. Many of them are being bamboozled into accepting the post-9/11 police state, because they believe the FedGov’s exaggerations of threats by radical Islamic extremists. And many of them are just very easily romanced by Trump’s foul-mouthed, degenerate mindset. No, these people don’t want true change, they don’t want to dismantle much of the government, they want it expanded, they are not particularly supportive of restoring our freedom. If they were, they would have supported Ron Paul in 2012.

Regarding Trump’s recent threats to make use of tax laws to force NFL players to stand for the national anthem, I had written on my December 14, 2016 post:

If you think that just because Donald Trump has spoken out against political correctness and therefore he is for freedom of speech, think again. I think that freedom of speech, freedom of thought and conscience and freedom of expression, freedom of the Press, and the right to express criticism of the ruling bureaucrats, are such fundamentally important rights, that that is probably why the writers of the Bill of Rights made all that a part of their very first Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I am not sure just how devoted Trump will be to tolerating the freedom of the Press, protests, and dissent, when in the past he has taken people to court to sue them for libel or to otherwise shut them up.

And in this September 10, 2015 post, I wrote:

Donald Trump’s arrogant personality has for years been out there for all to see. So there’s nothing new during the current Presidential clownfest in that regard. However, in an interview with the author of a new biography on him, Trump is quoted, stating: “For the most part, you can’t respect people because most people aren’t worthy of respect.” And it sounds like that isn’t even taken out of context, because how could you do that? I think that one statement tells us about what Donald Trump really thinks of other people. (Not much.) …

So I can see why Trump is such an economic ignoramus and an arrogant buffoon. I hope that by now the group “Libertarians for Trump” has disbanded. Please. (Hmm, and I also hope that Trump doesn’t send one of his CIA drones over my home for writing these things.)

Finally, to get a sense of who the real Donald Trump is, watch as Donald Trump contradicts and disagrees with Donald Trump (NB: some foul language):

What Freedom of Speech Means to Me (Article Reposting)

Here is a reposting of an article I wrote that was on LewRockwell.com on November 18, 2015, What Freedom of Speech Means to Me that I thought would be of interest at this time, given all the continuing anti-freedom of speech crusades going on in Amerika these days, at colleges, and elsewhere.

For me, freedom of speech isn’t just about spoken words but is a general category also including freedom of thought and conscience, and different forms of expression, such as in writing and various artistic means of expression.

A society that protects and champions freedom of speech and thought is especially important for those with a moral conscience who encounter wrongdoing to expose such wrongdoing.

And if someone disagrees with a social trend, then of course she should have the freedom to express such a disagreement.

For example, an encouragement by a Yale professor for Halloween tolerance was recently attacked by a mob of hyper-sensitive students who apparently felt that such an encouragement threatens their “safe space.” (Bubble Boy, anyone?)

In 2015 America, the most harmless words and phrases are now perceived as a threat to today’s authoritarian snowflakes, the offspring of the flower children of yesteryear.

Many of these young people are being brainwashed to worship nonsense. They are being trained to think and act like irrational dictatorial robots, crying over nothing that actually exists.

Intolerant and authoritarian, these young punks are the future leaders of America, in which it may become illegal to criticize them, or report on them, as well as criticize members of the ruling class.

And regarding the right to exercise one’s moral conscience, many of the authoritarians on the opposite side of the college punks, the “right-wingers,” are the ones who really believe that Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden are “traitors” for revealing government “secrets” which exposed various elements of the U.S. government and military as the real traitors in their corruption and criminality.

You see, freedom of speech means that the whistleblower who exposes corruption and criminality is not punished for such revelations with solitary confinement for years before his kangaroo trial on bogus “espionage” charges when his actions were clearly not on behalf of some foreign regime but on behalf of the American people.

