Thursday, April 29, 2010

New York's Mandatory Organ Donor Bill Is An Affront to Liberty


By Daryl Luna, Editor at:
*In Defense of the Constitution*


An alarming movement is afoot in New York. Already New Yorkers are told what they can eat and how they can defend themselves (among other things). Now they may lose total control of their bodies. Legislation is being proposed that will create mandatory "organ donor" status for all residents of the Empire State.

On the surface, this may not seem like a big deal. One may ask , "What's wrong with everyone being an organ donor?" But the issue is more than one of organ donor status; the mandatory nature of the legislation is what makes this bill so appalling.

The decision to donate part of one's body is a personal one in which the government has no legitimate role. Aside from violating the decisions regarding one's own body, this law could easily violate religious liberty. A number of religions and religious sects have adherents who refuse to separate organs from the body based on religious conviction.

Agree with them or not, we should all be concerned when religious liberty is at stake. Indeed, this continent has been purposed for such liberty since the landing of the Pilgrims. So as a CBS article notes, "Legal experts said if the law is passed, it will likely face challenges in court from family members or some religious groups."

Another concern beyond that of basic personal liberty is one of ethics. There is no problem with assisting the ill through the donation of organs, but there is a possible ethical dilemma in a "blank check" approach to how organs are used.

With expanding experimental research and the changing cultural tides, questionable usage of one's organs is a real and prevalent concern. If one cannot be guaranteed their organs will be ethically used, the problems with the New York legislation multiplies. Truly, we must protect freedom of conscience.

The issue at hand in New York is not one of organ donation; rather, it is a battle over personal liberty. It is the latest front in a battle over individuals and their unalienable property rights.

If the state wants to make it easier for people to sign up as organ donors, educate citizens on the matter, or do something similar, that is completely permissible. But if they want to violate the personal decisions, religious liberty, or ethical concerns of its citizens, this should be fought against at every turn.

America is Bankrupt!



An excellent video about our national debt and how to solve it. Hat tip to Young Americans for Liberty for an excellent find. About the video:

"According to a recent poll, 74 percent of likely voters are extremely or very concerned about the current level of government spending. And 58 percent think the level of spending is unsustainable.

Is the public right? Is Washington bankrupting America? Some facts from the video:

Spending per household has risen over 40 percent in the last 10 years and is set to do so again in the next 10 pushing debt (and interest on the debt) to unprecedented levels. But that's just a result of PAST spending...

Our government owes $106 trillion in FUTURE spending commitments - that cannot be paid for.

We can solve it, but politicians will have to make tough choices. Increasing taxes can't do the trick ($106 trillion is equivalent to taking all of the taxable income from every American nine times over), nor is it fair to saddle taxpayers with a problem created by government irresponsibility.

We need real spending reform. Merely returning to the spending per household levels of the 1990s would balance the budget in three years.

Reform can only be achieved if the public is informed and engaged. You can start by doing the following:

(1) Share this video with at least 5 friends, family and coworkers

(2) If you haven't already, sign up to be the first to receive our next videos at our website BankruptingAmerica.org"


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Would You Lock Me In A Cage?

This is the question libertarians need to start asking people as we try to move them in a libertarian direction and this is the question everyone needs to keep in mind when they consider their support for or opposition to government policies.

"I don't think marijuana should be legal- it's unsafe and a gateway drug," a person may opine. "Oh really?" the libertarian should respond, "Well if I was using it alone in my own house, without threatening or disturbing anybody, would you lock me in a cage for it?"

This is where you should really press them: "No really. Would you lock me in a cage? Do you think you have a legitimate right to personally and forcefully grab me, put handcuffs on me, and lock me up in a cage?"

"Oh no?" you should rebut when they give the predictable response or some variant of it, "Not you personally, but for the government, it's different? How? Why? Governments are constituted of individual people, so they do not and can not have any powers that those people don't have themselves. In other words, you can not delegate to a larger group of people a prerogative that you don't have yourself. So if you can't rightfully lock me up for peacefully making a decision about my own body, neither can government."

This is a conversation libertarians had better start having with people about every political issue under the sun until they're blue in the face, and then repeat the conversation some more. This is how we will win. This is how we will show the world the monstrosity of welfare statism, warfare statism, regulatory statism, and police statism.

Libertarians must regain the moral high ground that is always claimed by the statists and to do this we must show the violence inherent in statism. Statism is not moral, it's not charming, it's not charitable, and it's not nice. Statist policies in the end, resort to violent force- to the threat of locking a human being up in a cage if they don't agree.

Ayn Rand made this connection very forcefully, saying that we must not practice benevolence at the point of a gun, and that the final argument of the statist is a gun. She was right. But when you use her approach in conversation, many people will be confused, and say, "Who's talking about guns? No one will point a gun at you for not paying your taxes."

But you know what they will do? They'll harass and threaten you, and finally they'll haul you off to prison. So we have to use the cage as symbol for the state's violence, because it's easier for people to make this connection, than with the gun. We must ask people this: "I understand that you believe in alms giving to take care of the less fortunate- I do too. But if someone made a choice you personally disagreed with and didn't give alms to the poor, would you lock her in a cage for it?"

If we press people long enough, most of them (unless they are dimwitted, truly malignant, or worst of all, moral cowards) will agree that we cannot just go around locking people in cages for disagreeing with our personal moral views about how to treat one's body or use one's finances. But that's what our government does and threatens to do all the time. That's how government operates.

Is it ever okay then, to lock someone in a cage? Sure. This guy for instance. John Gardner who raped and murdered two teenage girls in San Diego. We can lock someone like that in a cage. That's what government exists to do. It exists to use force against those who initiate its use.

It exists to protect the peaceful from aggression. But it should never use its cages or its guns on the peaceful in order to engineer a better society or inculcate some politician's view of morality. That would be an act of aggression in itself, and contradictory to the very purpose of government.

So next time you get in a discussion about a political issue and want to move the person in a more libertarian direction (or even simply get them to start asking the most pertinent question about any government policy), ask them- "Would you lock me in a cage for this?"

