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Author: scott lazarowitz

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Boston University Economics Professors “Very Proud” of Her

Robert Wenzel writes that he spoke with several economics professors at Boston University, the alma mater of economics major Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Yesterday, I spoke over the phone with a number of BU faculty members in the economics department and the consensus was that she was a very bright student who has “very interesting ideas” and that she will have an impact. They seemed to believe that she was getting advice from “top economists,” perhaps Thomas Piketty. Yes, this Thomas Piketty.

Even Prof. Laurence Kotlikoff, who would seem to have the least in common with AOC from a policy perspective (He was President Ronald Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers), told me that the Boston University economics faculty was “very proud of her.”

He emphasized that AOC was “impressive in many ways” and that what she is advocating “in many ways is closer to where we should be than where we are now.”

He said it was good she was pushing the envelope and that she is causing serious discussion. He particularly likes that she is pushing for a “progressive fiscal system.” He says we now have a regressive fiscal system.

We Must Apologize for Criticizing the 51st State

Brett Wilkins asks, Why must Ilhan Omar apologize for telling the truth? She’s the newly elected congresswoman who made some comments recently about Israel, and the influence that the Israel Lobby has in Washington. I think she specifically referred to AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, even though they don’t officially donate money to politicians. They still have a HUGE influence on them.

Wilkins points out that any criticism of Israel, or of the U.S. government and its politicians and lobbyists bowing to Israel as the U.S. 51st state, is considered to be “anti-Semitic,” which it is not.

If one criticizes Ilhan Omar, does that mean that one is “anti-Muslim” or “anti-Arab”? Of course not.

There are some people reading my blog on this here who will immediately become emotional and unthinking and jump to such conclusions. “Criticize Israel? Anti-Semite, self-hating Jew,” etc. But those who are more open-minded will not have that ignorant mentality.

And also, an article by Jonathan Cook on Hebron, where Israel removes the last restraint on settlers’ reign of terror against the Palestinian inhabitants. (We’re not allowed to write about those more specific injustices either. Israel is the untouchable Holy Land, that may not be criticized!)

More News and Commentary

Ron Paul on the hysterical warmongers of Congress when Trump wants to remove U.S. troops from Syria.

Veronique de Rugy comments on Donald Trump’s statement, “America was founded on liberty and independence — not government coercion, domination and control.”

Jay Engel says that billionaires already gave their “fair share.”

Ludwig von Mises says that “progressive” attacks on capitalism were key to Hitler’s success.

And Bill Wirtz says that the French government is deliberately increasing the price of food.

Should Counselors Have the Freedom to Counsel with “Conversion” Therapy?

WND has an article on Liberty Counsel arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court that counselors should have the freedom to talk to clients about homosexuality or sexual identity, or any other matter, quite frankly. Liberty Counsel is challenging a New Jersey law that restricts such freedom of speech rights of counselors, specifically regarding ““unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors or identity.”

I don’t know what’s wrong with the anti-free speech fascists on the left these days. They seem to have an agenda in the area of sexuality, which celebrates homosexuality, perversions and deviancy, and these days is quite anti-male, anti-heterosexual, and anti-biologically correct gender identity.

The activists and extremists don’t even want to allow others to discuss issues, or allow someone who might be insecure with his sexuality or gender identity to talk about it with a counselor. The activists in fact want to jail such counselors, just like the climate fanatics want to jail “deniers.”

It used to be that homosexual activists would chant, “Silence equals death.” That was one of their main slogans, during the 1980s. My, how things have changed.

Also recently, in New Hampshire, the “Live Free Or Die” state, by the way, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu signed a bill into law not only for transgender “civil rights,” but banning “conversion therapy” for transgender or sexual orientation. This means that, according to the law, “‘conversion therapy’ means practices or treatments that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender.”

New Hampshire, the “Live Free Or Die” state. Except that if a client in therapy has “transgender” like feelings or homosexual attractions but doesn’t think that’s right or that’s not who he really is and wants to identify with his biological gender or wants to overcome same-sex attractions, he cannot do that in New Hampshire because such therapy is against the law.

There are many, many activists now who, in their zeal promoting “transgender” or homosexuality, want to now outlaw speech, merely discussing someone’s personal situation in which he wants help, and in which he does not accept certain attractions. And so far it seems the extremists are winning this fight, if they can get a Republican governor in New Hampshire to sign such a bill into law.

