LLR Pages

Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain's Pick for Woman VP Not As Libertarian As Her Sycophants and She Make Her Out to Be

This latest hubbub over McCain's pick of Republican Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for Vice President has certainly made the entire 2008 race somewhat more interesting, in light of the fact that it's more of a response to Obama's pick of Biden as his running mate.

Palin has been deemed by many conservative and libertarian Republicans to possess an identical maverick streak that many see coming from McCain. As a pro-lifer, she claims to be in favor of "free market capitalism," hunts, and fishes. But, despite the fact that "libertarians" like Eric Dondero Rittberg branding Palin a "libertarian Republican," the woman governor of Alaska isn't as libertarian as her sycophants and she make her out to be.

For example, Palin, just prior to her election to the governorship in late 2006, campaigned on education, public safety, and public transportation, making them cornerstones of her administration. Interestingly enough, on her gubernatorial website, in the issues section of her website under the issue "Gasline," you will find the following disclaimer:

I am a conservative Republican, a firm believer in free market capitalism. A free market system allows all parties to compete, which ensures the best and most competitive project emerges, and ensures a fair, democratic process.

Let's re-read the first half of the first sentence again:

I am a conservative Republican...

She's not a libertarian folks. She's a "conservative Republican." She's a pro-war, pro-tyranny, and anti-freedom vice presidential pick. There's nothing consistently libertarian about her.

How is this, you ask? Let's take a good look at her short gubernatorial record:

  1. While she pushed for an ethics bill (strongly libertarian, but futile as well) and jettisoning some pork bills that called for further wasteful spending of tax dollars at the state level but were supported by her fellow Republican colleagues, she did refuse to use state tax dollars to provide funding for the Alaskan Bridge to Nowhere (that would have connected one of the state's islands to another for the purpose of providing access to one of its airports). While the $398 million bridge was abandoned and Palin did the right thing by not authorizing state tax monies to finance it, she did not even consider the option of marketizing (a true alternative to "privatizing") the ferry system to the private sector so that the market could provide better access to the airport without the government contracting it to private enterprise or even subsidizing it or both. How is that libertarian?

  2. While she rightfully opposed her fellow Republican United States Secretary of the Interior Dick Kempthorne's decision to place the state's polar bears on the Endangered Species list, she used taxpayer monies in the form of a lawsuit to stop the naming. How is that libertarian?

  3. While Palin publicly supported drilling in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), she did support and help pass a windfall profit tax on oil company profits and formed a sub-cabinet full of government advisors to "address" global warming (now called "climate change") and "reduce" CO2 emissions in the state. How is that libertarian?

  4. She pushed for a state tax-funded $100-a-month energy debit cards for Alaskans in reponse to high gas and energy prices and proposed state tax-funded grants to electrical utilities in order for them to pare down their customers' monthly rates. How is that libertarian?

  5. She supports imposing creationism alongside with evolution in the public "government" schools, even though she said that she wouldn't use religion as a "litmus test" to select any public candidate for appointment to any government school board. She never mentions getting the government out of the schools. So how is this libertarian?

  6. She opposes legalizing marijuana, even for medicinal use, despite the fact that she tried it once and never liked it. How is that libertarian?

  7. Finally, she opposes gay marriage, which means she supports keeping the government in the marriage business (when it should be out of it once and for all). How is her position on that libertarian?

While there are plenty of other anti-libertarian views that she holds, she may be slightly better than, say, Senator Joe Biden, because she holds some libertarian views, but that's not saying much in the grand scheme of things. Overall, she's not libertarian, and any "libertarian Republican" who thinks that she is a libertarian and is qualified for public office needs to have his/her head looked at.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

When The Couch Patrol Arrives

There are the big tyrants (presidents, prime ministers, dictators, legislators, court justices ...Joe Arpaio) and then there are the small, local tyrants, the ones who often go house to house to make sure that you don't have the wrong kind of swimming pool (or a pool without fences...THINK OF THE CHILDREN!); that you have not installed anything without the permission of the local government; or even that you are not using your property in the way they want it to be used.

In the troublemaking town of Keene, NH, a resident was fined for a code violation: a couch on the yard used for birdwatching. The busybody/bureaucrat was caught on camera as the left the citation notice. A moment of hilariousness ensues when the city official repeatedly recommends voting as a means to solve problems (Yeah right!).

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Driving with Air Fresheners is Suspicious

It would appear, according to US vs Branch (US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 8/20/2008), that the cops have been given more powers:

A federal appellate court ruled last week that police can delay a routine traffic stop as long as necessary to conduct a search for drugs. In its decision, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld the validity of a thirty-minute traffic stop in Maryland because the arresting officer claimed the nervous driver had an air freshener hanging from his rear-view mirror and had previously been spotted driving in a run-down neighborhood.

"First, the presence of several air fresheners -- commonly used to mask the smell of narcotics -- hanging in the Mercedes," Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III wrote to explain the source of probable cause. "The prior traffic stop of the Mercedes in a drug-trafficking area, Branch's evident nervousness, the presence of air fresheners, and the fact that Branch was driving a car not registered to him. These factors, in combination, could form the basis for a 'reasonable suspicion' of narcotics trafficking."

First of all, the state should not be prosecuting anyone for drug crimes. Then there's that word again: "reasonable." Should the government itself determine whether its own actions and policies are reasonable? According to Hans-Hermann Hoppe, "a state is an institution that decides who is right and wrong in conflicts involving itself" and thus, at least (but not limited to) in the case of victimless crimes, the state is both prosecutor and judge. It's not difficult to realize that this is a conflict of interest. State justice is an oxymoron; it is not a neutral third party.

Along Stephan's line of reasoning, the problem with state justice (or rather, non-justice) is the state. Reforms can only do so much. I <3 libertarian anarchy!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

McCain Now Ahead of Obama

It appears that, after choosing Biden to be his running mate, Obama lags behind McCain in a newly-released survey while the Democrats are partying at their tax-funded, government-subsidized national convention in Denver. According to a new Gallup poll released to the public, there is a 46 percent lead for McCain over Obama's 44 percent showing.

It seems that, based on Obama's poor choice in selecting Biden as his VP, it's going to be a close race. In reality, it's neck and neck. Obama's popularity is beginning to lose momentum, and his true colors are starting to show in the public's eyes. So the public may very well choose McCain over him, as he is slightly better than Obama on some issues (but then that's not saying much anyway).

Here's the entire report on the survey's findings for any LLR reader's convenience:

Gallup Poll Shows John McCain Lead, No Obama Bounce With Joe Biden Pick

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 26, 2008

Washington, DC ( -- A New Gallup poll shows pro-abortion presidential candidate Barack Obama received no bounce from choosing pro-abortion Senator Joe Biden as his running mate. In fact, John McCain now holds a lead in the survey for the first time in August as Democrats are in Denver for their national convention.

The daily Gallup tracking poll from August 23 to 25, the first three-day period falling entirely after Obama's Saturday morning vice presidential announcement, shows 46% of national registered voters backing McCain and 44 percent supporting Obama.

This is the first time since Obama clinched the Democratic nomination in early June that McCain has held any kind of advantage over Obama in Gallup Poll Daily tracking.

In fact, the poll shows Obama losing a 46-44 percent advantage over McCain immediately before he picked Biden as his running mate.

That Obama lost support nationally instead of getting a bounce from his selection is contrary to historical trends that show a small bounce following a vice-presidential announcement.

Gallup notes a four percentage point bounce for John Kerry in 2004 after selecting John Edwards, a 5-point bounce for Al Gore in 2000, and a 3-point bounce for George W. Bush in 2000.

Meanwhile, a Rasmussen Reports poll also found little post-Biden bounce for Obama as both he and McCain receive 44 percent apiece in the poll. With 'leaners' added to the mix, the candidates are tied at 46 percent.

