Michael Vick dares to tread where few men dare to go.

Who has not been stung by bankruptcy? Very few, I imagine. My friend Walter E. Williams and I often use the term legalized theft. Bankruptcy is a prime example.

My other friend, Terry Juhl, got into financial trouble in the 1980s, when US trade policy bubbles burst, throwing farm country into depression. He and Michael Vick have two things in common. Bev loves Terry because he is Terry, and Michael because he plays football. The other thing is they both put morality above the law.

Writes Joe Salerno at Mises.org:

Michael Vick filed for bankruptcy in July 2008, while serving time in Leavenworth federal prison for participation in an illegal dog-fighting ring. He was then earning 12 cents per hour mopping prison floors. Six years later he has almost paid back the full $17.8 million he owed his creditors, including returning $6.5 million of salary to the Atlanta Falcons, his former employer. “Big deal,” you may say, “Vick has earned nearly $49 million during the five years (2010-2014) since he returned to the NFL.” But it is a big—and very heroic—deal because it is rare that Americans who file for personal bankruptcy repay their full debts to their creditors. For the rotten U.S. bankruptcy laws permit individual debtors to weasel out of most of their indebtedness. As the liquidating trustee in Vick’s case commented:

What Michael did was the exception, not the rule. He didn’t have to do this. The law allows you to skate by and pay your creditors 10 or 20 cents on the dollar, but he thought this was the right thing to do.

Vick could have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, under which most of his debts would have been forgiven. Instead he chose to file under Chapter 11, which required repayment of his entire debt. Under the arrangement he made with his creditors, Vick restricted himself to a $300,000 annual budget until his debts were paid off. This was necessary because more than half of what he was earning went to pay taxes and legal fees. Vick continued to repay the salary-related portion of his debt even after the Falcons decided to sell the liability, presumably at a substantial discount, to Fortress Capital, a gigantic investment firm with $66 billion under management.

Vick explained his choice to pursue the path of righteousness and honesty and not to use an unjust law to plunder the property of his fellows very simply and directly:

I didn’t want to stiff people who never stiffed me.

At last, a clear, concise explanation…

…of why war brings peace, unemployment insurance(sic) inspires people to seek work, energy subsidies and mandates find the best energy sources, and public schools produce good family values:

enjoy:

Note on the above demonstration:

“This is the first time Turbo Encabulator was recorded with picture. I shot this in the late 70’s at Regan Studios in Detroit on 16mm film. The narrator and writer is Bud Haggert. He was the top voice-over talent on technical films. He wrote the script because he rarely understood the technical copy he was asked to read and felt he shouldn’t be alone. We had just finished a production for GMC Trucks and Bud asked since this was the perfect setting could we film his Turbo Encabulator script. He was using an audio prompter referred to as “the ear”. He was actually the pioneer of the ear. He was to deliver a live speech without a prompter. After struggling in his hotel room trying to commit to memory he went to plan B. He recorded it to a large Wollensak reel to reel recorder and placed it in the bottom of the podium. With a wired earplug he used it for the speech and the “ear” was invented. Today every on-camera spokesperson uses a variation of Bud’s innovation. Dave Rondot (me) was the director and John Choate was the DP on this production. The first laugh at the end is mine. My hat’s off to Bud a true talent.”

Sanctions don’t work?

Obama stated in many ways that he thinks sanctions don’t work, while explaining his step to normalize relations with Cuba.

Then, on the same day he signs a bill escalating sanctions against Russia. The bill also spends $350 million more on “lethal” aid to Ukraine. The bill was passed in a weird after hours session of the House with only three votes cast. Nobel Prizes should never have any legitimacy again and any news agency that reports on such nonsense should also report on our cardinal, Red, making another dive at his reflection in our windows. Because it would have more significance.

Details: http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2014/december/18/bombs-away-obama-signs-lethal-aid-to-ukraine-bill/

Barack Obama’s Christmas Gift

It seems weird that the Christmastime column comes after the big rush to spend has been here for so long. It is not very Christmassy but Christ’s message was a bit outside that modern box as well.

As I was spreading my beautiful composted manure, I was listening to The BBC World Service-Newshour. They were talking about Obama’s supposed move to normalize relations with Cuba and I was singing “Joy to the World.”

Then my ears pricked up. That voice. It made me delirious with pleasure. It was Vin Scully in his 65th year as the Dodgers’ announcer calling a play by center fielder, Yasiel Puig.

