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  • Economist Rickards: Collapse of the dollar and international monetary system is entirely foreseeable
    Posted April 9, 2014 at 11:56 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (4)

    Lawyer, economist and investment banker James Rickards, he of the best-selling 2011 “Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis,” has a provocative new book out titled “The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System.”

    The Death of Money

    Writing in the American Enterprise Institute’s “The American” magazine in an essay adopted from his new book, Rickards argues that the dollar and international monetary system is going to collapse — and it is entirely foreseeable.

    According to Rickards, today the world is “back to the future,” with current conditions paralleling those during the 1970s, in which the U.S. experienced mass inflation, with gold prices rising 500 percent between 1977 and 1980, and the dollar very nearly collapsed as the world’s reserve currency. However,

    “The parallels between 1978 and recent events are eerie but imperfect. There was an element ravaging the world then that is not apparent today. It is the dog that didn’t bark: inflation. But the fact that we aren’t hearing the dog doesn’t mean it poses no danger. And from the Federal Reserve’s perspective, inflation is not a threat; indeed, higher inflation is both the Fed’s answer to the debt crisis and a policy objective.”

    Higher inflation is both the Fed’s answer to the debt crisis and a policy objective
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    This pro-inflation policy is an invitation to disaster, even as baffled Fed critics scratch their heads at the apparent absence of inflation in the face of unprecedented money printing by the Federal Reserve and other major central banks. Many ponder how it is that the Fed has increased the base money supply 400 percent since 2008 with practically no inflation.”

    Why have we seen a massive increase in the monetary base without a subsequent general steep rise in prices across all goods and services, contrary to the predictions of many free-marketeers and other Fed critics?

    The monetary base has increased rapidly from $858bn to $3.9tn from the start the recession in 2008 to today. (Image Source: FRED/Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

    The monetary base has increased rapidly from $858bn to $3.9tn from the start the recession in 2008 to today. (Image Source: FRED/Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

    According to Rickards:

    “two explanations are very much at hand — and they foretell the potential for collapse. The first is that the U.S. economy is structurally damaged, so the easy money cannot be put to good use. The second is that the inflation is coming. Both explanations are true — the economy is broken, and inflation is on its way.”

    Rickards argues that the models used on Wall Street and by financial regulators mask the overleveraging of the economy and the dangers posed by derivatives (financial instruments whose value is derived from the performance of an underlying asset). Meanwhile,

    “we refuse to face truths about debts and deficits, dozens of countries all over the globe are putting pressure on the dollar. We think the gold standard is a historical relic, but there’s a contemporary scramble for gold around the world, and it may signify a move to return to the gold standard. We greatly underestimate the dangers from a cyberfinancial attack and the risks of a financial world war.”

    And just as with the prior financial crisis, which was arguably amplified by flawed financial models: “Regression analysis and correlations, so beloved by finance quants and economists, are ineffective for navigating the risks ahead.”

    Derivatives

    The total notional value of all outstanding derivatives is ~$700 trillion according to the Bank of International Settlements’ (BIS) most recent derivatives statistics, which are based on surveys of the world’s largest derivative dealers. The notional amount represents the total exposure of a leveraged market position, or the underlying value of the assets the derivatives in question represent — for example owning a handful of stock option contracts that cost $1,000, for which the market value of the actual stock controlled is $10,000. (Source: BIS)

    Rickards goes on to explain that:

    “Since potential risk is an exponential function of system scale, and since the scale of financial systems measured by derivatives is unprecedented, it follows that the risk too is unprecedented.

    51NDjv1sDXL

    Featured Book

    Title: The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System

    Author:

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    While the word collapse as applied to the dollar sounds apocalyptic, it has an entirely pragmatic meaning. Collapse is simply the loss of confidence by citizens and central banks in the future purchasing power of the dollar. The result is that holders dump dollars, either through faster spending or through the purchase of hard assets. This rapid behavioral shift leads initially to higher interest rates, higher inflation, and the destruction of capital formation. The end result can be deflation (reminiscent of the 1930s) or inflation (reminiscent of the 1970s), or both.

    The coming collapse of the dollar and the international monetary system is entirely foreseeable. This is not a provocative conclusion. The international monetary system has collapsed three times in the past century — in 1914, 1939, and 1971. Each collapse was followed by a tumultuous period. The coming collapse, like those before, may involve war, gold, or chaos, or it could involve all three. The most imminent threats to the dollar, likely to play out in the next few years, are financial warfare, deflation, hyperinflation, and market collapse. Only nations and individuals who make provision today will survive the maelstrom to come.”

    Be sure to check out the full article here.
  • A beloved comic book character is going to be killed this summer
    Posted April 9, 2014 at 10:41 am by Mike Opelka

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    His fans and imaginary friends just use one name to identify him — Archie. To some in the comic book world, he is an icon, but no matter how popular Archie Andrews is, he’s going to die this summer.

    Image: ArchieComics.com

    Image: ArchieComics.com

    The news was announced Monday on the company’s website. In the July issue of “Life With Archie #36,” the long-running character will die. According to the press release, “The iconic comic book character, beloved by millions around the globe for over 70 years, will sacrifice himself heroically while saving the life of a friend…”

    For additional thoughts on Archie’s impending end, TheBlaze contacted Vinnie Penn, a writer and radio host at WELI in New Haven, CT. Penn contributed to an Archie comic in the past, and as a fan and writer, he felt uniquely qualified to comment on the news.

    Penn’s written response to our request for comment:

    “I think this is the height of absurdity. Having pop singer Colbie Caillait pop up in an issue is one thing – pandering to the key demo in a way that makes sense, even if this lifelong Archie fan thinks it unnecessary – but whenever they delve into “headlines” for their storyline it reeks of desperation. I can appreciate the flash-forward idea, so clearly plucked from “Dawson’s Creek” and “One Tree Hill,” but the gimmickry is an obvious ploy for press. Archie is, was, and should always simply be about the joys of high school, of the fictional town Riverdale, and a celebration of simpler days. Will “Peanuts” ever have Peppermint Patty smoking crack? Doubt it. As for Archie selflessly sacrificing his life for one of his besties, it best not be Moose. Veronica or Betty I’d get. Speaking of which, didn’t he marry one of them a few years back? Right.”

    Read the full news release from Archie Comics here.

     Follow Mike Opelka on Twitter – @Stuntbrain

  • Al Gore did not create the internet!
    Posted April 9, 2014 at 10:24 am by Stu Burguiere

    Comments (3)

    The internet is a wonderful invention. It has at once made us smarter and dumber at the same time. We have access to knowledge like never before, but we also have access to cat videos like never before. Not to mention we get bombarded by idiotic trends like Throwback Thursday.

    FS-TBT-GORE-TWEET

     

    Yes, we can all thank Al Gore for facilitating our access to planking, twerking, selfies, and cats acting stupidly.

    Because we all know he created the internet.

    This sarcastic e-cards tell us so!

    FS-ECARDS-3

    The E-Card said “fact” so it must be a fact Al Gore created information superhighway, right? Not exactly. Let’s get to the bottom of this myth once and for all.

    Look, presidential hopefuls say a lot of unbelievable sounding things on the campaign trail.

    Like when Wolf Blitzer asked Al Gore in 1999 how he was different than his other democratic challengers. Gore said,

    “I took the initiative in creating the Internet.”

    This morphed into “Al Gore created the internet” and finally into “Al Gore invented the internet.”

    It was a way for conservatives to point out that the guy who has the highest opinion of Al Gore…is Al Gore.

    Most people know that Al Gore did not invent the internet, but they do believe the government invented the internet.

    That’s not really right either.

    While the history of the internet is a bit shady, it starts with a concept called “the Memex.”

    The Memex was a concept developed by a guy named Vannevar Bush.

    FS-VANNEVAR-BUSH

    He invented the first modern analog computer all the way back in 1930. His idea for the Memex was a way to store all the world’s information using computers and, at first, microfilm.

    Most people refer to an article he wrote in The Atlantic in 1945 titled, “As We May Think” as the starting point for a broader idea of a collective memory machine. 

    At that time, Vannevar was working as the Chairman of the National Defense Research Committee.

    However, he had been writing about the Memex concept since the early 1930s and didn’t really start working for the government until 1938.

    In other words, Bush didn’t invent the internet for the government. His invention of the internet was one of the reasons WHY he was hired by the government.

    As a side note, how satisfying is it that the guy who invented the internet’s last name is not Gore, but Bush. #boomgoesthedynamite

    This isn’t to say the government, more specifically the military, wasn’t highly involved in the development of the internet from concept to reality.

    Another side note, this is the only time progressives will give credit to the military. #megasharknadofail

    Back when Al Gore was a 21-year-old college student the backbone of the internet, the  Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), was commissioned.

    FS-YOUNG-AL-GORE

    Yet another side note. Al what the hell happened? You were once a fairly sexy man. Damn this gravity and aging! #dayummm #boomshockalocka

    The defense department’s ARPANET laid the groundwork for the internet starting as a network to connect early research computers to each other.  As of 1982, ARPANET linked 88 computers. That may have sounded cool at the time, but that did nothing for you.