However, with voters leaning towards one candidate included, Obama had a 1-2 percentage point lead in the days leading up to the Biden pick and a 2-4 percentage point lead without including leaning voters.

The Rasmussen poll also finds the Biden pick failed to unite Democrats behind his candidacy as just 78 percent of Democrats back Obama while 85 percent of Republicans are behind McCain.

'Obama's support has declined in each of the last three individual nights of polling,' Rasmussen notes. 'This may be either statistical noise or a reaction to the selection of Biden.'

McCain is viewed favorably by 57 percent of Americans while 53 percent view Obama positively.

A third national poll, conducted by CNN, finds the race tied at 47 percent each.

Biden's pro-abortion track record in the Senate mirrors Obama's.

He received a pro-life voting record of 0 percent from the National Right to Life Committee for 2007-2008.

Before that, Biden compiled records of 0 percent, 16 percent, 0 percent, and 22 percent with the pro-life group in previous Congressional sessions. His support for a ban on partial-birth abortions represented one of the only times he voted with the pro-life side -- with Biden voting repeatedly to force taxpayers to fund abortions at home and abroad.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ted Kennedy's "Season of Hope"

At tonight's Democratic National Convention in Denver, Senator Ted Kennedy, whose ailing health has been making waves on the TV networks, appeared at the podium, giving a rather lengthy speech about how Obama will "close the book on the old politics" of race and gender and "group against group not just for the few." During his speech, he kept talking about "new hope" for the United States and that we are entering in "a season of hope."

This is what he said in part:

For me this is a season of hope -- new hope for a justice and fair prosperity for the many, and not just for the few -- new hope.

To me, this mention of a "season of hope" is governmentese for "let's expand the state the Democratic way and not John McCain and the GOP's way." I don't know about you, but that's how I see this latest state lovefest and what it truly stands for.

The Naive Support of the State to Protect Intellectual Property

To expect the welfare-warfare state--which taxes, regulates, murders, invades, bombs, hampers, conscripts, lies, imprisons, steals, and invades--which impoverishes us and hampers the economy, which penalizes innocent behavior and wastes trillions of dollars--which imposes antitrust, tort, FDA regulations and penalties on companies--to expect this agency to "create" legitimate property rights or to add "wealth" to the economy--and by setting up a state-run bureaucracy to grant monopolies to "applicants," under the oversight of the bunch of federal "judges"--is naive and confused beyond belief. It is certainly not a libertarian view.

See also Regret: The Glory of State Law, where I wrote:

Now libertarian proponents of state legal systems are for some reason optimistic about the ability of state legislature and courts to promulgate just laws. Objectivist attorney Murray Franck , for example, wrote:

Just as the common law evolved to recognize "trespass by barbecue smoke," it would have evolved to recognize property in the airwaves and in intellectual creations. But even if it could be established somehow that the common law would never have recognized intellectual property rights, this would not be an argument against such rights. The common law often requires legislation to correct it (for example, in recognizing the rights of women). Indeed it is a myth that the common law evolves to reflect, and that legislation always is in conflict with, the requirements of human nature. The same minds that employ induction and deduction to decide a particular case, making common law, can employ those methods to legislate universal laws.

Hayek also believed that case-law might need occasional "correction" by the legislature (see my Legislation and the Discovery of Law in a Free Society, p. 171). Both Franck and Hayek here express confidence that it is possible for the state--via its courts and legislatures--to issue "just" law. Well, I don't know about that. Here we have a "bad" judicial interpretation of a "bad" legislated statute. Oh, well, I guess they can at least "regret" it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Gay Magazine Skeptical of Bob Barr's Claims

Washington Blade, a gay and lesbian magazine which champions gay rights, has published a piece on Bob Barr's alleged about-face on his support for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) bill when he was still in Congress. Furthermore, it even mentions Barr's recent pledge to repeal only a part of the law -- specifically, the part where he says the federal government should get out of the marriage protection business. Of course, that means that he supports the morally-and-politically-bankrupt conservative view of states' rights (that is, states having rights over the individual) as opposed to taking all levels of government out of the entire game once and for all.

Here's a part of the article that should be of interest to pro-liberty groups:

'Barr and his campaign staff declined to answer follow-up questions about the legal chaos that could follow if the part of DOMA that bans federal recognition of gay marriages was repealed, with the rest of the law still intact. … "The response from the campaign staff is we won’t answer hypothetical questions," said Barr’s campaign manager, Russell Verney.'

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Obama Picks Joe Biden as His Running Mate

It's now official: statist Democratic candidate Barack Obama picks statist Senator Joe Biden to be his VP.

Here's the official press report which confirms this:

Obama picks Biden for veep

Aug 23 12:53 AM US/Eastern
Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware is Barack Obama's pick as vice presidential running mate, The Associated Press has learned.
Biden, 65, is a veteran of more than three decades in the Senate, and one of his party's leading experts on foreign policy, an area in which polls indicate Obama needs help in his race against Republican rival John McCain.

The official who spoke did so on condition of anonymity, saying they did not want to pre-empt a text-message announcement the Obama campaign promised for Saturday morning.

Friday, August 22, 2008

MIA For The Weekend Because It's My Fiancee's Birthday

I will be MIA for the weekend until either Monday afternoon or Monday night (or possibly Tuesday) because it's my fiancee Beckie's birthday. She will be turning 25. Although not a pure libertarian, she has libertarian-minded views and is pleased that her fiance and loving honey will be there to celebrate her birthday with her.

Please, if you can and like, send some kind pro-liberty birthday messages to her. I know she will love and appreciate them.

See you guys until either Monday or Tuesday, whichever comes first.

Two College Presidents Rescind Their Support for Petition to Lower Drinking Age

Two of 125 college and university presidents who have come out advocating a nationwide petition that calls for reconsidering the legal drinking age are withdrawing their support for it.

Check out the New York Times piece on this:

August 22, 2008
2 Withdraw From Petition to Rethink Drinking Age

ATLANTA — Two college presidents, both in Georgia, have withdrawn their names from a petition to reconsider the legal drinking age after it drew blistering criticism this week from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, safety experts, transportation officials and politicians.

But 15 more from across the country have signed on, the organizers said Thursday.

All told, 123 presidents from colleges including Dartmouth, Duke, Ohio State and Tufts are supporting the petition, which says that raising the drinking age to 21 has fostered a culture of clandestine binge drinking and that students’ use of fake identification has eroded their respect for the law.

'Twenty-one is not working,' the statement reads.

But critics have accused the presidents of misleading the public, shirking their responsibility to enforce the law and trying to dodge the problem of student drinking.

The Governors Highway Safety Association has promised to hold at its national meeting next month 'a workshop to help highway safety agencies counter any effort in their states to lower the drinking age.'

Kendall Blanchard, the president of Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus, said he had pulled his name off the list in part because critics had misunderstood the petition’s intent. 'It was clear to me that they didn’t see this as a dialogue; they saw this as some kind of effort on our part to turn our schools into party schools,' he said.

The other president who withdrew from the petition was Robert M. Franklin of Morehouse College in Atlanta.

Many critics said they objected to the suggestion that studies did not conclusively show a benefit to raising the drinking age, particularly the reduction of alcohol-related traffic deaths among young drivers.

'Why would you take the one thing that has been tried in the last 30 years that has been shown to be most successful and throw that out the window and say, "I have a better idea?" ' said Alexander C. Wagenaar, an epidemiologist at the College of Medicine at the University of Florida.

But college presidents say they are fighting a losing battle with binge drinking and alcohol poisoning.

'Many of our university presidents are doing as good a job as they can at enforcing the drinking age,' said John M. McCardell Jr., the former president of Middlebury College in Vermont and a leader of the petition effort, which began last month. 'They’re doing all the right things, and what is the result? Well, young people are moving beyond the view of the college officials and often beyond the boundaries of the college campuses, and campus officials have no authority there.'

