Monday, August 31, 2009

Rand Paul Speaks in Nashville - August 30th

This Sunday, I had the exciting privilege of talking with U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul when he came to speak at a fundraiser in Nashville, Tennessee.

What struck me again as I observed Dr. Paul mingle with guests during the reception at Standard Restaurant, was how charismatic and charming Ron Paul's son is.

While discussing grave matters like the skyrocketing national debt and the assault on our Bill of Rights, Rand let plenty of hilarious zingers and one-liners fly.

He's not only passionate about fighting corruption and waste in Washington, he has a great sense of humor about it!

I find myself wondering if this witty, down-to-earth Kentucky physician is the Reagan that Republicans are so desperate to find.

Here are some video highlights from the event, including a campaign update from RandPaul2010 Treasurer Chris Hightower:

Sunday, August 30, 2009

KentuckyFight Landing Page (Thanks Readers!)

Kentucky Fight

I recently wrote a landing page for visitors from KentuckyFight.com's coalition page, and while I was writing it, I got so amped up about how much I love you all for your support and participation at the Humble Libertarian that I thought I'd share a link to the page in an update.

Check it out here.

We have already done a lot to make a difference for Liberty! With the one year anniversary of the Humble Libertarian just around the corner, writing this landing page was a delightful reminder of how far we've come- and without your help and readership, none of it would be possible.

Thanks so much!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Open Thread Aug. 29, 2009

This is something I've seen other bloggers do and thought I'd try it out here at THL. "Open Thread" means you are free to comment and discuss on whatever you'd like. Want to start a discussion about something? Go for it! Make suggestions for upcoming posts here? Feel welcome to. What's on your mind right now as it relates to politics, news, culture, philosophy, (etc.)? Sound off!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ted Kennedy Dies: Please Show Some Restraint


U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy has reposed at the age of 77 after a long battle with brain cancer. It may be months before his seat is filled.

As blogger Michelle Malkin requests of conservatives: please show some RESTRAINT at this moment. As tempting as it may be, show a little humanity and grace, and please allow the Kennedys and the nation some time to grieve.

Perhaps take a moment to grieve yourself. If Ted Kennedy was not the kind of man you think he should have been, then his passing should be all the more cause for solemnity rather than barely-disguised glee and sarcastic jokes.

As for any Democrats reading this and nodding vehemently at my admonition- please remember not to commit the same impropriety by politicizing Ted Kennedy's death and using it as a weapon to ram your health care reform through Congress.

Can we all just make a truce and not politicize this (while criticizing the "other side" for politicizing it in their way)?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

President Obama Nominates Ben Bernanke To Second Term: Videos of Bernanke Testifying

The news broke late Monday night that President Obama would be holding a press conference today and announce his nomination of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to another four-year term.

The story broke on the same day that hundreds of grassroots activists sent letters to Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi demanding an audit of the monetary activities of the Federal Reserve Bank.

The following is a list of ten videos of Fed Chairman Bernanke testifying (and getting grilled) to various members of Congress about the activities of the Fed.

He visibly squirms at and evades some of the tough questions about the Fed's secretive policies, outrageous loans, and severe devaluation of the U.S. Dollar. One Congressman (Grayson - D) even laughs out loud at Bernanke's feeble answers.

The very last video is a compilation of Bernanke's false predictions about the U.S. economy, which call into question the credibility of his recent statements that he expects an economic recovery by year's end.

Enjoy!

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I)


Rep. Dan Burton (R)


Rep. Bill Posey (R)


Rep. M. Bachmann (R)


Rep. Jim Jordan (R)
Rep. Alan Grayson (D)


Rep. Scott Garrett (R)


Rep. Ed Royce (R)


Rep. Ron Paul (R)


"Ben Bernanke Was Wrong"




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Monday, August 24, 2009

Missile Defense Cuts: Striking the Balance Between National Security & Fiscal Responsibility


By: Ryan Jaroncyk, THL Contributor

According to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, our nation's missile defense budget is being slashed by 16%. Of particular concern is the fact that our ground-based program is being cut by an even more substantial 35%.

Todd Harrison, analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, stated: "no replacement or replenishment program could result in too few missiles to provide a basic level of protection, especially as these missiles are depleted over time from regular test launches."

These steep cuts, particularly in the anti-ballistic missile program on U.S. soil, put the delicate balance between fiscal responsibility and national security concerns in the cross-hairs. Here are some potential solutions:

1. Increase funding for national missile defense, but cut back on overseas missile defense systems. Wealthy nations such as Japan and South Korea possess ample financial resources and technological expertise to provide their own missile defense. We should focus on upgrading and expanding our own technology- off our coasts and on our soil.

2. Reduce the size of our overseas military presence. With troops and other military-related personnel in approximately 130 countries, we're spending over $500 billion a year. Instead of policing the globe, perhaps we could station our troops in only the most strategic locations, saving us billions to spend on national missile defense and pay down trillions of dollars in debt.

3. Cut back on foreign aid. Instead of giving billions to dictatorial regimes around the world, why not utilize a portion of this savings to ramp up national missile defense?

4. Base missile defense funding on test performance. Those systems that perform consistently and successfully should receive further funding. Those that do not should be axed.

5. Make national missile defense a high priority in a balanced budget. One of the Federal government's most explicit, enumerated powers in the Constitution is to defend America. Spending trillions of dollars to bail out corrupt, inefficient, wasteful, and poorly managed Wall Street firms is not.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of solutions, but it can serve as a launching point for further discussion. How can America successfully defend itself from legitimate, existential threats without breaking the bank? What are some of your ideas?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Change We Can Believe In: Obama Raises 10 Year Deficit Projection to $9 trillion

Anti-Obama T-shirts from The Humble Libertarian: Click here to get yours.

Matt Drudge set the conservative/libertarian blogosphere on fire over the weekend with his link to a Reuters article entitled: "Obama to raise 10-year deficit to $9 trillion," after which I started seeing this graphic everywhere and was inspired to make a t-shirt.

Reason Magazine's blog, Hit & Run, had it right in June when contributor, Nick Gillespie wrote that President Obama says he's concerned about the deficit, and is willing to "do anything" but cut spending to stop it.

