Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Perils of Prohibition

By Guest Writer: Sean VanSickel

Much has been said in recent years about legalizing drugs. Most of this discussion, however, deals specifically with the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes. It is a fiercely debated subject, and no consensus has been reached.

Something that has not been studied or debated nearly as much are the social and economic effects of legalized street drugs. The criminalization of drugs actually encourages crime, funds gang activities, and promotes drug addiction. Current U.S. drug policy echoes that of alcohol prohibition during the 1920s.

Such prohibitions are beneficial in the sense that law-abiding citizens sometimes try to avoid the illegal product, but they do tremendous harm to society as well, since prohibitions ". . . can increase income-generating crime, such as theft or prostitution, by raising prices if the consumers finance consumption of the prohibited commodity from such crime (The Effects of Prohibitions)."

Prohibition causes all kinds of other problems as well, such as the "forbidden fruit" effect (people using illegal substances only because they are illegal) and the corruption of government officials- often by organized crime- like when powerful gangsters were able to build criminal empires because of the ban on alcohol.

Unfortunately, much harm has already been done by America's "War on Drugs." The major increase in anti-drug efforts over the past 25 years has had an unanticipated "Darwinian" effect. Weak and ineffective drug manufacturers, smugglers, and dealers have been weeded out and replaced by those far more efficient and ruthless.

The money made from narcotics operations is often used to outfit the gangs and groups conducting them. Many Mexican "DTO’s" (Drug Trafficking Organizations) have used their profits to hire elite mercenaries to protect their operations. A U.S. government report, the National Drug Threat Assessment 2008, talks about one such group:

"Los Zetas, the enforcement arm of the Gulf Cartel, may be the most technologically advanced, sophisticated, and violent of these paramilitary enforcement groups. Some Los Zetas members are former Mexican Special Forces soldiers and maintain expertise in the use of heavy weaponry, specialized military tactics, sophisticated communications equipment, intelligence collection, and counter surveillance techniques."

As long as drug smuggling remains profitable, America must be prepared to deal with these repercussions. The funding of gangs and other organized crime is probably the worst consequence of this prohibition. Many dangerous street gangs use narcotics as the primary means of paying for expensive gang wars.

It would not seem like such a threat if the money made from drug operations only funded more drug operations, but that is rarely the case. An annual report made to the California legislature showed what much of this money is used for when it stated:

". . . after a yearlong investigation, a federal grand jury indicted 12 members of the Down Below Gangsters, an African-American street gang, on charges of terrorizing residents of a San Francisco housing project while conducting a major narcotic enterprise that resulted in seven murders. The indictment also included numerous weapons violations, including the use of assault rifles, semi-automatic pistols and revolvers, and witness tampering (Organized Crime in California)."

Sadly, even a full reversal of the current drug policies in effect today would not undo all the damage that has been done. The easy money of drug operations has acted like fertile soil, giving fledgling criminals the knowledge, means, and organization to survive. Milton Friedman, a respected analyst of drug policy, said:

". . . if you legalized or decriminalized drugs, or in any other way changed the situation, these people would still be criminals; they would just go on to other crimes. Look, they say, what happened after prohibition. You had Al Capone and the gangs, and after prohibition ended they just shifted over to other sectors. Unquestionably, there is some truth in that. The building-up of a criminal class is going to leave a hangover, and the hangover is going to mean more criminality (The War We are Losing)."

Nonetheless, we need a change. Prohibition does not work. A black market has developed, just like it will always do when people want something and a government tells them they can’t have it. The ease of manufacture also plays a key role in the government’s ability to ban. Methamphetamine is routinely manufactured in basements and tool sheds, the ingredients are easily obtainable, and little special knowledge or skills are needed.

Marijuana is a weed and will grow almost anywhere. It is grown domestically from Kentucky and West Virginia to Oregon and Hawaii. The profits often fund more elaborate setups to optimize yield and potency, or lower the risk of detection. Expensive suburban homes have been found uninhabited and empty, with the exception of sophisticated apparatus designed to automatically provide light, water and nutrients to the ten million dollars worth of high-THC marijuana growing there.

Some growers are even using cloning techniques, guaranteeing that the plants they cultivate will grow fast, large, and potent. Many domestic growers, especially Mexico-based DTO’s, are buying themselves protection. Reports show that "Cannabis cultivators are employing armed guards who are strategically stationed at elevations above the grow site in order to detect approaching law enforcement scouts. . . (Domestic Cannabis Cultivation Assessment 2007)."

History repeats itself. Today we are seeing the perils of prohibition that our grandparents learned about firsthand during the "roaring twenties." It doesn’t take someone with a PhD. to see the similarities between the manufacture and sale of illegal alcohol to that of methamphetamine and cannabis.

They are all distilled/manufactured/grown clandestinely, at higher cost; they facilitate the use of gangs and organized crime for protection and optimized transportation and sale, and are usually transported in the most concentrated form possible. Very few people smuggled light beer when alcohol was illegal, it was transported and sold, for the most part, as highly concentrated hard liquor, many times as high as 190 Proof (95% alcohol).

Meth today is treated the same way, refined in home labs to get the most drug in the smallest package. What was the result? In both cases, high rates of accidental death (alcohol poisoning and drug overdoses) and difficulty for law enforcement since the contraband could be concealed so easily. Since alcohol was not illegal in Mexico or Canada during the American Prohibition, legal foreign distilleries and breweries were working overtime, selling their products to both local and American businessmen who were very good at smuggling.

Another challenge facing the enforcers of anti-drug laws is the addictive nature of drugs. An addict who needs a fix will not care about the law. He will also not care about the price, or how many other crimes he must commit in order to purchase his high. The addict will also build up a tolerance for his drug of choice over time, meaning he will need more to get high, and he will need it more often because, "As a person continues to abuse drugs, the brain adapts to the overwhelming surges in dopamine by producing less dopamine or by reducing the number of dopamine receptors in the reward circuit (NIDA)."

He becomes desperate, willing to do anything to get enough money to get his high. Often, he becomes involved dealing drugs himself, and in the process of creating customers, he causes more people to become addicted, starting the cycle over. Without the prohibition of drugs, none of this would happen. Most drugs would cost so little, a person could afford them by asking for change in front of a gas station or recycling cans.