Manning truly understood that the American people have a right to know the truth, pointing out that “information should be in the public domain,” and that “without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.” And that includes so-called “classified” information, because, as was the case from his initial hearing, as one military officer testified at Manning’s kangaroo trial, not one item of information Manning released was of any threat to any American here in the U.S. or overseas. If you believe otherwise, then perhaps you’ve been too influenced by propaganda distributed by the government and its obedient mainstream media lapdogs.

So freedom of speech includes freedom of thought and conscience, freedom of inquiry and investigation (“The Press”), the right to express your views and criticisms of those in power, and the right of those with a moral conscience to reveal evidence of the power-wielders’ criminality and corruption. Sadly, many authoritarians and nationalists disagree with me on those points. For them the First Amendment has limits. Unfortunately their limits are the very rights which are protected by the First Amendment, especially the right to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Here in America our right to criticize, investigate, report on, and discipline or shame our stupid and incompetent rulers was meant to be protected, supposedly, by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

But the truth is, bureaucrats just don’t like to be criticized, so they have their S.W.A.T. raids criminally breaking into reporters’ or government whistleblowers’ homes and stealing or hacking their computers, and so on, and jail or murder critics to shut them up.

And there are sheeple in America — millions of them — who defend the government’s crackdowns, gullibly believing that it’s right, usually in the name of “national security.”

The authoritarian besieging of freedom of speech and thought seems to be turning a once-free America into just another totalitarian nightmare.

For example, in some Islamic countries, the ruling class arrests, detains, lashes, or executes those who have merely criticized those rulers, the country’s governmental administrators. The rulers say the punishment is for “insulting Islam” or “insulting Muhammad.”

Saudi Arabia is one of those extremely repressive countries. If I were in Saudi Arabia, I would probably not have the freedom to ask those officials, “How do you know that Muhammad feels insulted by criticism of the Saudi government or of the clerics? Did you talk to Muhammad? Did you have a seance? How do you actually know he’s insulted?”

Based on what I’ve read about the “Prophet Muhammad,” there is no indication that he would have felt “insulted” by Saudi citizens criticizing their ruling government. So it’s really the royal Saudi King, who is also the head of the government there, and his fellow bureaucrats who don’t like their rule being criticized by those who actually live there.

And I’m sure this might “offend” some people, but in my view there are plenty of authoritarians and nationalists in America who also have that same kind of mindset.

Just bring up the flag-burning issue, and many people will react very emotionally.

There are people who see the American flag as some kind of sacred symbol, and they refer to flag “desecration” which reminds me of the aforementioned “crimes” in Saudi Arabia of “insulting Islam” or “insulting Muhammad.” I know, I know, “How offensive!” to compare some authoritarian Americans to the barbarians in the Middle East who torture or murder innocent people merely for their disobedience and defiance. But when the American flag is burned at a protest, just look in the comments section of news articles and you’ll see just how some Americans value freedom of speech.

You see, there is this emotional attachment that some people have to a flag (or to the Bible or the Koran, etc.). They would rather see a flag-burner be killed than see a flag set on fire.

So there are “triggers” that elicit strong feelings in many people, the American flag wavers, the Saudi rulers and clerics, the Iranian Ayatollahs, the college snowflakes who need a “safe room,” the race-obsessed community organizers, and the Israel Firsters.

Oops. I’m not supposed to refer to “Israel Firsters.” And I’m also not supposed to make any critical comments about Christianity or the Bible, as Obama had done during his first Presidential campaign, referring to people “clinging” to their Bible, and so on.

But when it comes to Israel, many Bible believing Christians refer to critics of the Israeli government or military as “anti-Semitic” or anti-Jewish, or a “self-hating Jew.” Even beyond our criticizing Israeli militarism, the name-calling toward critics is even worse if one criticizes of Zionism itself. The Zionists, or really the Christian Zionists, would claim that Israel is God’s “Promised Land” for the Jews, for all Jews, who are apparently the “Chosen People.” But that’s a very collectivistic notion. The true believers do not seem to understand that we are all individuals, some good, some not so good.

And such assertions are also somewhat condescending toward Jews, frankly.