S. Georgia Nugent, the president of Kenyon College in Ohio, who signed the petition, said, 'I think there’s a direct connection between this law and this pattern of secret, fast consumption of high-octane alcohol. It’s much more dangerous than the traditional great big, loud keg party because it happens quietly, out of view.'

Mr. McCardell is the founder of Choose Responsibility, an organization that advocates lowering the drinking age, but the petition drive, called the Amethyst Initiative after the gemstone that the Greeks believed would ward off intoxication, calls only for 'dispassionate public debate' of the issue. The drinking age has been 21 across the country since 1988.

In a written statement that Mr. McCardell called 'intimidation bordering on bullying,' Laura Dean-Mooney, the president of MADD, asked the public to call the signers and demand that they remove themselves from the list.

'As the mother of a daughter who is close to entering college, it is deeply disappointing to me that many of our education leaders would support an initiative without doing their homework on the underlying research and science,' Ms. Dean-Mooney said in the statement. 'Parents should think twice before sending their teens to these colleges or any others that have waved the white flag on under-age and binge drinking policies.'

College presidents should focus on changing the culture on campus, Ms. Dean-Mooney said. She cited efforts like requiring alcohol education, scheduling more Friday classes to cut down on Thursday night parties, fighting marketing efforts like drink specials and ladies’ nights near campuses and coordinating with local law enforcement agencies.

But students said they were not getting drunk in bars.

'From freshman year on, I hardly ever went out on the weekends without having four or five shots of vodka beforehand,' said Diane Bash, a senior at Ohio State University. 'You’ve got to preload before you get to a bar because you can’t drink once you go in. I definitely drink a lot less now that I’m 21, and so do all my friends.'

Despite such tales of excess, experts said there was little hard evidence that binge drinking became more prevalent after the drinking age was raised to 21. One of the most comprehensive studies shows that heavy drinking among college students, defined as five or more drinks in a row, peaked in 1984.

Other studies by Henry Wechsler, a retired professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, show that binge drinking remained steady, with about 44 percent of college students doing it, from 1993 to 2001.

The controversy shines a light on the culture gap between college students and their nonstudent peers, who drink less.

Chuck Hurley, the chief executive of MADD, acknowledged that widespread drinking on campus fostered a distinct set of problems. 'The drinking age is working far better in blue-collar America, or community college America, than in Ivy League America,' he said.

If parents who support the current drinking age limit don't like it when college presidents push for the lowering of the drinking age law, then they should call for ending the government's involvement in higher learning. They shouldn't send their kids to that environment where underage drinking is the cultural norm. But, of course, they want it both ways: they want the government to finance the colleges and universities that encourage an environment of drinking but don't want the drinking age lowered. They can't -- and shouldn't -- have it both ways. Either the drinking age should be lowered to a uniform age limit or be abolished and stop victimizing the college students who are on the government dole or repealing the government's financial aid for and involvement in higher learning. In other words, either they support privatizing the colleges and universities or they accept the fact that a much-lowered drinking age will promote more of an incentive for the youth to be responsible with their actions, including drinking.

Not that the government should be subsidizing the entire education industry. Not that these parents and other taxpayers should be forced to pay for the tuition and education of college students of all ages, including the Pell Grants, other federal grants, and subsidized and unsubsidized student loans. That entire boondoggle should be eliminated entirely and immediately or at least as soon as possible.

However, parents should be responsible for promoting responsible drinking by educating their youths on the effects of alcohol and drop the idea that an arbitrary age limit of 21 will avert more drinking and driving accidents at the age of 18 or that a lower drinking age will encourage more "binge drinking," meaning out-of-control irresponsible drinking. That's already happening under the current system, and yet the statist parents and government officials can't and won't see that. Besides, "age of consent," in governmentese, is an artificial moron construct. Although federal and state laws don't see it this way, real age of consent (meaning an individual youth's choice consenting to the activity and not some arbitrary edict setting the limit) not only includes sex, but it also includes smoking, drinking, watching an adult film, voting, and going off to fight a war in some faraway land.

Parents should even stop supporting the "childification" (infantilization) of these youths, who have been taken out of the hands of their own families and become warded to the state which has placed them under its control and enslaved them until they reach the magical age of 18. By the time they reach the age of 18, it's too late: that "child-like" mindset under which these young people labor has taken over completely and will be a permanent part of their lives. If anything, it's the parents who are at fault for allowing this to happen. They think that they are not responsible for teaching their kids about sex, drugs, alcohol, the importance of work ethics, and other paramount things that will become a crucial part of these youths' lives.

If only these parents had spines, stopped supporting groups like SADD and MADD, and pushed for control over their kids' lives, perhaps we wouldn't be in this mess. But that's wishful thinking. Parents and the government are the reason why the youth are binge drinking, having sex, using drugs, not working and learning work ethics before they're 18, and rebelling in a childish fashion because they are not allowed to understand responsibility that will be a paramount part for the rest of their lives.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Federal Judge Says Florida Government School Principal Persecuted Gay Students

A federal judge recently ruled in favor of a 17-year-old Florida lesbian government school teen by berating her principal for pursuing a "relentless crusade" against gay and lesbian teens at the government school known as Ponce de Leon High School and violated their First Amendment rights. Heather Gillman, the lesbian teen who was attacked by Principal David Davis, turned to the American Civil Liberties Union for legal assistance and took the school district to court after the government administrator told her that she couldn't wear gay pride clothing, stickers, and buttons in 2007.

Here's the story on the entire matter:

Judge: Fla. principal mistreated gay students
Wednesday Jul 30, 2008

PONCE DE LEON, Fla. - A federal judge scolded a Panhandle school principal, saying the administrator led a "relentless crusade" against gay and lesbian students at Ponce de Leon High School and violated their First Amendment rights.

Student Heather Gillman and the American Civil Liberties Union sued the Holmes County School District, saying that the principal prohibited the teen from wearing gay pride clothing, stickers and buttons in 2007.

Students, including Gillman, had begun showing support after the taunting of a gay student at school. In response to the taunting incident, David Davis told the gay student it wasn’t right for her to be homosexual and held a morality assembly, according to testimony.
He also suspended several students for supporting Gillman, court records show.

A two-day trial was held in May, but U.S. District Judge Richard Smoak’s 36-page opinion wasn’t released until last week.

Smoak ruled that Davis violated Gillman’s rights by silencing all pro-gay messages. The principal also interrogated students about their sexual orientations, warned gay and lesbian students to stay away from other students and said that homosexuality was a sin.

'I emphasize that Davis’s personal and religious views about homosexuality are not issues in this case. Indeed, Davis’s opinions and views are consistent with the beliefs of many in Holmes County, in Florida, and in the country,' Smoak wrote. 'Where Davis went wrong was when he endeavored to silence the opinions of his dissenters.'

Smoak ordered the Holmes County school District to pay more than $300,000 in damages.

School Superintendent Steve Griffin said July 28 that Davis is no longer a principal; he now teaches American government classes at the high school. In response to the ruling, all teachers are undergoing sensitivity training this summer, he said.

'We’re working on training our teachers on First Amendment rights and free speech,' said Griffin.

This is another reason why the government schools should be abolished and why the free marketplace can allow students of all ages to pursue their education voluntarily. The government schools, such as the one mentioned in the above article, do not provide an environment of diversity but rather discrimination and segregation. Tax dollars are being funneled from property taxpayers to the schools and the bureaucrats have no incentive to spend the money the way you want them spent on. Plus, the one-size-fits-all policies have created an environment of conflict, belligerence, bigotry, and violence in the schools. (Have we all forgotten about Columbine?)

