Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Rebel of the Week: Silver Circle’s own Davi Barker and his friend Theresa

While this may be a little incestuous, as Davi Barker is one of my own colleagues, another blogger here at The Silver Underground, I just have to take the lead on Rebel of the Week for this week and award it to Davi and his friend Theresa for how they handled the TSA during their recent trip through an airport security checkpoint. Davi doesn’t know I’m doing this and will be surprised when he reads this on the blog. I just had to after reading his account of what happened in his Monday blog post entitled, “TSA Today: Davi’s First Opt Out.”

As I read it I couldn’t help but nod vigorously and even vocally exclaim my enthusiastic approval for what they did– but more importantly how they did it. If you haven’t read Davi’s story, you absolutely should! Davi’s friend Theresa opted out of the body scanner and for the pat down. As Davi explains, the purpose of this is to hold up the line, inconvenience the TSA, and make a cumbersome process even more cumbersome. Maybe if enough of us did it, plenty more Americans would grow frustrated with their extended wait times and take action against the TSA like calling their congressman. Then when Davi opted out, he did something awesome...

at The Silver Underground.


Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

Democrats Confident About Regaining House

This is good news:

Just 15 months after taking a thumping in the 2010 midterm elections, House Democrats have seized on the current anti-Washington fervor and are confident they can win the 25 seats they need to regain control of the House.

Vice President Joe Biden made a bold prediction on Friday, telling House Democrats at their annual retreat on Maryland's Eastern Shore, "I really do think we're going to win back the House."

To flip control of the House back just one cycle after losing it, the House Democrats' campaign operation is relying on a class of new recruits, just inducted into its "Red to Blue program" that targets Republican seats.

Why good news? If Democrats really are in a good position to regain control of the House, it means that voters are taking less and less time to get tired of the party that's in power, which is cool. The American public should be discontent with its government and with its two major political parties right now.

This also means it'll be easier to remember the party out of power's past sins as they try to gain back control like the Democrats are doing now, because those past sins will have been committed more and more recently.

This back and forth, red team / blue team, sick of this party / sick of that party game seems to be spiraling down to some kind of game-changing resolution at an ever accelerating rate.





Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

New Ron Paul Ad - Three of a Kind

So if Ron Paul really is in cahoots with Mitt Romney as conservative conspiracy theorists have (wildly) speculated, would he release an ad like this?



Get 'em, Ron!





Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

Rocklin not considering ban on resident smoking outside of homes

When I first read a headline saying that the city of Rocklin, California was considering banning residents from smoking outside of their homes on their own property, I was outraged. Even though I acknowledge the dangers of smoking, the idea of a city government telling a resident that they couldn’t choose to smoke on their own porch, in their own driveway, or in their own backyard seemed patently absurd to me.

It didn’t seem too absurd to believe, however, especially about a city in California, which is notorious for city governments that pass “nanny state” regulations to meddle in matters like whether or not a fast food chain can put toys in meals that consumers willingly elect to purchase for their children.

But when I followed the link to the CBS Sacramento article bearing the headline, I discovered a discrepancy between the text of the article and the words of the reporter in the video at the top of it....

The Independent Voter Network


Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Conspiracy Club

By: Carl Wicklander

Among the many charges waged against traditionalist conservatives and Ron Paul-type libertarians is that we believe in “conspiracy theories.” It might be about the New World Order, 9/11, the Bilderberg Group, or the Federal Reserve. Most are too silly to be believed for a minute.

But one of the weirder conspiracy theories out there today is actually a product of the mainstream media: the alleged Ron Paul – Mitt Romney alliance.

The narrative Republicans are telling each other goes something like this: Ron Paul and Mitt Romney have some sort of agreement where they won’t attack each other in ads or in debates. Paul, who has no chance of winning the nomination, will be Romney’s “wingman” by attacking all of the former governor’s conservative opponents. In exchange, Ron Paul might get a primetime speaking spot at the convention or the vice presidency. Or maybe son Rand Paul will be VP.