Major criminal organizations would go the way of the dinosaurs, unable to compete with cheap, government approved narcotics. The millions of dollars that the U.S. government spends on its ineffective "War on Drugs" would be replaced with billions of dollars of tax revenue. If they can regulate it, they can tax it, and it will still be a fraction of the price of the unsafe street drugs.

To go back to the example of alcohol prohibition, how many alcoholics today are going to take a chance on moonshine when they can buy a taxed bottle of vodka for five dollars? Once the 21st amendment passed, all of the speakeasies closed their doors in a hurry.

Some will argue that the consequences of legalization outweigh the benefits. They point out the nasty things that drugs do to a person’s body and the dangers of addiction. These are valid concerns. The effects of heroin alone are rather frightening, and they include "scarred and/or collapsed veins, bacterial infections of the blood vessels and heart valves, abscesses (boils) and other soft-tissue infections, and liver or kidney disease (NIDA)."

Addiction is a disease, and it is often fatal, but there are strong arguments in favor of legalization here as well. Since drugs like heroin would be so cheap, one of the worst effects would disappear. The practice of needle sharing, which leads to the spread of hepatitis B and C, and of HIV, which causes AIDS, would be eliminated. This would also protect the addict’s sexual partners and offspring from the disease, and slow the spread of one of the most deadly viruses on the planet.

Few people think that drugs are a good thing, but they are here, and they aren’t leaving any time soon. Our current policy does more harm than good, promoting gang activities and organized crime. Since a black market will always develop in a prohibition, the only logical solution is to end that prohibition.

Wes Messamore Meets John Stossel

What an awesome surprise! My friend and colleague, Matt Collins was able to get a few of us in to a private reception to meet libertarian apologist extraordinaire, John Stossel on Vanderbilt University's campus yesterday evening ahead of his debate with Ralph Nader.

Awesome!

History of Iran Timeline


This excellent video features the history of Iran on a timeline stretching back to the U.S.-led installment of the Shah in 1953. Most Americans need to realize that the modern history of Iran didn't start with the Iranian revolution and hostage crisis in 1979.

Instead, the very short documentary above chronicles the modern history of Iran as most Iranians see it- their struggle for freedom against an imperialistic U.S. foreign policy that overthrew their democracy in 1953 (yes America overthrew a democracy overseas) and replaced it with a pro-U.S. dictator.

How could America have strayed so far, that our once humble republic sets up and supports kings in other countries? Can we be honest and admit this is wrong? Can we true patriots, who love freedom acknowledge when our government has violated it? Do we have the courage and fortitude to demand that our government change course and stand for freedom once again?

Hat tip: The Daily Paul

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

If a Libertarian Gave a Sermon for Passover

Yeah- you have to read this. It's awesome.

Medical Parole For A Select Few Could Serve As Key Compromise In Prison Reform

The most recent article at my CAIVN column:

The Sacramento Bee reports: "An aide in Kelso's office said that, conservatively, the prison system could save $213 million over five years by paroling just 32 inmates identified as severely incapacitated." This would cut costs, Kelso argues, while keeping Californians safe, because it restricts medical parole to prisoners who do not pose any danger to the public because they are physically incapable of committing another crime.

Read the whole article here.

New Rand Paul Ad Calls on Trey Grayson to Stop the Lies


Please help Rand Paul run more of these TV ads in Kentucky by donating to his campaign now.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Interview with Beth Harwell, Michael Boldin, and Matt Collins on Nullification & ObamaCare

What is the proper relationship between the Federal government and the states? What ramifications does this relationship have for the recently passed health care bill? I explored this question in my live radio program yesterday evening with three awesome guests.

Tennessee State Representative Beth Harwell discussed the Health Care Freedom Act she is cosponsoring to nullify the individual mandate in the State of Tennessee. Tenth Amendment Center Founder, Michael Boldin stopped by to explain the Founding Fathers' intent when they penned the Constitution. Finally, grassroots community organizer (the good kind though) Matt Collins called in to encourage grassroots participation in our political processes, lest America fall prey to more bad legislation like this health care bill.

I also had a heated debate with a caller about one hour into the program, who just couldn't seem to understand how the principle of non-aggression applies to the government's actions.

You can listen to the show in its entirety by visiting this page.

News in Song for March 7th - 18th


A creative project of Eric Olsen

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Recreational Marijuana Use Likely To Become Legal in California

From the most recent article at my CAIVN column:

In all likelihood, California could be the very first state in the union to legalize the recreational use of marijuana this November.

After legalization activists submitted nearly 700,000 signatures for a proposition to legalize marijuana, California's Secretary of State Debra Bowen certified a ballot initiative earlier this week to legalize the cultivation, possession, and sale of marijuana in the state of California for recreational purposes.

The initiative will go on the ballot this November, and it needs only a simple majority to pass and become law (just as if the legislature had passed it and the governor had signed it), which should be a breeze considering that state-wide polling shows that 56% of California's registered voters support legalizing and taxing marijuana.

But what does this all mean, and what deeper controversy will it ignite? Read the rest of the article here to find out.

THL Radio Moves to Sunday

Author: Roy Antoun / H.T. YALiberty

I'm permanently moving my weekly radio program from 7 - 9 pm Central Time on Saturdays to that same time slot on Sundays. I've been getting some feedback that more people are at home and available on Sunday evenings than Saturdays, so we'll see how this works.

Thanks so much for bearing with me as I make all these changes to get this libertarian blog where it needs to be (at the top of the blogosphere raining down libertarian ideas like a refreshing Spring shower and waging peace on the whole world).

Like the picture above? Me too. It's a perfect prelude to announce a most awesome of interview line-ups for this Sunday's show. (Don't forget- it's this Sunday now!)

Tim Daniel and I will be interviewing TN state representative Beth Harwell about her sponsorship of Tennessee's Health Freedom Act, to nullify ObamaCare. Then we'll be talking with Michael Boldin, founder of the Tenth Amendment Center, to discuss how states should respond to the Federal takeover of your health care decisions. (I've got the feeling he'll say Rep. Harwell has the right idea!)

After that, we will be taking your calls, questions, comments, etc. The call in number is (646) 929-2657 and you can listen to the show live by visiting this page during the broadcast. If you miss the show, just visit that same page after the broadcast and the recording will play for you, or use the nifty little widget in the right sidebar here at THL.