Moreover, there is no accountability in the schools, and the behavior of government officials like Davis who force their religious doctrine upon the students is unethical, unconstitutional, and immoral. This is the reason why more and more youths who are victimized by these statist thugs in the schools are despising the public "government" schools year after year. They don't want to be there but are coerced to remain on the grounds 8 hours a day, five days a week for 9 months out of the entire year and end up committing a variety of criminal acts, even though they are viewed as juveniles, thanks to the compulsory attendance and truancy laws. Additionally, the fact that they are "childified" (infantilized that is) and treated like children and not as youths (or, if you prefer, young adults) is indisputable, although the critics of that fact will write it off as a "viewpoint" or "opinion" and not address the reality of what transpires in these schools.

If we really want to end this nightmare of the government schools, let's repeal all school taxes (which coerces parents, childless couples, and young single people to fund the schools via their property taxes) and return education to the province of the free marketplace.

Mises was Right, Part 2: Feulner, Neocons, Heritage, Georgia, Mont Pelerin

“It turns out, of course, that Mises was right.”
—Robert Heilbroner (1990), "After Communism", The New Yorker, September 10: 92 (1, 2, 3)

Regarding Paul Craig Roberts's "I Resign from the Mont Pelerin Society":

Interesting connected facts:

1. Formerly libertarian Mont Pelerin Society (which lists Hayek, Friedman, "Coase," and others as "Notable Members", but not Mises): its Treasurer is one "Edwin Feulner."

2. Feulner is President of Heritage.

3. In "Saving Georgia," Heritage Web Memo #2021, and The Russian-Georgian War: A Challenge for the U.S. and the World, on "Ariel Cohen, Ph.D." buys into the Bush administration's propaganda that uses "the Russian invasion of Georgia" as an excuse for further American hegemony.

No wonder Hans-Hermann Hoppe founded the Property and Freedom Society to take up the reins that MPS has dropped.

As Guido Hülsmann noted in "Ludwig von Mises and the Mt. Pelerin Society. Strategic Lessons" a speech delivered at the inaugural meeting of the PFS in 2006 (summary; program):
As classical liberal economists were usually not employed in institutions of higher learning (the teaching of economic science was not primarily organized within the universities), they built other institutions, from loose networks to political parties. By 1860 governments realized the danger to themselves that the classical economists posed. Their answer was to create their own economists and thus control the market of ideas. This strategy was first applied in Germany with the German Historical School or “Schmollerism” and soon spread to other countries, each with its own specific national feature. John Stuart Mill in Britain for example changed the meaning of liberalism into interventionism, while the Russian government thought that Schmoller was too tame and hired Marxist economists instead.

This trend continued into the 20th century, with Ludwig von Mises being one of the very few setting himself against it. After demolishing the case for socialism and putting the case for radical liberalism, he insisted that no “third way” was possible, as this would invariably lead to a loss of prosperity and in the end, socialism.

In the first half of the 20th century, a number of societies were founded by liberals to counter the trend towards socialism. By 1938, four schools of thought were represented:

Neoliberalism, i.e., practical and theoretical compromise with socialism; F.A. v. Hayek, for whom a small amount of intervention was permissible; Alexander Rüstow, who considered natural hierarchies as necessary for society; and Ludwig v. Mises, who stood for complete laissez faire.

Nine years and one World War later, these groups convened to form the Mont Pèlerin Society (MPS). At the same time, Leonard Read’s FEE in America was publishing leaflets explaining the ideas of Mises and organizing seminars and speeches for Mises and others. These activities were extremely important for spreading Mises’ thoughts, especially to young people. Ralph Raico, George Reisman and Murray N. Rothbard were among those influenced by the FEE papers. Without the FEE, the Chicago School would have totally dominated the field of free market ideology.

Mises was skeptical about the MPS right from the start; he was particularly concerned because of the participation of certain people. In 1947, he stormed out of a meeting, saying: “You’re all a bunch of socialists.”

Today, the MPS, a society of eminent scholars, mainly represents Neoliberalism. Therefore, the PFS could play the role that the MPS was originally designed to play: spreading the uncompromising intellectual radicalism of freedom.

(See also Hülsmann, Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism, pp. 871, 989-90, 1003-10, 1032, et pass.)

This helps place in context the principles for the PFS as announced by Hoppe at its founding in 2006:
The Property and Freedom Society stands for an uncompromising intellectual radicalism: for justly acquired private property, freedom of contract, freedom of association .... It condemns imperialism and militarism and their fomenters, and champions peace. It rejects positivism, relativism, and egalitarianism in any form .... As such it seeks to avoid any association with the policies and proponents of interventionism, which Ludwig von Mises had identified in 1946 as the fatal flaw in the plan of the many earlier and contemporary attempts by intellectuals alarmed by the rising tide of socialism and totalitarianism to found an anti-socialist ideological movement. Mises wrote: "What these frightened intellectuals did not comprehend was that all those measures of government interference with business which they advocated are abortive. ... There is no middle way. Either the consumers are supreme or the government."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Abolish the Drinking Age Laws

Why is it that collectivistic statist groups such as MADD, the American Medical Association, and the Governors Highway Safety Association and individuals such as Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago, Illinois oppose the idea of lowering the legal drinking age from 21 back to its original age of 18? Honestly, why do they REALLY oppose it?

This latest opposition to lowering the drinking age has come due to a recently-submitted national petition organized by well over a hundred college and university presidents nationwide in an effort to stir up a discussion over whether the age limit should be scaled back. Daley is strongly against it, especially when he issued a statement such as this:

'Will that be the motto: "Come to my university. Drink as much as you can as long as you pay your tuition"? … Do you think you send your son or daughter to come home as an alcoholic? … That’s a bad message … I’m sorry. You have enough time to drink the rest of your life,'Daley said.

Of course the typical statist claim is that, if the age limit were pared down to its original limit of 18, there would be an increase in teenage drinking-and-driving and vehicular accidents on the road. Of course, MADD, Daley, and others will say that there is a good amount of research to support this, yet they never cite the source of the research they state to make their cases.

The real reason, of course, is, if the age of consent with respect to drinking is lowered, then the state's control over the life of the students (who are already considered adults by the age of 18) would be diminished and no longer childified to the nth degree as it is now. Of course, the control wouldn't be entirely eliminated, but it would be lessened and weakened substantially. Moreover, the slave-driven mentality would be challenged and possibly abolished if that happened.

While lowering the drinking age would be a step in the right direction, why not repeal them entirely and let parents teach their kids the importance of responsibility? Let's stop childifying our youths and adults and return the responsibility of teaching responsible drinking back to the parents.

The State's Economic Stimulus Checks Not Sent to Thousands in Muskegon County, MI

Leviathan has not remitted its "economic stimulus" checks to thousands of Muskegon County residents in the State of Michigan. The checks are supposed to be "up to $600 to more than 3,500" people in the county.

According to, if the checks are not cut and remitted by October, the checks, which total over $1 million, will remain in the vile, diabolical governmental beast's coffers.

Here's the article in its entirety:

Thousands haven't claimed stimulus checks
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
By Brian

MUSKEGON COUNTY -- The federal government is waiting to dole out economic stimulus checks of up to $600 to more than 3,500 Muskegon County residents.

But unless the residents file for the checks by Oct. 15, the money -- over $1 million -- will stay in Uncle Sam's wallet.

So on Sept. 27, a group of Muskegon-area organizations will help residents fill out paperwork to get their stimulus checks. The help is being provided from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Goodwill Workforce Development Center, 950 W. Norton, Norton Shores.

The event is free and open to everyone.

'Sometimes people simply don't have the knowledge they can do it or still have the opportunity to do it,' said Martha Bottomley, executive director of Volunteer Muskegon. 'We're simply trying to get the word out that there's more money available to those out there in Muskegon County.'

The $168 billion nationwide relief effort was signed into law by President Bush in February with the goal of providing cash-strapped residents a boost in spite of high gas prices and a slumping economy.