All of this, of course, is based upon mere speculation and active imaginations. Yet it’s fascinating to wonder, as with the occasional conspiracy theorist we come across, whether this is just theater for them or do they actually believe such an implausible scenario? Are there really non-brain damaged human beings out there who think the Champion of the Constitution, and a man who even his ideological enemies concede is incorruptible, is in cahoots with the flip-flopping, individual mandating, bailout-supporting Empty Suit?

This theory has actually been circulating for months. It’s been floated around the pages of the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and Republican talk radio. Rick Santorum has gotten in on the act now, accusing Paul and Romney of ganging up on him. None of that proves evidence of a conspiracy, only that Santorum is a whiner. But it does beg the question: Why does Romney, the 250 Million Dollar Man who has a well-documented army of PACs to run negative ads, need a wingman?

Pardon the pun, but the main “evidence” people have is that Paul and Romney have basically kept their mitts off each other. But the conspiracy theorists are reading too much into it. The main reason these two haven't attacked each other is that they don’t have to.

Romney is the candidate of the establishment, the center, and the moderates. Ron Paul is the candidate of the very conservative, independents, youth, and disaffected Democrats. Romney can win the nomination without Paul’s supporters. But it will be very difficult for Romney to beat President Obama without a coalition that is consistently taking 15-20% in Republican primaries. He's not going after Paul because he can’t afford to alienate either him or his supporters.

At the same time, though, Ron Paul is not really going after Romney. What may be lost on the perpetuators of the Romney-Paul connection is that the two candidates are not appealing to the same constituencies. Paul has attacked all the so-called conservative alternatives because he is the real alternative to Romney. The point of Paul’s attacks on Santorum and Gingrich et al. is to bring their supporters over to his side. The rationale for supporting all the so-called conservative alternatives is to provide a home for right-wingers unhappy with Romney. Paul could try knocking Romney down a peg or two with one of the clever ads he’s used on Santorum, Gingrich, and Perry before that, but what would it accomplish for the Paul campaign?

From the perspective of the Paul campaign and the average Paul supporter: who is worse Romney, Santorum or Gingrich? They are all just variations of each other. Would a frontal assault on the Massachusetts Man drive his more conservative supporters over to Paul or is it more likely that weaknesses in the Romney cause will enhance his closest rival, right now Rick Santorum? The Ron Paul strategy is clearly to try to knock out, or wait for Mitt to knock out, all the conservative poseurs to set up a one-on-one match-up that might have its ending at the convention.

Yet this theory was compounded last week when Kentucky senator Rand Paul said in an interview with reporters that he would be “honored” to serve as Mitt Romney’s vice president. This caused an uproar among those living in the alternate universe where Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are allies but Senator Paul clarified:

“I still have my first choice in the race and that’s Ron Paul. My first choice would be a Ron Paul presidency and my first choice for a position would be an unofficial adviser to a Ron Paul presidency…

“But when they push and push and push, and say ‘What about Romney? Would you do it?’ I mentioned that it would be an honor, and what I meant by that is sort of like if you were nominated for an academy award, what’s your response? You’d say “It’d be an honor to be nominated’ and so I think it would be silly for me not to say that if anybody considered me that I’d be honored by it, but I think it was somewhat overblown, it sort of fits into this sort of cabal that people write about…”

The idea of a Rand Paul VP candidacy is useful for these latter-day conspiracy theorists but they ignore the fact that he would be a fantastically wasteful choice of a VP.

I will concur that Rand Paul is likely to be somewhere on the VP list – the long list, not the short one. Romney would be foolish not to consider the younger Paul. Rand Paul represents one of the genuine Tea Party elected officials and Romney needs self-identified Tea Partiers. The son of an Outsider’s Outsider with no previous government experience, he has impenetrable Tea Party credentials.