Nullify ObamaCare


Enough said.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Need Volunteers To Test Out New Forum At Humble Libertarian

An idea recently occurred to me for an innovative, new kind of message forum to integrate into the Humble Libertarian website. It's different for sure, so it has its own list of pros and cons, separate from more traditional kinds of message forums.

I've had a very small group of close friends help me test it out just a little, but I'd like to open it up to a wider pool of people who are interested in helping me to determine if it's kind of lame, or totally awesome. All you need to participate is a valid Twitter account.

If you're interested in joining the new message forum here at THL, please shoot me an e-mail with the subject "THL Forum."

Earth Hour 2010 Is Anti-Poor, Anti-Freedom, Anti-Human


With Earth Hour 2010, which is to say: "anti-poor, anti-freedom, anti-humanity, anti-progress, anti-happiness hour 2010" just a day away, let's review what Earth Hour really means:


Anti-poor: It is anti-poor because its organizers support strict, coercive carbon mitigation policies which will destroy the ability of the third world poor to develop and become affluent.

It's easy and fun to sit in the dark for an hour with friends when you know you can turn the lights back on, but you're being incredibly dense, insensitive, and cruel to the people of the world without your advantages, who have a dream of developing and becoming affluent like you.

Those people often sit in darkness anyway, not by choice, but because of substandard power systems and intense poverty. They live in countries that need to industrialize, that need to burn fossil fuels, that need to use energy in order to develop.

The carbon-regulatory schemes at issue with the Earth Hour supporters, will destroy the dream of third world development by skyrocketing the cost of energy and all the things that energy is used to produce (everything). The policies you support with your vulgar blackout today, will cause people to starve tomorrow.


Anti-Freedom: Last year's publication of SuperFreakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, and the ensuing public outrage by environmentalists helped show that carbon regulation is not about saving the environment, it's about controlling people.

In it, Levitt and Dubner agreed that global temperatures are on the rise, and assumed for the sake of argument, that global warming is caused by human carbon emissions, will have catastrophic effects on humanity and global ecosystems, and must be stopped.

Assuming all these things are true, Levitt and Dubner proposed a novel solution that would fix the problem without destroying the global economy, plunging the world's middle class into poverty, and leaving the world's poor absolutely destitute.

When Mount Pinatubo erupted in the 1990s, it released sulfur compounds into the upper atmosphere, which reflect sunlight back into space, causing a notable decline in global temperatures for a few years in the 1990s.

Levitt and Dubner proposed a very inexpensive project (for just a couple hundred million US dollars) to fly a long hose into the upper atmosphere with helium balloons and pump sulfur compounds into the upper atmosphere. This would slow global warming and stabilize atmospheric temperatures.

You would think that environmentalists would have rejoiced that the climate disaster to come could be averted cheaply and easily without sacrificing the world's poor right? Wrong!

The authors of SuperFreakonomics were excoriated by critics in the environmentalist movement, proving that they are not at all actually interested in fighting global warming. That's just a front for their agenda to control your life.


Anti-Human: Supporting an environmental treaty mandating steep reductions of carbon emissions is tantamount to advocating a demolition job of industrial civilization and all of the wonderful things it has brought humanity.

Presently, the overwhelming majority of energy generated globally is produced from the combustion of carbon-emitting fossil fuels. To severely restrict their use with draconian regulations and taxes is a declaration of war on humanity and its means of survival.

Light isn't an indication of some hideous crime against the Earth. It's an indication of great achievements for humanity! It isn't a badge of failure, but a stamp of success!

Industrial civilization has shined a light on the world, and in all the places where that light is brightest, it is because the people there live the longest, most productive, most literally enlightened lives.

Those lights illuminate schools, homes, and office buildings where students, families, and workers spend their time extending and improving their lives and the lives of others by creating and exchanging things of value.


Conclusion:
Celebrate Earth Hour tomorrow by being proud to live on this Earth and use its resources to improve your life. Keep your lights on and be grateful for the advantages you have because of them.

Light is a blessing, not a crime.

State Attorney Generals Should Not Sue The Federal Government Over Health Care Reform

Wait a second- hear me out on this... I think their heart is in the right place and that the Democrats' health care bill was certainly unconstitutional.

But what I want to see is some nullification coming from the states, not Federal lawsuits filed by state officials, which will go through Federal courts, potentially take years to be resolved, and be subject to some bad precedent in Federal jurisprudence.

Instead of implicitly acknowledging Federal authority over the states by suing in a Federal court, each state legislature should pass a law declaring the health care bill unconstitutional, and instructing the state's attorney general to protect state residents from any Federal agents that try to enforce it.

States, not Federal courts, have the final authority on the constitutionality of Federal legislation, and it is their prerogative to nullify unconstitutional Federal laws by refusing to comply and committing to protect their residents who don't comply.

The following is an important press release from the Tenth Amendment Center. They are right on the money with this:

-------------

Relying on a federal lawsuit to invalidate the new Health Care Reform Law is not only an uncertain endeavor in the face of decades of bad Supreme Court precedent; it could also take years to go anywhere, according to the Tenth Amendment Center. “The reality is this, considering a lawsuit as the primary response leaves the people in opposition holding the bag,” says Michael Boldin, founder of the Center. “That's why we advocate a solution to this mess that leaves the people, not the courts, in charge."

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) March 25, 2010 -- "Prominent founders such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison warned us that if the federal government ever became the sole and exclusive arbiter of its own powers, those powers would continue to grow, regardless of elections, courts, separation of powers or other much-vaunted checks and balances in our system," said Michael Boldin, founder of the Tenth Amendment Center.

Nullification, according to the Center, is the rightful remedy to an unconstitutional act, as it considers the recently-signed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to be. When a state nullifies a federal law, it is proclaiming that the law in question is void and inoperative, or non-effective, within the boundaries of that state; or, in other words, not a law as far as the state is concerned.

Today, the Tenth Amendment Center announced a different strategy for activists and state government. "We are pleased to announce model nullification legislation that is crafted to specifically address the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on a state level,” Boldin said. “We encourage grassroots activists and state legislators alike to work to get this bill passed in their home states."

