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Invisible Hand Episode 23: Interview with Ernest Hancock


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This episode of The Invisible Hand features my recent interview with Ernest Hancock, a seasoned libertarian activist based in Arizona, and host of the show Declare Your Independence on the Liberty Radio Network every weekday from 4pm-7pm CT. Among his many accomplishments, Hancock is responsible for designing the Ron Paul Revolution logo, with the word “Love” encoded into it. His activist group “Freedom’s Phoenix” has been influential in protests against photo radar, warrantless checkpoints, and other abuses of corporate government power. Freedom’s Phoenix maintains a facility at an undisclosed location where signs, posters, DVDs, pamphlets and other materials are produced in great quantity to propagandize on behalf of freedom.

Also, here are some of the news stories included in this edition of the podcast:

  • The USA’s credit rating is once again being threatened publicly, this time by the credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s. In an interview with Dow Jones newswire, published August 26th, David Beers, global head of S & P’s sovereign ratings, warned the US Congress that they had better do everything suggested to them by President’s Obama’s commission on fiscal responsibility, or else.

    This comes shortly after Ireland was downgraded to AA- by S & P because of all the bank bailouts that government has financed. The rating agency said that it does not consider the bad mortgages, purchased en masse by the Irish government, to be real liquid assets. This bodes ill for the US government, which is holding trillions of dollars worth of such toxic assets after the TARP bank bailouts of ’08 and ’09.

  • On the same topic, Arnaud Mares, an executive director in the London office of Morgan Stanley, has written a report projecting the inevitable default on sovereign debt on a global scale. He said:

    “Governments will impose a loss on some of their stakeholders. The question is not whether they will renege on their promises, but rather upon which of their promises they will renege and what form this default will take.”

    The form it’s most likely to take, according to Mares’ predictions, is a “soft” default, with governments paying back creditors with devalued currencies printed out of nothing through quantitative easing. What that means to the average person is looming hyperinflation.

    Mares foresees the aging population in the US as a major pressure on the situation. As people retire or become too infirm to work, government revenues drop and there is greater pressure for increased expenditures for the aged, whom the report refers to as an “influential political [constituency].” Writes Mares:

    “The conflict that opposes bondholders to other government stakeholders is more intense than ever, and their interests are no longer sufficiently well-aligned …”

  • The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the government may, without a warrant and without your knowledge, plant a tracking device on your car as it sits in your driveway and then use it to survey you indefinitely from that point onward. As Time Magazine reports, the court found no reasonable expectation of privacy in the “curtilage,” or immediate environs surrounding a person’s home.

    This would only apply, they found, if the area is surrounded by a locked privacy fence. If the postman can get to it, they ruled, the feds can put a GPS unit there and use it to watch you. Presumably cameras and microphones would be acceptable as well. Only those who can afford elaborate security measures have the right to be secure from warrantless search and seizure, as guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski dissented with the following words:

    “1984 may have come a bit later than predicted, but it’s here at last … Some day soon, we may wake up and fine we’re living in Oceania.”

  • The ACLU is objecting to the new “enhanced pat-down procedure” being applied by the Transportation Security Administration. This is the new term for what is done to passengers who refuse to be irradiated and undressed by the so-called “naked body scanners” now appearing in airports. Fliers going through airports in Boston and Las Vegas who won’t use the scanners are being subjected to what is described by a TSA official as “a palms-downward, slide-down procedure.” More than just a pat-down, this is a glom-on.

    The term “enhanced pat-down” implies that airline passengers are typically subjected to a non-enhanced pat-down. In fact, until now, people just went through the metal detector, and may have been “wanded” for additional metal detection. But a “pat-down” or “frisking” is something that more typically happens to newly-arriving prisoners. The Supreme Court has ruled that pat-downs necessarily include:

    “… a search .. of the prisoner’s arms and armpits, waistline and back, the groin and area about the testicles, and the entire surface of the legs down to the feet…”

    Lately at airports, women are also having their breasts squeezed to ensure that they aren’t concealing bombs, and even going through the full-body scanner won’t protect you from that. The ACLU has objected to what they termed “the seemingly constant erosion of privacy.”

  • The Environmental Protection Agency is looking into a possible ban on the ammunition that most people use: lead bullets. They are presently considering a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity to outlaw the use of lead in all bullets, shot, and fishing sinkers. Since 90% of bullets purchased in the US are made of lead, this would have a significant impact on the industry. Non-lead alternatives like tungsten and copper are appreciably higher in price. The EPA has published a notice on its website seeking public comment on the proposed ban.

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