    FS-ARPANET

    What the government did for the internet was certainly foundational but largely worthless to your everyday life. The unique thing the government brings to the table for projects like this is unlimited access to your money.

    Then Senator Al Gore couldn’t even fathom the internet being created without government funds aka your money.

    As he detailed in his 1991 article for the Scientific American:  “Infrastructure for the Global Village: A high-capacity network will not be built without government investment”.

    And Gore was very, very successful at using your money. He sponsored the High Performance Computing and Communications Act in 1991 aka the Gore Bill which dumped 600 million dollars into high performance computing.

    And one of the things that came out of that was a really crappy web browser. Yay.

    FS-MOSAIC-WEB-BROWSER

    The government, no doubt, was involved  in advancing the internet—but what turned the internet from a boring network of 88 computers into the thing you posted a picture of your oatmeal on this morning—was the private sector—more specifically, Xerox.

    Xerox is largely credited for inventing the Ethernet, graphical user interface, and the PC.

    Robert Taylor, who was influential in the creation of the internet both at DARPA and then as an employee of Xerox maintains that,

    “The origins of the internet include work both sponsored by the government and Xerox PARC, so you can’t say that the internet was invented by either one alone.”

    If anyone should get credit for the creation of the internet, it’s Vannevar Bush and Robert Taylor, not Gore.

    It’s really ironic that Al Gore would want to be so highly associated with the internet anyway—given that it uses so much electricity.

    That bastion of conservatism, The New York Times, found that server farms worldwide use 30 billion watts of electricity. 

    FS-GORE-DEFEATED

    But wait Al, it gets better.

    Data centers, on average, only use 6 to 12 percent of the electricity powering their servers to perform computations. The rest of the electricity is used just in case there is a surge of activity. In other words, it’s completely wasted.

    That seems like a really inconvenient truth, Al.

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  • Famed libertarian author Charles Murray tells TheBlaze why he has given up on political solutions
    Posted April 9, 2014 at 9:32 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (8)

    We spoke with Charles Murray, author of the new book, “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don’ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life,” and most famously the still-controversialThe Bell Curve,” on a variety of topics from why Professor Murray has increasingly given up on policy solutions to America’s problems altogether, to grammar, the importance of Harold Ramis’ “Groundhog Day,” and religion.

    We conducted our interview via e-mail, reproduced below with minimal edits and modified to include links.

    And in case you missed it, be sure to check out our full review of Murray’s book as well.

    The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead

    Make the pitch to readers young and old for why they should pick up a self-identified curmudgeon’s guide to self-improvement? Did you intend for your book to appeal to an audience beyond ambitious young adults and their parents?

    Murray: You have to understand that this book wasn’t planned. It just happened. I started writing tips to [American Enterprise Institute's] AEI’s young staff, getting some pet peeves off my chest (for example, tip #2, “Don’t use first names with people considerably older than you until asked, and sometimes not even then”) and it grew from there. A lot of the readers told me this was useful stuff and that they were emailing my tips to their friends. So why not make a book out of it? In answer to your question, the book is pretty specific in its target audience: Smart, ambitious 20-somethings, usually with a college degree.

    Having read (and thoroughly enjoyed) “Coming Apart,” towards the end you note that those living in super-bubbles should and in a sense have a duty to reassert their values in order to fix the cultural divide. Given the advice in “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead,” is there meant to be any continuity between the two works?

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    Murray: I didn’t plan it that way, but many of the tips draw directly from my earlier work, and not just “Coming Apart.” The discussion of judgmentalism, using the example of Titian’s “Venus of Urbino,” draws directly from a similar discussion in “Human Accomplishment.” The tip that talks about the cardinal virtues draws directly from a passage in “Real Education.” The discussion of the sources of human happiness draws from “In Pursuit.” Many of the things that in earlier books I discussed in the abstract have found concrete applications in “Curmudgeon’s Guide.”

    Most social scientists observe the world as it is, but you go a step further and propose how to change it. In “In Our Hands you take a macro perspective and explain how to abolish the modern welfare state; in “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead” you focus on the micro, laying out guidelines for self-improvement with the explicit intent to influence the next generation of leaders. Moving from observer to advocate is unique among your peers — care to comment?

    Murray: I’ve increasingly given up on policy solutions. I see too many ways in which government in general and the federal government in particular are sclerotic, paralyzed by the maze of special interests that keep the idiotic things that government does alive. So in “Coming Apart,” the final chapter was exclusively about ways in which I think the culture must change before meaningful political reform becomes possible. I hadn’t thought about the parallel with the advice I give in “Curmudgeon’s Guide,” but it is indeed focused on the individual. But don’t think that I had “an explicit intent to influence the next generation of leaders.” As I wrote “Curmudgeon’s Guide,” I had a strong feeling that I was talking to individual young people who are very much like I was fifty years ago, hoping I could help them avoid some of the dumb things I did.

    I’ve increasingly given up on policy solutions
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    Given how early in our lives many of our character traits crystallize, do you believe that those ambitious young adults who have heretofore missed the lessons in your book can pick it up, internalize your advice and apply it going forward?

    Murray: Sure. I’m not asking introverts to become extroverts or for humorless people to learn how to tell jokes. I’m saying things like “has it ever occurred to you that if you walk into a job interview with a visible tattoo, a lot of people like me will start looking for reasons not to hire you—and that people like me influence a lot of hiring decisions?” It doesn’t take a whole lot of internalization to apply that lesson.

    One of the contrarian aspects of your book is that you actually argue for judgmentalism, with which you draw a clear distinction from intolerance. Explain.

    Murray: Making judgments is part of being human. The only way you can go through daily life without making judgments is if you deliberately refuse to think about what’s before your eyes. Being judgmental is not only OK; we have a moral obligation to make the best judgments we can. (more…)

  • You know you want to watch super slow-mo video of a huge puddle splash at 2500 FPS
    Posted April 8, 2014 at 5:01 pm by Oliver Darcy

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    The Slow Mo Guys are back at it again — this time capturing a huge puddle splash at 2500 frames per second.

    The footage, posted online Monday, has already amassed over 1 million views and received rave comments on YouTube.

    “That was beautiful.”
    Share:

    “That was beautiful,” one individual wrote.

    “Wow,” echoed another.

    Watch the Viral Video:

    Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter

  • A 12-step rehab program for the Republic from Matt Kibbe
    Posted April 8, 2014 at 10:35 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (15)

    Matt Kibbe’s new book, “Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take Their Stuff: A Libertarian Manifesto,” is not just an impassioned philosophical tome, but also a practical roadmap for restoring a Constitutional Republic grounded in the principles and spirit of the Declaration of Independence.

    To that end, Kibbe, the President and CEO of FreedomWorks and frequent Glenn Beck guest lays out a twelve-step program “designed to wean government off the empty promises of new entitlements, excessive spending, and unchecked executive power,” and “restore liberty” through “positive, innovative ideas that would improve people’s lives by letting them be free, by spending less of your hard-earned money on someone else’s favors, by letting you choose, by treating us all equally under the laws of the land.”

    Below are the twelve steps along with selected excerpts from Kibbe’s commentary.

    Don't Hurt People and Don't Take Their Stuff

    1. Comply With The Laws You Pass

    “As Steve Forbes likes to say, the planners in Washington should have to eat their “own cooking.” This seems like such common sense, but you won’t be surprised to learn just how controversial this idea is behind the closed doors where congressional staffers and career bureaucrats congregate. Do as I say, they prefer, not as I do.” [Kibbe goes on to cite former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's inability to pay his own taxes, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and others' use of inside information to profit in the stock market and Congress' subsequent exemption from the disclosure requirements of legislation intended to curb such abuses and the attempt by Congress to exempt itself from ObamaCare].

    2. Stop Spending Money We Don’t Have

    “The core problem, of course, is that they are not spending their own money. They are spending your money. The ghost of John Maynard Keynes provides them with a pseud0-intellectual rationale to “stimulate aggregate demand.” But we are on to them and know that the only real stimulus they are buying with borrowed money is for their own reelection prospects…it seems like common sense would dictate a few things:

    • Stop spending on new programs.
    • Prioritize dollars and get rid of programs that don’t make the cut as top priorities in a world of scarcity.
    • No sacred cows allowed until we solve the problem, so put everything on the table.
    • Deal honestly with entitlements by acknowledging unfunded future promises.
    • You can’t tax your way to a balanced budget without tanking the job creation that actually generates tax receipts.

    I know, more radicalism. Harry Reid is so offended by these budget principles that if you agree with them, he thinks you are an “anarchist.”

    …The Congressional Budget Office has released a report suggesting that if nothing is done to control spending, by 2038 the federal debt could be as high as 190 percent of GDP. At that point we can send congressional emissaries to Athens, Greece, to solicit innovative budget savings ideas from the Hellenic Parliament.

    3. Scrap The Tax Code

    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building is viewed in Washington, DC, February 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building is viewed in Washington, DC, February 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images 

    This incomprehensible complexity [of the tax code] favors insiders and the special provisions they lobbied for, and the rest of us food the bill. It’s political class warfare against working Americans. The problem isn’t tax cuts for the rich; it’s a tax code that prevents working Americans from getting rich…Complexity means more career public employees to navigate ambiguous rules. The tax code becomes a weapon in the hands of IRS agents who have a partisan or parochial agenda, or hold a grudge. We need to scrap the code, and abolish the IRS…and start over with a simple, low, flat tax…No agendas, social engineering, no overbearing discretionary authority in the hands of gray-suited Soviets.