The legislation, the Federal Health Care Nullification Act, would codify in state law that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act "is not authorized by the Constitution of the United States...is hereby declared to be invalid...shall not be recognized...is specifically rejected...and shall be considered null and void and of no effect" within the boundaries of any state enacting it. It also mandates that it “shall be the duty” of the State’s legislature “to adopt and enact any and all measures as may be necessary to prevent the enforcement.”

“The greatest problem with relying on lawsuits by state Attorney’s General for Constitutional protection is the reality that the Supreme Court has set years and years of bad precedent, allowing the federal government to control many aspects of our lives that the Founders and Ratifiers never authorized,” said Boldin. “The real question we must ask is this,” he continued, “Does the Constitution mean what the founders said it means, or does it mean what the Supreme Court says it means…until it changes its mind?”

“Like any legal document, the words of the Constitution mean today the same as they meant the moment it was ratified,” said Boldin. “The Commerce Clause, the General Welfare Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause have not been amended, and the original Constitutional meanings of those clauses do not permit the federal government to exercise such powers.”

According to the Center, on a political level, the new health care reform legislation not only violates conservative principles by greatly enlarging federal power and control, but also is an affront to traditional progressive principles because it requires millions of people to their money to an industry that many liberals revile, and interferes with the ability of states and local communities from enacting their own health care programs as they see fit.

“It’s time to remind the federal government that We the People are in charge and not the other way around,” said Boldin. “Following the Constitution every issue, every time, without exceptions or excuses requires us to resist federal overreach and keeping our health care decisions where the Founders assured us that they’d be and where they belong…close to home.”

About the Tenth Amendment Center:
The Tenth Amendment Center, a Los Angeles-based think tank founded in 2006, acts as an educational forum on issues related to the 10th Amendment and Constitutional governance. http://www.tenthamendmentcenter.com/

Contact:
For more information on this issue, or to arrange an interview with the Tenth Amendment Center, please call Director of Media Bryce Shonka at 213-935-0553 or email bryce@tenthamendmentcenter.com.

###

Why Stop at Nullifying The Democrats' New Health Care Reconciliation Bill?

It is incredibly encouraging to see state legislators and attorney generals vow to interpose between their residents and the unconstitutional encroachments of an out-of-control Washington.

Their reasoning is absolutely correct. Requiring a citizen to purchase a product or pay a fee to the government is unconstitutional. Article I of the Constitution makes no provision for Congress to do such a thing, or even to meddle in the health care industry for any reason at all.

So if it's unconstitutional to force citizens to purchase health insurance, and the states are going to battle to nullify that unconstitutional law by vowing not to comply with it, why don't they nullify other Federal policies that unconstitutionally require citizens to buy into programs that they'd rather not?

How for instance, is it constitutional for the Federal government to require citizens to save for their retirement through Social Security (which is also a form of insurance in addition to a pension system)? Let's call on these same state officials to follow their reasoning consistently and protect us from these other unconstitutional violations of our liberty.

"Big Effing Deal" Schoolhouse Rock Parody Video from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon



Hilarious!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Continue the Fight for Liberty

From my most recent article at Our America Initiative:

"It is tempting to lose heart after seeing Washington rack up a trillion dollars more in debt this weekend, while claiming that its new health care bill will actually save America money in the long run. It is especially discouraging to see Congress using back-room deals and arm-twisting to pass a bill that a majority of Americans didn’t even want. This is not how our government should work.

But don’t lose heart or feel like the fight is over. In truth, it has only just begun..."

Read the rest here. Also listen to what Governor Gary Johnson has to say about our out-of-control nation debt and why we can't afford the three trillion dollars the Democrats just spent:

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Get your own t-shirt here.

Yeah, I saw this on a Facebook status update and just had to turn it into a t-shirt for everyone to wear around. Here's the quotation:

"Health care 'reform' passed by a Congress that hasn't read it, signed by a President who smokes, administered by an obese Surgeon General, financed by a Treasury Secretary who didn't pay his taxes, and paid for by a country that is broke - what could possibly go wrong?"

Health Care Bill Won't Reduce The Deficit

Refuting one of the most commonly repeated lies about the Democrats' health care reform bill:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Promote "Learn About Liberty" With Banners

Forgive me for beating a dead horse, but I think my new e-book "Learn About Liberty" does something extremely crucial at a time when it is most needed: it explains what libertarians believe and why.

People are interested in libertarianism today, perhaps more than ever before in modern American history. Now is the chance to show them what we've got, tell them what we believe, and explain why it is so necessary for a good, happy, and flourishing society.

The following are some banners for you to promote "Learn About Liberty" at your website in a post or in your sidebar. Please help me spread the message. After this, I have only one last announcement that I'm planning to make regarding Learn About Liberty. Keep your eye out for it. And keep your eye out for announcements about my next e-book! *wink*

Thanks for supporting the message of liberty:

Learn About Liberty at the Humble Libertarian Blog


Learn About Liberty at the Humble Libertarian Blog


Learn About Liberty at the Humble Libertarian Blog


Learn About Liberty at the Humble Libertarian Blog

Joe Biden's F-Bomb Video (NSFW)

Did you hear about Joe Biden's F-bomb? Oh yeah- the gaffe-prone Vice President Joe Biden totally dropped the F-word on national television at the President's signing of the new health care bill. Lol.

Oblivious of the open mic in front of them, Joe Biden shook the President's hand and whispered (not very quietly) into his ear "this is a big *F-bomb* -ing deal." Here's the "Joe Biden F-Bomb video..."



No grand, eloquent, or flowery speech here. Nothing like "One small step for man..." just a crass "this is a big fucking deal!" How emblematic of the corrupt, classless, gutter politics dominating the White House today.

The vulgar language is a fitting capstone to the vulgarization of America's parliamentary and democratic processes for the sake of unwanted Federal price-fixing and the sweeping consolidation of an already unchecked, monopolistic health insurance cartel.

What Joe Biden really meant to say when he dropped the F-bomb was "**** you, America!" That was the essence of the Democrats' message and attitude in passing this health "reform" legislation.

And in addition to the Biden F-bomb video above, the following is a video list of previous Joe Biden gaffes:

The Health Care Fight Is NOT Over: 5 Things You Can Still Do

At least for me, there can be little doubt that passage of the new health care reconciliation bill this weekend was a major loss for libertarians, the ailing American economy, the old and sick, the young and healthy, small business owners, America's struggling middle and lower classes, and yes- even the uninsured (who will now have to go through the government to get to the care they need- not really much of an improvement).