If "change" means everything that was bad about the Bush Administration only worse this time, then the Obama Administration has certainly delivered on its promise to bring "change" to Washington.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Horror of War: Kseniya Simonova's Sand Animation on Ukraine's Got Talent

This moving video caught my eye over at one of my favorite libertarian blogs, Samizdata.

Without the same linguistic and cultural vantage point of the audience, I am yet deeply moved by the quality of the artistry and the poignant depiction of the horrors of war and statism:

Friday, August 21, 2009

Peter Schiff and Rand Paul: will all the money translate into votes?


By: Ryan Jaroncyk, THL Contributor

Thus far, Peter Schiff's exploratory committee and Dr. Paul's official campaign have raised over $1.5 million. Pretty impressive numbers this early in the game.

On the money bomb front, Peter Schiff raised over $350,000 in a single day on August 7th, and he hasn't even officially announced his candidacy.

Yesterday, Rand Paul raised over $400,000 in his August 20th money bomb. Make no mistake, these guys are going to rake in the cash for their U.S. Senate campaigns. The question is, will all this money turn into actual votes?

We've seen it before. Dr. Ron Paul raised a gargantuan $34 million for his failed presidential bid, setting two one-day Internet fundraising records, but he never won a single primary or caucus, and he averaged less than 10% of the vote. Could we be looking at a similar outcome for Peter Schiff and Rand Paul? Let's hope not.

It would be very interesting to see the number and amount of local donations to Rand and Peter thus far. What percent of the total donations are originating from their own states? Although it is extremely early in the 2010 electoral process, this could serve as a more authentic indicator of their future prospects.

As far as preliminary polling results, Rand Paul surprised many, trailing the establishment candidate by only 11%, a shocking feat for a first time political candidate against Kentucky's Secretary of State, Trey Grayson. But will the fresh infusion of cash slowly begin to close the gap, or will the gap widen as the establishment candidate begins a massive, statewide tour? And let's not forget, Grayson has raised as much, if not more, than Rand thus far.

On Peter Schiff's front, a recent poll showed him close to Chris Dodd, which excited many, but as everyone knows, Chris Dodd is extremely vulnerable to any challenger at this point. More importantly, Schiff is barely registering when matched up against three Republican challengers. To be fair, it is still very early, and Schiff hasn't even officially announced. When he does, it will be interesting to see if he begins to make his presence felt when stacked against his fellow, Republican challengers.

As we learned from Dr. Ron Paul's historic campaign, money isn't everything. Rand and Peter will need to generate local interest, local enthusiasm, and local name recognition in order to upset the political establishment. They will need to move beyond merely "preaching to the choir" and present a positive, concrete vision that can first convert a number of rank and file Republicans, then a substantial portion of Independents and a certain percentage of Democrats.

In other words, don't get too comfortable- we have a lot of work ahead of us!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ron Paul! Here's A Rand Paul Money Bomb For You!


Happy Birthday, Ron Paul!


Congressman Ron Paul has been a true champion of Liberty, the Constitution, and Rule-of-Law on Capitol Hill, and today is his birthday. Happy Birthday, Congressman Paul!

In ten terms as a U.S. Congressman, he has never voted to raise taxes, never voted for an unbalanced budget, never voted to raise congressional pay, never taken a government-paid junket, never voted to increase the power of the executive branch, not participated in the lucrative congressional pension program, and repeatedly been named the "Taxpayers' Best Friend" in Congress.


Rand Paul's August 20th Money Bomb

His son, Rand Paul, is running for U.S. Senate representing Kentucky in 2010. Because he shares his father's beliefs in limited government and individual liberty, grassroots patriots all across the country are donating en masse to his campaign website today. Be a part of history and join the August 20th Rand Paul money bomb by donating today!

Here's more information about Rand Paul's U.S. Senate race in Kentucky and why it's so crucial that you take part in this truly historic fundraiser by donating today.


Money Bomb Totals (via RandPaulGraphs.com)

12 pm EDT - $200,000

2 pm EDT - $250,000

4 pm EDT - $290,000

6 pm EDT - $340,000

8 pm EDT - $370,000

Pep Talk For Rand Paul's Money Bomb:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

76 Reasons to Audit the Fed (and END the Fed)


As of this writing, Congressman Ron Paul's Federal Reserve Transparency Act has 282 cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives, including every single House Republican. The Senate version, Senator Bernard Sanders' Federal Reserve Sunshine Act, has 23 cosponsors in the U.S. Senate.

Here is a list of 76 reasons why we should audit and then abolish the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank- one reason for every U.S. Senator that has not yet cosponsored the bill:



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1. The Federal Reserve System constantly inflates the value of our dollar by printing money out of thin air.

2. Graph: The value of a $1 Federal Reserve Note in 1913 dollars (the year the Fed was created).

3. The Fed even recognizes its inflationary activity. The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston says: "When you or I write a check there must be sufficient funds in our account to cover the check, but when the Federal Reserve writes a check there is no bank deposit on which that check is drawn. When the Federal Reserve writes a check, it is creating money."

4. American economist Irving Fisher said: "Thus, our national circulating medium is now at the mercy of loan transactions of banks, which lend, not money, but promises to supply money they do not possess."

5. "Neither paper currency nor deposits have value as commodities, intrinsically, a 'dollar' bill is just a piece of paper. Deposits are merely book entries." - Modern Money Mechanics Workbook, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, 1975

6. If you or I did what the Fed does when it prints money, we would be found guilty of counterfeiting and locked up for a very long time!

7. Inflation steals from hardworking Americans by diminishing the value of the money they earn.

8. This destroys the purchasing power of the American people by causing the price of everything (like groceries and gasoline) to rise.