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/abardwell/ / CC BY-SA 2.0

Cato Report on Libertarian-led Independent Shift


By Daryl Luna, Editor at:
*In Defense of the Constitution*


The Cato Institute has an interesting piece on the libertarian-influenced change that may be coming to the political landscape:

Libertarians Lead the Independent Shift from Obama

The report's authors are quick to point out that many of the independent votes swinging away from the Obama Administration and the Democratically-controlled Congress belong to libertarians who abandoned support for Republicans, disillusioned by the GOP's big government ways, but are now standing against the Obama team for the same reasons.

After pointing to evidence of an emerging libertarian force for change, the authors conclude:

'Libertarians are emerging as a force within U.S. politics. While political leaders such as Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee and media stars like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are icons to a "conservative base," it is not yet clear what political leaders might represent these libertarian voters.
But with candidates working to capitalize on voter angst in the 2010 midterms, there are sure to be many politicians angling to lead this libertarian vote.
The 1994 GOP sweep of congressional elections was dubbed the "Republican Revolution."

If Republicans make big gains in 2010 with libertarian votes, we could be hearing about a "libertarian revolution."'

The Cato Institute
also poses this question: "So, if many of these centrist, independent voters are indeed libertarians, why aren't libertarians better recognized?"

The authors wisely observe: 1. The word "libertarian" is still unfamiliar — even to many who hold "fiscally conservative, socially liberal" views. So pollsters rarely use it. 2. Libertarian voters have traditionally been less likely to organize.

These are truly valuable insights.

Read the whole article here.

Sixth Sense Technology by: Pranav Mistry - Entrepreneurship In Action



Video: This is possibly the future of the Internet and computing- they will become so integrated into the physical world around us so as to disappear into ubiquity. An excellent example of innovation, entrepreneurship, and free markets in action. Good for you, Pranav Mistry!

Hat tip to THL forum user, Prismatic Sphere for suggesting this on the THL message forum.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Legalizing Marijuana More Popular Than Obama, Health Reform, and the War on Terror

The most recent article at my CAIVN column:

"You read that right. Legalizing marijuana for recreational use by adults has more widespread support than President Obama's administration. Pot legalization is also more popular than the recent health care bill that passed in Congress and has higher approval ratings than our handling of the Global War on Terror...

On page four of AP/CNBC's poll report, respondents were asked if they thought the U.S. should treat marijuana and alcohol similarly. 44% thought that marijuana shouldn't be treated any differently than alcohol, while another 12% even wanted less strict rules for marijuana than for alcohol- making a whopping 56% in favor of pot legalization."

Read the whole thing here.

Video: Rand Paul, Trey Grayson Debate


Video of U.S. Senate Candidate Rand Paul debating his Republican Primary opponent, Trey Grayson in Kentucky. We'll let you decide who won this argument. Visit Rand Paul's website here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Unveiling LibertarianRepublican.net

Folks. I've done it again. I've redesigned a blogger's website who was working hard and doing a great job, but having trouble growing because his blog needed improvements. You can now visit him at LibertarianRepublican.net.

And if that sounds like you, feel free to contact me about my services and rates for web page redesign and optimization. I've been on quite a journey since optimizing my very first blog: Left Coast Rebel.

Here's what I wrote at LibertarianRepublican.net this morning:

This is Wes Messamore writing again, and I am thrilled to unveil LibertarianRepublican.net- the second generation to Eric Dondero's classic website. Sleek, smooth, clean, professional, and easy to navigate, with your help LibertarianRepublican.net is well-positioned to take the conservative, libertarian-leaning, and overall-political blogosphere by storm!

Eric and the team here are committed to providing you with ever-expanding, ever-improving, cutting-edge independent journalism, and he decided it was about time to seamlessly transition into a website that was up to the task.

Promote

Please help us promote the new site and share LibertarianRepublican.net with just one or two friends or co-workers- people you know will be interested in the information this site has to offer. If you're a blogger, please grab a badge from the sidebar to the right and place it on your page. It doesn't have to be permanent, just one week or even a couple days would help our cause out incredibly much!

Subscribe

Last of all, if you haven't already, please put your e-mail address in the field above and to the right, then hit "Subscribe." This will deliver LibertarianRepublican.net straight to your inbox every evening with summaries and links to all the articles from that day.

Are you willing to stand with Eric?

If every person reading this takes just one of the actions above, it will help LibertarianRepublican.net spread virally! So pick your favorite one and go for it! Shoot out a quick email to a couple friends, grab a badge for your blog for just a week, or subscribe to Eric's e-mail updates.

Thanks so very much!
Wes Messamore
Web Developer, brander, blogging consultant

PS: I've been talking with Eric, and he has some extremely great content planned for today and the rest of this week, which is incredible, considering how much other work he's doing right now to advance the movement for liberty.

Libertarian Essay Contest for Students - $1000 Grand Prize! Sponsor: Students for Liberty


The Students For Liberty
Bastiat Project

“The state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else.”

As students for liberty, we are well acquainted with economic fallacies. For as long as the debate over liberty has been waged, our opponents have used unsound arguments to try to justify greater government involvement in our economic affairs.

Our generation is not the first to be confronted by these erroneous arguments. In fact, they have already been confronted and proved fallacious by Frederick Bastiat. A 19th century French political economist, Bastiat dedicated his life to proving that government by its nature possesses neither the moral authority to intervene in our economic freedom nor the practical ability to create prosperity through intervention.

Bastiat’s analysis is as relevant now as it was when he first penned the famous critiques. To defeat the economic fallacies once again, Students For Liberty is partnering with the Atlas Economic Research Foundation to introduce The Bastiat Project. The Bastiat Project has two aspects: a book for mass distribution on college campuses and an essay contest for all current students.

The Book

SFL and Atlas will be publishing a new book, The Economics of Freedom: What Your Professors Won’t Tell You. It will feature a collection of Bastiat’s best essays including such classics as “What is Seen and What is Not Seen” and “The Law”, along with contemporary essays by Nobel Laureate F.A. Hayek and Atlas Foundation Vice President Tom G. Palmer.

