Friday, December 31, 2010

Saying Goodbye or Hello to The Good Old Days

Janus, of course, was the Roman god with two faces, one to always look backward and one to look forward.  The name was chosen for this month for good reason and I'll do the same.
At the end of 2010, American freedom is - at best - on the ropes. No matter where you look, you see the appearance of an emerging police state: from the TSA "molocaust" (H/T - Cliffs of Insanity) to neighbors being urged to snitch on neighbors to vindictive, overzealous prosecutors seemingly abusing the laws they're supposed to be protecting.  Big Brother shows no signs of wanting to let up, but rather is acting to spread the insult to malls, stadiums, stores - anywhere people gather.  It's only going to get more widespread and more intrusive.  If you're new here, you may be interested in a column I wrote on Labor Day about the emergent police state.

These are direct assaults on the 4th amendment to constitution:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
They are direct assaults on freedom of movement.  How long until any attempt to move between cities or states brings the "show me your papers" order from deep in our collective nightmares? 

Government corruption is widespread.  A list of government "ruling class elites" who get away with things that you and I would be rotting in jail for is trivially easy to put together: Timothy Geithner, Charlie Rangel, Barney Frank, Tom Daschle, ...

Those whose names don't return pages of "corruption" links in Google say the stupidest things you can imagine.  Our executioner in chief, Dr. Donald Berwick believes having a shortage of health options keeps costs down, apparently the only instance in the known universe where the law of supply and demand doesn't work.  Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, says insurance companies competing against each other in a free market constitute a monopoly.  Julius "Seizure" Genachowski, head of the FCC and trouser mouse to self-described communist Robert McChesney wants to take over the internet and hired a guy who wants to destroy broadcasting to be in charge of it.  Let's stop there.  It's making me kinda sick.

I decided to join the "blogosphere" last February with the intent of writing on the techno-geeky things I love.  The top of the page describes it pretty well. Instead, I seem to write the most on the economic mess we are in because I feel I need to spread the word.  I would not take a bet that by this time next year, things will be better.

What's ahead?  We can be sure the current trends will continue.  Inflation will get ugly.  Remember, the official government inflation numbers don't include energy and food, so the numbers they report don't show how badly your budget is hurting as the costs of gasoline, and heating oil, as well as all food items go up.  Clothing costs will go up as well.  As the effects of the quantitative easing work through the market, all tangible items will get more expensive.  I would not be surprised for food costs to be up around 25% this year.  I expect gold to go over $1500/oz - really a modest increase - and silver to go up more percentage wise.  $50/oz would not surprise me.  At around $31 (today) you should still consider it.  Silver is notoriously more volatile than gold, so you need to have a strong stomach.  On the other hand, I have silver I bought at $5/oz - a 6-fold increase in value.

My most widely linked and read post was On Germs, Weeds, Companies, Governments and Skunks - a long post that ended with this observation:
We are strangling in a bureaucracy with a Code of Federal Regulations that has grown like a bacterial culture.  A nation that was founded by a constitution that fills about 14 printed pages in today's technologies, passes financial reform bills that go over 2000 pages, health care bills that go almost 3000 pages, and more.   Each bill creates hundreds of new regulations, which are so poorly written they have to be refined by hundreds of court cases.  The court cases effectively create new law and new regulations.  Since congress is in session every year and passes at least one new law every year, the total number of laws and regulations increases without limit and everything eventually becomes illegal. 
In my mind, the central problem we face in the struggle for personal liberty is how the web of regulations is tightening around us more every day, regulating the most minute aspects of life; how this "sand in the gears of life" is choking off businesses, moving jobs overseas, and grinding this country away.  We absolutely have to pare down the amount of regulations.  Instead, we have an administration that regulates by fiat what it can't get passed as law. 

Is 2011 the year the western economy collapse?  Could be.  Is 2011 the year the open shooting starts?  Same answer.  I wouldn't take the bet it doesn't. 

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