9. In this way, inflation works as a hidden tax- one of the steepest and worst taxes Americans have to pay.

10. "Inflation has now been institutionalized at a fairly constant 5% per year. This has been determined to be the optimum level for generating the most revenue without causing public alarm. A 5% devaluation applies, not only to the money earned this year, but to all that is left over from previous years. At the end of the first year, a dollar is worth 95 cents. At the end of the second year, the 95 cents is reduced again by 5%, leaving its worth at 90 cents, and so on. By the time a person has worked 20 years, the government will have confiscated 64% of every dollar he saved over those years. By the time he has worked 45 years, the hidden tax will be 90%. The government will take virtually everything a person saves over a lifetime." -American filmmaker and lecturer, G. Edward Griffin

11. "By this means government may secretly and unobserved, confiscate the wealth of the people, and not one man in a million will detect the theft." - John Maynard Keynes

12. Alan Greenspan wrote in one of his more sober moments before rising to Chair the Federal Reserve: "In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation... This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists' tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty in understanding the statists' antagonism toward the gold standard."

13. Inflation hurts the poor and middle class the most because rising costs of living don't affect the lavish life-style of the wealthy nearly as much as they affect struggling middle class Americans; and rising costs can positively break the budget of poor families who are already barely making ends meet.

14. Inflation rewards people who live beyond their means at the expense of people who save because it is easier to pay off today's debts with weaker future dollars.

15. This is why inflation encourages borrowing and debt while discouraging lending and saving.

16. In this way, inflation fuels rampant consumerism while keeping productive capital out of the market.

17. As a result, inflation slows economic growth and the creation of real value.

18. This is what caused the economic contraction that Americans are currently still suffering through.

19. Before the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913, economic contractions were called "Panics" and were usually very short lived. It was after the creation of the Fed, that the United States would sink into multiple, deep, and long-lasting recessions and depressions.

20. American economist Milton Friedman said: "I am myself persuaded, on the basis of extensive study of the historical evidence, that... the severity of each of the contractions - 1920-21, 1929-33, and 1937-38 - is directly attributable to acts of commission and omission by the Reserve authorities and would not have occurred under earlier monetary and banking arrangements."

21. The Federal Reserve System pumps bank reserves full of paper "money" that it prints out of nowhere- as a result, banks over-lend because a bank lends on the basis of its reserves, and with an artificially-growing reserve, a bank will extend an artificially high amount of credit.

22. This is exactly what fueled the over-speculation that would ultimately cause the Great Depression. That's right- the Fed caused the Great Depression.

23. American financier Bernard Baruch said: "Nothing did more to spur the boom in stocks than the decision made by the New York Federal Reserve bank, in the spring of 1927, to cut the rediscount rate. Benjamin Strong, Governor of the bank, was chief advocate of this unwise measure, which was taken largely at the behest of Montagu Norman of the Bank of England....At the time of the Banks action I warned of its consequences....I felt that sooner or later the market had to break."

24. The Great Depression sunk the entire world into a global depression, creating the economic circumstances of desperation and dire poverty that allowed autocrats like Hitler and Mussolini to rise to power and assume to themselves "temporary" emergency powers.

25. Among other reasons, this means that the activities of the Federal Reserve may have been a contributing factor to the rise of National Socialism, Italian Fascism, and World War II.

26. The Fed also caused the over-speculation that happened during the 90s Dot-Com bubble, which crashed and burned when the party was over and very little real value had been created by many of the Dot-Com companies.

27. The Fed also fueled the housing bubble which collapsed in 2008 along with the credit market, pulverizing the U.S. economy and hurting the lives of millions of honest, hardworking Americans.

28. The economic crashes caused by the Federal Reserve are always used as a justification for the government to get bigger, assume more powers, nationalize more industries, spend more money, and control more of our lives.

29. The Fed is quite literally an even bigger Ponzi scheme than the one Bernie Madoff perpetrated.

30. The Fed is not even a part of the U.S. government. It's a secret, private, central bank.

31. You heard that correctly: all of this power is concentrated in the hands of wealthy, private bankers, not the American government.

32. In fact, in Lewis vs United States, June 24, 1982, the 9th Circuit Court ruled that "the [Federal] Reserve Banks are not federal ... but are independent privately owned and locally controlled corporations... without day to day direction from the federal government."

33. As such, the Fed's members and decision-makers are unelected officials who wield immeasurable power over our lives, property, and future.

34. Such power concentrated in the hands of so few is opposed to the democratic values of the United States.

35. American economist Milton Friedman argued: "The power to determine the quantity of money... is too important, too pervasive, to be exercised by a few people, however public-spirited, if there is any feasible alternative. There is no need for such arbitrary power... Any system which gives so much power and so much discretion to a few men, [so] that mistakes - excusable or not - can have such far reaching effects, is a bad system. It is a bad system to believers in freedom just because it gives a few men such power without any effective check by the body politic - this is the key political argument against an independent central bank."

36. As Congressman Louis T. McFadden said when speaking in the U.S. Senate: "The Federal Reserve banks are one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever seen. There is not a man within the sound of my voice who does not know that this nation is run by the International bankers."

37. American Founding Father, James Madison said: "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and it's issuance."

38. "It is well that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning." -Industrialist, Henry Ford

39. "Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce." -U.S. President, James A. Garfield

40. The Federal Reserve System is unconstitutional.

41. American historian, George Bancroft wrote: "Madison, agreeing with the journal of the convention, records that the grant of power to emit bills of credit was refused by a majority of more than four to one. The evidence is perfect; no power to emit paper money was granted to the legislature of the United States."

42. U.S. President, Thomas Jefferson said of chartering the first Bank of the United States (a precursor to the Fed we have today): "To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition. The incorporation of a bank, and the powers assumed by this bill, have not, been delegated to the United States by the Constitution."

43. The Federal Reserve bank is a coercive monopoly, and coercive monopolies are bad.

44. The Federal Reserve has spent even more money than the U.S. Congress in the last year without your vote, without your consent, without your power to stop it, and without any oversight from the American people or even the U.S. Congress.

45. The Fed has never been audited. Not even once. We audit the books of every publicly-traded corporation, but not the biggest and most powerful central bank in the world. Does that make any sense at all?

46. "Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity." -English historian, Lord Acton

47. "Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny." -American author, Robert A. Heinlein

48. U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater said: "Most Americans have no real understanding of the operation of the international money lenders. The accounts of the Federal Reserve System have never been audited. It operates outside of the control of Congress and manipulates the credit of the United States."

49. Think of it this way: the Federal Reserve does with money what Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac did with housing.

50. Actually... the Federal Reserve does with housing, what Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac did with housing.