    The problem isn’t..cuts for the rich..it’s a..code that prevents working Americans from getting rich
    Share:

    …Making the tax code simple, low, fair and honest would be a powerful means of unleashing human potential. Class warriors on the left would howl about the injustice of treating everyone equally, but their real agenda is in defending the Beltway interests that have designed the current mess.

    The true victims of fundamental tax reform are the insiders who have carved out their favors, as well as the legislators and bureaucrats who make their living off soliciting, creating, and navigating new complexity. The reduction in wasted time and money devoted to compliance would unleash capital, job creation, and upward mobility, while the elimination of complex loopholes would level the playing field between Americans and tax compliance enforcers inside government.”

    4. Put Patients In Charge (more…)

  • 12 acts of kindness performed by police officers
    Posted April 7, 2014 at 7:02 pm by Jason Howerton

    Comments (15)

  • Ted Cruz invokes 19th century French economist Bastiat in Obamacare tweet
    Posted April 7, 2014 at 2:49 pm by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (9)

    In January we wrote about how a number of events occurring in Washington D.C. and the country more broadly were predicted by French classical liberal, economic journalist and legislator Frédéric Bastiat in an obscure 1850 pamphlet, “The Law.”

    In a recent tweet, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) noted a parallel to today stemming from Frédéric Bastiat’s most famous essay, “That Which Is Seen and That Which Is Not Seen,” comparing by implication Bastiat’s broken window parable to Obamacare.

    In Bastiat’s broken window parable, he discusses a scenario in which a boy breaks a windowpane — a destructive act perceived by many as beneficial — because it creates the “seen” benefit of work for a glazier and thus economic activity. Neglected in this view is the fact that the money used to pay the glazier could have been used for any of an infinite number of other goods and services, as opposed to leaving the person whose window was broken six francs poorer and no better off for his troubles.

    As such, both the consumer forced to buy the new windowpane, and the hypothetical producers who would have received the consumers’ six francs are left poorer, while only the glazier benefits.

    Senator Cruz’s “Broken Window Theory of Obamacare” is similar to the scenario proposed by Bastiat, except in this case the government represents a glazier who employs a gang of troublemaking boys (government employees) who smash all windows (altering or forcing people off of their existing healthcare plans), requiring consumers to go to the glazier to purchase only glazier-approved windows (healthcare plans that meet government specifications).

    4152TZ27GDL

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    If we were to follow Bastiat’s (or Cruz’s) economic logic to its conclusion, that breaking the window had actually been a net positive for society as a result of the commercial activity created, then the smartest policy would be to destroy all windows, or entire buildings altogether, since rebuilding them would create the associated benefits of the need for new businesses, jobs, not to mention streams of revenue (that can be taxed).

    Extending this Keynesian or Krugmanian view to the real world, one might analogize the government with the boy who breaks the window, in the form of programs like “Cash for Clunkers” and public works projects that are purported to be stimulative, not to mention as Cruz argues, Obamacare.

    At its most extreme, economists have argued that everything from natural disasters, to wars, to alien invasions are economically beneficial because they create a need for government spending on things like infrastructure which can offset decreases in private spending and investment due to underlying economic conditions.

    Yet as Bastiat notes, ”Society loses the value of things which are uselessly destroyed;” and we must assent to a maxim which will make the hair of protectionists stand on end – To break, to spoil, to waste, is not to encourage national labour; or, more briefly, “destruction is not profit.”

    Further, in context of the current or future funds taken out of the economy due to public works spending:

    “As a temporary measure, on any emergency, during a hard winter, this interference with the tax-payers may have its use. It acts in the same way as securities. It adds nothing either to labour or to wages, but it takes labour and wages from ordinary times to give them, at a loss it is true, to times of difficulty.

    As a permanent, general, systematic measure, it is nothing else than a ruinous mystification, an impossibility, which shows a little excited labour which is seen, and bides a great deal of prevented labour which is not seen.”

    More broadly, Bastiat’s summary of economics remains timeless:

    “In the department of economy, an act, a habit, an institution, a law, gives birth not only to an effect, but to a series of effects. Of these effects, the first only is immediate; it manifests itself simultaneously with its cause – it is seen. The others unfold in succession – they are not seen: it is well for us, if they are foreseen. Between a good and a bad economist this constitutes the whole difference – the one takes account of the visible effect; the other takes account both of the effects which are seen, and also of those which it is necessary to foresee. Now this difference is enormous, for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favourable, the ultimate consequences are fatal, and the converse. Hence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good, which will be followed by a great evil to come, while the true economist pursues a great good to come, – at the risk of a small present evil.

    In fact, it is the same in the science of health, arts, and in that of morals. It often happens, that the sweeter the first fruit of a habit is, the more bitter are the consequences.”

  • The little-known weapon the U.S. used to fight the Soviets during the Cold War
    Posted April 7, 2014 at 10:23 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (23)

    Previously at Blaze Books, we examined the role of Soviet strategic subversion and the use of disinformation to undermine the West during the Cold War. But lacking from our discussion has been any sort of a U.S. response, which is the subject of a fascinating new book coming out this summer.

    During our interview (key excerpts here) with the highest-ranking Soviet bloc defector of all time, Lt. Gen. Ion Pacepa, in connection his book “Disinformation” (review here), noted that one Soviet disinformation operation was to flood Europe and the Arab world with several millions copies of:

    “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” which along with “portraying the United States as a Zionist instrument used to subjugate the world to Jewish interests played a role in generating the shameful anti-Americanism costumed in the robes of anti-Semitism that we are facing today.”

    The Brandenburg Gate behind barbed wire in 1962. The U.S. government understood that the war of ideas was a crucial battlefront if not the most crucial battlefront to win the Cold War. (Image Credit: John Waterman / Fox Photos via Getty Images)

    The Brandenburg Gate behind barbed wire in 1962. The U.S. government understood that the war of ideas was a crucial battlefront if not the most crucial battlefront to win the Cold War. (Image Credit: John Waterman / Fox Photos via Getty Images)

    However, the U.S., anticipating the economic, military and psychological onslaught that would be leveled at her by the Soviets developed a memorandum themselves to assess such threats and how the U.S. could counter them.

    Under ”NSC-68: United States Objectives and Programs for National Security,” a report published April 14, 1950 for President Truman (highly suggested reading in and of itself), the National Security Council argued that one of our chief weapons against the Soviets was the strength of the American system and its ideals, which could be directed straight at the heart of the Communist system, as the Cold War was at its core a war for freedom against slavery.

    To that end, a new title coming out in June covers one such potent psychological weapon: that of the book.

    Writing in the Washington Post, in a preview of their forthcoming “The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book,” Peter Finn and Petra Couvée note that in the mind of the Cold War-era Central Intelligence Agency (CIA):

    “Books were weapons, and if a work of literature was unavailable or banned in the Soviet Union or Eastern Europe, it could be used as propaganda to challenge the Soviet version of reality. Over the course of the Cold War, as many as 10 million copies of books and magazines were secretly distributed by the agency behind the Iron Curtain as part of a political warfare campaign.

    In this light, “Doctor Zhivago” was a golden opportunity for the CIA.”

    Authors Finn and Couvée’s soon-to-be-released “The Zhivago Affair,” as the title suggests, focus in particular on the CIA’s push to flood the Soviet Union with Boris Pasternak’s provocative “Doctor Zhivago,” the publishing and propagation of which based on their examination of newly declassified CIA documents reflects an amazing and untold battle in the West’s ideological war with the Soviet Union.

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    Title: The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book

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    “Doctor Zhivago’s” power to the CIA consisted of both (more…)

  • One libertarian’s classic response to the argument that free-marketeers are “living in the nineteenth century”
    Posted April 4, 2014 at 12:13 pm by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (11)

    How many times have you heard progressives argue that conservative principles are outdated, and the Constitution unable to deal with the complexity of our times, while those who advocate for free-market economics are “living in the nineteenth century?”

    Well all the way back in 1949, free-marketeer, journalist and author (best known for his classic “Economics in One Lesson“), Henry Hazlitt, had enough of such attacks, and responded with an article published in Newsweek titled “4,000 Years of Price Control,” which can be found in the collection of his Newsweek writings titled “Business Tides.”

    Hammurabi's Code, perhaps the earliest example of progressive economics. (Image Source: History Channel)

    Hammurabi’s Code, perhaps the earliest example of progressive economics. (Image Source: History Channel)

    Read on for Hazlitt’s epic response [all links ours]: (more…)

  • At 17 seconds, something oddly beautiful happens
    Posted April 4, 2014 at 8:53 am by Jonathon M. Seidl

    Comments (76)

  • Protester invades live TV report, gets put in his place by crew member much bigger than him
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 9:54 pm by Jason Howerton

    Comments (53)

    A protester interrupted a live NBC Chicago report in order to tell the audience that “Obama is a war criminal.”