I’m sure the activists are in some way going to try to tie “conversion therapy” speech with bullying speech as well as with violence against transgenders and homosexuals. Yes, activists these days are that dishonest now.

One talk radio host I heard today was discussing a case regarding transgender issues, and a caller stated that her boyfriend’s 21-year-old sister has a 5-year-old son who the caller considers female and puts nail polish on him, and dresses, etc. The host was saying that’s child abuse, and I agree in some way with that, it’s psychological abuse. But the host was saying he would send Child Protective Services (CPS) after the 21-year-old mother. However, that same host has been very anti-CPS in the past, so I think he’s not thinking that through.

I wouldn’t send after ANYONE the same CPS that gets involved in child sex trafficking as well as promoting abusive homes for foster kids. Government CPS is notorious for those kinds of criminal activities against kids.

Anyway, regardless of the U.S. Supreme Court’s rarely getting anything right, I nevertheless wish Liberty Counsel a lot of luck in challenging the anti-free speech counseling laws.

“I Am a Socialist”: What Socialists Really Support

With the rise in the advocacy for socialism, such as with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, etc., and their rationality-free, knowledge-free emotional appeals to the ignorant and gullible masses, I am reminded of this article I had on LewRockwell.com in 2010, “I Am a Socialist,” with a self-proclaimed socialist explaining what he really supports. And so I will repost that here now. (There may be one or two things in which I wouldn’t put it in exactly the same way as I did in 2010, but I think this makes some important points.)

“I Am a Socialist”

November 24, 2010

Recently, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell announced that he is a “socialist.” O’Donnell referred to Milton Friedman’s quote, “We’re all Keynesians now,” and President Richard Nixon’s quote, “I am now a Keynesian,” in the context of Keynesian economics being very similar to socialism. O’Donnell went on to assert his pride in being a socialist, and even suggested that Glenn Beck, Rand Paul and others are also socialists in one form or another.

So here is an elaboration of someone, whoever that might be, explaining why he is a socialist:

“First and foremost, I am a socialist because I disagree with the Founding Fathers’ ideas on morality and the Rule of Law. It is important that we have a centralized government that redistributes all the wealth. The State needs to have the power to take some of the wealth away from those the State decides have too much of it. Obviously, no one has a ‘right’ to one’s own wealth or property. And I don’t believe that ‘all men are created equal’ because, if there is a law against theft, then obviously because we need to allow agents of the State to take wealth away, then therefore laws against ‘theft’ must exempt agents of the State. That means that some people should be above the law.

“And I am a socialist in medical care because I think that the centralized government should control everyone’s medical care – it’s as simple as that. It is important that government bureaucrats and their government doctors and medical services have a monopoly in the medical industry so they don’t have to deal with competitive interests, as opposed to a free market in medical care in which the consumers determine which doctors and medical plans would stay in business and which ones would fail. Some people assert that that gives ‘power to the people,’ but we socialists don’t want the people to have that kind of power – it takes control away from government bureaucrats and that’s why I don’t like that. It’s important that government officials control the ultimate decisions in what affects American medical patients (and because the Blue State grandmas are more likely to vote for the “good guys” than the Red State grandmas, if you know what I mean).

“I support socialist immigration central planning because the State has a right, for example, to prevent an employer in Arizona from hiring an applicant from Mexico despite the fact that the employer believes that individual is qualified for the job and the Mexican applicant is willing to accept the job at the wage both agree on. Their prospective contract should not be in their control, it should be in the central planners’ control. When we say that socialism includes public ownership of the means of production, then that includes ownership of the employer’s business, as well as the prospective employee’s direction of employment (as well as the employer and employee themselves – after all, one of the most important of the means of production is the people).

(If I may interject here while Mr. Socialist goes to take a brief powder: Some of what is being described is actually fascism. While socialism can generally be described as public ownership of wealth and the means of production, fascism allows for private ownership of wealth and the means of production but the control is usurped by the State. So, there are elements of socialist programs that are also fascist in nature, and vice versa. In immigration, for instance, the central planning nature of public ownership of wealth and the means of production also includes State control over immigration which is really part of fascism, so our socialist here is also a fascist, but don’t tell him I said that. Actually, there really is little difference between socialism and fascism when you get right down to it. But, for the sake of discussion, we’ll continue with our self-proclaimed “socialist” in his discussion of why he favors socialism.)