51. The Fed has perpetrated more abuse on the American people than Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, and Enron combined, while hemorrhaging money like oil spilling out of the Exxon Valdez.

52. In fact the Fed has played a direct role in creating the climate, circumstances, and means that made so much abuse from these other financial companies possible.

53. Woodrow Wilson, who was President at the time of the Federal Reserve's creation, came to deeply regret signing the Federal Reserve Act into law.

54. He said: "I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by it's system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the world-- no longer a government of free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of small groups of dominant men."

55. The Federal Reserve allows the government to overspend by lending it money out of thin air.

56. In fact, as Congressman Wright Patman said: "The Federal Reserve bank buys government bonds without one penny."

57. This fuels and incentivizes the growth of big government to the detriment of small business and civil liberties.

58. "This [Federal Reserve Act] establishes the most gigantic trust on Earth. When the President signs this bill, the invisible government of the monetary power will be legalized....the worst legislative crime of the ages is perpetrated by this banking and currency bill." - U.S. Congressman, Charles A. Lindbergh, Sr.

59. The U.S. existed for over a hundred years without the Fed- the world will not end without it now.

60. The world certainly won't end as a result of auditing it.

61. "Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin. The bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create deposits, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough deposits to buy it back again. However, take it away from them, and all the great fortunes like mine will disappear and they ought to disappear, for this would be a happier and better world to live in. But, if you wish to remain the slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create deposits." - Sir Josiah Stamp, President of the Bank of England in the 1920's, the second richest man in Britain

62. "The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks." -Lord Acton

63. American reformer and abolitionist, Horace Greeley wrote of independent central banking: "While boasting of our noble deeds, we are careful to conceal the ugly fact that by our iniquitous money system we have manipulated a system of oppression which, though more refined, is no less cruel than the old system of chattel slavery."

64. "To be controlled in our economic pursuits means to be controlled in everything." -Economist, Fredrich von Hayek

65. "If all the bank loans were paid, no one could have a bank deposit, and there would not be a dollar of coin or currency in circulation. This is a staggering thought. We are completely dependent on the commercial Banks. Someone has to borrow every dollar we have in circulation, cash or credit. If the Banks create ample synthetic money we are prosperous; if not, we starve. We are absolutely without a permanent money system. When one gets a complete grasp of the picture, the tragic absurdity of our hopeless position is almost incredible, but there it is. It is the most important subject intelligent persons can investigate and reflect upon. It is so important that our present civilization may collapse unless it becomes widely understood and the defects remedied very soon." -U.S. Congressman, Robert Hemphill

66. "The bold effort the present (central) bank had made to control the government ... are but premonitions of the fate that await the American people should they be deluded into a perpetuation of this institution or the establishment of another like it." -U.S. President, Andrew Jackson

67. "If Congress has the right under the Constitution to issue paper money, it was given to be used by themselves, not to be delegated to individuals or corporations." -U.S. President, Andrew Jackson

68. "If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them, will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered." -U.S. President, Thomas Jefferson

69. "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a moneyed aristocracy that has set the Government at defiance. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs." -U.S. President, Thomas Jefferson

70. "Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value -- zero." -Enlightenment philosopher, Voltaire

71. "Paper money has had the effect in your state that it will ever have, to ruin commerce, oppress the honest, and open the door to every species of fraud and injustice." -U.S. President, George Washington

72. "We are in danger of being overwhelmed with irredeemable paper, mere paper, representing not gold nor silver; no sir, representing nothing but broken promises, bad faith, bankrupt corporations, cheated creditors and a ruined people." -U.S. Senator and politician, Daniel Webster

73. "Of all contrivances for cheating the laboring classes of mankind, none has been more effective than that which deludes them with paper money." -U.S. Senator and politician, Daniel Webster

74. Auditing the Fed would deliver something to the American people that they badly want and need, something that the Obama Administration promised to deliver: more transparency!

75. Auditing the Fed makes practical sense. Why would Democrats or Republicans want so much power in the hands of a small group of wealthy bankers? It is antithetical to both their political platforms and respective ideologies. Auditing and abolishing the Fed is a non-partisan solution to a serious problem.

76. If we don't audit the Fed now: mark my words- THE DOLLAR WILL COLLAPSE. Period. No- exclamation mark!

*Bonus reason: There is a grassroots political movement afoot in the United States today that has had enough with Washington's tyranny and taxation. We have staged tea parties and swarmed town hall meetings. We are raging against the injustice and corruption in Washington and we will determine the outcome of the 2010 elections. Any U.S. Congressman who does not help to audit the Fed now does so at his or her own peril. We will not forget.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Who Stands For Liberty On Capitol Hill?

Here's a video I've been working on for the past couple days that demonstrates something rather startling about the U.S. Congress:



...fans of Congressman Ron Paul and his son, Rand Paul, who is making a bid for U.S. Senate representing Kentucky, will find this video particularly interesting!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"Tough Love" For Africa, But Not For America


Tough Love for Africans


This Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ended her 11-day tour of Africa by saying she has no regrets about her message of "tough love" for Africans: "The Obama administration has delivered ... a message of tough love. We are not sugarcoating the problems. We're not shying away from them."

Clinton's words and tone echoed the message brought to the African continent just a month ago by U.S. President Barack Obama, who said in his speech to Ghana's Parliament: "
We must start from the simple premise that Africa’s future is up to Africans... And it won’t be easy. It will take time and effort. There will be suffering and setbacks."


Corruption, Taxation, & Tyranny in Africa

If only the Obama Administration had words of "tough love" for their home country back here in America! President Obama should be telling Americans: "We must start from the simple premise that America's future is up to Americans- not the government. Economic recovery won't be easy. It will take time and effort, not magical government solutions. There will be suffering and setbacks, not an easy way out provided by Congress."

I have to say that I really like President Obama and Secretary Clinton when they're overseas. If they governed here by the principles that they preach over there, our country might be in a lot better shape and have much brighter prospects for a solid and lasting recovery from its present ailments. For example, Mr. Obama actually had the gall to say:

"No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves... No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20 percent off the top, or the head of the port authority is corrupt."