The stimulus checks 'were designed to help people and our economy out,' Bottomley said. 'The more money people spend, the better it is for our economy.'

While some of the unclaimed checks may belong to workers who didn't file tax returns, many likely belong to residents who receive Social Security or veterans benefits but aren't required to file taxes because they don't earn enough, said Cathy Guenthardt, of Volunteer Muskegon.

'A lot of people are intimidated by income tax forms,' Guenthardt said. 'But the money can help a lot. It can pay for car insurance or a gas bill.'

Anyone with income of $3,000 or above qualifies for the checks. Parents who have children under age 17 also qualify for an additional $300 per child.

Aside from the fact that some of these bozos in the article have long since inculcated (by the government "public" schools, no less) with the belief that government can somehow "stimulate" the economy, as if the economy were a living and breathing entity. That is hardly the case at all. The state can only take money from those who produce to those who don't, even if it is allegedly meant for the "good" of society. The government can only tax and regulate jobs out of existence and overspend our money while wasting it at our expense. It cannot "create" jobs out of thin air, nor can it pump the economy with a "stimulus package" considering the money is already in the economy. It means that wealth in every area of the economy is already being moved around to send out the checks.

This brings to mind the "broken window fallacy" -- the view that one only sees what the money is being spent on but doesn't see what the money could have been spent on. As Sheldon Richman recently pointed out on the Independent Thinking show with John Caldara, "You cannot consume your way into prosperity." Higher spending, as Sheldon also pointed out, is the result of consumption, not the cause of it. The way that the economy can be truly stimulated is a slashing or repeal of taxes, regulations, and spending and laws dictating who will be paid and how much they will spend, along with many governmental edicts and barriers that have wreaked havoc on the marketplace and the economy. Consuming your way into prosperity is a Keynesian fallacy. True economic growth is from savings and investment, not an injection of cash into the economy by the Democrats and Republicans.

This is done merely for political stimulus, not economic stimulus. This means that the statists in power want it to look as if they are doing something to "help" the economy, not allow bipartisanship to stand in the way of responding to this grave emergency. Thus, economic stimuluses can never work.

Anyone who thinks otherwise is guilty of economic ignorance and self-delusion.

Ron Paul Predicted Russia/Georgia Conflict in 2002

Ron Paul, who appeared on NOW with Bill Moyers, predicted the Russia/Georgia mess and the U.S. government's involvement with both of their governments in 2002.

If only Congress, Bush, and the American people heeded Paul's warning then...

Olympic Pride or Nationalist Pride?

I may have had enough of athletes wrapping themselves in flags and eagerly waiting to sing the state song. It is one thing to be proud of one's accomplishment, but it's totally different to believe that you are "representing" a country (I can say with confidence that no one is representing me in Beijing or in Albany or in D.C. for that matter).

Sadly, the Olympic games showcase not just amazing athletic achievements but also political relevance. Most media will keep track of who (by country!) has obtained the highest number of medals and declare winners in such a way. This "us vs. them" emphasizes the notion of the nation-state and its aggressive and arbitrarily established borders.

I don't know how much different things would be in a free world, but I bet we'd see a lot less flag wrapping. And the ceremonies might not even feature national anthems.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

McCain's Totalitarian Response to 9/11

McCain's totalitarian response to 9/11 should worry a lot of Americans, including conservatives, who are leaning towards either supporting Barack Obama, a third party candidate, or even not bothering to vote in this election at all this upcoming November. Today the New York Times published an outline of McCain's own hawkish plan, which is touted as a "response to 9/11" and furnishing a thorough overview of the Senator's evolution from his support to go after Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda to maintain troop levels and the U.S. federal government's presence in Iraq.

Here's the entire piece in its entirety:

August 17, 2008
The Long Run
Response to 9/11 Offers Outline of a McCain Doctrine

WASHINGTON — Senator John McCain arrived late at his Senate office on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, just after the first plane hit the World Trade Center. 'This is war,' he murmured to his aides. The sound of scrambling fighter planes rattled the windows, sending a tremor of panic through the room.

Within hours, Mr. McCain, the Vietnam War hero and famed straight talker of the 2000 Republican primary, had taken on a new role: the leading advocate of taking the American retaliation against Al Qaeda far beyond Afghanistan. In a marathon of television and radio appearances, Mr. McCain recited a short list of other countries said to support terrorism, invariably including Iraq, Iran and Syria.

'There is a system out there or network, and that network is going to have to be attacked,' Mr. McCain said the next morning on ABC News. 'It isn’t just Afghanistan,' he added, on MSNBC. 'I don’t think if you got bin Laden tomorrow that the threat has disappeared,' he said on CBS, pointing toward other countries in the Middle East.

Within a month he made clear his priority. 'Very obviously Iraq is the first country,' he declared on CNN. By Jan. 2, Mr. McCain was on the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt in the Arabian Sea, yelling to a crowd of sailors and airmen: 'Next up, Baghdad!'

Now, as Mr. McCain prepares to accept the Republican presidential nomination, his response to the attacks of Sept. 11 opens a window onto how he might approach the gravest responsibilities of a potential commander in chief. Like many, he immediately recalibrated his assessment of the unseen risks to America’s security. But he also began to suggest that he saw a new 'opportunity' to deter other potential foes by punishing not only Al Qaeda but also Iraq.

'Just as Sept. 11 revolutionized our resolve to defeat our enemies, so has it brought into focus the opportunities we now have to secure and expand our freedom,' Mr. McCain told a NATO conference in Munich in early 2002, urging the Europeans to join what he portrayed as an all but certain assault on Saddam Hussein. 'A better world is already emerging from the rubble.'

To his admirers, Mr. McCain’s tough response to Sept. 11 is at the heart of his appeal. They argue that he displayed the same decisiveness again last week in his swift calls to penalize Russia for its incursion into Georgia, in part by sending peacekeepers to police its border.

His critics charge that the emotion of Sept. 11 overwhelmed his former cool-eyed caution about deploying American troops without a clear national interest and a well-defined exit, turning him into a tool of the Bush administration in its push for a war to transform the region.

'He has the personality of a fighter pilot: when somebody stings you, you want to strike out,' said retired Gen. John H. Johns, a former friend and supporter of Mr. McCain who turned against him over the Iraq war. 'Just like the American people, his reaction was: show me somebody to hit.'

Whether through ideology or instinct, though, Mr. McCain began making his case for invading Iraq to the public more than six months before the White House began to do the same. He drew on principles he learned growing up in a military family and on conclusions he formed as a prisoner in North Vietnam. He also returned to a conviction about 'the common identity' of dangerous autocracies as far-flung as Serbia and North Korea that he had developed consulting with hawkish foreign policy thinkers to help sharpen the themes of his 2000 presidential campaign.

While pushing to take on Saddam Hussein, Mr. McCain also made arguments and statements that he may no longer wish to recall. He lauded the war planners he would later criticize, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney. (Mr. McCain even volunteered that he would have given the same job to Mr. Cheney.) He urged support for the later-discredited Iraqi exile Ahmad Chalabi’s opposition group, the Iraqi National Congress, and echoed some of its suspect accusations in the national media. And he advanced misleading assertions not only about Mr. Hussein’s supposed weapons programs but also about his possible ties to international terrorists, Al Qaeda and the Sept. 11 attacks.

Five years after the invasion of Iraq, Mr. McCain’s supporters note that he became an early critic of the administration’s execution of the occupation, and they credit him with pushing the troop 'surge' that helped bring stability. Mr. McCain, though, stands by his support for the war and expresses no regrets about his advocacy.

In written answers to questions, he blamed 'Iraq’s opacity under Saddam' for any misleading remarks he made about the peril it posed.