The obvious down-side of a Romney-Rand Paul ticket is that the GOP ticket will have a grand total of less than two years of DC experience. It will be easy pickings for the Democrats to paint the Republican ticket as a pair of amateurs.

It also does Romney no good to nominate anyone from a solidly red state like Kentucky. Romney will carry the Bluegrass State with or without Rand Paul. However, he might assure himself of a state Republicans need to win by selecting Floridian Marco Rubio, who satisfies most of the criteria the Republicans crave anyway.

Rubio entered office as a “Tea Party” candidate even though he only fit into that role by simply not being Charlie Crist. Rubio’s Cuban heritage helps him in a couple of ways too. He will be pushed by the VP search team as a way of appealing to Hispanics, even though the evidence that Hispanics will leave President Obama for the Republicans is slim. Republicans will also be drawn to a Rubio VP nomination because they seem stuck on the idea that if they showcase enough minorities and women in various positions of authority that the Democrats and media will stop calling them racist. Palin, Michael Steele, and Herman Cain should be enough evidence to convince them otherwise, but since Romney never met a constituency he wouldn’t pander to, he can easily agree to an affirmative action VP.

And even before reaching office Rubio fashioned himself as a Hawk’s Hawk, and by gravitating towards the John McCain-Lindsey Graham wing of the party, he assures that there will be no deviation from the foreign policy status quo. Romney and his coterie of neocon advisers will not easily hand the vice presidency over to anyone who has a record of filibustering the indefinite detention of Americans or publicly questioning the constitutionality or wisdom of “small wars” like Libya. But Rubio serves the same purpose for Romney that Sarah Palin served John McCain in 2008.

Nobody is happy with the impending Romney candidacy. With a mixed record at best, Obama is weaker today than he was four years ago, but Republicans are still going to be saddled with an uninspiring candidate. It’s very likely Romney will need to make a splash with his VP in order to generate enthusiasm. Rubio fits this role very well because he talks like a conservative but will govern like the establishment lackey that he is. He is the ideal foil for conservatives pondering whether to stay home.

Romney has no good reason to select Rand Paul except to cut off at the knees any prospect of a Ron Paul third party run. All through 2011 and even into 2012 Ron Paul has been asked whether he will run third party if he doesn’t win the nomination. The elder Paul’s reluctance to provide a definite answer has fueled speculation that he will redo his 1988 run.

People thinking that there is an alliance between Romney and the Pauls have it exactly backwards. If Romney does something as politically foolish as making Rand Paul VP it’s because he feels he has to do it in order to get the Ron Paul faction on board, a move that is not likely to produce many gains anyway. This does not exactly lend credence to the idea that there is a Romney-Paul pact.

Only weeks ago talkers like Mark Levin were screaming that if Ron Paul runs third party this year then son Rand should be targeted for political extinction in 2016. Now he and others are saying that Ron Paul and Romney have worked out a bribe. This probably tells us a little more about the depths of their hatred of Ron Paul than it tells us about Paul and maybe even Romney.

To the mainstream conservatives and regular Republicans imbibing this tale of a Romney-Paul alliance I say this: Welcome to the Conspiracy Club.





Carl Wicklander,
Regular Columnist, THL
Articles Author's Page Website

Ten Signs You're in an Abusive Relationship (with your government)

When you think of an abusive relationship, what adjectives come to mind? Controlling? Violent? Humiliating? Jealous? Obsessive? Go figure, it doesn’t take a huge stretch of the imagination to apply these same adjectives to many of the world’s governments throughout history and certainly the absolute states that emerged in modernity with their absolute warfare, constant surveillance, and obsessive control of every aspect of their citizens’ lives from cradle to grave– the federal government of the fifty American states being no exception to this unfortunate state of affairs.

To explore this idea a little further, I took a look at a list of warning signs of abuse, to see if our relationship with our government truly is analogous to an abusive relationship with a romantic partner. Spoiler alert: it is. The list was prefaced thusly: “The following questions ask you about your relationship. If you are not currently in a relationship, these are signs or ‘red flags’ to assist people in identifying a potentially abusive person.”