Corruption in the United States


What about America, Mr. Obama? Don't our leaders exploit the economy to enrich their friends? One of the number one reasons health insurance is unaffordable for many Americans is the coverage mandates that vary from state to state, which require residents to be insured for any number of things that they may not want or need to be covered for- from in-vitro fertilization to morbid obesity treatment.

These mandates persist even though they prevent Americans from choosing the kind of coverage that's right for them, while steeply driving up the price of health insurance. Why? It's a way for lawmakers to pay off special interest groups without overtly raising taxes on Americans. Why havn't Obama and the Democrats (or the Republicans!) made this a centerpiece for health care reform? Because as much as they would have you believe that change has come to Washington, they are still corrupted by special interests and corporate lobbying.

So while lecturing leaders abroad to keep corruption out of their political process and refrain from hurting their nations' economies to enrich themselves and their friends, the American President brazenly ignores such behavior here in America. Even worse, he acts to cover it up. This June, Obama fired an inspector general for blowing the whistle on the Mayor of Sacramento for wasting government funds. Why? The mayor is one of Mr. Obama's political allies.


Confiscatory Taxation in the United States

And what about the part where the U.S. President says this?- "No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20 percent off the top." I would love it if Mr. Obama believed that statement so earnestly, that he reformed U.S. tax and spending policies to encourage more direct foreign investment and small-business development here in America.

When he uttered these words last month, THL reader Dave, sent me a link to this page, which shows U.S. Government spending as a percentage of GDP. It's been above 20% since 1942, and above 30% since the 1970s! And Obama's right: taxation at this level strangles an economy, stunts growth, and discourages investment from at home and abroad. Why then, has he only thrown gasoline on the fire by spending at levels entirely unprecedented in U.S. history?


Executive Tyranny in the United States

Does he believe that the government can solve our problems and fix the mess we're in? Not when he's in Africa. Another highlight of President Obama's speech in Ghana was when he said, "Africa doesn’t need strongmen. It needs strong institutions." And how many "czars" are we up to now in the U.S. Federal Executive? Three dozen, give or take!? And Mr. Obama really believes that strong institutions, not "strongmen" make a country prosper?

How about the United States government's oldest institution: the U.S. Constitution? How about an even older and more sacred institution: the rule-of-law? What about the institution of private property? What about one of America's finest institutions- one which helped us to win our independence- the citizen militia, along with the right to keep and bear arms, which allows us to maintain that institution? What about all these institutions? Would the U.S. President make America a country of institutions or a country of "czars?"


Conclusion

For much of what he says, if President Obama governed according to his own rhetoric, both overseas and at home, he might very well be one of the best presidents in recent history. If he really did bring change, transparency, bi-partisanship, practical solutions, measured objectivity, lower taxes, less corruption, and more attention to our civil liberties, Obama might very well be one of the best Presidents in all of U.S. history. Sadly, it would seem that his actions do not match his words.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Obama Administration and The Government In George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)


George Orwell's classic, Nineteen Eighty-Four (or 1984), is a novel that needs no introduction. Its lucid vision of a dystopian future has ignited controversy, stirred the cultural landscape, and terrified Orwell's admirers as well as generations of freshman English classes since its first publication in 1949.

The following is a list of three of the most startling aspects of Nineteen Eighty-Four, along with their real-world parallels in the Obama Administration:


1. Doublethink

One of the most penetrating and astute criticisms of totalitarian government in 1984, is its use of "Doublethink" (sometimes referred to as "Doublespeak"), which is an active process of deliberate self-deception accomplished by ignoring the truth, believing lies, and entertaining contradictions in ones mind, or as Orwell described it in 1984: "to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself."


1984 and The Obama Administration:

Obama's administration, supporters, and rhetoric are rife with doublethink. It is amazing to consider just how many things the Obama camp says, meaning the exact opposite. They employ the word "Hope" ad nauseam while waging a campaign of shameless fear-mongering to pass bills like the Stimulus Package, Cap and Trade, and the Public Option.

Obama's campaign repeated the slogan "Yes We Can" when it really meant "No You Can't: No you can't keep your own hard-earned money. No you can't make your own decisions about health care. No you can't choose where to invest for your retirement. No you can't take care of yourself without the government's help. No you can't use those light bulbs. No you can't own that gun." Obama has made a political career out of saying the exact opposite of what he means.


2. Newspeak

From the novel:

"You don't grasp the beauty of the destruction of words. Do you know that Newspeak is the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year? Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten."

1984 and The Obama Administration:

Rigid control of the language is always on the agenda of totalitarians. Selecting and defining the very words of our lexicon gives a tyrant an immeasurable upper hand in setting the terms of debate, staking the deck in his own favor. This is why Barack Obama, with the help of a complicit media, made the word "empathy" front and center in the debate on Justice Sotomayor's confirmation to the Supreme Court. The words you did not hear were: justice, impartiality, and rule-of-law.

This is why "global warming" has all but disappeared from the environmentalists' vocabulary after a decade of modest decreases in global temperatures. Instead of assenting to reality, conceding defeat, and admitting their mistake, the "environmentalists" simply changed the word to "climate change" and kept arguing as if nothing had changed. Words are powerful. That's why as a Senator during the 2008 Presidential Election, Obama carefully referred to the bailout package he voted for as "economic stabilization" and why he calls Henry Waxman's carbon tax bill "Cap and Trade." Make no mistake, the Obama Administration and its lackeys in the media are aggressively setting the terms of the debate by controlling the words we use.


3. The Four Ministries in 1984

In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the government is divided into four ministries:

The Ministry of Peace carries out the nation's wars, which it doesn't want or try to win. It prefers to stay at war to endear its people to their leaders and focus their attention on an external enemy to distract them from their oppression and poverty. The Ministry of Plenty purports to provide for people's physical needs, but most of them live in squalor because of its activities.

The Ministry of Truth keeps a stranglehold on information, "correcting" anything that it considers false by erasing it from public awareness, while disseminating "the truth" as the ruling party sees it. The Ministry of Love is the scariest of the four- it is the police force of the government, monitoring people's thoughts and ensuring that they don't commit "thoughtcrime." If they do, it takes "corrective measures."