“To continue, I am a socialist because I support the central planning of chemical ingestion, otherwise known as the War on Drugs. While the common sense answer to the ‘drug problem’ might be freedom and personal responsibility, it is nevertheless important that the centralized bureaucrats have the power to dictate to people what chemicals they may or may not ingest (even though this causes a black market in banned drugs, dramatically raises the prices of drugs and thus incentivizes the black marketers to form gangs and cartels that causes turf wars and increased violence, and incentivizes them to push the drugs on impressionable youths and adults some of whom turn to robbery to afford the pricey substances, as well as distracts and corrupts the police).

“Speaking of police and protecting the public, I am an enthusiastic supporter of the socialist central planning monopoly in territorial security (as opposed to a free market in security, in which those in the protection business would have to deal with profit-and-loss as determined by competitive agents and consumer control). It is important that 300 million Americans are compelled by law to use the monopoly of centrally planned ‘defense’ in Washington to protect them from harm by foreign elements, while legally forbidding anyone from competing in the business of protection.

“I also believe in that central planning military socialism because I haven’t read Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s books, The Private Production of Defense and The Myth of National Defense, or Morris and Linda Tannehill’s book, The Market for Liberty, and because I really do believe in the myth that the U.S. government’s committing aggression on foreign lands actually protects Americans and doesn’t instead provoke those in the foreign lands to retaliate against that aggression and intrusion. I don’t want to admit that giving central planners a monopoly in defense, without the constant checks on their behavior that the pressures of competition in a free market and the requirement to follow the Rule of Law would bring, actually encourages central planners to use the government apparatus to further expand their power and control (and profits at taxpayers’ expense). Can you imagine a private security firm or insurance agency deliberately provoking the Japanese to bomb Pearl Harbor, or deliberately encouraging Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait as an excuse to invade Iraq? A private firm with competitive pressures and under the Rule of Law would not only lose business but its agents would end up in jail. But, despite the messes in Iraq and Afghanistan that our central defense planners in Washington have caused, and the fact that Washington’s intrusions abroad have made us less safe, I still want to pretend that this socialism in defense actually works. As Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano noted, “the system worked.”

“Of course, given that I’m a proud supporter of redistribution of wealth schemes, military socialism is effective in taking wealth from American producers and laborers and redistributing it over to those in the defense contractor industry (and Wall Street). While this socialist (and fascist) monopoly of territorial protection may be completely disorganized because there is no incentive among the government bureaucrats to be efficient and productive, such a scheme nevertheless effects in getting contractors’ campaign contributions in the pockets of those politicians who need the jobs they get in Washington as they would otherwise be unemployed in the private sector. It’s important for America.

“After all, the Founding Fathers were also socialists in that their Constitution mandates a centralized government monopoly in defense, in which free, open competition in that area is outlawed. That’s been good for America.

“And finally, I support the socialized commerce that the Federal Reserve provides, with the help of legal tender laws and loose fractional reserve banking permissions, because I believe that it is vital that a centralized government control the money supply and banking. We can’t allow the people to have the freedom to choose a bank based on its record of service to the community, because that would take control away from the centralized authorities who know better as far as what’s best for the people, and we can’t allow the people to have the freedom to choose among competing currencies, because that would take control away from the centralized authorities who know better as far as what’s best for the people.

“Like the central planning micromanagement from ObamaCare, Social Security and government-run education, the Federal Reserve is important to micromanage the economy, despite all the damage it has caused since its founding in 1913. So, as a socialist, I feel it’s important to continue the Fed’s control over and intrusions into our money, banking, savings and investments (and our prosperity, security and Liberty as well).

“We need as many government intrusions into every aspect of human existence as possible, so most of all, I guess I’m a socialist because I like power and oppose freedom.

“Bye.”

Yeah, goodbye, Socialist. Now, get lost – we’re better off without you.

News and Commentary

While there are a lot of critics of the “Green New Deal,” the unrealistic socialist paradise being promoted by leftists, Jacob Hornberger points out that the policies of the actual New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt and his cronies, a combination of socialist and fascist policies, were and are policies that should be criticized. Today’s conservatives are afraid to do so, either out of their own ignorance and irrationality or because they are just gutless wonders.

Fred Reed examines the freak show within the Trump administration, including “Pussy John Bolton.” (That’s not a mustache, he’s actually foaming at the mouth in his warmongering excitement.)

