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Friday, August 27, 2010

Why Philadelphia’s Licensing and Taxing of Blogs is Creeping Fascism

The recent decision by the City of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania to require a Business Privilege License (cost $300) of blogs and that the blogs be taxed on any profits has generated a well deserved outcry from free marketers across the country. Many have invoked Chief Justice John Marshall’s famous words, "The power to tax involves the power to destroy." They are right, this will be the end of independent blogging in Philadelphia and around the world when this spreads across countries.

The tax is actually the least of the threats to blogging the city is creating. The major threat is the licensing. Once the precedent is established that blogs can be licensed the government’s control of the blogosphere will grow in small increments until it can shut us all down by simply requiring and then denying said license. Simply charging a high licensing fee will close the majority. There’s no doubt in this libertarian’s mind the government would love nothing more than to have the Internet as limited and controlled as it has television and radio. In other words, they will apply the corporate media model to it. All these independent bloggers have been a great source of anxiety for our rulers. Why the masses are actually getting some truth! This is a tremendous threat to their power. Much better for them if there are only a few corporate sources of information.

Does this sound far fetched? Let us consider a little history in other media namely television and radio. Back in the bad old days there where only three major television networks operating nationally. There were some local stations too, of course. Radio was and still is owned by large corporate entities. Now cable and satellite television have expanded the number of channels available, but the change has not affected the government’s control of the media. All need a license to operate. Just as important they can be easily bought off with advertising. The government controlled the flow of information to the people. It is perfect example of fascism with nominally private corporations under the government’s control and doing their bidding.

Enter the internet. Almost completely unregulated it is liberty at its best. By the dawn of the twenty-first century people were getting information and opinions that could be hidden from them before. People are networking and communicating with like-minded people from around the globe. Anyone with intelligence, a computer, and internet access can blog successfully. Independently shot videos of all manner of things the government doesn’t want exposed can be disseminated easily and at no cost. Governments and corporations are profoundly threatened by this new freedom to communicate and trade independently. To them blogging is a menace that must be stopped!

This author very much doubts that the Obama administration will be suing Philadelphia to stop their taxing and licensing scheme like they sued Arizona over their immigration law. It’s all up to us to stop this tyranny before the internet goes the way of television and radio. To this end I ask everyone to join the boycott of the City of Philadelphia until they come to their senses and leave the bloggers alone. This travesty must be stopped here before it spreads. Please show your support at our Facebook page "Boycott Philadelphia Until the Bloggers Are Free!".

Thursday, August 26, 2010

An Economy On Life Support Is Not Recovering

With the economy apparently souring further without having recovered from the current recession a look at two articles written in January of 2009 on the subject seems timely. This article and Recovery Depends on Investment and Capital Accumulation were originally published at the Nolan Chart.

With the government going into overdrive with all manner of so-called stimulus to revive the sick economy many statists are trying desperately to salvage the claim that President Franklin Roosevelt's (FDR) New Deal saved the economy from the Great Depression to justify similar policies today. Despite the obvious fact that the Depression was the longest in US history, people such as David Sirota persist with articles like "Fox News: "Historians Pretty Much Agree" That FDR Prolonged the Great Depression". Well, Mr. Sirota, it was pretty long.

The claim that FDR engineered a recovery is based on the fact that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew and unemployment dropped from 1933 to 1936. While these statements are correct they hide the fact that during that time GDP never reached 1929 levels and that unemployment stayed in the double digit range. The key question, though, is why did unemployment go up and GDP go down in 1937 and 1938?