But the battle is not over. There are still five things you can do:

1. Tell your Representatives how you feel

You courageously and tirelessly held off this assault on our freedom, prosperity, and Constitution for a year. Now that the bill has passed, the Democrats who were responsible for this health care travesty are counting on you to lose interest and move on. Don't give them what they want. Make sure they keep paying the price for the dishonorable thing they did this weekend.

Find your representatives' contact information with this easy-to-use resource from Campaign for Liberty. Be sure to call them. A phone call gets their attention much better than an e-mail. It ties up their office line and their personnel. It uses their resources and makes your presence felt.

If your Congressman or Senator voted for the health care "reform" be sure to tell them you disapprove and will be campaigning against them hard this November. If they voted against it, call to tell them you support their vote and hope they will continue to support market-based reforms to improve health care. If you don't know how they voted, just ask.

2. Donate to liberty candidates

Put some serious pressure on Nancy Pelosi by dropping some money on John Dennis' campaign to defeat her this November. (He has Ron Paul's endorsement, btw) Whether Dennis wins or not, he's doing good work by making her sweat a little. His campaign helps to tie up her resources, use up her money, and waste her time. Any time she spends campaigning in her district is less time she spends making trouble for us in Washington.

Also give to the campaigns of other TRUE patriots who believe in the Constitution, individual liberty, and limited government. Some great ones include Rand Paul, Peter Schiff, RJ Harris, and BJ Lawson. You don't have to live in their districts to give to them. Make sure that the libertarian Republican wins your state or district's GOP primary. Since Republicans will be winning like crazy this November, we have to make sure the right ones will be winning- not RINOs who will vote to expand government.

3. Ask your state representatives to nullify

The health care reconciliation bill that passed this weekend was unconstitutional. Period. When the Federal government oversteps its Constitutional limits, the sovereign states have the responsibility to nullify- to say that the law is unconstitutional and will not be enacted in their state. The Federal government was formed by the states according to the provisions of the Constitution, so it is up to them to determine whether its laws are constitutional or not.

Many state legislatures are already considering legislation to nullify Congress' unconstitutional health care "reform." Find out if yours is and call your state representatives to tell them to support it. If not, tell your representatives to sponsor a bill to do so. As a model, they can use the short, simple bill that my own state senator is sponsoring here in Tennessee: H.B. 3433, which says:

The power to require or regulate a person’s choice in the mode of securing health care services, or to impose a penalty related thereto, is not found in the Constitution of the United States of America, and is therefore a power reserved to the people pursuant to the Ninth Amendment, and to the several states pursuant to the Tenth Amendment. This state hereby exercises its sovereign power to declare the public policy of this state regarding the right of all persons residing in this state in choosing the mode of securing health care services.

Yes we can, patriots! Yes we can!

4. Brace for more train wreck legislation

Now that they've managed to pass this monstrosity of a health care bill without America's approval, using under-handed tactics, secret meetings, corrupt dealings, and parliamentary tricks, the Democrats in Congress will be emboldened to push all kinds of other legislation on us that we don't want.

To keep this from happening we need to stay focused, engaged, and vigilant. Cap and trade legislation and other radical intrusions into our lives are right on the horizon. Now is not the time to rest or think the battle is over. The enemies of liberty sure won't be resting.

5. Push for a repeal

The day after the Democrats' health care bill passed, the Internet was abuzz with conservative commentators calling for a repeal. I think that's a fantastic idea. Some of the provisions of "ObamaCare" won't even go into effect for a few years, so we have time. This is not the end of the world. The legislation was wildly unpopular and we can reverse it with a Republican Congress and White House in 2013.

The only way we can get that to happen in the meantime, is to gain credibility by supporting the nomination and election of true fiscal conservatives and civil libertarians in the Republican Party. We can't keep renominating and reelecting people with a record of ignoring fiscal sanity, Constitutional rule-of-law, and basic individual rights. While making electoral progress in this way, we also need to offer fresh solutions to the many problems that weren't solved by the Democrats' health bill this weekend.

Here's just one.

The Democrats' Reconciliation Hypocrisy



Watching the health care debacle unfold, I was of course, infuriated to see the hypocrisy of the Democrats on the issue of reconciliation, which they lambasted as undemocratic, dangerous, and wrong when George W. Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress threatened to use this "nuclear option" in 2005.

Every single one of the Democrats' leaders who are advocating the (mis)use of reconciliation today, were among its fiercest critics not very long ago. Indeed, Joe Biden literally says in the video above that he prays that the Democrats won't be so foolhardy as to use reconciliation when they regain power. Now he's part of administration that is doing the very thing he and then-Senator Obama so vehemently opposed.

But most Republicans watching this had better take something more away from it than their disdain for Democratic hypocrisy. You see, the video above shows just how responsible the Republican Party is for the problems Americans face today. By pushing the limits of the parliamentary process into the gutter during their tenure, the Republicans set the stage and precedent for what the Democrats did this week.

Think the Democrats are running up the budget deficit? "Where were you when the Republicans were in power?" any Democrat can now ask. Angry about health care reform getting rammed down your throat? "The Republicans started it," any Democrat can correctly respond. The Republicans- who claim to be defenders of liberty, sound fiscal policy, and the Constitution- spent eight years destroying these things, and now have no rebuttal, no credibility, and no ground to stand on.

Indeed the impotence of the Republican Party's response to the Democrats' assault is only a symptom of their impotent and hollow governance for eight years under Bush, which was itself only a symptom- a symptom of the impotence and apathy of the GOP's grassroots members. Hopefully recent events such as the unprecedented march of the state on our freedoms, as well as the inspiring political movement that has coalesced around the person of Congressman Ron Paul, will be enough to change grassroots Republicans forever.

If they have the courage, principle, and wherewithal to change the face of their party into something more principled- and yes, even more libertarian- if grassroots Republicans are able to bring Republican practice in line with Republican principles, then finally, things might change for the better. If this happens, nothing will be able to stop the march of freedom.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"Learn About Liberty" Testimonials

I am thrilled to have received my first donation and a couple brief testimonials for my new e-book...