You can now request up to 600 of these books for mass distribution on campus this fall. They will be a great tool for spreading the arguments of liberty and will attract new members to your group.

The "Bastiat's Legacy Essay Contest"

The second part of the project is an essay contest open to any current student. Submissions will be reviewed by a panel of liberty movement leaders from the academic and public policy fields.

The topic to be addressed is: “Relate the central theme in one of Bastiat’s essays to a current public policy issue.” We will be awarding eight $100 prizes, one $200 second place prize, and one $1000 grand prize. The grand and second place prizes winners will also recieve scholarships to the 2011 International SFL Conference. The winners will be announced at the 2011 International Students For Liberty Conference in Washington, DC.

Click here to learn more and sign up for the Students For Liberty Bastiat Project today!

P.S. The deadline for the SFL Campus Coordinator Program has been extended until midnight on Friday, Apriil 30th. There will not be another extension.

If you have not applied yet, do so now here.

Scream it from the Roof Tops: ObamaCare IS RomneyCare 2.0!!



Every Republican should watch this excellent video by the Cato Institute. ObamaCare was modeled after RomneyCare in Massachusetts. A man who socialized medicine in his state should not be a potential front-runner for the GOP's nomination. In what kind of twisted world is that possible?

Hat tip: Grant Davies

Sunday, April 25, 2010

New Libertarian Message Forum Is On Fire

With dozens of new posts, two new members, and (at their suggestion) three new sub-forum categories (Art and Entertainment, Libertarian Controversies, and Libertarianism), the Libertarian message board here at THL is starting to bloom.

Visit now by clicking here, or using the "Message Forum" link at the top of the page to register and start posting. If you want to try it out before registering, you can. Registration is not required for you to participate.

The Washington-Wall Street Kabuki Dance

From Campaign for Liberty:

Roderick Long has it right when he says,

"We might compare the alliance between government and big business to the alliance between church and state in the Middle Ages. Of course it's in the interest of both parties to maintain the alliance -- but all the same, each side would like to be the dominant partner, so it's no surprise that the history of such alliances will often look like a history of conflict and antipathy, as each side struggles to get the upper hand. But this struggle must be read against a common background framework of cooperation to maintain the system of control."

Read the whole article here.

Video: Ron Paul Defends Libertarians



On Hardball with Chris Matthews, Ron Paul answers objections to libertarian ideas in a fantastic interview.

Does Ron Paul snub Sarah Palin?

Listen at the very end, 9:00 minutes into the video. Chris Matthews asks if Palin could be president "by her abilities" and Ron Paul says, "Oh sure, just look at the past history- almost anybody can become president." Matthews seems to think Paul is saying something positive about Palin, but it sounded kind of like a snub to me, albeit a carefully worded one.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Scrapped Experimental Forum, Installed A New (Traditional-Style) Forum

So that first forum I set up seems not to have generated very much interest. Judging from the feedback I've been getting, there were too many holes in the user experience, and people just wanted a traditional, threaded forum that didn't restrict you to 140 characters.

Like any good capitalist who wants to please his customers, I have responded to consumer demand and dismantled the old forum and replaced it with a more traditional one (because if my website goes under do to poor responsiveness to your needs, the government won't bail me out). And I'm actually pretty thrilled with the result!

Sorry for making you endure that first one. This second one should rock. You can simply click the "Message Forum" link above or go here now to visit the forum and start participating! This is going to be fun, because I want all of you to be able to start discussions and guide the direction of the conversation too.

See you there!

Why We Incarcerate: Four Theories of Criminal Detention

From the most recent article at my CAIVN column:

As Californians work together to reform a prison system with costs spiraling out of control, it is simply not enough to mouth tired old talking points and bromides. What we need is a very serious- almost philosophical- discussion about the role prisons should play in a society. Part of the confusion and contention over the best solutions may stem from deeper differences in belief that many Californians may not have even considered.
To use a brief illustration: Aristotle wrote that if we want to determine if a thing is good or not, we have to determine its function first, and then we can see if it carries out its function well. Because the purpose of a knife is to cut, he argues, a good knife is a knife that cuts well.
It would seem however, that in many discussions of prison reform, journalists, bloggers, and opinion columnists seem to take for granted one or another view of the prison system's purpose, without stopping to explicitly identify and defend that view. So let us review four competing (though by no means mutually exclusive) theories:

Read the whole thing here.

Video: Congressman Ron Paul Speaks Out Against Iran Sanctions


Ron Paul argues on the floor of the House that sanctions are literally an act of war- a blockade of goods and services going over a country's borders. He also reminds us of some disturbing provisions in the recent Iran sanction bill.

Hat tip: Young Americans for Liberty

Friday, April 23, 2010

Libertarian Conspiracy T-Shirts, Bumper Stickers

Get your libertarian t-shirt here!

You know you want one.

Reason Editor Nick Gillespie: Islam Needs A "Reformation"

Eric Dondero at Libertarian Republican and Reason Magazine's Nick Gillespie got to talking about the recent controversy over South Park's depiction of the prophet Muhammad, and Eric ran the story today, noting to begin with that:

South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are longtime self-proclaimed "libertarians." Indeed, Parker is actually a registered Libertarian Party member. They are friends of Reason Magazine. And they have used explicit libertarian themes in numerous episodes.

In the early 2000s, a movement was born out of their series, called "South Park Republicans." They are described as center-right Republicans, mostly suburban fans of the show, with moderate libertarian-leanings. There was even a book released by author Brian C. Anderson called "South Park Conservatives."

Death threats for depicting Muhammad

So what's the problem? South Park's creators- always looking for ways to push the limits of free speech and public dialogue (and probably just love to annoy PC sycophants for the fun of it), decided to slaughter the political correctness crowd's most very sacred cow (so to speak)- by depicting the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.

After receiving veiled death threats from an Islamic website, the South Park creators chose to censor their depiction of Muhammad when their second episode (of a two part series on Muhammad) aired on Comedy Central. You can watch the full episodes online (legally) here and here (at least you used to be able to before the controversy- right now the episodes have been frozen).

An Islamic Reformation?