The answer is that the economy never really recovered. The government's massive spending was not recovery, but as John Flynn put it "a palliative". By 1938,
The country had now really reached a greater crisis than in 1933. The public debt, which was 22 billion when Roosevelt took office almost all a heritage of World War I was now 37 billion. Taxes were more than doubled. The President had a war on against the conservatives in his party and his own cabinet was split and angry. Unemployment was several thousand more than it was in October, 1932. Roosevelt knew now he was in a crisis. And he had at his disposal nothing to fight it with save a weapon government spending which had failed and
which he felt now was a palliative and not a cure.*

All of FDR's spending had failed to revive savings and business investment, without which there can be no economic growth. (See here.) To use an analogy, a patient in a coma is on life support. Machines are forcing the pumping of the heart, the inhaling and exhaling of the lungs. While this may even result in better vital signs than the patient previously had, it is far from being a recovery. Under these circumstances it should come as no surprise that the patient dies if life support is removed.

So it was for the economy during the Great Depression. When government spending slowed and taxes rose the still comatose economy took a turn for the worse. The obvious lesson for us today is that we don't want to repeat the mistakes of that era and try to spend our way to prosperity.

A better model to emulate is the recovery from the recession of 1921. President Harding cut government spending and taxes. The economy recovered quickly. Much nicer scenario, let's stick to that proven method of reviving the sick economy. We can't afford to have politicians playing pass the pork under the guise of stimulating the economy while we languish in a recession. Cut taxes and government spending now.

* "The Roosevelt Myth", pg. 122

Recovery Depends on Investment and Capital Accumulation

Some of the feedback I've received on the article "An Economy on Life Support Is Not Recovering" shows a fundamental misunderstanding my critics have about the arguments presented there. In retrospect I see that a more detailed explanation is needed.

In reply to the article there are those who state what the article acknowledges, that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew and unemployment dropped from 1933 until 1937. This is taken as proof of the success of the New Deal. Their mistake is thinking that all GDP numbers are equal. They are not, as I explain below.

GDP growth based on private investment in productive capital is the only basis for real growth. In other words companies must invest in factories and other productive facilities (capital accumulation). This investment must come from people's savings, i.e. it must be based on real production, real resources that have been produced. In this way the economy can grow in a realistic and sustainable manner.

When the government spends untold fortunes to stimulate the economy, GDP and unemployment numbers may temporarily improve, but this improvement is illusory. All one does under this scenario is put more money out chasing a stagnant or declining supply of goods and services. The resources used in such a process are not being invested in any kind of productive facilities. On the contrary, productive facilities are being run down to support the make work projects that the government is spending tax money on. (I know that governments also spend money by running deficits, but ultimately the debts must be paid out of tax revenues. Governments can also "print" money, that is paid for with inflation)

As Frank Shostak explains in "What is up with the GDP?":
The GDP framework cannot tell us whether final goods and services that were produced during a particular period of time are a reflection of real wealth expansion, or a reflection of capital consumption.

For instance, if a government embarks on the building of a pyramid, which adds absolutely nothing to the well-being of individuals, the GDP framework will regard this as economic growth. In reality, however, the building of the pyramid will divert real funding from wealth-generating activities, thereby stifling the production of wealth.
The whole scheme wouldn't work even if the government could spend massively forever, but, anyway, the reality is that it can't. When the day of reckoning comes and the government's spending slows the economy slows with it. This is exactly what happened in 1937.

Of course, the government could ignore the "day of reckoning" and just keep on spending, but the result then is the disaster we see in Zimbabwe today.

Hopefully, this clarifies the argument put forward in the article "An Economy On Life Support Isn't Recovering".

In closing I'd like to anticipate the counter argument that spending on infrastructure such as roads, bridges, mass transit, and schools isn't make work but needed improvement. To a very small degree this is true, however, most of the money will be spent according to political pull rather than necessity. Politicians excel at making the usually false argument that project X in their district is of vital importance and most necessary. The reality is that they just want more pork to pass around to supporters to buy votes and campaign contributions. Remember, a bridge to nowhere is not an investment, it's a waste of resources.

I would like to thank Ralph Mullinger for reviewing this article and for his feedback.