"Learn About Liberty"

Here is what some people are saying:

"Nice work. The length was perfect, and the story was clear and concise. I'm not much of a history buff, so I enjoyed learning about libertarian roots dating back to even ancient (Sumerian) times." -A reader

"A very worthy and fascinating read." -C.S.Burks (source)

So if you haven't already, I highly recommend that you give the book a read. If you want to write a short book review or testimonial for Learn About Liberty, e-mail me so I know about it, and I'll include you in the next round-up (with link love to your website or Twitter account).

Rand Paul Moneybomb Raises Over $125,000 In First 12 Hours


On today's March 23rd "Give Me Liberty" money bomb (a single day of massive online donations), U.S. Senate hopeful Rand Paul has already raised over $125,000 towards his victory in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, with over twelve hours to go.

Past money bombs indicate that he will raise even more in the second half of the day. Check back here for updates.

UPDATE: with just four hours left to go, Rand Paul has raised $220,000. Let's push him all the way to $300,000 by midnight!

In the meantime, the following is a message from Rand Paul:

Dear friend,

Today is the big day. It's your chance to show the establishment once and for all that we're here to take our government back!

As I've traveled around Kentucky the last few weeks, I'm sensing an energy that is growing. It started with the Tea Parties. It's been fueled by the continued of of control spending and lust for power of our elected officials.

The beginning of the end for out of control government is this race. Here in Kentucky, we will take that message and bring it to Washington.

As noted in Politico magazine last week, "A win by Paul...would represent the first true electoral success of the Tea Party movement." I'm humbled to think that could be true. And I will work every day from now til November to make sure it's true.

But first, I need YOUR help.

My establishment opponent isn't running to change Washington, he's running to be part of Washington. He's not running to end bailouts, he's running with campaign cash FROM recipients of bailouts.

The difference couldn't be more clear. And I hope to make that difference even more clear in the next few weeks.

If our fight for Term Limits, Balanced budgets, and end to earmarks, a drastic reduction in government power and the end of career politicians is to succeed, I need you to dig deep today.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars are flowing into my opponents campaign coffers from Washington DC insiders.

You can help me fight back.

If you can help me raise $300,000 today, Tuesday March 23rd in our "Give Me Liberty" money bomb, I'm confident we will have the resources to fight back over the next few weeks and help keep our momentum going.

So please, click HERE to pledge today.

Or go to http://www.randpaul2010.com/ to donate.

In Liberty,

Rand Paul

P.S. You can view a video made to promote the Money Bomb HERE.

90 Seconds To Government Run Healthcare

This short video explains how totally messed up the whole process was for getting this health care reconciliation bill passed. In the end no one will be able to say that Americans wanted this or that Congress was proud of it. Sad.



Hat tip: Young Americans for Liberty

Monday, March 22, 2010

Obama Fiddles While America Burns

(Credit: AP)

During the raging health care debate yesterday, a CBS News White House correspondent asked what, exactly, President Obama was watching. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs actually replied, "Mostly basketball."

Seriously. This is CBS- not The Onion. What a jerk.


Totally reminds me of how inappropriately cavalier Bush was:



The President will also sign the new health care bill this Tuesday, breaking yet again, his promise to maintain transparency by posting all non-emergency legislation to WhiteHouse.gov for five business days before signing it.

He has shamelessly broken this easy-to-keep promise without even blushing since the first days of his administration. I have as yet heard no explanation, no apology, not even an attempt to defend Mr. Obama's blatant lie.

Thanks for nothing, Mr. President. Really classy.

"What Does the Health Care Bill Mean to Me?" A Healthcare Bill Summary

The health care reform passed this weekend with a reconciliation vote of 220 to 211. Support for the bill was strictly party line, with 220 Democratic votes. Opposition to the bill was bipartisan, with all 178 Republicans and 33 Democrats opposing the bill's passage. (source: House Clerk)

In response to the passage of H.R. 4872, the "Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010," (full text here) the Internet is abuzz with questions like "What does the health care bill mean to me?" which is a trending topic on Google, along with "new health care bill pros and cons," "healthcare bill summary," and "obama health care plan explained."

Oh now you're interested? You couldn't have bothered to search for these questions before the bill passed, and determine your opinion in time to make a difference in its passage? Hmm? Okay. Whatever. At least you're paying attention now.

Let's break it down:

What does the health care bill mean to me?

Price Fixing: the Democrats' health care plan adds all kinds of Federal price and quantity controls to a health care market that is already rife with price and quantity distortions. Indeed, the main problem with health care is the myriad price distortions that inflate costs and quantity distortions that restrict access. So what does that mean to you? That the new health care bill takes your existing problems with the health care industry and only makes them worse. Even one of President Obama's own economic advisers acknowledges what most economists believe: "Price and exchange controls inevitably create harmful economic distortions. Both the distortions and the economic damage get worse with time."

Rationing: Yes- you better believe it! The truth is that rationing always occurs in any market. The basic problem of economics is that there are only limited resources to satisfy our unlimited wants. Prices are the the most rational rationing mechanism. If we dispense with those, then we have to use another- the judgment of bureaucrats and legislators backed by the force of government. Fixing prices necessarily affects quantity. Artificially forcing them down as the new health care bill attempts to do restricts quantity and creates shortages. If you don't know how to read the following micro-economic graph, here's a short primer.


Believe it or not, the new bill simply means less, not more access for you. Get ready for longer lines, worse waiting lists, and more rationed care. Search the text of the bill... the words "eligibility" or "eligible" appear 56 times. Some version of the word "qualify" appears 20 times. Contrast this with the word "privacy," which appears exactly zero times in the bill. Or "doctor," or "freedom," or "Constitution," which are all likewise absent.

More taxes: The word tax appears in the new health care bill 125 times. Even Democrats admit that this bill spends one trillion dollars of your money. One trillion! At a time when we have already spent trillions and trillions more dollars that we just don't have. What an incredibly stupid, short-sighted, irresponsible, economically suicidal thing to do to the American people! And in the middle of a recession of all times to do it! The sad thing is that the price tag will be inevitably higher as history tells us. Bills always costs more than Congress projects. Cato's Michael F. Cannon explains why the price tag for this new health care bill will really be three trillion dollars.