Nick Gillespie, Editor of Reason Magazine was reached for comment yesterday by Libertarian Republican blogger Eric Dondero, and Gillespie said the recent death threat against South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker "demonstrates the need for an Islamic reformation is self-evident."

Gillespie also drew parallels to the recent wave of sex scandals in the Roman Catholic Church, saying that the death threats "should shame all serious Muslims the same way the pope's behavior in sexual-abuse scandals shames true Catholics."

For Gillespie's full statement on the matter, I'll let you take a look at Eric's post.

What do "left-leaning" libertarians say?

I just know Eric is dying to hear what we "lefty" libertarians think about this (a term he uses to distinguish libertarians who don't think Islam is the biggest threat to our lives, liberties, or property- which I certainly don't; I think the U.S. federal government is).

All I have to say is this: remember how just one or two Tea Partiers had racist signs and the media then painted us all as racists and showed those signs everywhere, anytime they covered news related to the Tea Party? Remember how annoying and unfair that was?

Not all Muslims, not even a majority of Muslims want to kill Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Your average Muslim, walking around Turkey right now is thinking about his family, his job, and other seemingly mundane things, not: "Oh boy, oh boy, I hope someone kills that vile Trey Parker!"

Pop Up Video Health Care


Remember pop up video? What if someone took the same format and used it on a presidential speech? Hilariousness ensues! ...not to mention, good political commentary. Hat tip: YAL

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hamblen vs United States - A Case Brief

Published with permission of Richard Hamblen:

Brief Introduction to
Hamblen vs United States
(09-9990)

Richard A. Hamblen was a commissioned officer in the state militia of Tennessee, the Tennessee State Guard, and battalion commander of the 201st Military Police Battalion. He committed an act of civil disobedience by defying the National Firearms Act of 1934 and building for his use, and the use of the soldiers in his command, firearms that are, in the words of the United States Supreme Court, in United States vs Miller, “part of the ordinary military equipment... of the type in common use at the time, which could reasonably contribute to the common defense”.

Hamblen was tried and convicted in 2006 for violating the NFA of 1934 and the 922(o) laws. He served 13 months in federal prison, and 24 months of probation. His case was appealed to the Supreme Court at the exact same time as Heller vs DC. Certiorari was denied without comment. In December of 2008, Hamblen filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, in which US District Court Judge Todd Campbell said Hamblen “made a substantial showing of the denial of his constitutional rights as regards his Second Amendment claim”. The case is now once again before the Supreme Court.

Question presented to the Court:
“Whether the Second Amendment Guarantees Members Of A Legitimate State Authorized Militia The Right To Keep And Bear Arms Supplied by Themselves Of The Kind In Common Use By The Military At The Time”

Hamblen's argument is this:

1. Hamblen's case is the first Second Amendment case to be presented to the Court involving an actual member of a statutorily created state militia, and should be accepted for this reason.

2. The Heller decision contradicts the Court's earlier ruling in Miller by selectively quoting from Miller. Heller claims that, according to Miller, the Second Amendment protects only those arms which are “in common use at the time”. The actual quote is “part of the ordinary military equipment of the type in common use at the time, which could reasonably contribute to the common defense”. Only the Supreme Court can resolve the conflict between the two cases.

3. Heller gets the facts of Miller wrong. Heller states that Miller and his codefendant appealed their conviction for violating the NFA of 1934. In truth, it was the government appealing the dismissal of the charges against the two. The surviving defendant in Miller was not even represented in the Supreme Court. The Court nevertheless did not accept the prosecution's argument, but said, rather, in the “absence of any evidence” in the trial record that the weapon in question was “part of the ordinary military equipment, of the type in common use at the time, which could reasonably contribute to the common defense”, they could not say the Second Amendment protected it and the case was remanded to the original jurisdiction for further discovery to expand the record. The surviving defendant, instead of introducing the evidence to meet the standard set by the Court, obligingly plead guilty in exchange for a sentence of probation.

4. The United States is prevented by the Constitution from exercising any authority over the Militia, unless and until the Militia is in the actual service of the United States. Under all other circumstances the Militia is under the jurisdiction of the “several states”. Furthermore, the Second Amendment, adopted in 1791, overrides any authority over arms claimed by the United States under any provision of the 1787 Constitution, just as the 13th Amendment removes any protections for chattel slavery found in the 1787 Constitution. The Militia is the only institution named by the Constitution as “necessary for the security of a free state”. The purpose of the Second Amendment is, as Miller says, to preserve and maintain the efficiency of the Militia. For the United States to do anything to impair this goal defeats the purpose of the Second Amendment, and, since the Constitution cannot be internally contradictory, such action is nonsensical.

Hamblen vs United States deserves the consideration and support of all who claim to defend the Second Amendment. Given the circumstances of his case, if Hamblen is not protected by the Second Amendment, then no one is.

Richard A. Hamblen may be contacted at:

510 Houston Street
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 438-2397
rahamblen@gmail.com

The case documents are at: http://www.esnips.com/web/HamblenvsUnitedStates

Why Rand Paul Will Win in Kentucky


From an exclusive I wrote for the Republican Liberty Caucus:

Now Rand leads all his major challengers in state-wide polls, is closing in on $3 million in funds raised, and has the endorsements of big names like Sarah Palin, Steve Forbes, and Reagan PAC. How did Rand Paul’s campaign manage to gain so much ground, putting it in striking distance of electoral victory?

Because my grandma supports him. The secret to Rand Paul’s success is not that he resonates with people like me, but that he resonates with people like my grandmother. I’m a young, enthusiastic libertarian Republican; she’s a traditional, conservative, Reagan Republican- and Rand Paul’s message speaks to her.

Read the whole thing here.

Video: How To Crash a Tea Party


Just hilarious! A must watch.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tea Party Should Choose Policy over Personality

From my most recent update at Governor Gary Johnson's Our America Initiative:

"While someone may have a good personality, a personality that seems conservative, down-to-earth, and middle-American; while a politician on stage might say everything you agree with and believe deep down in your heart; while that person may strongly affirm all of your principles… he or she might not really believe in them.