    His antics resulted in a short scuffle between the reporter and a crew member. The crew member, who was considerably larger than the protester, ended up taking the guy to the ground with relative ease.

    Watch below:

  • Glenn Beck says this ‘dynamic’ new libertarian manifesto reflects the kind of thinking we need right now in America
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 5:01 pm by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (18)

    There’s a new book out on libertarianism that that Glenn Beck raved about on his radio program this morning.

    The title? “Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take Their Stuff: A Libertarian Manifesto” by Matt Kibbe, which as Beck described it is ”a dynamic book that every listener should read.”

    Beck had Kibbe, the President and CEO of Freedomworks on his program to discuss his new title, which Beck praised for translating the language and principles of the founders into a plainspoken form and advocating for policies that represent seemingly radical but Constitutional, logical and necessary breaks from the status quo.

    Glenn Beck talks with Matt Kibbe about his new book "Don't Hurt People and Don't Take Their Stuff" on the Glenn Beck radio program, 3 April, 2014. (Image Source: TheBlaze TV screenshot)

    Glenn Beck talks with Matt Kibbe about his new book “Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take Their Stuff” on the Glenn Beck radio program, 3 April, 2014. (Image Source: TheBlaze TV screenshot)

    In his introduction, Glenn stated:

    “I just want to give you — one thing, [one] reason why you should pick this book up. There is no one that would ever say this in any typical political book. “Should we end the Fed outright? Should we adopt a gold standard that prevents an easy manipulation and expansion of paper currency? I think we start by denationalizing money, an idea first proposed by F. A. Hayek. Let’s legalize gold as means of exchange. It’s allow competition in currency.”

    What? Allow competition inform currency? It is so foreign to our thought or to our current thinking, and this is the kind of thinking that we need now in America. [This book is] the outline and the rules of liberty and the outline on how to get there.”

    Glenn went on to break down some of the key principles that Kibbe puts forth in his book, and Kibbe provided his commentary on each topic. Such principles and Kibbe’s related commentary were as follows:

    • Comply with the laws that you pass: “Obviously, today, most of the laws that Congress imposes on us, they refuse to comply with, because they know how bad it would be for them if they have to live under Obama Kay, they won’t force us to live under Obamacare.”
    • Stop spending the money we don’t have: “The president obviously doesn’t get this, but the first principle of fiscal responsibility going back to Thomas Jefferson is debt is dangerous. Debt undermines the future of our country, our national security, everything about us. I say we put everything on the table.”
    • Scrap the tax code: “The IRS and the tax code is the most manipulative corrupt system for controlling people’s lives. And you saw that with the way the IRS went after mom and pop Tea Partyers on 501 status. What if we treated everybody just like everybody else? [Of] the barriers to entry, if you want to succeed, the primary one is the tax code…we are crushing opportunity by punishing success.
    • Put patients in charge: “What government has done over the last 50 plus years [is] always put a middle man between you and your health care decisions. Sometimes it’s the government, sometimes it’s your employer or an insurance company run by a guy that you never get to meet. What if we let patients choose, when that they controlled the money and were able to save for their own health care needs when you are young and healthy, you save. When you are older and have the need, you spend. This is how the market works. This is how we put bread on the shelves in grocery stores.”
    • End insider bailouts: “There’s so much collusion between fat cat CEOs, say the guy from General Electric [Jeff Immelt], and they don’t compete in the a marketplace anymore. It’s become a lucrative business to go to Washington and buy the committee chairman instead. It is not just the banking system. It’s more and more what we do instead of competing in the marketplace. If we don’t call out the bad actors in corporate America first, Barack Obama can create that caricature, showing that business is evil, that entrepreneurship is evil. It’s not. It’s the cronyism, the power between Washington and some of these CEOs that’s really corrupting the political process…Think about how much money is in Washington…It’s like crack for failing entrepreneurs. You can’t make it in a marketplace, get in your G5 and go to Washington.
    • Let parents decide: “This is a fundamental debate we are having over Common Core and education. The more and more we spend, the more top-down we define what education should look like, the less our kids get out of the process. And it’s hurting kids…”
    • Avoid entangling alliances: “Libertarians are skeptical about nation-building, we’re skeptical that we can solve civil wars that have existed for centuries in places like Syria, and I’m sort of a George Washington guy on this. He wasn’t an isolationist. He was practical. He said we can’t afford to be everything to everybody. If we could, maybe we shouldn’t. But part of this is finances…I think we free up liberty, not just here, but in Europe. A lot of that [the Russian] conflict is about oil, and the power that Putin has comes from the fact that he’s drilling and we’re not. I wonder why we unilaterally disarm ourselves; all of these satellite countries are completely dependent on Putin to light — heat their homes. That’s crazy.

    As Glenn noted, the above only reflects one chapter of Kibbe’s book. In sum, the book will help readers explain libertarian philosophy in an intelligible way, and allow liberty-lovers to become “community organizers” themselves. Beck stated:

    “There’s a ton in this book, and it will help you…explain it [libertarianism] to your friend…After reading the book, you will be able to explain it and you will be the defender of your own principles.”

  • Why does Allen West wish that more top generals would resign from the military?
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 1:27 pm by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (29)

    Former Congressman and retired Lieutenant Army Colonel Allen West has a new book out titled “Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom.”

    Yesterday Blaze Books spoke with Rep. West about his new book, and a wide variety of issues ranging from the military, a message he hopes the military sends to civilian leaders and Russia, to education and Common Core, to how the congressman believes Republicans can go about garnering support in the black community, the potential for a third major political party and much more.

    Below is the transcript of our interview, edited for clarity and length. For more, be sure to check out the 12 most provocative quotes from Rep. West’s new book, and if you’d like to keep abreast of similar content, give us a follow on Facebook and Twitter.

    Guardian of the Republic

    Give your elevator pitch for why Blaze readers should pick up “Guardian of the Republic.”

    West: Well I think it defines me and it also defines why I fight so passionately for this country. Which I think all Blaze readers really believe passionately in this country. So I think it’s so important right now when you see the American people really not fundamentally understanding what America is about and its established principles and values, that’s what I try to do in this book and it really is not an autobiography, it’s a philosophical biography. 

    If there were one or two takeaways from your book that you would like to emphasize, what would they be?

    West: Number one to understand that I’m living the American dream. To have been brought up out of the inner city of Atlanta, Georgia, to be where I am today sitting here with you looking out over New York City. That’s incredible, and that’s what is part of American exceptionalism. Number two is to understand that fundamentals of America is principles and values, and we’ve got to be able to get that message out there. Because right now we’re on the wrong path and we need to take the exit ramp. Number three, being a black conservative is not something new, it’s not trendy, it’s been around. As a matter of fact, some of the most conservative people in America are black, but we’re viciously attacked and demonized because the other side cannot stand for us to exist. And then the last thing is about – you always have to talk about the future, solutions, and I believe that the future of this nation can be brighter once we once again re-connect with our principles.

    One of the things you speak to in this book is the lack of principled leaders in Washington.

    We have to get back to servant leadership.
    Share:

    West: Just think about what recently happened when the president comes out yesterday [Tuesday] on the Rose Garden and says you know we never went out and tried to sell Obamacare to everyone. We just kind of let people make their own choice. Well that’s a gross exaggeration of the truth. I mean think about the billions of dollars [the Obama administration spent on its healthcare efforts]. So I think that we need to get honor and and integrity and character restored back to Capitol Hill. This guy testifying right now Mike Morell who lied to the Senate Intelligence Committee; you know Susan Rice going out and saying what she said [on Benghazi]…there’s a perpetual lying – and this is bipartisan of course – that we have got to get people that are concerned about the American interests, not their own self-interest, not special interests. And that’s what I want to try to bring out. We have to get back to servant leadership.

    Why are fewer military folks seeking public office at least at the national level?

    West: We don’t want to deal with the BS. I mean we’re very straightforward, we’re mission-oriented, we’re task-oriented, and we just don’t have time for charlatans, usurpers and jokers or pranksters. But what you are finding is that there is a clarion call out there to get more to take off their uniform, put on a suit and tie and run, because as someone told me “the oath of office that you took does not have a statute of limitations.”

    You speak in your book to a military philosophy based on a strong but nimble and efficient military that projects power. How would you deal with an expansionist and seemingly ascendant Russia?

    Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends an awarding ceremony for Russian athletes, winners of the XI Paralympic Olympic games, in Sochi on March 17, 2014. Putin told yesterday US President Barack Obama the referendum on Crimea joining Russia was fully legal, but the two leaders also agreed to work together to find ways out of the Ukraine crisis, the Kremlin said. AFP PHOTO/ RIA-NOVOSTI/ POOL/ MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV AFP/AFP/Getty Images

    Russia’s President Vladimir Putin pictured during an awarding ceremony for Russian athletes, winners of the XI Paralympic Olympic games, in Sochi on March 17, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/ RIA-NOVOSTI/ POOL/ MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV AFP/AFP/Getty Images) 

    West:  Right now you’ve gotta understand the center of the strategy for Vladimir Putin is energy security. So I would look here at our oil and natural gas and I would make sure that we are producing and consuming and exporting all the oil and natural gas so that Europe and Ukraine are not dependent on him [Putin], we can supply them and undercut him because that’s his center of gravity as far as his economic, revenue-producing ability. And then the other thing is, the missile defense shield goes back up that we canceled, we look at NATO security arrangements and the agreements with countries in the Baltic states and that border along with Russia, because that’s what he understands. He understands strength. And really when you look at the Islamic terrorists, they understand strength and might. You look at Iran…all of these countries. And it’s not just Russia but also China, we have to be concerned about with their expanding. And the other thing going back, you know I don’t believe that the defense industry should dictate strategy. The needs of the military should dictate what the defense industry is providing. And so when you talk about another lesson learned up there on Capitol Hill, you know politicians want to have the money to flow into their district for whatever program, what have you, and that’s what they’re advocating. They gotta advocate what’s best for the military, advocate what’s best for our strategy. Because right now what I see us doing, we’re trying to make a strategy fit a budget, instead of the budget supporting the strategy. And so that’s a big thing we have to talk about. 

    We’re trying to make a strategy fit a budget, instead of the budget supporting the strategy.
    Share:

    Our administration talks about the Arab world as if we all share the same values. What would you say is the biggest misperception for America about the Arab world, and what do Americans need to know about the Arab World?

    West: Well it’s not so much about the Arab world, it’s about Islamic totalitarianism. We have a problem with political correctness. We’re afraid to identify who the enemy really is because we think that we don’t want to offend them, and there are some people even on our side that believe the whole reason why they have such hatred of us is because of our policies. They don’t understand that this has been going on for almost 1,400 years, this war between East and West. And even the president doesn’t get this. And President Bush did not get this. So we need to be able as Sun Tzu would say, “Know the enemy, know thyself,” know the terrain and the environment and you will always be successful. So we have to challenge them. We have to bring out the ideologies and the separation between the two of liberty and freedom – how we believe in it and how they don’t; once again their desire to have totalitarian control. We have to explain what sharia is. We have to explain what their desire to have the restoration of a global Islamic caliphate – what that means. And we have to show anecdotally how it’s happening right now and how we cannot allow that to happen.

    And to that end, if our civilian leaders have this politically correct ideology as you call it in the book, and fundamentally don’t understand who we’re dealing with, are there folks in the military who see the world as it is who will keep our civilian leaders in check when they pursue misguided policies based on such an ideology?

    I wish more of the top level generals would resign, because a message would be sent.
    Share:

    West: Yea but see the problem is they can’t, because we have a military that’s subservient to civilian leadership. So you know when you have the president who comes out and says, “I hereby declare the edict that turbans, hijabs and beards are going to be allowed in the United States military,” all the general can do is salute the flag and say “Roger that sir.” Or the general can resign. And I wish more of the top level generals would resign, because a message would be sent. And then say, “I’m against these policies because these policies are detrimental to the United States military.” Case in point: Major Nidal Hasan – everyone knew what he was doing – everyone knew the proselytization that he was committing, and the way he was treating some of the patients up there at Walter Reed [Army Medical Center]. He should have never been transferred to Fort Hood. He should have been drummed out of the military. But there were individuals who tried to bring that up. And guess what happened? They were told to “hush.” And the next thing you know thirteen Americans had lost their lives, thirty-some-odd were wounded and we have an administration that declares it as “workplace violence.” So that’s very frustrating. And so yes you want men and women in uniform to be able to speak out but they can’t, because you don’t want to have that type of – that’s outside the lines. I don’t think the American people want a military that will go out and you know run rogue like [General Douglas] MacArthur did with [President] Truman in Korea, and Truman sacked him. But I do think that we need to have those of us who have been in the military that are now on this side like General [Jerry] Boykin is an incredible spokesman on these issues. And I’m right there with him on CAIR’s hate list at number five…I told him I want to get past him and get to number one.

    And what would you say to kids today, or teens or college students who are thinking about going into the military but are afraid or hesitant, given that we don’t have civilian leadership that understands the world that we’re dealing with as we’ve discussed? 

    West: Well I will tell you that many parents talk to me about the fact that they’re afraid to tell their kids that they can go ahead and join up. What I tell them is that they will be under the care of good men and women as their leaders. And if you are concerned about the leadership at the top then you’ve got to do something different – you’ve got to get out there and get your voice heard, and you’ve got to vote out this bad type of leadership. You can’t once again fall into this trance like we did in the past two years over slogans and mottos and bumper stickers. We have to challenge the people who want to be the commander-in-chief. And yet in the 2012 election cycle, it was the first time in 77 years the sitting president and vice president and the candidates for the office had never served in the military. Now, once upon a time, this country wouldn’t even consider someone to be a president that hadn’t served in the military. And I think that you’re starting to see folks – as a matter of fact someone talked to me about that yesterday – that the president should have served in the military. People start to believe that because they see the type of decisions that have to be made. When you are going to send Americans into harm’s way, I think it’s important that you’ve been in harm’s way. And I also say, you need to have been on the receiving end of an AK-47 or RPG or a PKM to know what it’s like. And I believe that’s another one of those self-correcting things that you’re gonna see happen.

    When you are going to send Americans into harm’s way…it’s important that you’ve been in harm’s way
    Share:

    Shifting gears – you speak to education and the fact that kids don’t know Jean-Jacques Rousseau from Locke from Hobbes.

    Declaration of Independence

    Sigining of the Declaration of Independence. (Credit: John Trimbull/Library of Congress)

    West: Most adults don’t…And when I look at education, we’ve got to make education relevant. That’s why I’m so against this Common Core thing. It’s a horrible thing that the federal government believes they can dictate standards of education all across the entire country. You know kids learn differently. And we need to be able to tap into that. Now, what we do need to stress is an understanding of how this country came to be, and its fundamental values. And we do need to teach how we got to this point – the Declaration, the Federalist Papers, the Constitution. So that when someone comes along and starts saying “hope and change,” someone says well “hope for what and change to what?” When someone comes along and says, “We’re gonna fundamentally transform the United States of America,” someone can say “Transform it for what?” It’s a Constitutional Republic, what do you want to make it? And that’s the key aspect of education. And we have to use the culture to be able to do that because the Left is very good in dominating the culture and saying that the way we are, the way we think, that’s cool. These other guys over there are not cool. Well I think being a conservative is about the coolest thing there is – to grow up and be confident of who you are, understand your country, and to go out and be a productive member of your society – that’s really cool.

    In your book you attribute many problems from poverty to substandard education to the breakdown of the family among black Americans — and Americans more broadly — to the Leftist policies of the Great Society. Explain why you believe the Great Society programs have been so detrimental.

    The leftist policies have created a twenty-first century economic plantation
    Share:

    West: Well it’s very simple. The leftist policies have created a twenty-first century economic plantation because they have created a dependency society. They have expanded the welfare or nanny state. They’re not interested in the individual. Their indomitable will, their spirit, their entrepreneurial desires. They’re interested in the collective, you know bringing everyone together, the whole groupthink. And that’s how they operate. They pit groups against each other. And we have to get away from that because the power and the strength of America is in each and every individual. So that’s what I would talk to, and you know the ones who want to try to castigate you negatively, attack, I was in the military twenty-two years, almost shot at, blown up, and everything. Their attacks don’t bother me. And I think one of the frustrating things for the Left was that here I am a first term U.S. congressman, I’m the number one target for the Democrat party. George Soros throws in $5 million. They really believe, “Ok we cheat, we do everything possible to get rid of West, get him out of Congress and he’ll go away.” They don’t understand my passion for this country. I don’t need to be on Capitol Hill to stand up and advocate for what is right for this country. And that’s what we want to try to get people to understand. If you are right, if you are principled, you continue to march on. And that frustrates the other side. And I think that’s why I’m in a great position.

    Do you think a conservative message can be viable and bring in support from folks in and outside of minority communities who typically have not been receptive to policies and principles promulgated by Republicans?

    West: You know when you talk to people in the black community about principles not party, they’ll agree with you. On Sunday the most conservative people in the United States of America are black, in Church. And Church, you’re talking about individual salvation. Well guess what, individual freedom, liberty, I mean that’s what we’re talking about. My parents raised me very conservatively, and that’s what we talk about in the book. So, black conservatism is not something new. It’s been around a long time. Booker T. Washington talked about education, entrepreneurship and self-reliance. So if we go back and we talk about those things, not about party, not, “Sign up to join the Republican…put an elephant on your chest,” but we talk about, “What do you believe? Don’t you believe in a better education for your kids?” We’re not telling people that Barack Obama cancelled the D.C. school voucher program in April of 2009. Look at what’s happening here in New York City with Bill de Blasio with the charter schools. And black parents — single black mothers – you know screaming, outrage. Then where is our side coming in and saying, “This is what we believe in.”