A longer recession: How can Americans afford a three trillion dollar hit to our economy? How does it create value for us to destroy three trillions dollars worth of productive capital by misallocating it and using it to create more distortions in an already distorted system? The poor and underprivileged who this bill is purported to help, will suffer the most under its fiscal and monetary burdens. Higher taxes to pay for this Federal power grab will hurt job growth and take even more income from working class Americans.

As the Treasury fuels this spending by issuing more bonds (i.e. taking out loans from lenders) it will continue to hog an already crowded credit market, pushing out businesses and hurting growth- again killing jobs. The Fed will then finance most of this debt, buying up Treasury bonds with printed money. As that money circulates in an already inflated monetary base, prices will go up. America's poor who already barely have enough to pay for electricity, gas, and groceries will be broken by the rise in prices of the things they need to live.

Obama had the audacity to call this the American dream.

Less Choice: Your choices will be restricted in the new health care system. The word "choice" appears only twice in the new health care bill. It still includes the individual mandate, which requires that Americans purchase health insurance or pay a Federal penalty. Can you believe that? A bill which allegedly sticks it to the health insurance companies delivers your captive dollars to them whether you want to pay for their services or not. If you choose to purchase more coverage than the Federal government thinks you need, you will also incur a penalty. If you are a small business owner with more than thirty employees, and you choose not to provide health insurance, you will also have to pay a Federal penalty.

How on earth does Nancy Pelosi have the gall then to stand in front of America and say that this bill helps disentangle health insurance from employers? How can she say it's good for small businesses when it adds just one more burden to their already over-burdened, over-taxed budgets? How can she say its good for jobs when it will destroy the jobs of every worker whose marginal profitability to the business is less than the added cost of providing them health insurance? This bill restricts America's already restricted health care choices and worsens its already staggering problems.


Moving forward


By the way, we don't just complain here at THL, we offer real, practical, non-partisan solutions that will help make life better for Americans. Read how we can strip the health insurance companies of their monopolistic power in one easy step. This is a very simple, but revolutionary solution, and it's never too late to get our Congress to make this happen.

John Boehner's Impassioned Speech On The House Floor: "Hell No You Can't!"


If only Republicans would act this way all the time, especially when they are in power. My hat goes off to you, Republican Party, for holding your ground on this most crucial of issues.

I must say though, that you didn't have enough votes to block the Federal health care takeover because you lost your credibility over the last several years of voting for Federal expansion into other areas of our lives (including health care).

You didn't lose this battle yesterday- you lost it over several years of behaving differently than you did last night. Learn the lesson. Fight for freedom. When you gain control of the House this Fall, be the party of limited government that you say you are.

Don't forget how you felt and how you acted on March 21, 2010. That is the Republican Party I would like to see over the next decade.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

My First E-Book, "Learn About Liberty" Is Available Now- For Free!

I am hereby releasing my very first libertarian e-book, which is entitled: "Learn About Liberty," and I am proud to announce that it is absolutely free! Just click the link above or the image below to start reading it right here on THL. You don't even have to bother with PDFs or Word Documents.



While the book is available absolutely free of charge, your voluntarily payment for whatever value you get out of reading it is encouraged and welcome!

(More details on the concluding page of the book.)

Also please help me spread the word about it and promote it to the many people out there who are interested in learning about libertarianism. My hope is that this will be a powerful educational tool and resource for years to come, which is one reason I wanted to make it available on my website to anyone who wants to read it.

In the meantime, I will be working on my next e-book, which I am very excited about! Hopefully I will be ready to take orders for it by the end of this Spring. Even bigger than that- I am also working on a larger book that I hope to be pitching to agents and major publishers by mid-Summer. The working title for it is Bush 2.0.

While I'm doing all this work, I am also committed to keeping you up to date with solid libertarian news and commentary in the regular blog updates here at The Humble Libertarian. This is why your contributions and help are most welcome and deeply appreciated. Your donations buy me the time to advocate tirelessly and creatively for liberty.

Yours Truly,
Wes Messamore

"Peace Blimp" Radio Show Tonight: Interviewing

Tonight we are going to be doing something different than usual. Instead of my typical weekly radio program, I will be hosting during my usual time slot from 7 - 9 pm CST for the Peace Blimp radio marathon, by Trevor Lyman- who brought you the Ron Paul blimp during his 2007-08 campaign (details here):

Thank you for joining us this March 20th for the Peace Blimp Radio Marathon. Together we're marking the 7th anniversary of the Iraq war as the beginning of it's end. A special thanks goes out to all of our guests for their dedication to the cause of ending the U.S. wars of aggression and to those behind the scenes making this event happen.

I'll be interviewing four really cool guests tonight:

7 - 7:30 pm CST - Six-term U.S. Congresswoman and 2008 Green Party Presidential Candidate, Cynthia McKinney.

7:30 - 8 pm CST - Senior Vice President of Campaign for Liberty, Jesse Benton.

8 - 8:30 pm CST - The host of Antiwar Radio for KAOS Radio 95.9 FM in Austin, Texas, KUCR 88.3 FM in Riverside, California and Antiwar.com, where he is also assistant editor, Scott Horton.

8:30 - 9 pm CST -
Marketing Director for LOLA and Iraq war veteran, Tracey Harmon.

To listen to any of the other great interviews happening throughout the day or to my segment later tonight, just visit PeaceBlimp.com and the audio will start streaming live. If you want to take the message of peace to the skies, support Peace Blimp by donating here.

No Handle Bars Video, A Song by: Flobots



No Handle Bars meaning
: This is one of the greatest anti-war, anti-police state, anti-military-industrial-complex songs ever written. It is also an ode to the power and potential of our world's young people today, a warning that we are balanced on a razor's edge between a future of limitless human flourishing and creativity, and a parallel future of war and destruction to rival even the darkest moments of the last century.

Flobots founder Jamie Laurie stated:

"The song is about the idea that we have so much incredible potential as human beings to be destructive or to be creative. And it's tragic to me that the appetite for military innovation is endless, but when it comes to taking on a project like ending world hunger, it's seen as outlandish. It's not treated with the same seriousness...

The lyrics came to me as I was riding a bike home from work with my hands in the air — I had just learned how to do it — and I felt triumphant, but at the same time, I knew there were people at that moment who were being bombed by our own country. And I thought that was incredibly powerful. We have these little moments of creativity, these bursts of innovation, and every time that happens, that innovation is used to oppress and destroy people. So it struck me as beautiful and tragic at the same time."