Here are just ten of these questions:

at The Silver Underground.


Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

Bradley Manning Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

"Judge, isn't a soldier required to report a war crime?"

That's what one protester, David Eberhardt of Baltimore, said out loud as a military judge adjourned a hearing to arraign Army Pfc. Bradley Manning in Ft. Meade, Maryland last week for allegedly leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks. It was the only outburst during the proceedings. The judge didn't respond.

Yes, David, reporting overt war crimes being committed and covered up under the pretense of "classification" and "national security" is a moral and patriotic duty to one's country-- especially when they include actions that were putting our own troops on the ground at risk. The American people have a right to know what their government is doing in their name and with their tax dollars. If they understood, maybe more of them would have started questioning the wars and endless nation building a long time ago. That's why Manning is an American hero.

I was pleased to learn yesterday that Bradley Manning has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize:

OSLO, Norway — The Nobel Peace Prize jury has received 231 nominations for this year’s award, a spokesman said, with publicly disclosed candidates including a former Ukrainian prime minister and the U.S. soldier accused of leaking classified material to WikiLeaks.

The secretive committee doesn’t reveal who has been nominated, but those with nomination rights sometimes announce their picks.

Names put forward this year include Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private charged with the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history, Russian human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina and former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Others believed to have been nominated include former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

Bill Clinton?? Lol.

After that Obama snafu, I hope the Nobel prize committee has learned its lesson. Maybe they could make amends for awarding the prize to someone who had done absolutely nothing by awarding the prize to someone who has done something entirely game-changing and at great personal sacrifice to himself, something that has put irrevocably in the historical record for all of humanity, a cache of documentation showing warfare for what it really is.

Who can you think of who has done more to strike a deep, resounding blow "for the abolition or reduction of standing armies" in the world?





Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

Santorum's Michigan Mischief

Rick Santorum is making mischief in Michigan. It turns out he's robocalling Michigan Democrats and telling them to come out and vote for him in Michigan's Republican Primary today:

Michigan’s primary rules allow Dems to vote in the state’s GOP primaries... The Santorum campaign evidently decided they’d take votes from any legitimate source.

Following some speculation that the robocall may have been a “false flag” effort designed to harm Santorum, a spokesman Hogan Gidley confirmed to TPM that they were indeed footing the bill, and reaching beyond party lines. “If we can get the Reagan Democrats in the primary, we can get them in the general,” he told TPM.

When unsolicited Democrats, liberals, moderates, and independents vote for Ron Paul simply because his message of liberty is universally attractive to people-- they're "mischief voters." But apparently it's just fine for Rick Santorum to actively robocall Michigan Democrats with an arguably deceptive script and try to get them to vote for him? And yes it is fine...

Sure the left-wing Talking Points Memo introduced the term "dirty trick" into the conversation about Santorum's Michigan robocalls to Democrats in the article excerpted and linked above, and of course Mitt Romney's people are echoing the sentiment-- but take a look at the blogosphere today and notice how all the anybody-but-Mitt conservatives (the people who should be pro-Ron Paul) are rushing to Santorum's defense and saying that it's a legitimate tactic, not a dirty trick.

Okay, fine, it's a legitimate tactic. It's not illegal. It doesn't break any rules. But what does it say about Santorum? If getting Democratic votes simply because his message of liberty has a universal appeal (the same way Reagan's message won him a landslide in 1984) is somehow a bad thing for Ron Paul (even though that means he has a better chance at beating Obama, which Republicans say is the most important thing this election cycle), what does actively soliciting Democratic votes say about Rick Santorum? And if it works and Santorum wins Michigan with the help of Democrats, will Republican commentators call his conservative credentials into question as they have for Ron Paul?

I doubt it.





Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

What the latest Rasmussen poll means for Obama

In a first-time upset, Rasmussen Report‘s daily presidential tracking poll found Ron Paul leading President Barack Obama nationally in a hypothetical 2012 match-up.

Here were all four match-ups:

Romney 45% – Obama 43%
Paul 43% – Obama 41%
Obama 45% – Santorum 43%
Obama 49% – Gingrich 39%

These latest numbers, reported by the nationally-acclaimed public polling company Monday, reflect the downward trend of President Obama’s job approval in recent days, though Rasmussen warns that “It remains to be seen, of course, if this is merely statistical noise or a lasting change signaling that the president’s recent bounce in the polls has come to an end.” Whether statistical noise, or a lasting change, President Obama still came out relatively unscathed by Monday’s revelation...

at The Independent Voter Network


Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

Monday, February 27, 2012

Breaking Rasmussen Poll: Ron Paul leads Obama in public opinion milestone!

For the first time ever, Ron Paul leads Obama in the Rasmussen Reports daily presidential tracking poll!

Mitt Romney also leads Obama again for the first time since December. Both Santorum and Gingrich trail Obama nationally in a hypothetical 2012 match up today.

Latest Rasmussen Presidential Match Up Numbers:

Romney 45% defeats Obama 43%
Paul 43% defeats Obama 41%
Obama 45% defeats Santorum 43%
Obama 49% spanks the living hell out of Gingrich 39%



Source:

From Rasmussen Reports:

For the first time since late December 2011, Mitt Romney leads the president in a hypothetical 2012 matchup. Romney earns 45% of the vote, while the president attracts support from 43%. Romney holds a nine-point advantage among unaffiliated voters.

For the first time ever, Texas Congressman Ron Paul also leads the president. In that matchup, 43% prefer Paul and 41% Obama. Ten percent (10%) would vote for some other option, a figure that includes 17% of Republicans.

If former Senator Rick Santorum is the Republican nominee, the president leads by two, 45% to 43%. With former House Speaker Newt Gingrich as his opponent, the president enjoys a 10-point lead, 49% to 39%.

Ron Paul 2012 campaign responds:

Ron Paul's supporters got an email early Monday evening (or late Monday afternoon for those of you on the West Coast) with the subject: "Have you seen the latest poll?" regarding the public opinion milestone. The email said:

"According to a just released Rasmussen poll, I lead Barack Obama in a head-to-head match-up.

More and more Americans realize my message of liberty, sound money, and free markets runs in clear contrast to Barack Obama's economy-wrecking, Constitution-shredding policies.

This poll also shows that fake conservatives Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich would be defeated in a general election because voters are fed up with politicians who sell out their principles for party loyalty.

The Republican Party can't nominate a candidate who will spend the entire fall campaign apologizing for their Big Government record if we want to defeat Barack Obama."

Now I'm just waiting for a picture of Ron Paul on the Drudge Report with a sh*t eating grin and the headline: "Electable." Fingers crossed. In the meantime, I'm listening to this:




UPDATE - I lol'ed at this quote from PowerLineBlog: "Trailing Ron Paul among likely voters is not where Obama wanted to be in his fourth year in office." Made me laugh even though it is a pretty backhanded nod to Ron Paul's milestone.






Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

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Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

#MusicMonday - 5 Reasons Why Weird Al Should Play Next Year's Super Bowl

The Super Bowl lets Americans of all creeds and colors come together and watch ads interrupted by men touching each other roughly. Also, some watch the half time show, in what we’re assuming is an act of atrocity tourism.

You know what? If we must shut down the country to watch overly toned men in spangly pants molest each other, let’s at least make the half-time show worth watching, and get Weird Al Yankovic to play it.

That’s a real petition, and quite frankly, we think it’s a great idea. Why?

at Gamma Squad.
h/t: friend and reader, Andrew

...and listen to this while reading:







Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

AWESOME Ron Paul Talking Points --Things All Conservative Christians Should Know About Republican Presidential Candidate Ron Paul

With Super Tuesday and some of its Southern States coming up a week from now, it's more important than ever for Ron Paul supporters to be able to defend his views, especially his foreign policy, as most representative of what true conservatives, including evangelical conservatives, really want. The problem is that we are sometimes our own worst enemy-- including Ron Paul himself-- when it comes to articulating these views.