    I hate the word “outreach.”
    Share:

    So, I hate the word “outreach.” I think outreach means you show up in black history month and eat some fried chicken, and have some biscuits and collared greens and then they never see you again, until 45 days before the election. And they don’t care. What you need to have is policy inclusiveness. You need to talk about specific policies that affect the lives of those people. You know crime, security: I mean de Blasio wants to take away “Stop-and-Frisk.” The people in the neighborhoods like that because they can go out on the streets. You know school choice, better education for the kids, small business ownership. You know when the Republican Party talks about protecting job creators, in people’s mind they think about some big guy that’s living in a big high-rise building. You need to talk about the person that’s going out there and they open up a big grill every Saturday and Sunday morning and they’re selling barbecue in the front yard. That’s a small business owner. Now you want to talk to them about, “See that clothes storefront. Wouldn’t it be great if you could take from the front yard to that clothes storefront and open up a business? We want to set the conditions for you to be able to do that.” That’s how you talk to people.

    The problem with us is that we don’t make the emotional connection. When you look at this last election, the horrific status of our economy, it should have been a walk in the park. Mitt Romney did not make an emotional connection with the American people. And it was easy to demonize him. And that’s all the Left is going to do. So we have to understand that image is so important now. That being able to go down and talk to any person in America wherever they are, however they live, and that’s how you’ll be successful.

    Given the growth of bureaucracies ranging from the “alphabet soup” of agencies stemming from the New Deal to the Great Society, to today’s NSA and EPA that govern or at least monitor every aspect of our lives (and incidentally you bring up the parallel of this Leviathan to Marx’s 10 planks of Communism in your book), what can or should the few people who get into Washington actually do to stop the growth of the state and then turn it back?

    NSA

    FILE – In this June 6, 2013 file photo National Security Agency plaques are seen at the compound at Fort Meade, Md. (AP) 

    West: They’ve got to cut off the purse strings to the bureaucratic state. They have to once again understand as Montesquieu wrote in “The Spirit of the Laws” that we have separation of powers. And I think right now you see the legislative branch that is really abdicating a lot of their power over to the executive branch. They’ve got to get the executive branch back under control because Washington, D.C. is going out of control, and you’re right, the bureaucratic state…when the EPA or anyone can just willy-nilly come up with regulations that they’re not going through Congress and they’re causing a financial impact to everyday Americans, and they don’t even know that it’s happening. The next thing you know, here’s a new regulation I have to contend with. So we have got to start getting the legislative branch back into control and cut back down on that expansive growth of the executive branch of the bureaucratic state.

    We talk a lot about the growth of the state and the power it might usurp and abuse in the most extreme scenarios. Could you ever envision a time where the military or forces under control that are extra-military would ever turn its guns on U.S. citizens?

    West: No. The United States military would never do that. I’ve got plenty of friends that are there and relatives…that’s not gonna happen. The United States military serves this country, and the interesting thing about the United States military is that they take an oath to the Constitution. They don’t take an oath to a king, to a president, to whatever. They do say to obey the orders of the officers appointed above me, but also but also if you are given an immoral order, you don’t have to follow that order. So that’s the beauty of our military, and that’s not gonna happen. And I think that’s also why you see such an animosity between the Left and our military. And that’s why they want to break down the military because that’s really the last bastion of American principle and value, and moral value. You know the president for him, his vital national interest is repealing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” getting social egalitarianism – getting women in the Rangers and the Navy SEALs. He wants to break the military down from what it is, so no, that would never happen.

    You know the president for him, his vital national interest is…social egalitarianism
    Share:

    If you were to characterize America and where we stand today, where are we in history and what country do we represent?

    West: Well you do see many similarities to the beginning of the collapse and fall of Rome. You see the corruption of the Senate. You see the devaluing of the currency. You see Roman citizenship did not mean anything – anyone could be a citizen and that’s what we’re talking about now. You know just give amnesty, let everyone come here and be a citizen. So you do see some similarities there. But what I really see similarities with is the 1930s, globally, because when I look at what Putin has done, very similar to what Hitler did with the Sudetenland, then Czechoslovakia, and then he continued on. I see President Obama as a Sir Neville Chamberlain – you know an appeaser, a compromiser – and he believes that if we weaken America everyone will like us better and the world will be a better place. But the world is not a better place when America is weak. The world is a better place when America is strong, when America is that symbol, that beacon of liberty and freedom. And if we’re not willing to accept that role and that responsibility which unfortunately that’s what we got after World War II, then the world’s gonna be a crazy place, because you’re gonna have all these different actors out there – the non-state actors out there, the belligerents, the state actors like the Russia’s, China’s, Iran, North Korea’s we’re gonna have to contend with them. And I really am concerned that economically we’re in a bad position, foreign affairs, foreign policy, national security, we’re in a bad position. It’s just ripe for something bad to happen.

    I see President Obama as a Sir Neville Chamberlain – you know an appeaser, a compromiser
    Share:

    And so if we’re going to extend that parallel, do we have a Churchill that is going to arise, and more importantly do we have an electorate that will support a Churchill arising?

    Joseph Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill at the Tehran Conference in 1943. (Image Source: Wikipedia Commons)

    Joseph Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill at the Tehran Conference in 1943. (Image Source: Wikipedia Commons)

    West: Well it’s interesting that you bring up Churchill because he said you can always count upon America to do what is right after they’ve exhausted all other means. I think there will be an event that will jar the American people…[But] it’s sad that we have to have something bad happen to make us react. That’s not how it should be. We need to have a steady-state because right now we have a pendulum system of governance – it swings one way and we say, “Ah, we don’t like this” – and then the pendulum swings back the other way. I do believe that a principled leader will rise from amongst the people. There are Establishments on both sides, Democrat and Republican, but the American people are gonna get tired of that. The American people don’t like to be told who their leader will be, the American people like to bring forth a leader that is from amongst them. And I believe that that is gonna happen. And I think that depending on what happens the next two election cycles it is very ripe for a third party to arise.

    And you don’t think that – or perhaps you do think that the Left will try to use that third party to destroy the Right? You think that party could be politically viable?

    West: Yes. I do because there are disaffected Democrats called “conservative Democrats,” “blue-dog Democrats,” and they’re disaffected because the Democrat Party really has gone progressive socialist, very far Left, George Soros runs the Democratic party. So if there’s a leader that can come up and talk principally to the American people, I mean he can galvanize this country, but you just have so many mealy-mouthed folks that say, “You can’t say this, you can’t say that.” Just speak the truth to the people. That’s what they want. They want someone who they can believe in, and that’s kind of what Ronald Reagan did. And he was pretty forthright in his vision for this great nation. And that’s what they’re looking for.

    George Soros runs the Democratic party.
    Share:

    Now what you see happening though are the Democrats are able to leverage the libertarian candidate in races, and you can see they’re funding some of these libertarians. You saw it in the gubernatorial race in Virginia because they know that that siphons off votes from the Republican side. So we’ve got to be careful. We’ve got to make sure that this is not a “Trojan horse” libertarian candidate that is running. And we’ve got to be more circumspect. And you know Glenn [Beck] did a great job on covering the funding and the support that was going to that candidate in Virginia. We just saw that in a special election in Florida. This libertarian candidate that was there who was getting Democrat funding. So that’s where we have to be careful. If there is a true third party, Conservative Party, Constitution Party, whatever you want, I think it will be based upon principle not about politics.

    What was the biggest lesson you took away from your time in the House?

    West: My biggest lesson was that we have got to get people that are considering the American interest or the interests of the people. There is just too much special interest influence there, and you know the American people can’t show up and be the lobbyists. But we should have people that are going in – that’s why I talk about servant leadership – and you know when you think about it that’s what Jesus was. And that’s why that faith-heritage portion is so important. We’ve got to restore that, we’ve got to restore people that are willing to go to Washington, D.C., and they’re not afraid of losing. They’re gonna go there and do what is right. If they lose that’s fine, but if they can look in the mirror and say I never lied to you, I never did anything or sacrificed my principles, and that’s the most important part. So that’s what I learned is that we’ve got to get more people up there that want to be servants.

  • Do your own homework: For The Record’s research for ‘Unguarded’
    Posted April 2, 2014 at 7:43 pm by Tom Orr

    Comments (2)

    This is covered during the episode, but the Department of Energy website has some basic facts on how the nation’s electrical grid works.

    The TV news reports featured in tonight’s episode:

    You can watch the For The Record episode “Blackout” on demand at TheBlaze.com/ForTheRecord.

    The official report from the 2004 EMP Commission.

    The official report from the 2008 EMP Commission.

    Peter Pry is the author of “Apocalypse Unknown: The Struggle To Protect America From Electromagnetic Catastrophe.” He also co-authored “How North Korea Could Cripple The U.S.” with James Woolsey in the Wall Street Journal.

    More details on the February 2013 nuclear test in North Korea.

    More details on the December 2012 launch of a satellite by North Korea.

    Iran sending warships within 13 nautical miles of the U.S. coast.

    William Forstchen is the author of “One Second After.” He is a professor of Military History at Montreat College.

    Gen. Charles Jacoby’s testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 13, 2014.

    Elizabeth Kreft is on Twitter: @elizabethakreft

    The Wall Street Journal article quoting Jon Wellinghoff shown in the episode: Assault on California Power Station Raises Alarm On Potential For Terrorism

    The 1859 article “Auroral Phenomena: Remarkable Effect of the Aurora Upon the Telegraph Wires” shown in the episode during the discussion of the Carrington Event.

    More details on the 2012 solar storm that nearly caused another Carrington-like event.

    The FERC Order Directing Filing Of Standards shown in the episode.