Rock on, Flobots! Rock on! Here's a tip of my hat for writing the No Handlebars song, one of the most artful expressions of a libertarian idea that I have ever had the joy of experiencing.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Rand Paul IS What Scott Brown Promised


From Liberty Maven:

The Tea Party folks were jumping for joy the day after Scott Brown won the special election in Massachusetts. Brown’s victory was all about stopping the Democrats from passing health reform and little else. His subsequent vote, incidentally his very first vote, supporting Obama’s “stimulus 2″ jobs bill reinforced this reality amongst some of his now formerly devoted supporters.

Rand Paul is everything the Tea Partiers wanted in Scott Brown and more. He is their Reagan fantasy becoming reality. Only they don’t appear to completely realize it yet. Sarah Palin’s endorsement was huge, but the jury is still out on whether Palin is more than just a conservative “Barbie” to Scott Brown’s “Ken”.

Dropping the campaign sweat from Rand Paul’s brow on truly limited government litmus paper reveals two names that would make almost every conservative smile: Goldwater and Reagan. These two icons are at the very root of Rand Paul’s philosophy of governance.

Read the rest here.

That's the Spirit!


Just got this text a little earlier today from an old high school friend of mine:

I've spent my entire morning sending Jim Cooper e-mails on behalf of me, my mother and my brother urging him to vote no on health care.

That's the spirit. Kill that bill!

Rand Paul Money Bomb This March 23


What an excellent video! Please share this.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why Don't Christians Care?

Power Line blog takes Christians to task for their overwhelming silence on the issue of violent religious persecution against their fellow Christians around the world. While I may not agree with all of their analysis, I am glad they asked the question:

In a number of places around the world, it is open season on Christians. We read of Christians burned out of their homes and slaughtered in Pakistan. Most recently, at least 500 Christians were murdered in Nigeria... So where is the outrage?

Not only should Christians care more, speak out more vocally on this issue, and take more action to make the world a safer place for Christians and for all persecuted minority groups, libertarians should consider religious persecution a main priority for focused activism. This is something people on all sides of the political debate can come together to accomplish.

We can all come together and oppose the intolerant, vicious behavior of the Chinese government toward Tibet, and its spiritual and temporal leader, the Dalai Lama; the violent persecution of Christians around the world for their beliefs; and the resurgent antisemitism (that is, hatred for all Semite people, Jew and Muslim alike) that we are seeing in secular Europe of late.

For libertarians, religious freedom has traditionally been a major priority. It inspired many of the original American colonists to leave Europe and start a new society. It was a primary talking point of the great libertarian philosopher, John Locke. Let's bring this issue back to the forefront. Libertarians of all people, should defend religious liberty zealously.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ron Paul to You: Help Keep Rand On TV


From Congressman Ron Paul to patriots everywhere:

-------------

Dear Friend,

My son Rand is running a great campaign in Kentucky. Through hard work and your support, he is winning! We have a real chance to send the most principled, limited government leader to the United States Senate in a generation.

But now, he needs you more than ever.

The big government establishment has turned on their fundraising machine to try and defeat Rand. According to media reports, Rand's challenger has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past several weeks. The sources? Disgusting! PAC's, special interests and the banking industry - all of whom are opening up their wallets for Rand's opponent.

Remember when AIG took billions of taxpayer bailout dollars not once, but twice? Well, I have it on good information that AIG's chief lobbyist just held a high dollar, big money fundraiser for Rand's rival. I am sure you can figure out why.

Rand has shrewdly purchased all the television airtime he needs from mid-April through his May 18th Primary. The commercials are produced, the voter data is being assembled and a tremendous turnout machine is being put in place.

Rand's career politician opponent is lashing out - he has turned on an attack machine of vicious distortions and outright lies. Rand is working hard to knock them back and fight for our principles.

But, Rand does not have enough money to stay on TV and fight off the establishments smear tactics over the next few weeks. Unless he gets a substantial infusion of cash, he will not be able to purchase airtime from March 24 through mid April. And with all of his opponent's lies and fear mongering, he needs your help to stay on Kentucky statewide television during this critical time.

On Tuesday, March 23, the grassroots have organized a Money Bomb for Rand. If we have a successful day, Rand will be able to purchase the airtime he needs for the next few weeks and fund the last several mail pieces he will need down the stretch. You can donate directly at Rand's website, www.RandPaul2010.com.

We need you more than ever. I dearly hope I can count on your support. We have a tremendous opportunity, and if we come together on March 23, I know we can win.

In Liberty,
Ron Paul

My First E-Book Coming Soon!

© 2010 W. E. Messamore, The Humble Libertarian, All Rights Reserved

The image above is a sneak peek at my very first e-book, "Learn About Liberty." I will be making it available here at The Humble Libertarian as early as tomorrow, or by the end of the week at the latest.

People are more interested now than ever before in the philosophy of libertarianism, so I thought it was amiss not to have a general overview of some kind available from THL. I am presently hard at work putting the finishing touches on it and I could really use all your help in promoting Learn About Liberty once it's released.

If this goes over well, I'll be releasing a second e-book sometime this Spring- one that I'm very, very excited about. In the meantime, I am still working on a much more in-depth project, a book entitled Bush 2.0 that I hope to start promoting to major publishers by the Summer.

The pen is mightier than the sword. A revolution in government will only occur as the result of a revolution in the minds and hearts of its people, which must be driven by the effective communication of ideas. It is this ideological revolution that I am hard at work to affect with my writing. The Cato Institute quotes Mr. Adams, who says it all too well:

The American Revolution is all too often confused with the War for Independence. As John Adams noted in a letter of 1815 to Thomas Jefferson, "What do we mean by the Revolution? The war? That was no part of the Revolution; it was only an effect and consequence of it. The Revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected, from 1760 to 1775, in the course of fifteen years before a drop of blood was drawn at Lexington. The records of thirteen legislatures, the pamphlets, newspapers in all the colonies, ought to be consulted during that period to ascertain the steps by which the public opinion was enlightened and informed concerning the authority of Parliament over the colonies."

Thank you so much for supporting The Humble Libertarian's mission to enlighten and inform the American people about the proper nature and role of government in a civil society.