The Sept. 11 attacks 'demonstrated the grave threat posed by a hostile regime, possessing weapons of mass destruction, and with reported ties to terrorists,' Mr. McCain wrote in an e-mail message on Friday. Given Mr. Hussein’s history of pursuing illegal weapons and his avowed hostility to the United States, 'his regime posed a threat we had to take seriously.' The attacks were still a reminder, Mr. McCain added, of the importance of international action 'to prevent outlaw states — like Iran today — from developing weapons of mass destruction.'

Formative Years

Mr. McCain has been debating questions about the use of military force far longer than most. He grew up in a family that had sent a son to every American war since 1776, and international relations were a staple of the McCain family dinner table. Mr. McCain grew up listening to his father, Adm. John S. McCain Jr., deliver lectures on 'The Four Ocean Navy and the Soviet Threat,' closing with a slide of an image he considered the ultimate factor in the balance of power: a soldier marching through a rice paddy with a rifle at his shoulder.

'To quote Sherman, war is all hell and we need to fight it out and get it over with and that is when the killing stops,' recalled Joe McCain, Senator McCain’s younger brother.

Vietnam, for Senator McCain, reinforced those lessons. He has often said he blamed the Johnson administration’s pause in bombing for prolonging the war, and he credited President Richard M. Nixon’s renewed attacks with securing his release from a North Vietnamese prison. He has made the principle that the exercise of military power sets the bargaining table for international relations a consistent theme of his career ever since, and in his 2002 memoir he wrote that one of his lifelong convictions was 'the imperative that American power never retreat in response to an inferior adversary’s provocation.'

But Mr. McCain also took away from Vietnam a second, restraining lesson: the necessity for broad domestic support for any military action. For years he opposed a string of interventions — in Lebanon, Haiti, Somalia, and, for a time, the Balkans — on the grounds that the public would balk at the loss of life without clear national interests. 'The Vietnam thing,' he recently said.

In the late 1990s, however, while he was beginning to consider his 2000 presidential race, he started rebalancing his view of the needs to project American strength and to sustain public support. The 1995 massacre of 5,000 unarmed Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica under NATO’s watch struck at his conscience, he has said, and in addition to America’s strategic national interests — in that case, the future and credibility of NATO — Mr. McCain began to speak more expansively about America’s moral obligations as the only remaining superpower.

His aides say he later described the American air strikes in Bosnia in 1996 and in Kosovo in 1999 as a parable of political leadership: Mr. McCain, Senator Bob Dole and others had rallied Congressional support for the strikes despite widespread public opposition, then watched approval soar after the intervention helped to bring peace.

'Americans elect their leaders to make these kinds of judgments,' Mr. McCain said in the e-mail message.

It was during the Balkan wars that Mr. McCain and his advisers read a 1997 article on the Wall Street Journal editorial page by William Kristol and David Brooks of The Weekly Standard — both now Op-Ed page columnists at The New York Times — promoting the idea of 'national greatness' conservatism, defined by a more activist agenda at home and a more muscular role in the world.

'I wouldn’t call it a "eureka" moment, but there was a sense that this is where we are headed and this is what we are trying to articulate and they have already done a lot of the work,' said John Weaver, a former McCain political adviser. 'And, quite frankly, from a crass political point of view, we were in the making-friends business. The Weekly Standard represented a part of the primary electorate that we could get.'

Soon Mr. McCain and his aides were consulting regularly with the circle of hawkish foreign policy thinkers sometimes referred to as neoconservatives — including Mr. Kristol, Robert Kagan and Randy Scheunemann, a former aide to Mr. Dole who became a McCain campaign adviser — to develop the senator’s foreign policy ideas and instincts into the broad themes of a presidential campaign. (In his e-mail message, Mr. McCain noted that he had also consulted with friends like Henry A. Kissinger, known for a narrower view of American interests.)

One result was a series of speeches in which Mr. McCain called for 'rogue state rollback.' He argued that disparate regional troublemakers, including Iraq, North Korea and Serbia, bore a common stamp: they were all autocracies. And as such, he contended, they were more likely to export terrorism, spread dangerous weapons, or start ethnic conflicts. In an early outline of what would become his initial response to the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. McCain argued that 'swift and sure' retribution against any one of the rogue states was an essential deterrent to any of the others. But Mr. McCain’s advisers and aides say his 'rogue state' speeches stopped short of the most sweeping international agenda put forth by Mr. Kristol, Mr. Kagan and their allies. Mr. McCain explicitly disavowed direct military action merely to advance American values, foreswearing any 'global crusade' of interventions in favor of relying on covert and financial support for internal opposition groups.

As an example, he could point to his 1998 sponsorship of the Iraqi Liberation Act, which sought to direct nearly $100 million to Iraqis who hoped to overthrow Saddam Hussein. The bill, signed by President Bill Clinton, also endorsed the ouster of Mr. Hussein.

Mr. McCain said then that he doubted the United States could muster the political will to use ground troops to remove the Iraqi dictator any time soon. 'It was much easier when Saddam Hussein was occupying Kuwait and threatening Saudi Arabia,' the senator told Fox News in November 1998. 'We’d have to convince the American people that it’s worth again the sacrifice of American lives, because that would also be part of the price.'

Hard Calls

Mr. McCain spent the afternoon of Sept. 11 in a young aide’s studio apartment near the Capitol. There was no cable television, nothing but water in the kitchen, and the hallway reminded him of an old boxing gym. Evacuated from his office but stranded by traffic, he could not resist imagining himself at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. 'There are not enough Secret Service agents in the world to keep me away from Washington and New York at a time like this,' Mr. McCain told an adviser.

Over the next days and weeks, however, Mr. McCain became almost as visible as he would have been as president. Broadcasters rushed to him as a patriotic icon and reassuring voice, and for weeks he was ubiquitous on the morning news programs, Sunday talk shows, cable news networks, and even late-night comedy shows.

In the spotlight, he pushed rogue state rollback one step further, arguing that the United States should go on the offensive as a warning to any other country that might condone such an attack. 'These networks are well-embedded in some of these countries,' Mr. McCain said on Sept. 12, listing Iraq, Iran and Syria as potential targets of United States pressure. 'We’re going to have to prove to them that we are very serious, and the price that they will pay will not only be for punishment but also deterrence.'

Although he had campaigned for President Bush during the 2000 general election, he was still largely frozen out of the White House because of animosities left over from the Republican primary. But after Mr. Bush declared he would hold responsible any country condoning terrorism, Mr. McCain called his leadership 'magnificent' and his national security team the strongest “that has ever been assembled.' A few weeks later, Larry King of CNN asked whether he would have named Mr. Rumsfeld and Colin L. Powell to a McCain cabinet. 'Oh, yes, and Cheney,' Mr. McCain answered, saying he, too, would have offered Mr. Cheney the vice presidency.

Even during the heat of the war in Afghanistan, Mr. McCain kept an eye on Iraq. To Jay Leno in mid-September, Mr. McCain said he believed 'some other countries' had assisted Osama bin Laden, going on to suggest Iraq, Syria and Iran as potential suspects. In October 2001, when an Op-Ed page column in The New York Times speculated that Iraq, Russia or some other country might bear responsibility for that month’s anthrax mailings, Mr. McCain interrupted a question about Afghanistan from David Letterman on that night’s 'Late Show.' 'The second phase is Iraq,' Mr. McCain said, adding, 'Some of this anthrax may — and I emphasize may — have come from Iraq.' (The Federal Bureau of Investigation says it came from a federal government laboratory in Maryland.) By October, United States and foreign intelligence agencies had said publicly that they doubted any cooperation between Mr. Hussein and Al Qaeda, noting Al Qaeda’s opposition to such secular nationalists. American intelligence officials soon declared that Mr. Hussein had not supported international terrorism for nearly a decade.

But when the Czech government said that before the attacks, one of the 9/11 hijackers had met in Prague with an Iraqi intelligence official, Mr. McCain seized the report as something close to a smoking gun. 'The evidence is very clear,' he said three days later, in an Oct. 29 television interview. (Intelligence agencies quickly cast doubt on the meeting.)