Is it so hard to think that a politician might capitalize on the tea party movement by telling us what we want to hear? Is it so impossible to believe that a politician would lie? There’s only one way to find out if someone believes what they say, and will truly work to advance your principles in our government: and that is to carefully examine this person’s past policies.

We can not- we absolutely must not take politicians at their word when they affirm limited government, individual liberty, and Constitutional rule of law. In truth they always affirm these things on the campaign trail (in both parties) because these are the things most Americans want. The truth lies in how they’ve governed or legislated in the real world. We can find this out by looking at past records."

Read the whole article here.

Penn and Teller On College Speech Codes

Hilarious video of Penn and Teller explaining exactly how I feel about government, and how you should feel too! Warning: NSFW (tons of "F-bombs")

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Young Americans For Liberty Publishes Issue 1 of Foreign Policy Handbook


The Young Americans for Liberty has published its very first Foreign Policy Handbook, and on page 11 it features an article I wrote on Barack Obama's nuclear policy. Check it out!

4/20, Meaning and Myth

From the most recent article at my CAIVN column:

It's April 20th (or 4/20) and already the search term "4/20" has shot up Google's trends along with "4/20 meaning." With so many myths surrounding "National Weed Day," or "Marijuana Appreciation Day," as it's also called, this is an important opportunity to clear up the facts about 4/20 while pondering its meaning for California.

Read the whole thing here.

Video: Pay Attention- This Is How To Protest


Video of Germany's Pirate Party protesting nude body scanners at the airport.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Republican Liberty Dream Time

(Doesn't look a thing like this. I mean just look at them! Don't they appear positively menacing!? I'm not exaggerating when I say that this picture gives me chills. Now on to the real dream team...)

From my blog at The Daily Paul:

With all the talk of March Madness brackets and fantasy football leagues, I had a totally awesome idea to design a fantasy government with all my favorite picks to fill its many seats and offices. (Yes I realize that's actually pretty lame and that it says a lot about me that I'm literally salivating at the idea.)

So the following is a rough sketch of how it might look:

Visit DailyPaul.com to read the rest.

What Is A Libertarian?


By Daryl Luna, Editor at:
*In Defense of the Constitution*


Libertarians are those weird little guys who lurk in their parents’ basement—spouting out conspiracy theories, smoking funny things, and reading books many have never even heard of, right?

Well...some libertarians are those odd little guys and gals. But even more libertarians are average men and women, grandpas and grandmas, artists, business professionals, blue-collar workers, teachers, students, and people from all walks of life. Libertarians are everywhere you look. Some openly identify as such; others need to be alerted to the fact.

I am convinced that the average person on the street is open to libertarian principles. And many of them are libertarian to one degree or another. Perhaps it would take some explanation and flushing out of the issues for folks to identify as libertarian, but liberty is a popular idea. Most people want liberty and the government out of their business, however many do not realize that this is libertarianism.

Sure, there is some empirical data to back up the claim for libertarian popularity. But as with all empiricism, the data is not flawless. For example, there are reasons that the majority of those who take the World’s Smallest Political Quiz obtain a “libertarian” result. It is often promoted by libertarians, it was created by libertarians, and it is on the Internet—that favorite hangout of libertarians everywhere. But that cannot explain all results or the still-large numbers of people who are surprised to find out their libertarian leanings every time the test is taken.

To be honest, surprise over libertarianism is something that I come across often. Perhaps it is because "libertarian" has become somewhat of a dirty word. Earlier in my life I had trouble embracing the term myself, but that was based on a misunderstanding of the term. When one finds out what libertarianism is all about, however, I am convinced that it is a concept that will be embraced by many. Its central tenants already manifest themselves in a number of people.

The ideas of liberty are popular. People, for the most part, believe that they should be free to run their own lives, maintain their own property, and not suffer the violation of their liberties. Likewise, if you asked the average person on the street whether or not they should commit an act of aggression against another, they would stand on the side of peace.

Where most people go off track is in the consistent application of libertarian principles. Why many do not self-identify as libertarian is that they share libertarian positions but do not consistently hold to them. They claim to be for limited government, but allow the government to be involved in unacceptable areas. They claim to be for non-aggression, but they are quick to be hawkish in matters of war.

Does this mean that these people cannot be brought over to the camp of libertarianism? Absolutely not! In fact, there is hope for all who truly believe in limited government and personal responsibility to accept the call to libertarianism. All that is needed is for someone to challenge them to live within their own worldview. If they are truly committed to the principles they say they are, then they must embrace the cause of liberty.

But what about those who think they aren't committed to any political view at all--the average Joes who could care less about politics? I think that these people can be the best candidates for libertarianism. Ask them their views, hear them rail against something not being "any of the government's business," and see where they really stand on the issues even if they don't think they are "political." What you will find is folks with libertarian leanings who just haven't been involved in the political process. We've seen evidence of this in many Tea Party activists.

Okay. So not everyone with libertarian sympathies are true, consistent libertarians, but they have the potential to be. Even more important that that, we see that the ideas of liberty are popular and always ready to be mobilized around. Ron Paul didn't create liberty-lovers; he mobilized them. Tea Parties didn't birth limited-government, free marketeers; they awakened them. Perhaps we can further awaken and mobilize our neighbors for liberty. Perhaps it it time for you to consider whether you might actually be a libertarian.


Don't forget to visit Daryl's blog:
In Defense of the Constitution

One More Reason to Follow The Humble Libertarian On Twitter

...because Newsweek is. Awesome!

You can follow me here.

ObamaCare = "Bring out your dead!" Scene From Monty Python and the Holy Grail


Hilarious video reminder of the ObamaCare rationing.

Economic proof that centrally-planning health insurance will only result in less access and rationed care here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Help Us Figure Out How Many Americans Protested On Tax Day

Hurry! There are only a few hours left, because we want to be able to get this story up tomorrow. Taylor Cottam at EconomyPolitics wants to compile a comprehensive list of tea party attendance on tax day last week based on local media reports.

All we need is for you to volunteer to take one or two states, use Google to find media reports for tea party attendance in the top five cities (maybe a couple more in bigger states), and then report those to Taylor. More information here.