    The Presidential Policy Directive on securing infrastructure shown in the episode.

    The full statement from FERC Commissioner Tony Clark on grid security.

    The report from the New Jersey fusion center about attacks on the electric grid.

  • Hour of Power: ‘For the Record’ & ‘Real News Investigates’ Live Blog
    Posted April 2, 2014 at 4:03 pm by Steve Krakauer

    Comments (1)

    Tonight is the “Hour of Power” for For the Record and Real News Investigates on TheBlazeTV. While you watch the power grid-themed episodes, join the conversation here with producers and TheBlaze talent: We’ll have behind-the-scenes pictures and details, related links, polls and much more. The shows and live blog begins at 8 p.m. ET.

  • 12 quotes from Allen West’s new book that will make liberals’ heads explode
    Posted April 2, 2014 at 10:43 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (168)

    Former Congressman and retired Lieutenant Army Colonel Allen West has a new book out titled “Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom.”

    In his book, West holds no punches in discussing his life, political philosophy and conservatism (or lack thereof) in the black community.

    Below are 12 of the most provocative quotes from “Guardian of the Republic” on President Obama, faith, abortion, the military, the destruction that Leftism has wrought on the black community and much much more.

    Be on the lookout for an interview with Allen West tomorrow at Blaze Books, which you can follow on Facebook and Twitter.

    Guardian of the Republic

    1. In Obama’s case we’ve enabled affirmative action to find a home in the nation’s highest office

    “I believe the election and reelection of Obama were among the most conspicuous acts of denial in recent years. Voters just stopped paying attention. They accepted consistently bad behavior and rewarded it. They they wonder why they get more bad behavior. Of course many in opposition dare not challenge the behavior because they’re too obsessed with race and political correctness.

    In Obama’s case we’ve enabled affirmative action to find a home in the nation’s highest office. There you have it. I said it and I stand by it. America fell for the gimmick candidate, disregarding every fact and warning sign in the rush to have “the first African-American president.” We were told to shut up, and a complicit media became part of the scheme.”

    2. As for the next president… 

    “What type of gimmick will we rush to accept as a leader regardless of qualification, leadership, or principles? The first Hispanic president? The first gay president? The first transgender president? The first Muslim president? (Oh, wait…) How long will we follow destructive cults of personality just to appease the gods of political correctness?”

    How long will we follow…cults of personality…to appease the gods of political correctness
    Share:

    3. On abortion…

    “Does anyone else find it hypocritical that progressive socialists promote choice in killing children but reject saving them through educational choice?”

    4. And birth control

    President Obama and Sandra Fluke (Photo Credit: Reuters)

    President Obama and Sandra Fluke (Photo Credit: Reuters) 

    “The opportunity society tells individuals that their rights, as granted by their Creator, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The dependency society confuses privileges with rights and sells everything as a right: the right to own a home, rights based on sexuality, a right to birth control–that one I can’t really understand. What prevents manufactured women’s rights advocate Sandra Fluke or anyone else from walking into CVS or Walgreens and picking up a pack of Trojans for the weekend?”

    What prevents…Sandra Fluke…from walking into CVS…and picking up a pack of Trojans…?
    Share:

    5. The most conservative people in America on Sundays…?

    “The little platoon of the black community is the church. Our Christian faith is based on individual freedom from sin and the personal decision to find spiritual liberty that leads to a better life here on earth and for eternity. On Sundays in America, the most conservative people can be found in black churches.”

    6. Valuing gay/female integration in armed services over national security

    “Peace, and I mean real peace, begins with courageous leaders who are willing to identify and define our enemies and their objectives. Political correctness has no place in our national security strategy. Currently we have an administration more focused on integrating openly gay and lesbian troops and allowing women into ground combat arms billets than owning up to its constitutional responsibility as it applies to national security. The administration is more comfortable combating global warming and climate change than finding the terrorists who killed a US ambassador, two former US Navy SEALs, and another American in Benghazi.”

    The administration is more comfortable combating global warming…than finding… terrorists
    Share:

    7. President West and mandatory JROTC

    “Now there are people who would take programs like high school JROTC [Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps] out of schools. Frankly I believe they are misguided idiots who have no clue that what they’re doing could actually harm our young people. If ever I were to become US president, I’d ensure that every inner-city high school had a JROTC program.”

    8. Today the struggle is economic bondage; which side is each party is on?

    “I am angry about the mammoth, out-of-control social welfare entitlement programs from Washington, DC, that were supposed to solve our problems. The obvious truth is these impractical, politically motivated programs have irreparably damaged the fabric of our black society and community.

    The irony is, we were told these policies would help us most of all, and yet our community has ended up being the most grievously harmed. To those who fell victim to the welfare mentality, I am sorry to say, you were sold a horrific lie. You are shackled to the twenty-first-century economic plantation. We want nothing more than for you to be liberated as well, because you cannot continue to live in bondage.

    The Republican Party was established for one reason: the abolition of slavery through passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. Against the Democratic Party, the Republicans engaged in a fundamental philosophical fight for individual freedom from physical bondage. Today the fight for freedom continues with the same protagonists and antagonists, except now it is economic rather than physical bondage that must be defeated.”

    9. “you are the ones who are the Uncle Toms and sellouts”

    “I suspect that by now, those of you with a different perspective are reading this and steaming. Good. Those of you who are black and who follow the progressive socialist ideology and philosophy are most likely shouting at these pages, calling me an Uncle Tom and a sellout.

    In return, let me say you are the ones who are the Uncle Toms and sellouts. You have sold your own once regal and proud black community for less than thirty pieces of silver, and to what end?”

    10. LBJ and the Great Society promoted the disintegration of the black community

    Civil Rights leaders meet with President Lyndon Johnson.

    Civil Rights leaders meet with President Lyndon Johnson. (Image Source: Wikipedia Commons)

    “When I revisit my neighborhood in Atlanta, I see the blight facing most urban neighborhoods: Section 8 housing, food stamps, EBT card signs, and the breakdown of the family. Of all the consequences of the Great Society programs and the War on Poverty, intended or otherwise, the destruction of the black family has been the most disastrous. More than 70 percent of black children are born outside of marriage. That is an epidemic. And if you take into account the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s statistics that close to three hundred thousand black babies are aborted annually, are we looking at racial genocide?

    [With 300,000] black babies…aborted annually, are we looking at racial genocide?
    Share:

    The brilliant idea for this tragedy came from the progressive socialists of the Johnson administration who thought government should provide welfare payments to women who purposely had children out of wedlock and did not seek to get married or have a male living in the same home.

    In other words, the Johnson administration was promoting the disintegration of the moral fiber of the black community. Furthermore, the government would send our social workers to inspect the households and ensure there were no males residing in the home, because if there were, the benefits would be cut off. As long as women remained single, they could stay on these programs and receive free health care, housing, and babysitting services for life.

    The most dangerous consequence of President Johnson’s misguided policy is the abdication of individual responsibility in the black community.”

    11. More on the Great Society…”the twenty-first-century plantation”

    “When Booker T. Washington talked about education, self-reliance and entrepreneurship, he was describing economic independence. But the Great Society has left a legacy of economic dependence, a new form of slavery, and to me, a far more dangerous one, because it destroys the will and determination to excel. As President Franklin Roosevelt said, welfare is “a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.” And that is what I see when I go back to the ol’ Fourth Ward and drive along Boulevard…

    The Great Society has turned out to be a big lie, and sadly, those in my community who bought into it are stuck on the twenty-first-century plantation.”

    12. Social Welfare is worse than physical enslavement

    “The Left and its black gatekeepers went absolutely apoplectic some months ago when I used the word enslavement. But you tell me a better description for what social welfare dependence breeds. To me it’s worse than physical enslavement, because it enslaves human spirit. It destroys the will and determination to seek improvement and a better life.”

  • There is actually a coffee shop in South Korea designed to look like a giant Rolleiflex Camera
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 6:39 pm by Oliver Darcy

    Comments (6)

    Travel about six miles east of Seoul, South Korea and you can visit The Dreamy Camera — a coffee shop designed to look like a giant Rolleiflex Camera.

    According to Colossal, the two-story coffee shop also doubles as a camera museum and is the brainchild of a former helicopter pilot for the South Korean Air Force.

    Explore the Unique Coffee Shop:

    Image source: Facebook

    Image source: Facebook

    Image source: Facebook

    Image source: Facebook

    Image source: Facebook

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    Image source: Facebook

    Image source: Facebook

    Image source: Facebook

    Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter

  • Not everyone is buying author Michael Lewis’ argument that the U.S. stock market is rigged
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 3:29 pm by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (7)

    Yesterday we reported on Michael Lewis’ claim during CBS’ “60 Minutes” this past Sunday that the U.S. stock market was “rigged.”

    Lewis’ assertion reflects the findings from his new book, “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt,” which frames a picture of financial markets as being largely controlled by big banks whose high frequency trading (HFT) operations enable them to capture trading profits at the expense of the average retail trader.

    In Lewis’ view, your average trader cannot compete with computerized trading systems that receive and trade on new market data in mere milliseconds, capturing small profits on each trade which grow into large ones over billions of transactions.