I was eight years old when the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. I’m 64 now and Vin Scully has announced Dodger games one year longer than I’ve been alive. When my folks thought I was asleep, I’d have the covers over my head with the Dodger game on my transistor radio listening to Vinny.

Maybe it is the tendency to see the old days as better than the present, but I liked that players stayed with the team back then. Six of the Dodgers’ ten retired numbers were Dodgers when I was a kid. Just Dodgers. There were no free agents. No defections. But now I’ve turned over a new leaf. I’m a big fan of defections.

Yasiel Puig defected from Cuba to be a Dodger in 2012. Why in the world would anyone leave his home to sign a seven year, $42 million contract to play baseball, when he already lived in a country with the perfect healthcare plan? People do the strangest things.

Now I hear so-called conservatives complaining, no, whining about Obama’s liberalization of our relations with Cuba. These isolationists need to understand the value of freedom for which they claim such an exclusive understanding. In a country where most medical spending has been socialized for fifty years and whistle-blowers like Gary Webb and Michael Hastings have been assassinated, they are certainly a pot calling the kettle black.

I don’t deny that Cuba has been a serious human rights nightmare. But the question we should be asking is what role do we play in their politics. The role we have been playing has not produced the intended results, unless we are happy with having one of the poorest countries in the world next door.

Their communistic economy, of course, is the main source of their misery. But of all the good the United States has done in the world, the example of freedom is the most powerful. Our sanctions have done nothing to tear down their totalitarian government.

Yasiel Puig is a perfect example of why we need Jefferson’s ideal of peace and free trade with all nations and entangling alliances with none.

A scenario of open relations with Cuba should look like this: Excellence should flow from the country with less opportunity to the country where that excellence can flourish. The tax feeders, like windmill companies and inter-generational welfare dependents should flow to countries like Cuba where the market is suppressed and government control stifles excellence. When it becomes even more obvious which system is more beneficial for its citizens, reform will follow.

The fly in the ointment is this: Our country has become so infested with anti-market policies that our systems have become very similar to Cuba. Corruption, like Governor Brandstad’s rural broadband initiative and other handouts to incentivize population and business growth, may make productive individuals think twice about moving or expanding here, unless their intent is to feed on taxpayers.

The Marco Rubios of this country need to focus on dismantling the welfare/warfare state that is bankrupting our country before imposing their will on Cuba for doing what they allow to go on here.

A society where the Puigs play baseball and the Brandstads wait tables would be a great Christmas present to Cubans and us as we celebrate the birth of our Savior who referred us to The Ten Commandments as opposed to the rules of man. It’s a small gift, Barack, but we thank you.

Obama, Prince Bizarreness

He brings us Obamacare, formally known as Romneycare. And that energizes conservatives because they, all of a sudden, don’t want the socialized medicine they’ve been fine with for 50 years. Oh, it’s just that it crossed the red line. OK.

Anyway, he is helping open some eyes to the evils of mother government. That, he’s doing fairly well.

Now, while he is granting (who is HE to grant this?) us the freedom to buy a Cuban cigar, he still wants us to pay medical expenses for people who drink too much, smoke (tobacco), eat junk food, sit around and accumulate fat cells all day, jump canyons on bicycles, and drive cars. Can you guess why medical expenses have shot through the roof in the past 50 years?

Bizarre example: Nobel Peace Prize

The address on this house should be 666

Just when it seemed there was some hope for this country the US House of Representatives passes a $1.1 trillion spending bill to keep their dastardly deeds going until NEXT SEPTEMBER! could someone explain how all these congresspeople can read a 1,603 spending bill and negotiate parts in and out of it. Shoot, I have trouble with a half and half label.

Here is what we get: a bunch of people too inept to work at a real job deciding what fuel we can use, how much extra crap has to be on our cars so it is impossible to achieve arbitrary and unnecessary fuel economy standards that only exist because a billionaire somewhere had a great idea for the least efficient car in the world that needs subsidies just so other billionaires can afford it , not to mention the all important duties of studying things average people can’t even think of to study, sending rockets into space (why), killing thousands of people on the other side of the earth so their surviving friends and relatives will hate our guts and want to kill us so we can spend more money to defend ourselves. I have 1,603 other stupid things they can spend the money on but I realize you don’t have the time to read about them. Oh Lord please don’t let them come up with the money.

Come to think of it, contrary to the bumper sticker, freedom IS free. It looks like a broke government that plays by the same rules we all should play by.