Let's show the world how many Americans believe in limited government, individual liberty, and the rule of law!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

How Many People Were In Attendance At The Tax Day Tea Party Protests?


Taylor Cottam over at Economy Politics is compiling a list of local media reports for tea party attendance across the country on April 15th. Head over there to check it out and send him more articles to fill in cities that he's missed (the list is far from complete!).

Looking the list over, I decided to compile it into a total by being as conservative as I could possibly be. So for instance, when a newspaper reported "over 200" I would count it as 201; when it said "thousands" I would count it as 2000; I counted "a few hundred" as 300 and "several hundred" as 400.

Using that rule and looking through what Taylor has so far (and understanding that I can never add up the same list of numbers twice and get the same sum), I came up with 57,845. So at the very, very least, in all the cities and towns Taylor has figures for, nearly 60,000 (probably more) showed up.

It's probably a lot more, because not only were my estimates extremely conservative as described above, but the dead tree media has a penchant for under reporting attendance at these things, like when it reported 60,000 for the 912 rally in D.C. last year, which demonstrably and irrefutably had over a million marchers.

Also remember Taylor's list is hardly comprehensive. Do visit his post and please send him more data and articles so he can compile a complete list. If we can get together a pretty comprehensive list of cities in the next couple days, we can report the total on Monday, which would make for a great story- a good estimate of the total number of Americans that took to their streets and city halls on tax day to protest.

John Gardner pleads guilty to murdering Chelsea King, Amber Dubois

From the most recent article at my CAIVN column:

John Gardner- who shocked the nation this March when he was arrested for the rape and murder of 17 year old Chelsea King- pleaded guilty Friday for the murders of Chelsea King and Amber Dubois.

Read the whole article here.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Murder.gov - The Obama Administration Has Claimed The Right To Execute American Citizens Without Trial!

Murder.gov
By Becky Akers
View all 8 articles by Becky Akers
Published 04/12/10

Listen to the drums beating the Dead March as the American Empire chugs into totalitarianism’s next terminus: execution of citizens without trial.

"The Obama administration has taken the extraordinary step of authorizing the targeted killing of an American citizen," the New York Times reports. And yes, those are cheers you hear over the drums, erupting from the same neocons who applauded torture and Gitmo. That’s because the intended victim is "the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki... who was born in New Mexico and spent years in the United States as an imam" but who is now "hiding in Yemen."

"Extraordinary," indeed. Once upon a time we required a trial; in fact, the Constitution still does. The State must present and prove its charges to an "impartial jury" before it takes a man’s life. True, politicians and bureaucrats often rig those trials, while cops and prosecutors tamper with evidence, but what else would we expect from government? Yet Leviathan now dispenses with that pretense, too, as it has with search warrants, habeas corpus, presumption of innocence, motive, and other such quaint necessities.

Even the Times, which leads the pack of "mainstream" (sic for "considerably to the left of Pravda") media in its animosity to liberty, is appalled enough to quote anonymous "officials" who admit that this is "extremely rare, if not unprecedented."

What has our fellow-citizen done to merit such attention? The Feds allege a great many foul deeds, though I’m hard-pressed to find one that threatens us nearly as much as the average Congressional act. Our Rulers "[believe]" Anwar is now "participating directly" in attacks on Americans rather than simply "encouraging" them. They’ve "linked" him to bad guys like the Underwear Bomber and the Ft. Hood Shooter. "Counterterrorism officials" who, curiously enough, battle those inept bad guys instead of the horrifically successful ones in Congress, claim he’s a member of al Qaeda.

"'Awlaki is a proven threat,'a US official told Reuters news agency" -- just not in court. Far be it from the Feds to convict their suspect at trial, however easy it would be given Anwar’s patronage of prostitutes and a system that punishes vice as crime. No, we’re simply supposed to trust Our Rulers. After all, paranoid nuts who add motherly doctoral students from Stanford University, famous singers, and 4-year-old boys to their silly blacklists couldn’t possibly make another mistake, could they?

For all his sleaze, Anwar eschews the secrecy our supposedly open government craves. He’s outspoken and honest about why he left his native country. "I lived in the U.S. for 21 years," he says on a tape CNN "obtained" but could not "authenticate" last month. "America was my home. I was a preacher of Islam involved in non-violent Islamic activism. However with the American invasion of Iraq and continued U.S. aggression against Muslims, I could not reconcile between living in the U.S. and being a Muslim."

Anwar isn’t the only "terrorist" to sing this song. Indeed, it’s become the usual refrain. Over and over, Moslems that the Feds dismiss as terrorists blame American foreign policy for reactions the Feds dismiss as extremism. "Any state that does not mess with our security, has naturally guaranteed its own security," Osama himself advised us in 2004. "... We fought you because we are free ... and want to regain freedom for our nation. As you undermine our security we undermine yours... While I was looking at these destroyed towers in Lebanon [during the Israeli invasion American busybodies encouraged in 1982], it sparked in my mind that the tyrant should be punished with the same and that we should destroy towers in America, so that it tastes what we taste and would be deterred from killing our children and women... God knows that it had not occurred to our mind to attack the towers, but after our patience ran out and we saw the injustice and inflexibility of the American-Israeli alliance toward our people in Palestine and Lebanon, this came to my mind."

You might think the sense of this so self-evident that even the Feds would listen. After all, lex talionis, tit-for-tat, what-goes-around-comes-around has reigned internationally for millennia; that’s one reason George Washington recommended "extending our commercial relations" with "foreign nations" while forming "as little political connection as possible." Attack a country by outright invasion (even when euphemized as "liberation") or by meddling in its affairs, and sooner or later, its residents will defend themselves. Nevertheless, Our Rulers play checkers with the Middle East, manipulating peoples, governments, and whole countries to satisfy American politicians, special interests, or corporations.