2/25/2009 update: Reinforcing the points made above is 'Economic Recovery Requires Capital Accumulation, Not Government "Stimulus Packages"' Thank you, Professor Reisman.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Liberty on Tour in Philadelphia, 8/14/2010

Philadelphia, PA - At the end of their week in Philadelphia Liberty on Tour's Adam Mueller and Pete Eyre joined local activists to do Fully Informed Jury Association outreach. All went well, no one was arrested or questioned by authorities.

The purpose of the outreach is to distribute pamphlets explaining that juries should not only judge the facts of the case but the merits of the law in question too. If they find the law objectionable they should acquit. Of course, judges often instruct juries to follow the law as they interpret it, but this is not correct.

As you can see in the videos a good time was had by all:

Earlier in their stay in Philadelphia Liberty on Tour's Adam Mueller and Pete Eyre had a run in with park rangers in, of all places, Independence Hall while filming "Is the Constitution Really So Great?" Incredible, not even in Independence Hall does the elected dictatorship that rules us allow freedom of speech!

Other coverage of their visit to Philadelphia:

Liberty on Tour enters Philly

Liberty on Tour 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

FIJA Activist Julian Heicklen Busted Again in NY, 8/4/2010

This time it started out differently. Adam Mueller and Pete Eyre from Liberty on Tour were there with Antonio Musumeci (otherwise known as "Bile" for his blog, Blog of Bile) and, of course, Julian Heicklen.

As you will see in the videos things started out peacefully with the feds studiously ignoring us as Julian started handing out the Fully Informed Jury Association pamphlets. We did an interview with Pete Eyre. I even started to speculate that maybe they were done trying to arrest Julian. No such luck. One of the officers, as he walked past me while the camera was off, said, "get the camera rolling things are about to start".

In a telephone conversation later Julian stated that he was released from the hospital unharmed. He also said that technically he wasn't arrested, just shipped off in the ambulance.

The video of the same event filmed by Pete Eyre can be seen here.

Julian's latest progress report on the day:

Hi Tyranny Fighters:

1. FIJA demonstration of 8–4-10

I arrived at the U. S. District Courthouse in Manhattan at 11:30 am. It was a warm and sunny day. At the outskirts of federal property I met Adam Mueller and Peter Eyre from Liberty on Tour. Also there were bile and Darren Wolfe. All four were there to videotape the proceedings.

After some preliminary discussion we moved to the courtyard of the District Courthouse at 11:45 am. I distributed the American Jury Institute pamphlet “True or False: Factual Information about Jury Service” along with my flyer. Peter Eyre also distributed some of these. Officers Sargent Sullivan and another Federal Service Marshall were there when we arrived. Altogether we distributed about 35 pamphlets.

At 12:06 pm, there were 3 police officers present. At 12:15 pm Sargeant Sullivan and officer Valentin approached me and asked me to move off federal property. I refused. Each of them grabbed one of my arms and took my Jury Info sign and remaining pamphlets. I was not placed under arrest nor given a citation. It was an undisguised assault and robbery. I fell to the ground. I lay still, did not move a muscle, nor utter a sound. None of the other of my four accomplices were forced off the property, and none were given citations. One police officer encouraged Darren to start rolling his camera when the action was about to start.

The police called Emergency Medical Service of the NY City Fire Department to send an ambulance. I was placed on a stretcher at 12:25 pm and put into the ambulance. On the way to the hospital, two medics examined me, but I gave no response. We arrived at the NY City Downtown Hospital at 12:35 pm, and I was carried on a stretcher into the emergency ward.

I still uttered no sound nor moved a muscle. The hospital staff applied painful pressure to my chest in order to get me talk. Also a large object was place in my mouth with the intention of forcing it down my throat, but it was too large to get into my jaw. Then I was tickled by a small fine brush on my lips, nostrils, and left cornea. Still I did not move or talk.

Finally Dr. Rubinstein, an intern, begged me to talk, so I did at 1:10 pm. I said that I was all right and wanted to be discharged. He said that I would have to answer some questions, but I informed him that I was exercising my Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. He asked for my name, but I refused to divulge it.