1984 and The Obama Administration:

Like Bush, Obama has continued a foreign policy of aggressive military expansion without a clear plan for decisive and immediate victory. Instead our troops remained garrisoned overseas for years in harms way and with restrictive rules of engagement making it impossible for them to do their job. Meanwhile, Obama's "Ministry of Plenty" is on the move here at home, grabbing at the reigns of economic power in the banking, housing, farming, automotive, and health industries, promising "plenty" while ignoring the basic and uncontroversial economic principles which clearly demonstrate that Obama's policies will create scarcity and rationing.

Like Orwell's Ministry of Truth, the Obama Administration and its lackeys in the media spread the party propaganda and seek to hush dissent. Take for instance, the recent White House request that citizens report anything that sounds "fishy" about the health care debate to flag@whitehouse.com. Or the media's unambiguous leap from the realm of bias to the realm of overt activism for Obama and the Democrats. Our own real life "Ministry of Love" doesn't seem too far off either when Obama claims the right to indefinitely detain terrorists not long after the Department of Homeland Security releases a report tagging Pro-Life activists, Ron Paul supporters, Army vets, and anyone that is too vocal about the Constitution as potential terror threats.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bringing personal credibility to Washington D.C.


By: Ryan Jaroncyk, THL Contributor

The 2010 liberty candidates are certainly talking a good game thus far: balanced budgets, less debt, a stronger dollar, lower taxes, increased transparency, greater state sovereignty, and a more efficient national defense. But, haven't we heard it all before?

During the Bush administration, Republicans talked about fiscal responsibility, yet national debt doubled, the budget was never balanced, and the U.S. Dollar lost nearly 30% of its value. From 2006 to the present, Democrats have talked about change, yet the U.S. is still bogged down in Iraq & Afghanistan, national debt is skyrocketing, and unemployment is rising fast. So, why should we believe the 2010 liberty candidates will fare any better?

The answer lies in personal credibility. Here are a few examples:

Peter Schiff is a successful businessman. He knows what it takes to create jobs and balance a budget. He's also a prescient economist who courageously and accurately predicted the severe recession, even while being publicly mocked by a cadre of pundits on national television.

Dr. Rand Paul and Dr. Mike Vasovski are successful doctors who run their own medical practices. These guys live health care everyday, and they understand how to balance a budget. Dr. Vasovski also served in the U.S. Army Medical Corp and cared for wounded Marines during the 1983 attack in Lebanon. He's actually lived U.S. foreign policy.

Adam Kokesh and RJ Harris are Iraq war veterans. Kokesh earned a combat action ribbon and Navy commendation medal, and RJ served two combat tours. Like Dr. Vasovski, these guys have lived U.S. foreign policy in the most personal way possible.

Simply put, these are candidates who have walked the walk. Fighting the War on Terror. Check. Sacrificing for their country. Check. Providing top notch medical care. Check. Balancing a budget. Check. Running a small business. Check. Predicting economic trends. Check. Creating jobs. Check.

This is the type of personal credibility Americans are desperately seeking. Let's hope the liberty candidates make personal credibility the focal point of their campaigns.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hey Congress: Read The Bills! Cut the Pork!


By: Heidi Moseley, THL Contributor

Our Founding Fathers kept the language of the Constitution and America's first laws simple. They wrote in a straightforward way that allowed all who read the Constitution and subsequent laws to know exactly what their rights and freedoms were.

Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to William Johnson in 1823, wrote “Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense.” The American people actually lived by common sense back then, even some politicians.

It's still possible to follow their example today, regardless of America's 21st century size and scope. The Federal Highway Act of 1956 was only two sheets of paper. The bill was strictly about building the interstate highway system that would traverse the entire United States. But since then something changed in how our elected officials saw legislation.

Our legislative bills are now full of pet projects and campaign payoffs. Bills are now 1,000+ pages long. We should expect the people in Washington- who work for us- to read legislation BEFORE they sign it. If Congress wrote bills that were concise and free from pork, it would be feasible for representatives to read and understand what they were voting for.

As Mr. John Conyers (D-MI) so eloquently put it during his speech at a National Press Club luncheon “I love these members, they get up and say, ‘Read the bill.’ What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?”

Isn’t Mr. Conyers himself a lawyer? So would that be three lawyers total? Steny Hoyer (D-MD) laughed at the idea of actually reading a bill before he passed it. "I'm laughing because I don't know how long this bill is going to be, but it's going to be a very long bill," he is quoted as saying. How can they pass a bill that isn’t fully written and which the House and Senate have not read?

The Cap and Trade Bill that unfortunately passed the House had place markers in it for addendums to be inserted at a later date. Not only had they not read the bill before voting on it, they didn't even finish writing the bill before passing it! Uncompleted though it was, it still weighed in at over one thousand pages long.

How do we get back to what our Founding Fathers intended for this country? First of all, get involved right now. Call your representatives, go to town hall meetings, go to rallies, or join a group. Next, we need to get people in the House and Senate who will be statesmen and represent the American people in 2010.

Learn as much as you can about the candidates running in the primaries first; then work on getting the best party choice elected. Tell your friends and colleagues about candidates who stand for your values. Once we get those people in, we need to hold them to task.

For too long, “We The People” were asleep at the wheel. We allowed our representatives to play party politics instead of doing their job of representing their constituents. They no longer use common sense or the Constitution when they write bills. It’s our job to make sure the government is of the people, by the people, and FOR the people.

“If every member pledged to not vote for it if they hadn't read it in its entirety, I think we would have very few votes," Steny Hoyer said at his weekly news conference. You're quick Mr. Hoyer- that's kind of the point!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Senior Military Adviser: 10 More Years in Afghanistan in Best Case Scenario


By: Ryan Jaroncyk, THL Contributor

David Kilcullen, senior military adviser to General Stanley McChrystal, has been highly critical of the war's management in Afghanistan. In a speech at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Kilcullen outlined a "best case scenario" of ten more years in Afghanistan: two more years of heavy fighting, three years of transition to Afghan forces, and five years of supervision.

If this scenario plays out, the U.S. will have conducted wartime operations for eighteen years in Afghanistan. The British Army's new Chief of Staff, Sir David Richards contends that the conflict will drag out for as long as 40 years, saying: "I believe that the UK will be committed to Afghanistan in some manner – development, governance, security sector reform – for the next 30 to 40 years." This raises a number of troubling questions.