DC’s thugs will see us all die in more 9/11’s rather than admit their culpability and cease their anti-Constitutional forays overseas. That’s because ending the War on Terror would cancel all those lucrative, cozy contracts belligerent bureaucracies from the Pentagon to the Transportation Security Administration hand out; "targeting" Anwar instead funnels billions of our taxes into corporations'coffers and from thence to politicians'campaign chests. No wonder yet another nameless "official" sniffed to the New York Times, "The United States works, exactly as the American people expect, to overcome threats to their security, and this individual -- through his own actions -- has become one. ... None of this should surprise anyone." Especially those who understand corporatism and the transformation of a republic into a fascist empire.

Meanwhile, there’s this from Rep[ulsive] Jane Harman (D-Israel -- whoops, I mean CA), neoconservative chair of "a House subcommittee on homeland security": Anwar is "probably the person, the terrorist, who would be terrorist No. 1 in terms of threat against us."

Don’t you hate false modesty?

Copyright © 2010 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given

Video: Declare Your Independence



CAIVN, a premier independent voter think tank, is excited to announce that it will soon be launching its 'Declare your Independence' video contest.

If you're tired of partisan politics and would like to win an iPad & other cool prizes, we encourage you to enter our upcoming contest.

Entries should be around 60 seconds, explain why you're declaring your independence, and avoid partisan attacks.

We have initially posted a sample entry to provide you with a concrete example. More details, such as specific deadlines, to follow.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

(Un)Happy Tax Day - Think Tank Lineup


From the Cato Institute
:
(Un)Happy Tax Day By: Tad DeHaven

"Today is that unofficial American holiday where we mourn the loss of a year’s worth of productive private resources to our bloated federal government. And it’s not just the actual dollars paid to Uncle Sam – it’s also the economic loss due to all the time and money wasted trying to comply with an increasingly complex tax code:"

Click here to read the rest of the article and see some truly startling graphs and figures.


The Reason Foundation
Lower and Simplify Taxes! By: John Stossel

"How'd we get to this point? U.S taxes were once simple! The government funded itself on tariffs and excise taxes. It didn't violate our privacy by asking us how much we made or how many dependents we have.

But in 1913, the politicians decided they needed an income tax.

At first, they took little money: just 1 percent on incomes between $20,000 and $50,000. Those were big incomes—adjusted for inflation, $50,000 is $1.1 million today. The top bracket paid 6 percent, but that only applied to people who earned at least $11 million in today's dollars. Anyone who made less than $400,000 paid no income tax.

But leave the amounts aside. The increase in complexity is just as evil."

Read the rest here.


The Competitive Enterprise Institute
Tax Freedom Day By: Ryan Young

Today, April 9, is Tax Freedom Day. The good folks at the Tax Foundation calculated how much money local, state, and federal governments harvested last year from taxpayers ($3,469,000,000,000), and compared that to national income ($12,901,000,000,000). At 26.89 percent of national income, you basically work until April 9 just to pay off your taxes.

Read the whole article here.

Our Troubling Tax System



This video was produced by Caleb Brown and Austin Bragg. The U.S. tax code gets more complex every year. It violates civil liberties and, left unchanged, will leave the United States at a powerful competitive disadvantage in years to come. Chris Edwards, Director of Tax Policy Studies, Senior Fellow Daniel J. Mitchell and Director of Information Policy Studies Jim Harper dissect the troubling aspects of our tax system.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pot Legalization a Civil Rights Issue?

From the most recent article at my CAIVN column:

California proponents of the Tax Cannabis initiative are creating a broad and diverse coalition of support, including the official endorsement of California NAACP President Alice Huffman. "In California African Americans make up 7 percent of the population, but 22 percent of the marijuana arrests," Huffman says...

Indeed the civil rights aspect of marijuana legalization takes on a poignant historical character in light of circumstances surrounding its prohibition...

Read the whole article here.

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

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Contact me for details and rates.

Monday, April 12, 2010

It's Here, The New THL Message Forum

Wanna try it out? Go here!

And don't worry, it comes with instructions on the sidebar.

Mitt Romney Wins SRLC Presidential Straw Poll By Just ONE Vote, In A Statistical Tie with Ron Paul

Photo Courtesy of Matt Collins

Matt Collins has the scoop (H.T. Nashville Post):

I have just returned home from New Orleans where the 2010 Southern Republican Leadership Conference was held. I was there, on the ground, witnessing and participating in the events firsthand.

Regardless of one's desired outcome, the SRLC straw poll results should raise some legitimate questions in the minds of any objective and reasonable individual. These are questions that the SRLC or the firm that conducted the poll, Wilson-Research Strategies (the RNC is one of their clients), should be happy to answer if they are interested in retaining an aura of integrity, transparency, and credibility. One of the first questions is whether or not there were any ballots that were spoiled? If so what were the criteria and threshold for a ballot to be considered "spoiled"? Will an independent and open audit be allowed of all of the ballots? Were the ballots actually numbered or encoded as was suggested they would be? Can the ballots now be inspected by parties other than SRLC or W-R-S staff?

Late in the afternoon on Saturday (immediately following Ron Paul's speech) I walked by the room where the voting was taking place and the doors were closed. Conference participants were being kept out of the room and told that voting would reopen again "soon". When someone asked why the doors to the room where the straw poll was being conducted were closed, the gentleman at the door said that they were "tabulating a batch" of ballots. The obvious question that immediately came to mind: ‘who' was tabulating the ballots, and did each candidate have representation in the room while these ballots were being tabulated? Also was it standard operating procedure to periodically tabulate the ballots throughout the entire weekend? And if so, following each tabulation, were the most recent counts made public? Given the statistical proximity of the top two contenders one would think that more details would be revealed in a prudent effort to ensure transparency-the apparent difference between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney is a sliver of a fraction (0.0055%).

Until these questions are answered it would be wise for the media to refrain from referring to Governor Romney as the "winner" of the straw poll while such a fine and statistically insignificant difference between the top contenders exist. And because of the heightened atmosphere surrounding this poll due to the current political zeitgeist it would be irresponsible for anything other than full transparency of the procedure and methods of this straw poll to be revealed.

