What free market

If you needed any more evidence that Americans do not enjoy a free market, look no further:

“Attempts to undermine the legitimate currency of this country are simply a unique form of domestic terrorism,” U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins said. “While these forms of anti-government activities do not involve violence, they are every bit as insidious and represent a clear and present danger to the economic stability of this country. We are determined to meet these threats through infiltration, disruption and dismantling of organizations which seek to challenge the legitimacy of our democratic form of government,” Tompkins said.

Von NotHaus, 67, faces up to 25 years in prison during sentencing, which hasn’t been scheduled. The government also is seeking the forfeiture of about 16,000 pounds of Liberty Dollar coins and precious metals valued at nearly $7 million.

This is insane on at least three levels. First, if anyone in the country is going to be arrested for financially-related domestic terrorism representing a clear and present danger to the economic stability of the country, it should be Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke. They, more than anyone, have put the nation on the brink of economic and political collapse. Second, if the Neo-Keynesian economic policies being pursued by the federal government are correct, then more money circulating in the system is beneficial to it regardless of whether they are Federal Reserve Notes, Liberty Dollars, or Donkey Kong’s Coconut currency since it increases the money supply. Third, our legitimate Constitutional form of government doesn’t permit the use money that is not gold and silver. Fourth, if America did have a genuinely democratic form of government, Americans would be permitted to utilize any form of currency they happened to desire.

On the other hand, it is obvious that Von Nothaus left himself vulnerable to counterfeiting charges by consciously imitating the look and feel of U.S. coinage. It would be interesting to know if they would have been able to successfully charge him with counterfeiting if he had produced silver coins shaped in triangles and rectangles that bore no similarities whatsoever to the federal ones. And on an economic note, it may amuse some of you to know that the first time I glanced over the article, I read “infiltration” as “inflation”.

The future is free

To virtually no intelligent observer’s surprise, Rupert Murdoch’s paywall is failing:

My sources say that not only is nobody subscribing to the website, but subscribers to the paper itself—who have free access to the site—are not going beyond the registration page. It’s an empty world. The wider implications of this emptiness are only just starting to become clear. A Murdoch and Fleet Street veteran with whom I’ve been corresponding about the paywall reported to me on his recent conversation with an A-list entertainment publicist: “What was really interesting to me was that this person volunteered a blinding realization. ‘Why would I get any of my clients to talk to the Times or the Sunday Times if they are behind a paywall? Who can see it? I can’t even share a link and they aren’t on search. It’s as though their writers don’t exist anymore.’”

What the professional journalists and their corporate paymasters have forgotten is that they are on the wrong side of not one, but two issues. Everyone knows that the corporate media are on the wrong side of the cost equation. But what they don’t realize is that the corporate media are quite often on the wrong side of the quality equation as well these days.

Now, my daily readership of 7k blog readers is absolutely tiny compared to however many people visit the Fox News and Sunday Times sites, but is there anyone who would put the track record of a single economics writer for one of those sites against mine? And if you start factoring in other independent economics writers like Mike Shedlock, Karl Denninger, and the Mises Institute collective, you can see how the cumulative free readerships not only rival the corporate readerships, but enjoy a substantially higher quality of material as well.

Given the influx of corporate investment from places like Mexico and Saudi Arabia, we can count on the mainstream media product to become more and more irrelevant, while the free media that is a marketing adjunct to its producers’ primary careers continues to improve in quality.

Mailvox: you can’t stop the signal

That doesn’t mean that the IT fascists won’t try to prevent their serfs from hearing it:

“Well, it’s official. My company’s IT department has, as of today, blocked Vox Popoli as a “Fringe Usenet Group.” This also came with a stern talking to by the IT department head to me personally about the inappropriate, off color nature of the Ilk. Be proud, VD.”

It’s certainly an interesting categorization, given that the blog is not, and has never been, a Usenet Group. Please feel free to tell the IT department head from me, personally, that no amount of foolish devotion to corporate fascism is going to save his job from the contracting global economy. Since IT doesn’t produce income, it’s a luxury and in most cases a counterproductive one at that.

The fact is that it really doesn’t matter if anyone reads this blog or not. It doesn’t matter if anyone believes anything I write or not. What is going to happen will happen whether the cubicle serfs or their corporate overseers like it or not. And you can’t stop the signal.

Too big to nail

CNN reports on the shenanigans devised to protect Pfizer from the legal consequences of its large-scale lawbreaking:

By April 2005, when Bextra was taken off the market, more than half of its $1.7 billion in profits had come from prescriptions written for uses the FDA had rejected. But when it came to prosecuting Pfizer for its fraudulent marketing, the pharmaceutical giant had a trump card: Just as the giant banks on Wall Street were deemed too big to fail, Pfizer was considered too big to nail.

Why? Because any company convicted of a major health care fraud is automatically excluded from Medicare and Medicaid. Convicting Pfizer on Bextra would prevent the company from billing federal health programs for any of its products. It would be a corporate death sentence.

Prosecutors said that excluding Pfizer would most likely lead to Pfizer’s collapse, with collateral consequences: disrupting the flow of Pfizer products to Medicare and Medicaid recipients, causing the loss of jobs including those of Pfizer employees who were not involved in the fraud, and causing significant losses for Pfizer shareholders.

“We have to ask whether by excluding the company [from Medicare and Medicaid], are we harming our patients,” said Lewis Morris of the Department of Health and Human Services.

So Pfizer and the feds cut a deal. Instead of charging Pfizer with a crime, prosecutors would charge a Pfizer subsidiary, Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. Inc.

We are truly living in a post-republican age of American corpocracy. Not only is there no equality before the law, but it is clear that artificial persons and individuals of political influence are now regularly granted rights, privileges, and immunities that are denied to the citizenry.