David Henderson on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez versus Adam Smith.

And William Anderson writes about the green great leap forward.

Massachusetts Supreme Court: People Not Responsible for Their Own Actions

Well, the Michelle Carter case is back in the news again. She was the teenager who through texts and phone calls urged her boyfriend to commit suicide, which he did. Carter had told a friend two weeks later that she even told Conrad Roy to get back into his truck after he had second thoughts while the truck was apparently full of carbon monoxide. That subsequent text to her friend was the main item of evidence against her.

She was convicted of involuntary manslaughter by a judge, and now the Massachusetts state Supreme Court has upheld the conviction.

I am sure that Carter’s words and bullying may have influenced the boy’s final decision to do himself in, but she was not there, only on the phone with him. With the state Court’s ruling, this is another case in which an individual is not responsible for his own decisions and actions.

Carter’s attorney has stated that they will take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which hardly has a good record on freedom of speech issues.

The Massachusetts Court stated, according to Reason, “No constitutional violation results from convicting a defendant of involuntary manslaughter for reckless and wanton, pressuring text messages and phone calls, preying upon well-known weaknesses, fears, anxieties and promises, that finally overcame the willpower to live of a mentally ill, vulnerable, young person, thereby coercing him to commit suicide.”

“…preying upon well-known weaknesses, fears, anxieties and promises…”?

But isn’t that what politicians do all the time? Such as Elizabeth Warren in her Presidential campaign announcement, appealing to the ignorant, covetous masses? Or Donald Trump with his fascist wall, appealing to simple-minded tribalists?

Psychiatrist Dr. Peter Breggin had testified at Carter’s trial and considered Carter and Roy “victims of psychiatry,” because the two of them had both been taking prescription psychiatric drugs for years. But that does not excuse anything.

Dr. Breggin points out that there is no actual evidence, recording or texts, indicating that Carter actually told Roy to get back in the truck. The only evidence regarding such an assertion that exists is Carter’s texting to a friend two months after Roy’s death that she told him to get back in the truck. But what if she was mistaken in her memory of that ordeal?

To highlight the prosecutor and judge’s zeal and inconsistency, Dr. Breggin wrote, “The DA takes Michelle’s self-destructive statement texted in despair to a friend two months after Conrad’s death as a truth so certain it is sufficient to charge and convict her of killing Conrad. This is ironic. Throughout the trial, the DA repeatedly described Michelle as a liar, a faker, a manipulator, an exaggerator, a dramatizer, a schemer, and someone whose declarations could never be trusted. The DA considered Michelle an outright liar who was wholly unreliable except on this one quote that served the DA’s driving need for a conviction.”

Dr. Breggin has a series of articles related to the Michelle Carter case.

Anyway, it was Conrad Roy’s ultimate decision based on his own free will to kill himself. That’s my view on this. Michelle Carter may have been a mean b*tch, but she was not responsible for Roy’s death.

So unless the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s decision, the decision can be used to suggest that someone’s “meanness,” verbal bullying, “exploiting another’s vulnerability,” and so on, can be made criminally responsible for the suicidal death of another. But will other forms of speech then be made to be responsible? Such as a “mean rant” in blog that depressed someone? Or even a bitter, vindictive political speech such as by Elizabeth Warren?

Here is what Murray Rothbard had to say about a similar situation of people urging others to do something very bad or criminal, the idea of “incitement to riot”:

Should it be illegal, we may next inquire, to “incite to riot”? Suppose that Green exhorts a crowd: “Go! Burn! Loot! Kill!” and the mob proceeds to do just that, with Green having nothing further to do with these criminal activities. Since every man is free to adopt or not adopt any course of action he wishes, we cannot say that in some way Green determined the members of the mob to their criminal activities; we cannot make him, because of his exhortation, at all responsible for their crimes. “Inciting to riot,” therefore, is a pure exercise of a man’s right to speak without being thereby implicated in crime.

On the other hand, it is obvious that if Green happened to be involved in a plan or conspiracy with others to commit various crimes, and that then Green told them to proceed, he would then be just as implicated in the crimes as are the others — more so, if he were the mastermind who headed the criminal gang. This is a seemingly subtle distinction which in practice is clearcut — there is a world of difference between the head of a criminal gang and a soap-box orator during a riot; the former is not, properly to be charged simply with “incitement.”