My friend Barry Donegan, a Republican in Nashville who supports Ron Paul, recently shared this list of talking points he put together for Ron Paul supporters to remember when explaining to voters-- especially conservative and Christian voters-- just how important it is that they vote for Ron Paul in 2012's Republican Primary. The truth is, we owe it to them to make sure they know this information. Donegan says that in his experience, when conservative, Southern voters learn the following things about Ron Paul, they become very open to his candidacy.

Notice also, how Donegan shows just how vast our common ground is by starting with the problems America faces and then explaining how Ron Paul's record and platform will most effectively solve these problems. I've spent a lot of time on this blog explaining why the alternative candidates are just no good, but we also need to focus on explaining why Ron Paul is a very good choice for truly conservative Republicans.

Thanks, Barry:

Ron Paul 2012 Talking Points
Things all Conservative Christian
voters in America should know:

“...libertarian principles are the conscience of the Republican Party. They are consistent with conservative beliefs... I'm very comfortable having give-and-take with libertarians. But I'm not comfortable having a debate and compromising with people who think we need to spend more and grow the government. There's no room for so-called moderates and liberals when the nation is 15 or 16 trillion dollars in debt.”
- Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC)

America's Most Pressing Issues:
  • Unsustainable debt threatens to crash our economy in unprecedented ways
  • Obama's unclear foreign policy is putting our nation's safety at risk
  • Inflation in gas, food, and clothing prices is hurting the poor
  • Obama's pressure on Israel to concede interferes with Israel's sovereignty and defense plans
  • Government regulations are making regulatory compliance so expensive businesses can't create jobs
  • The Obama Depression has driven almost an entire generation of young people with advanced college degrees into unemployment, and there is no end in sight to our jobs crisis

Conservative Credentials

Ron Paul:
  • Voted against every unbalanced budget, every raise to the debt ceiling, every time, no exceptions
  • Has never voted for a tax increase
  • Has an A+ rating with Gun Owners of America
  • Delivered 4000 babies, sponsored a bill to define life as beginning at conception, is pro life
  • Supported the Defense of Marriage Act
  • Warned that excessive spending and the Community Reinvestment Act would lead to a housing bubble, 7 years in advance
  • Faithfully married 55 years to his wife Carol, 5 children (raised US Senator Rand Paul), 18 grandchildren
  • Refuses to participate in the lucrative federal pension plan for Congressmen, finding it a waste
  • Has a plan to cut 1 trillion dollars in the first year, balanced budget by Year 3, cuts to EPA and 5 departments