However, I would say that it was a mistake to gather Jews into one small area completely surrounded by Muslims and Arabs and call that a “safe haven for Jews.” The reason why the Zionists would not accept any other place but Israel was not based on practicality but based on the Bible.

But I’m not allowed to make those observations, even in modern America, as doing so would be “politically incorrect.”

I would ask the Bible believing Christians the same kinds of questions I would like to ask the clerics in Saudi Arabia regarding the Koran, such as, “How do you know that God ‘chose’ Jews as special beneficiaries of a particular territory in the Middle East?” And they might say, “Because the Bible says so. The Bible is the word of God.” Many people believe that, but there is no real proof that the Bible is the word of God, or that morally the Bible’s assertions have any validity. So the faithful believe it all based on … faith.

And Glenn Beck is constantly saying how we need to turn back to God and all that. But why is it that people need to have some sort of authority figure to worship, such as God or Jesus, or Allah or Muhammad? Or the government, police or military for that matter. Many people worship those guys as well.

So now that I’ve probably offended many Muslims, Christians, Jews and flag-wavers, as well as brainwashed college zombies, now on to the atheists. I really don’t worship any “God,” but I do believe that we were created, and not by creators with particularly kind motivations. But to the atheists, I would point out just how complex our own bodies are, the brain, the heart, and the concepts of vision and reproduction, and the extremely tiny odds of all that occurring from random and spontaneous matter or particles forming life. You would have to believe that it all just happened randomly as a matter of faith. I look forward to the day when atheists admit that their beliefs are as much out of faith as the Bible believers’ beliefs.

But even in 21st Century America there is still so much intolerance of other points of view that violence against them is the preferred choice rather than tolerance. I am talking about tolerance of ideas as well as tolerance of challenging authority.

How long ago was it that the flower children had “Question Authority” bumper stickers? But now the “climate change” (formerly “global warming”) fanatics want to jail “deniers.” And the college campus fascists want to expel the Press from covering their protests. Huh?

And can you imagine how a lot of true believers might react if there were a Charlie Hebdo-like “Jesus-drawing contest” in the same way that Pamela Geller had her “Muhammad-drawing” contest? “Freedom of speech for me but not for thee,” and all that.

So freedom of thought and association includes the right to have and express ignorant attitudes that others might find to be repugnant, and the right to “hate.” Yes, that’s right, “hate.” Hate is just an emotion.

That is why “hate crimes” legislation also goes against freedom of speech. If someone physically assaults another, it is irrelevant if the motivation for the assault was “hate.” So with those kinds of laws we have the criminalization of certain kinds of thought. But thinking and emotions are not crimes. “Hate” can’t hurt anyone, except hurt someone’s feelings.

Remember, you don’t have a right to not have your feelings hurt, or a right to not feel offended.

The LGBT activists who take Christian conscientious objectors to court for not providing labor involuntarily, and the “transgender” police are exposing the destructive nature of “civil rights” laws. With the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the U.S. government went beyond merely repealing fascist Jim Crow laws. It erased the line between public and private property. So rather than just applying “civil rights” to public property and government-run functions such as the buses, the schools, parks, City Hall, etc., the social intruders succeeded in empowering themselves to force their way into privately owned businesses. The pretext was “public accommodations,” but nevertheless applying to private property. The activists and bureaucrats made private property less privately owned and more publicly owned from that point onward.

But of course people have a right to associate with whomever they want and a right to not associate with whomever they don’t want to associate. And for any damn reason. That might bother a lot of guilt-ridden people who are afraid to say the truth about freedom of thought and conscience, and freedom of association, but so what? The important distinction here, as Lew Rockwell referred to recently, is private property.

People do not have a “right” to forcibly enter someone else’s property or to force others to associate with them, or to silence those perceived as “hateful” or hurtful or those with whom they disagree. The totalitarian idea of thought crimes needs to find its way into the dustbin of history, really.