There were other disconcerting issues that occurred during the weekend. In my experience the SRLC was very poorly organized and inefficient. Registration was chaotic, vague, and not intuitive; signage was sorely lacking and unclear. Also registration was closed as early as 1pm on Saturday causing anyone who had not picked up credentials by that time to be denied voting privileges as well as access to the ballroom where the speeches were being delivered. The parking garages at the hotel were full early in the day with the nearest parking being 20 minutes away by foot. The straw poll voting times were erratic too. Supposedly the ballots were not printed on time and the straw poll did not open on schedule. I had been informed that 2pm was when voting opened on Friday whereas it was supposed to open at 10am.

The entire SRLC seemed disorganized and sloppy as a whole, not to mention confusing. There were several individuals that had the proper credentials but were denied entry into the "Taste of Louisiana" reception on Friday night. Accurate schedules, informational help, maps, question and answer desks etc, were not made readily available for ease of access. All of this is a bit saddening considering the Party is going to attempt to retake nationwide political power in the next few months. Having such a difficult time organizing their own conference I have to wonder about their effectiveness when it matters most, during election season.

But in all fairness I must say that considering the fact that the Constitutionally conservative / limited-government wing of the Republican Party has grown substantially compared to previous years, the event was indeed very encouraging. In fact judging by the reception that Ron Paul received during his speech I would say that the Republican Party is slowly but surely starting to embrace the ideals of limited government conservatism. The feeling in the room when Congressman Paul spoke was beyond electric and the prevailing excitement was not just emanating from ardent Ron Paul supporters. Not only rank-and-file Republicans, but the GOP leadership is also starting to embrace the liberty movement into their fold.

Iranian Journalist Akbar Ganji Receives 2010 Milton Friedman Prize from the Cato Institute



Akbar Ganji, an Iranian writer and journalist who spent six years in a Tehran prison for advocating a secular democracy and exposing government involvement in the assassination of individuals who opposed Iran's theocratic regime, has been named the 2010 winner of the Cato Institute's Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty.

Established in 2002 and presented every two years, the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty is the leading international award for significant contributions to advancing individual liberty.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Eulogy for President Lech Kaczyński

Over at Samizdata, Michael Jennings writes:

President Lech Kaczyński of Poland was probably best described as a conservative rather than a liberal, and was not someone who the people on this blog would agree with on everything. However, he was someone who lived under tyranny, and when faced with the question of whether you give in to such a tyranny or stand up to it, he stood up to it, and he spent a considerable time in prison as a consequence. Most of us are fortunate not to be tested in such a way, but here was a man who was tested and passed the test. For that he deserves immense respect. He was also about as pro-American and pro-Western as possible. For that also, he has my thanks.

Original post here.

Radio Program Tonight at 7 pm Central


My weekly radio program will air for one hour tonight, streaming live to your computer from 7 - 8 pm Central Time. 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.

Principle, Not Preference Should Inform Policy

Get your t-shirt here.


By Daryl Luna, Editor at:
*In Defense of the Constitution*


So often when arguing against statist programs and privacy violations I hear many of the same contentions: "It doesn't bother me, personally." "I don't mind it, so why should I care?" "I am too busy to do it myself, so I'm glad to let the government handle it for me." "I have nothing to hide." "As long as someone's not breaking the law, they have nothing to fear." The list goes on and on, but the gist of each is a lack of concern for liberty violations based on personal opinion.

However, one's personal feelings should never guide policy and never trump the protection of liberty. Yes, personal feelings are at play in any matter. They inform our decision making processes and are important in a number of ways. But in the ultimate scheme of things, principle--not preference--should be the deciding factor in all we do.

In order to flush out this idea, let us look to some examples.

Obamacare is one of the most controversial legislative acts in recent history, but it is nothing new. It is just another example of the federal government extending its reach into an area once properly handled by the private sector (even though the government's involvement in health care has made it more and more difficult for the private sector to be effective). Instead of the government providing health care, private charity should help those suffering who cannot provide for themselves.

In fact, this is true for a whole host of matters. It is the private sector, not the government, which is responsible for providing most things in a free society, and acts of goodwill for one's fellow man definitely do not belong to the state. But, sadly, the government has injected itself as the primary source of many "charitable" actions. Of course, it is not really charity; it is forced redistribution. Charity cannot come at the point of a gun, and that is what taxation involves. Don't believe me? Refuse to pay your taxes, resist the government's attempt to collect, and have a gun shoved in your face.

What makes the whole thing worse is the welcoming of this usurpation of responsibility by many. I have actually had friends tell me that they supported the government redistribution "charity" through welfare because they are too lazy to do so themselves. Rather than helping out their fellow man, these folks want the government to control the resources and do with them what it wills. Not even looking to the inefficiencies of the government bureaucracy, this belief is still problematic.

Though one may not mind the government choosing how to spend his or her own fruits, that does not mean that all share such a view. Many do not. In fact, many like to choose where their funds are spent, who it is that they help, and want to truly do acts of charity themselves. When government is involved it forces all taxpayers to be involved in a way that is inefficient and can violate one's conscience or property rights. And as Jefferson noted, "To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."

Even if one does not mind his funds being redistributed, that does not mean his neighbor will feel the same. And we must ask: Does one's lack of concern for a policy warrant a violation of another's liberty. Just because a policy doesn't bother you so much, should it be forced on someone else whether they want it or not? This is not charity, but tyranny. If we are to be a people who value individual liberty, it cannot be so.

The same goes for privacy issues. Should one's own lack of concern trump another's liberty? Of course, there are practical reasons for resisting privacy violations, but even in cases that seem harmless, we must not trample upon a central principle of liberty based on personal preference.

If you feel comfortable with an increasingly intrusive "Big Brother" but your countryman does not, should you not respect his liberty? What would happen if the tables were turned and something you did care about was put in jeopardy? Surely then a call for principle, not preference, would arise.

The fact is that individual liberty is in jeopardy anytime government extends its influence into a particular area. Therefore, we must fight back against any attempt for unwarranted and unconstitutional government action. This includes fighting it in areas we may personally not be concerned with.

Likewise, we should not welcome government overreach in areas in which our countrymen will unnecessarily see their liberties infringed. By doing so we may not offend personal preference, but we may harm the very principles of liberty.

Don't forget to visit Daryl's blog:
In Defense of the Constitution