He left me and talked with some other staff. He said that I would be discharged. He filled out some paperwork authorized by the attending Physician Antonio Dajer. Dr. Rubinstein admonished me that the Emergency Medical Service was intended only for sick people. I responded that he should so inform the Federal Protective Service. I signed the discharge paper as John Galt and left at 1:30 pm.
2. George Donnelly Trial, August 26, 2010

The response to my query about what activity to plan for the trial of George Donnelly was sparse. However those that did respond said that any of my proposals would be acceptabe to them. I will be out of town from August 6–25, so will not be involved directly in the planning. However Jim Babb has agreed to plan and coordinate activities. If you have any idea or questions contact him.

3. LWRN Radio Program
I have been invited to host a weekly 1-hour show on web radio station LWRN. Starting sometime in September, we will have a Tyranny Busters broadcast. Actual air time is 45 minutes, because of LWRN announcements and advertising. bile has agreed to be the producer and I will start as the host. We have been given a free hand to cover freedom issues. However there are some FCC restrictions on political candidates appearing alone free for 45 days before the election.

Now we have to decide on content. I am suggesting a number of possibilities and asking for your opinions on each of them or some not mentioned below:

1. A 15-minute segment on one of our constitutional freedom issues: jury nullification, free speech and assembly, freedom to own firearms, constitutional trials, privacy rights, legalizing drugs and other consensual acts involving mentally-competent adults, income tax abolition, reduction of prison population, reform the prisons.
2. A 15-minute segment involving important but controversial issues such as abortion, the death penalty, foreign policy, regulating interstate commerce, environmental problems, private vs. public schools, eminent domain, etc. Debate between to opposing individuals.
3. 15 minutes devoted to freedom activities and movements around the county and suggestion for additional activities. Strategy and policy reports.
4. The structure of these segments. Possibilities are:
1. one host alone
2. one host interviewing 1 or 2 guests
3. one guest being interviewed by 1 or 2 hosts
4. suggestions for hosts and guests

4. Future Plans

Friday, August 6, 2010, at 8:00 am at the Tampa Federal Courthouse, 801 N. Florida Avenue. Tampa, FL 3362–3800

Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 6:30 pm, Jury Nullification Conference, Piccadilly Meeting Facility, 5950 Ramona Boulevard, Jacksonville, FL

Monday, August 23, 2010 at 11:45 am–1:15 pm at the U. S. District Courthouse, 101 West Lombard Street, Baltimore MD 21201-2605.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010, at 8:00 am–9:30 am at the U. S. District Courthouse, 401 Courthouse Square, Alexandria VA 22314-5704

Tuesday, August 24, 2010, at 11:45 am–1:15 pm at the U. S. District Courthouse, 333 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington DC 20001

Wednesday, August 25, 2010, at 11:45 am–1:15 pm at the U. S. District Courthouse, 50 Walnut Street, Newark NJ 07102

Thursday, August 26, 2010, George Donnelly trial at the U. S. District Courthouse in Allentown, PA

5. Financial needs
Our FIJA outreach program has ballooned beyond my wildest expectations. One problem that this poses is financial. The costs are now exceeding our financial capabilities. You can help alleviate this problem by making donations to the following:

George Donnelly legal defense fund. George was arrested in Allentown and charged with misdemeanor assault, even though he was the victim of the assault. (Your federal government at work) He faces a possible extensive prison sentence. He is trying to raise $15,000 for anticipated legal fees to defend himself. Please send him a donation. Go to the web page below to make a donation through PayPal at

Also the American Jury Institute (FIJA) expenses will be mounting. You can help by joining the American Jury Institute, or just making a donation. Its web page is at

Mike Benoit has written a book entitled “Sham and Shame of the Federal Income Tax.” You can purchase it directly from him for five dollars. His E-mail address is in the header of this E-mail.

Warning: You should know that The Federal Protective Service, and possibly the FBI, is intercepting my e-mails. Another violation of our civil liberties. Be prudent if you write to me.



Yours in freedom—Julian