Frustrated by the dearth of American intelligence about Iraq, Mr. McCain’s aides say, he had long sought to learn as much as he could from Iraqi opposition figures in exile, including Mr. Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress. Over the years, Mr. McCain often urged support for the group, saying it had 'significant support, in my view, inside Iraq.'

After Sept. 11, Mr. Chalabi’s group said an Iraqi emissary had once met with Osama bin Laden, and brought forward two Iraqi defectors who described terrorist training camps and biological weapons efforts. At times, Mr. McCain seemed to echo their accusations, citing the 'two defectors' in a television interview and attesting to 'credible reports of involvement between Iraqi administration officials, Iraqi officials and the terrorists.'

Growing Impatient

But United States intelligence officials had doubts about Mr. Chalabi at the time and have since discredited his group. In 2006, Mr. McCain acknowledged to The New Republic that he had been 'too enamored with the I.N.C.' In his e-mail message, though, he said he never relied on the group for information about Iraq’s weapons program.

At a European security conference in February 2002, when the Bush administration still publicly maintained that it had made no decision about moving against Iraq, Mr. McCain described an invasion as all but certain. 'A terrorist resides in Baghdad,' he said, adding, 'A day of reckoning is approaching.'

Regime change in Iraq in addition to Afghanistan, he argued, would compel other sponsors of terrorism to mend their ways, 'accomplishing by example what we would otherwise have to pursue through force of arms.'

Finally, as American troops massed in the Persian Gulf in early 2003, Mr. McCain grew impatient, his aides say, concerned that the White House was failing to act as the hot desert summer neared. Waiting, he warned in a speech in Washington, risked squandering the public and international support aroused by Sept. 11. 'Does anyone really believe that the world’s will to contain Saddam won’t eventually collapse as utterly as it did in the 1990s?' Mr. McCain asked.

In retrospect, some of Mr. McCain’s critics now accuse him of looking for a pretext to justify the war. 'McCain was hell-bent for leather: "Saddam Hussein is a bad guy, we have got to teach him, let’s send a message to the other people in the Middle East," ' said Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts.

But Mr. McCain, in his e-mail message, said the reason he had supported the war was the evolving threat from Mr. Hussein.

'I believe voters elect their leaders based on their experience and judgment — their ability to make hard calls, for instance, on matters of war and peace,' he wrote. 'It’s important to get them right.'

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Equal Time on the Airwaves Again?

American statists never cease to amaze me with their pervasive blind faith in and blind obedience to goverment as well as their blind ignorance to the true meaning of human liberty and economics. According to the latest Rasmussen Reports poll, nearly half of all Americans want the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine on television and terrestrial talk radio, although they are against it being applied to the Internet -- specifically, political blogs, websites, and online talk radio shows as well.

Here's the article in its entirety:

47% Favor Government Mandated Political Balance on Radio, TV
Thursday, August 14, 2008

Nearly half of Americans (47%) believe the government should require all radio and television stations to offer equal amounts of conservative and liberal political commentary, but they draw the line at imposing that same requirement on the Internet. Thirty-nine percent (39%) say leave radio and TV alone, too.

At the same time, 71% say it is already possible for just about any political view to be heard in today’s media, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Twenty percent (20%) do not agree.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) say the government should not require websites and blog sites that offer political commentary to present opposing viewpoints. But 31% believe the Internet sites should be forced to balance their commentary (full demographic crosstabs available for Premium Members.)

Please sign up for the Rasmussen Reports daily e-mail update (it’s free)… let us keep you up to date with the latest public opinion news.

In a July 2007 Rasmussen Reports survey, Americans were evenly divided on whether or not the government should require political balance on TV and radio stations. A survey this week has shown that voters consider media bias a bigger problem than large campaign contributions.

Conservatives have expressed alarm in recent months over congressional Democratic efforts to restore the so-called Fairness Doctrine which would mandate politically balanced commentary on the airwaves.

Just this week Robert McDowell, a Bush appointee to the Federal Communications Commission, suggested that the restoration of the Fairness Doctrine, abolished in 1987 by the Reagan administration, could lead to government regulation of content on the Internet.

Democrats are more supportive of government involvement in the airwaves than Republicans and unaffiliated voters. Fifty-four percent (54%) of Democrats favor it, and only 26% are opposed. Republicans and unaffiliated voters are fairly evenly divided.

Even Democrats say hands-off the Internet though but by a far smaller margin than Republicans and unaffiliated voters. Democrats oppose government-mandated balance on the Internet by a 48% to 37% margin. Sixty-one percent (61%) of Republicans reject government involvement in Internet content along with 67% of unaffiliated voters.

Only 45% of Americans say they are following recent news stories about the Fairness Doctrine even somewhat closely, while 15% say they are not following the story at all.

Democrats have been pushing the Fairness Doctrine in part because of the long-standing complaint by liberals that conservatives dominate talk radio. Conservatives counter that their political foes are just trying to use the government to push liberal talk radio even though it has been rejected by the marketplace.

In the new survey, 42% say there are more conservative radio talk shows because they get better ratings, but 28% believe it is because stations owners are biased. Seventeen percent (17%) attribute it to an unspecified other reason, and 13% are unsure.

Most Republicans (61%) believe conservative talk radio has flourished because of the ratings, with only 11% saying it is due to bias. Democrats, on the other hand, see bias as the reason over ratings by a 42% to 28% margin. Among unaffiliateds, 42% say ratings and 27% say bias.

Voters in all categories agree by sizable margins that it is possible for just about any political view to be heard in today’s media.

With the Congress expected to stay firmly under Democratic control, the responses of those who plan to vote for the party’s presidential candidate Barack Obama versus his Republican opponent John McCain suggest what direction the Fairness Doctrine debate is likely to take in the coming year. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of likely Obama voters believe the government should make all radio and TV stations offer equal amounts of conservative and liberal commentary, as opposed to 40% of potential McCain voters who feel that way. But 63% of McCain voters and 53% of Obama voters reject similar regulation of web sites and bloggers.

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll shows that the race between Obama and McCain remains close and stable.

See survey questions and toplines. Crosstabs are available for Premium Members only.

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.

The Rasmussen Reports ElectionEdge™ Premium Service for Election 2008 offers the most comprehensive public opinion coverage ever provided for a Presidential election.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.

I'm opposed to this entire nonsense, considering that the statists who are pushing their utopian view of a "fair and balanced" (Oops, that's Fox News' copyrighted term now) viewpoint by the restoration of this vile regulation.

Considering Let Liberty Ring is a ideologically pure libertarian blog but allows libertarian bloggers of all stripes to post on here, what makes Americans think that the Fairness Doctrine wouldn't also apply to the Internet? The doctrine would require me by law to allow "liberal" and "conservative" viewpoints on the site, in order to provide that "balanced" viewpoint for my blog readers. But that means this blog would no longer be called Let Liberty Ring. It would instead be called Let Statist Bloggers Ring or some ridiculous title for this blog.

Moreover, perhaps the members of the "Left" have forgotten that they have their Huffington Post blog, which provides extensive "liberal" viewpoints on the Net. Don't forget MSNBC and CNN, as those are "liberal" networks espousing "liberal" views. Of course, you have the failed Air America network, which has been an enormous failure, but it's no secret that they have "liberal" talk radio show hosts who espouse "liberal" beliefs on the air. The reason that AA failed is that, since "leftists" don't believe in the free market but rather government control and ownership of the radio shows, they believe their talk shows should be subsidized by the government, a la PBS but in a talk radio format.