    Traders at Getco, a private company with fewer than 250 employees, use powerful computers and algorithms to engage in high-frequency trading. Here, a Getco trader at his workstation. (Image Source: Carlos Javier Ortiz/The Wall Street Journal)

    Traders at Getco, a private company with fewer than 250 employees, use powerful computers and algorithms to engage in high-frequency trading. Here, a Getco trader at his workstation. (Image Source: Carlos Javier Ortiz/The Wall Street Journal)

    As the New York Post summarized it:

    “The robots’ high-speed networks allow them to buy the stocks milliseconds in advance — enough time to push up the price for the investor that had made the original order.

    “They’re able to identify your desire to, to buy shares in Microsoft and buy them in front of you and sell them back to you at a higher price,” Lewis said. “The speed advantage that the faster traders have is milliseconds … fractions of milliseconds.”

    The villains are a “combination of these stock exchanges, the big Wall Street banks and high-frequency traders” who are bagging billions every year with the practice, Lewis said in an interview Sunday with “60 Minutes.”

    The victims, Lewis adds, are “everybody who has an investment in the stock market.”

    The FBI has even opened an inquiry into potential abuses related to HFT.

    But not everyone is buying Lewis’ argument.

    41rC-xFW03L

    Featured Book

    Title: Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt

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    Purchase this book

    In Bloomberg, Matt Levine proposes an alternative narrative to that put forth by Lewis, of “a clever young outsider applying rigorous quantitative thinking to revolutionize a stodgy stupid business that is bad for its customers” [the protagonists of his book who create an alternative to "rigged" markets] versus “the stodgy stupid one” [big banks and other institutions that rely on high frequency trading operations].

    In Levine’s alternative world, those engineers who created the high frequency trading programs might actually be the true revolutionaries, defending against or even chipping away at the advantage of those with inside institutional knowledge at the big banks.

    As Levine argues, HFT trading systems can actually be seen as having been developed to undercut the big banks, who previously could trade on superior information and generate superior profits due to their size, scale, speed, relationships and computing systems. HFTs in Levine’s reading may be the real disruptors of the “stodgy” trading industry.

    Levine writes, contra Lewis: (more…)

  • ‘The View’s’ topless stunt that didn’t include Whoopi or Barbara Walters
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 1:45 pm by Mike Opelka

    Comments (36)

    This actually happened on daytime television on a major broadcast network…and it wasn’t April Fools’ Day or Halloween.

    Image: YouTube.com

    Image: YouTube.com

    Monday, in the closing segment of the ABC-TV show, The View, Jenny McCarthy and Sherri Shepherd surprised viewers by turning a discussion of body image and actress Lena Dunham’s frequent nudity on the HBO series “Girls” into a “naked stunt” of their own.

    Image: YouTube.com

    Image: YouTube.com

    It started out innocently enough with McCarthy and Shepherd introducing a clip from “Girls” where Dunham’s character strips on camera.

    Image: YouTube.com

    Image: YouTube.com

    However, when they returned from the clip (about :30), both hosts were topless in front of the live audience, with electronically inserted black boxes to block their “naked” bodies from the TV cameras.

    Image: YouTube.com

    Image: YouTube.com

    As the audience cheered and applauded, Shepherd admitted, “Ya know, Lena gets press every week for being naked.” She continued, “We’re jumping on the bandwagon.” McCarthy thanked the audience for watching and hoped they all “take a little time to enjoy our view.”

    Watch the video here.

    Follow Mike Opelka on Twitter – @Stuntbrain

  • Can you guess what religion Dennis Prager says has been the most influential over the last century? (It’s not what you think)
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 11:49 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (61)

    In a recent article, syndicated radio host and author most recently of “Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph,” Dennis Prager made a profound assertion:

    “…the most dynamic and influential religion of the past hundred years has not been Christianity, let alone Judaism, the two religions that created the Western world. Nor has it been Islam. It has been Leftism.”

    Thousands of protestors gather at the National Mall in Washington calling on President Barack Obama to reject the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada, as well as act to limit carbon pollution from power plants and move beyond coal and natural gas, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. (Photo: AP)

    Thousands of protestors gather at the National Mall in Washington calling on President Barack Obama to reject the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada, as well as act to limit carbon pollution from power plants and move beyond coal and natural gas, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. (Photo: AP)

    Writing of the march of Leftism through the institutions from literature to academia to the media and ultimately to our politics, Prager asserted that environmentalism specifically is now the religion of our time, having surpassed feminism as the most animating of all beliefs among Leftists.

    Prager argues:

    “For the left, the earth has supplanted patriotism…instead of allegiance to the nation’s flag, now our allegiance must be to nature. This is the antithesis of the Judeo-Christian view of the world that has dominated Western civilization for all of the West’s history. The Judeo-Christian worldview is that man is at the center of the universe; nature was therefore created for man. Nature has no intrinsic worth other than man’s appreciation and (moral) use of it…Worship of nature was the pagan worldview…With the demise of the biblical religions that have provided the American people with their core values since their country’s inception, we are reverting to the pagan worldview. Trees and animals are venerated, while man is simply one more animal in the ecosystem — and largely a hindrance, not an asset.”

    Citing various instances of environmentalist initiatives from opposition to the Keystone Pipeline, to support of animals against being put to death for mauling children (see the efforts of the Lexus Project), all the way back to the outlawing of the use of DDT, as echoed in a recent submission by a founder of the green movement James Lovelock (“It’s become a religion, and religions don’t worry too much about facts”), Prager continued:

    “This is the trend. Nature over man…As G.K. Chesterton prophesied over a hundred years ago: “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing — they believe in anything.” Now it’s the environment.”

  • Watching baby chicks cuddle with a golden retriever could be the best 27 seconds of your day
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 7:19 pm by Jason Howerton

    Comments (23)

  • Watch: The Best News Bloopers of March 2014
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 12:49 pm by Jason Howerton

    Comments (0)

    Enjoy the best news bloopers of March 2014:

  • Video: Required viewing for one of the greatest days of the year
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 12:04 pm by Chris Field

    Comments (2)

    Today is one of the best days of my year — Opening Day — beat out only by Christmas, Easter and July 4. So with joy in my heart and a smile on my face, I post for your enjoyment a classic that should be required viewing in every classroom in America today:

    You’re welcome.

    Follow Chris Field (@ChrisMField) on Twitter

  • Five baseball books for Opening Day
    Posted March 31, 2014 at 9:23 am by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (1)

    In honor of opening day, here are five of our favorite baseball books of all time. These books consist of varying genres and eras, representing a small sample of the treasure trove of literature that exists on the sport.

    Let us know your favorites in the comments. And let’s go Mets!

    1. Wait Till Next Year – A Memoir by Doris Kearns Goodwin

    Wait Till Next Year

    Regardless of your feelings on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s politics, here she perfectly captures the golden era of 1950s baseball in New York City, a time in which the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants and New York Yankees battled for the tri-state areas’ — and America’s heart. For all of those fans rooting for lovable losers, this is the book that will give you hope that this could be your year…or you might just have to wait till next year. “Wait Till Next Year” is that rare nostalgic book that will be read and loved equally by those young and old.

    2. Moneyball by Michael Lewis

    Moneyball

    “Moneyball” sought to show how the Oakland Athletics under the sage management of Billy Beane were able to compete as David’s against baseball’s Goliath big market teams like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. Michael Lewis shows how Beane applied the principles of value investing to baseball; how essentially to stretch the A’s’ dollar further than that of other teams, he sought players who were artificially undervalued because of the biases inherent to baseball towards players with certain physical builds or players who excelled under traditional statistical metrics, and exploited this informational advantage to field the best possible team for the least possible money. The A’s continue to dominate and shock baseball employing this strategy today (though the big-market teams are now applying many of the Athletics’ principles to their own player evaluation efforts), and the lessons of this book apply beyond baseball to every single industry there is.

    3. The Science of Hitting  by Ted Williams with John Underwood

    The Science of Hitting

    A classic book on hitting, this is an instructional guide useful for kids in Babe Ruth Leagues to the beer league softballer in your household. The ‘Splendid Splinter’ used to hit until his hands bled, and was such a perfectionist of his craft that he could hit through any defensive shift set against him. In this book he gives insight into the method to his madness that made him one of if not the greatest hitter of them all. In the Sabermetric Age, Ted Williams and John Underwood’s book may be looked back on as primitive, but it is nonetheless and early noteworthy effort to try and add some statistical rigor to the game. It’s helpful diagrams and advice on hitting remain timeless and invaluable to ballplayers young and old.

    4. The Natural by Bernard Malamud

    The Natural

    The book on which the great Robert Redford movie is based, “The Natural” is in this writer’s view one of the more underrated fictional works on baseball out there. Even if you have seen the movie, read the book.

    5. A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred by George Will

    A Nice Little Place on the North Side

    We wrote about George Will’s newest book this past week, but it bears repeating that “A Nice Little Place on the North Side” is a delightful short read that ingeniously ties in the iconic Wrigley Field to American presidents, entrepreneurs, gangsters and poets, not to mention the ballplayers with some of the more colorful personas you can imagine who graced it. Will’s new effort reflects why baseball is truly America’s national pastime.