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the U.S. is projected to run $1-$2 trillion budget deficits for the next decade. We're projected to double the national debt, already at a whopping $11 trillion, in the next five years. How can we afford ten more years of war in Afghanistan? What will such an extended occupation do to the value of the Dollar? The Dollar has already lost over 30% of its value since 2002.

How many more "surges" will be required? The current administration, as well as military leaders, are already discussing the necessity of a second "surge" later this year. How many more men and women are we prepared to lose? The latest surge is already spiking the casualty count. Last month was the deadliest month for U.S. and NATO forces since the war began in 2001, and August has already had a bloody beginning. What about the consequences of repeated deployments as witnessed in the record suicide rates and post-traumatic stress disorder epidemic currently plaguing the military? Even Kilcullen, an advocate of extended deployment, is urging both the military and political leadership to address some of these critical questions.

Ironically, the current administration is developing new measurements or "benchmarks" for success in Afghanistan. But, why weren't these specific benchmarks drafted before the latest "surge"? And why are we establishing measurements for success, and not total victory? Or, can we even define what victory actually means?

In the bigger picture, are we now prepared, as a nation, to accept six, eight, or eighteen year wars abroad, in third world countries? What about swift, decisive, and overwhelming victory? After all, we possess the world's most powerful and technologically advanced military.

Now, what are some of your questions and concerns? What would be some of your solutions?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Aug 20th Rand Paul Money Bomb - Please Pledge Now At RunRandRun.com


How exciting! Rand Paul's run for U.S. Senate representing Kentucky is a phenomenal opportunity for the liberty movement that rallied around his father's presidential bid in 2007-08, which Congressman Ron Paul rolled forward into a perpetual Campaign for Liberty that has made serious leaps and bounds towards an audit of (and eventual end to) the Federal Reserve Bank.

One of the crucial elements of Ron Paul's success was the sheer size and determined tenacity of his grassroots support, which focused their efforts into two meteoric money bombs in November and December of 2007. It is in that spirit and for that purpose that the organizer of both those money bombs has put together RunRandRun.com to raise Rand Paul $1,000,000 in one day on August 20th.

As a poor college junior, I donated to both of the original money bombs because I believed in Ron Paul's message of limited government, strict constitutionalism, and individual liberty- and in the flawless record he had of upholding that message through ten terms in Congress. I also knew that the statists in both parties who were vying for the presidency would take a lot more than $100 from me, and that they wouldn't ask nicely when they came for it. I was making an investment in my future.

Two years later, fresh out of college, and just as broke while I wait tables in Nashville, volunteer for political causes, and work hard to grow my website, The Humble Libertarian- I have pledged at RunRandRun.com and will be donating $100 (or more if that's what it will take to hit our goal of $1,000,000) on August 20th. I implore you to do the same if you have not already done so. Visit the site and enter your e-mail address right now with the firm resolution to whip out your card or Pay Pal account on August 20th and drop a $100 bomb on tyranny.

This is such an amazing opportunity because it is a perfectly winnable seat. Open seats like this are very rare and Rand Paul is in a good position to win the Republican Primary in Kentucky and then move on to a General Election victory in 2010, putting another Dr. Paul in our nation's Capitol- a very young, charismatic Dr. Paul with many years of good work supporting liberty ahead of him. But Rand Paul CANNOT win without your donation this August 20th.

His main opponent in the Republican Primary is Trey Grayson, a big government, "country-club" Republican with deep pockets and powerful friends in the Republican machine and Washington establishment. If Rand Paul raises $1,000,000 on August 20th, he'll sail past Grayson in fundraising totals and have the budget to buy the mailers, radio ads, and newspaper ads he needs to raise his name recognition and profile in the state of Kentucky- which is absolutely necessary for victory.

If Rand Paul does not raise $1,000,000 this August 20th because you sat this one out, he will be playing catch up the rest of this primary season, and may or may not win- a risk we would be crazy to take! In total, our movement raised over $30,000,000, towards putting Ron Paul in the White House, even though we knew it was a long shot. Let's just raise 5% of that this August 20th for a U.S. Senate seat we know Rand Paul can win!

Again, I urge you- visit RunRandRun.com right now (you can come back to finish reading this article; it won't go anywhere) and pledge to donate your $100 on August 20th. Your support does matter and will make a difference. This is an opportunity to send a message loud and clear to both Washington and the Republican Party- "FREEDOM IS POPULAR!" Americans want to live in a free and civil society governed by the U.S. Constitution. This is also an opportunity to send a message to someone else...

August 20th was selected as the day for the money bomb because it is the birthday of Congressman and Presidential candidate- you guessed it- Ron Paul. Let's send him a message too: that we believe in the cause he's fighting hard for, and that we will also fight hard to send him like-minded, liberty-loving allies in Congress. He has fought this battle alone up there for too long! Want to give Ron Paul the best birthday present he could ask for this August 20th? How about a Dr. Paul in the other house of Congress?

And last but most certainly not least- after pledging at RunRandRun.com, please do just one thing to promote it to the people you know. Unfortunately, many of Ron Paul's avid supporters are still unaware that his like-minded son is making a bid for U.S. Senate and needs our help. All it would take is to make them aware, and they would be glad to drop a money bomb on August 20th. So please do at least one thing to spread the word.

E-mail one friend right now who doesn't know about the Rand Paul money bomb and urge him or her to donate. Or you can link to RunRandRun and Rand Paul's campaign website on your Facebook wall. If you're a blogger, please use one of these banners in the sidebar on your blog site. You could also Tweet about the Rand Paul money bomb on Twitter, Digg up the money bomb on Digg, or leave a comment with a link to the money bomb page on a liberty-related YouTube video, blog, or message forum.

As of this writing, there are just under 2,000 pledges at RunRandRun, and we need 10,000 to hit our goal! That means we're 20% there, which is encouraging because that's a big piece of the pie and it shows how realistic and doable this really is, but it's also alarming because we now have only 10 days left to reach our goal by the money bomb date! We can make this a success if everyone who reads these words does just two things: 1) Pledge if you have not already done so, and 2) Do just one thing to promote the Rand Paul money bomb to other freedom-loving patriots.