Not only that, it's not as if they haven't been able to provide their points of view on television, on talk radio, and on the blogs. Radio shows, TV talk shows, and blogs voluntarily provide a balanced view of the ideas on those shows anyway, especially when libertarian ideas seep into the discussions. There are plenty of mediums that offer that (like NowLive and Blog Talk Radio). How many Internet and terrestrial talk radio shows, TV talk shows, and blogs provide opinions that are "liberal" and "conservative" on a daily basis? There are lots of them in the online alternative media. To say that's not the case makes you quite either disingenuous or clueless.

And the "leftists" and their Democratic sycophants believe in free speech? Right. And I'm Ghenghis Khan reincarnated.

No, Democrats and the "Left" in that party are hardly ever champions of free speech. They believe in politically-correct free speech, not the First Amendment. Besides, they support the Fairness Doctrine to squelch those individual rights to express their point of view while the "liberal" point of view must take precedence over libertarian or even conservative views.

Not that conservatives are champions of free speech either, especially on talk radio, television, and in print. This is because they love to push for morality down every American's throat by flexing their politically-charged authoritarian muscles.

What gets lost in this discussion is the issue over private property rights. The doctrine, if imposed, would violate the private property rights of the network hosts who own those shows and the publisher of the blogs who provide their sites to readers at now charge. If this law gets passed, those sites would probably find that their costs are going up and have to charge their readers and users all because of the "need" for "liberal" and "conservative" viewpoints, which are just basically rhetoric anyhow. Can any progressive who sometimes go by the label "leftist" please tell me how this is "fair"? What makes this measure "fair" for the listeners and readers of these mediums? What about what the listeners want? Why should it *only* be what the callers and the guests want?

It's too bad that about half of our populace advocates this. Thanks to the government schools and the government-coddled and government-regulated media, it's not a surprise that this has become the rule rather than the exception.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Resurgence of National Slavery

The recent call for national slavery, under the guise of "national service" by Barack Obama, Time Magazine and its editor Rick Stengel, the Target Corporation, Home Depot, and many businesses, organizations, celebrities (like Glenn Close and Kal Penn), the U.S. Military Industrial Complex, and various former Republican and Democratic politicians, is making quite a comeback. It also happens to be putrid and repugnant. It's even endemic of the ever-growing state and its tentacles in every aspect of our affairs.

Sadly enough, a lobbying apparatus calling itself Service Nation is pushing the call to further levels. How so? It will attempt to do this by simply advancing legislation that would do the following:

To require all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, to authorize the induction of persons in the uniformed services during wartime to meet end-strength requirements of the uniformed services, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make permanent the favorable treatment afforded combat pay under the earned income tax credit, and for other purposes.

Here's an item in the bill that should grab someone's attention:

(3) The term `national service' means military service or service in a civilian capacity that, as determined by the President, promotes the national defense, including national or community service and service related to homeland security.

That's not all, as there is more that should concern anyone who opposes national slavery:

(a) Obligation for Service- It is the obligation of every citizen of the United States, and every other person residing in the United States, who is between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform a period of national service as prescribed in this title unless exempted under the provisions of this title.

(b) Forms of National Service- The national service obligation under this title shall be performed either--

(1) as a member of an active or reserve component of the uniformed services; or

(2) in a civilian capacity that, as determined by the President, promotes the national defense, including national or community service and service related to homeland security.

(c) Age Limits- A person may be inducted under this title only if the person has attained the age of 18 and has not attained the age of 42.

What's interesting about this bill is that it requires one to carry out his "service" to the nation for two years. In case anyone doesn't want to believe me, here's the provision in the bill which states exactly that:

(a) General Rule- Except as otherwise provided in this section, the period of national service performed by a person under this title shall be two years.

And here's an interesting loophole in the legislation that one may not have noticed:

(a) High School Students- A person who is pursuing a standard course of study, on a full-time basis, in a secondary school or similar institution of learning shall be entitled to have induction under this title postponed until the person--

(1) obtains a high school diploma;

(2) ceases to pursue satisfactorily such course of study; or

(3) attains the age of 20.

(b) Hardship and Disability- Deferments from national service under this title may be made for--

(1) extreme hardship; or

(2) physical or mental disability.

(c) Training Capacity- The President may postpone or suspend the induction of persons for military service under this title as necessary to limit the number of persons receiving basic military training and education to the maximum number that can be adequately trained.

(d) Termination- No deferment or postponement of induction under this title shall continue after the cause of such deferment or postponement ceases.

But there's a very big concern here as well. This national service nonsense doesn't just apply to men; women are also its target as well.

Case in point:

(a) Registration Required- Section 3(a) of the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. 453(a)) is amended--

(1) by striking `male' both places it appears;

(2) by inserting `or herself' after `himself'; and

(3) by striking `he' and inserting `the person'.

(b) Conforming Amendment- Section 16(a) of the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. App. 466(a)) is amended by striking `men' and inserting `persons'.

This plan would coerce citizens during wartime to either become efficient killers in the Armed Forces during wartime or sheeple-like government employees under the phony umbrella of volunteerism (which is more like state-approved, state-sanctioned involuntary servitude). It effectively forces the citizen to be an indentured servant of the state. Slavery is rather an understatement here. Yet, the advocates of this plan conflate slavery with "volunteerism" and "voluntary action."

Moreover, these conscripts make poor and lazy volunteers. There is no interest in doing the work, let alone "helping" the people whom the state wants them to assist. There is an inherent sentiment in conscripts that they should not sacrifice their lives to serve the state and carry out its interests, especially when these slaves lack the will to serve their fellow man at gunpoint and when they are the property of the statists to dispose of when they are surely expendable and can be done away with. What makes Congressman Charlie Rangel and his vile and diabolical agents of the state think that they can regiment an entire society that can and will be obedient to the state and to advance its interests on a whim?

Fortunately, a Target employee named Jermaine Justice opposes this socialist war propaganda. Hopefully his speaking out against this malarkey can do some good, especially maybe convincing Americans that Barack, the Democrats, and the Republicans who support the institution of national slavery are evil, anti-American, and anti-freedom. Besides, if these goons really like the idea of national slavery, why don't they sign up for the war and help out their fellow man themselves? Why won't Barack, Stengel, and their sycophants send their families out to do such a service if such a thing is warranted, just, and moral? What are they afraid of?

By the way, this "voluntary" national service program is very disingenuous and false. Citizens who support the idea of this program will be coerced into "choosing" which bureaucracy they can report to, not to decide whether or not they should support it voluntarily if it were the province of the free marketplace. Besides, such a program requires taxes to fund it. Hence, how is this program "voluntary" if taxation will be employed to force Americans to pay for it, whether they like it or not?

Sadly, too many Americans do support the idea of slavery in this country. This is contrary to the ideals and principles of a libertarian society under which the people of the county once labored. This is no longer a country that is free, because a truly free society requires a voluntary commitment to free enterprise, personal responsibility, and complete individual liberty. America, as it stands today, is now far from that.

Friday, August 1, 2008

To Secure These Rights?

The state fails to do even the things that its supporters claim it should do: the protection of our rights. Take a look at this story or this one or this one --these abominations represent the complete collapse of the concepts of "justice" and "defense" and "protection." In true Orwellian fashion, justice now means plunder, defense means offense and protection means aggression.

It seems to me that the classical libertarians (such as minarchists and constitutionalists) have made a terrible mistake. They have taken the most important of institutions, namely the protection of our rights, and given them to the monopolist. I believe that, if it were possible, it would be preferable to have the government take care of things like entertainment and toilets instead of the "slightly" more important functions of defense and law.

Ultimately, the state cannot be reformed and the political system can only do so much. Indeed, nothing short of the abolition of statist politics --of the state itself-- is acceptable to the radical libertarian. If the government isn't fit to be my janitor or educator, it is not fit to be my police, my judge, my jury, president, prosecutor or legislator.

Says Thoreau: That government is best which governs not at all; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.

The freedom revolution begins with one's consent. Withdraw it. It's time.