Thanks so much and happy bombing!

I'll see you this August 20th on Rand Paul's donation page at RandPaul2010.

-W. E. Messamore

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Videos of Protesters at Town Hall Meetings Across America as Congress Recesses


Take a good look at these videos below and you will start to get a picture of how Americans really feel about President Obama's healthcare reform (whatever the Democrats may say), particularly the Congressional Democrats' bill, H.R. 3200, with its "public option."

Way to go, patriots! Seeing you crashing these town hall meetings is just one more argument for requiring our Congressmen to spend 75% of their time in their districts! Keep up the energy, keep up the activism, and most importantly of all... roll all of this forward into electoral action in 2010 to unseat the tyrants in Congress!

PS: While you're watching these videos, here are a couple questions for our nation's tyrants to consider- "Do the people in these videos look anything like Nazis to you, Madame Pelosi?" and "Are the people who are talking in these videos the ones who made the mess, or is it the Washington politicians they're talking to, President Obama?"

Rep. Doggett Town Hall Meeting


Rep. Bishop Town Hall Meeting


Sen. McCaskill Town Hall Meeting


Sec. Sebelius Town Hall Meeting


Rep. Driehaus Town Hall Meeting


Rep. Hoyer Town Hall Meeting


Rep. Castor Town Hall Meeting


Reps. Ross & Snyder Town Hall
Sen. Specter Town Hall Meeting


Townhall Meeting Video Montage


Rep. Carnahan Town Hall Meeting


Rep. Sessions Town Hall Meeting


Rep. Ellison Town Hall Meeting


AARP Town Hall Meeting


Rep. Taylor Town Hall Meeting


Rep. Kagen Town Hall Meeting




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Friday, August 7, 2009

Aug 7th Peter Schiff Money Bomb On Fire!



Peter Schiff, the economic adviser to Ron Paul during his presidential campaign, is making a potential bid for Christopher Dodd's U.S. Senate seat representing Connecticut, and his money bomb today has raised nearly $650,000 at 7:00 pm CDT.

If you haven't already, swing by to drop a money bomb for Schiff's campaign. Together we can explode our country's corrupt banking system! The good thing is that Peter Schiff has promised to return all the money his exploratory committee raises to the individual donors if he ends up not running- so there's no risk in donating.


Peter Schiff Was Right Video:

The Difference Between the "Big Rock Candy Mountains" and Reality



Piggy-backing off of yesterday's post, I would like to outline some differences between Reality and "the Big Rock Candy Mountains," a fictional paradise in an old hobo ballad:


In the Big Rock Candy Mountains: "the handouts grow on bushes and you sleep out every night."

In Reality: wealth does not simply grow on bushes, but must be produced with hard work. As a corollary, handouts to some must come from the hard work of others ...and you can't sleep out every night because in reality it rains sometimes.


In the Big Rock Candy Mountains: "the sun shines every day, on the birds and the bees and the cigarette trees, where the lemonade springs, where the bluebird sings."

In Reality: the weather is not always good, cigarettes are expensive (and taxed like crazy on top of that), and you have to make lemonade yourself from lemons that someone harvested from a tree, which was carefully tended to on a farm somewhere.


In the Big Rock Candy Mountains: "all the cops have wooden legs and the bulldogs all have rubber teeth and the hens lay soft boiled eggs."

In Reality: you got a ticket last week for speeding which you only did after you whipped around that jerk in the left-lane going fifteen under who never gets ticketed for that. And when dogs bite, it hurts. And you have to boil your own eggs.


In the Big Rock Candy Mountains: "you never change your socks and the little streams of alcohol come a-trickling down the rocks."

In Reality: Your feet smell. And you have to change your socks and wash the dirty ones. And you've got to pay for alcohol with money you had to bust your back to earn.


In the Big Rock Candy Mountains: You get anything you want.

In Reality: You get what you work for.


The Big Rock Candy Mountains: aren't real.

Reality: is.


Socialists live in the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

Capitalists live in Reality.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sonia Sotomayor Confirmed (68 to 31)


Judge Sonia Sotomayor has been confirmed (in a vote of 68 to 31) to replace Justice Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court. We can now only hope that like her predecessor (a Bush appointee), she will swing slightly to the opposite side of the political spectrum from the President who appointed her... ah, the audacity of hope! Seriously though, that would be sweet, sweet poetic justice.

Other than hoping for such an outcome, now that the vote is cast there is nothing more we can do but use this as a learning opportunity. Particularly, we need to understand the rhetoric that surrounded Sotomayor's appointment, see what is so critically wrong with it, and stand ready to expose its dangers so that we are prepared to win the ideological battle, if not the political one when it comes time for President Obama to appoint another Supreme Court Justice.

Long before Sotomayor's appointment, the media was trumpeting the call for "someone with empathy" on the Supreme Court. After the appointment CNN quoted a senior White House official who said, "He found all of those things with her, including his goal of selecting someone with the empathy factor -- real-world, practical experience and understanding of how the law affects real people."

As with many other vague bromides parroted by the media and chattering classes, this call for empathy has very little in the way of substance. What exactly do they mean by empathy? No one has made that clear at all. Does it mean that we need a judge who will practice legal favoritism towards someone who has had a difficult life or happens to belong to a demographic minority? I hope not, and I certainly doubt that if pressed, anyone would agree that this is what is meant by empathy.

Then does "empathy" mean a fair application of law that entitles disadvantaged people and minorities to the same legal protection as anyone else gets? We already have a word for that: Justice. Another is "impartiality." I would like to hear people clamor for justice and impartiality, and I grow very nervous when everyone seems to be mouthing the word "empathy" with no clear and explicit definition of that word in this context. If they would rather not be clear about what they mean, we can only assume they mean something terrible.

I submit that what they really mean (though it would never be explicated in this way out loud or possibly even in the privacy of their own minds) is that we need an unchecked oligarch on the Supreme Court who has no trouble making decisions outside the purview of justice grounded in an objective and impartial law, someone who does not mind referring to subjective feelings when making legal rulings from our nation's highest court- and that is the end of justice in our country.