National Defense Highlights
  • Believes our military deserves a clear mission which involves defeating our enemies rather than building their schools and training them to attack us next time. Supports a win-and-come-home policy like we used during WW2. Nation building rules of engagement tie our troops hands and put them at risk of attack by anyone at any time.
  • Suggested using the tool of Marque and Reprisal to target Bin Ladin immediately after 911. Voted YES in favor of authority to go into Afghanistan and target the depraved individuals who attacked us.
  • Criticized Obama for dictating that Israel return to pre-1967 borders
  • Supports the right of Israel to make its own decision about whether or not to target Iran's nuclear facilities, which Obama opposes: In 1981, Israel, facing a similar threat to what is going on in Iran today, decided to take action and bomb Iraq's Osirak nuclear facility. After this happened, the US Congress voted to criticize Israel for defending herself and quickly solving this problem. Ron Paul was alone in voting against this, arguing that Israel should have the right to defend herself, and that it is wrong for us to criticize Israel for doing so. The Obama Administration has urged Israel not to strike and take out similar facilities in Iran on their own, even though they have sufficient military power to pull off the attack with ease. One wonders if Israel might not have already taken out the nuclear facilities by now if Obama wasn't interfering.
  • Israel's security is harmed when America's leaders claim Iran could destroy them, because Israel has a significantly more powerful military and could wipe Iran off the map quite easily. Mossad chief Tamir Pardo was quoted as saying, “What is the significance of the term existential threat? Does Iran pose a threat to Israel? Absolutely. But if one said a nuclear bomb in Iranian hands was an existential threat, that would mean that we would have to close up shop and go home. That’s not the situation. The term existential threat is used too freely.”
  • “It's true. If we spread ourselves too thin around the world, we're not going to be able to defend the homeland, particularly with the level of debt we have right now. You know, our Joint Chief of Staff for our military has said our biggest national security problem is our debt. So, it's foolish for us to think that we can have military bases all over the world, spend billions of dollars, when we're going broke back home. It just isn't going to happen. So, the best way to defend our country is to move towards a balanced budget, concentrate our defense capabilities back here at home, and make sure we can defend our interests around the world.” -arch-conservative Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) on Ron Paul's foreign policy





Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

YAL chapter sues the University of Cincinnati over phony "free speech zone"

A letter from YAL's Jeff Frazee:

Dear Patriot,

I want to bring to your attention a breaking news story at the University of Cincinnati (see below).

Cincinnati YAL Chapter President, Chris Morbitzer, has filed a lawsuit against his university, with the assistance of Ohio's 1851 Center for Constitutional Law and in cooperation with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), to put an end to "free speech zones" on his campus.

This is a historic case that could have lasting implications for freedom at Chris's university!

So, I want to ask for your support to encourage Chris to keep going! If you are a defender of free speech on American campuses, please support this battle with a tax-deductible donation of 200, 100, or 50 this afternoon.

And, be sure to read about Chris's compelling fight for freedom below. This is a significant and brave action by one of YAL's best activists. Please show your support.

For liberty,
Jeff Frazee
Executive Director, YAL

University of Cincinnati Sued Over Free Speech Zone

CINCINNATI, February 23, 2012—A student group filed suit yesterday against the University of Cincinnati in federal district court, alleging that the university's tiny "free speech zone" violates the First Amendment. The University of Cincinnati chapter of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) and its president, student Christopher Morbitzer, sought permission to gather signatures and talk to students across campus in support of a statewide "right to work" ballot initiative, but the request was denied. Morbitzer was told that if any YAL members were seen "walk[ing] around campus" gathering signatures, campus security would be alerted.

Morbitzer and YAL seek a temporary restraining order to prevent the University of Cincinnati (UC) from quarantining the group's advocacy to the university's free speech zone. The suit was filed by Ohio's 1851 Center for Constitutional Law in cooperation with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Ohio attorney Curt C. Hartman joins the 1851 Center's Ryan Walters as co-counsel.

"The University of Cincinnati is a public, taxpayer-supported institution that brazenly refuses to respect the First Amendment rights of its students," FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. "Herding students who wish to engage in core expressive activity into a tiny ‘free speech zone' may make life easier for campus bureaucrats, but it betrays the idea of the university as a true marketplace of ideas. FIRE has warned UC in the past, and now the university must answer for its disregard for free speech in federal court."

UC requires all "demonstrations, pickets, and rallies" to be held in a "Free Speech Area" that comprises just 0.1% of the university's 137-acre West Campus. University policy further requires that all expressive activity in the free speech zone be registered with the university a full ten working days in advance, threatening that "[a]nyone violating this policy may be charged with trespassing." The suit, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division, challenges the constitutionality of both requirements.

Morbitzer and YAL ask the court to ensure that they be allowed to advocate throughout campus for the Ohio Workplace Freedom Amendment, a recently announced ballot initiative. To qualify for inclusion on the ballot in November, supporters of the amendment must gather at least 385,000 valid signatures by July 9, 2012. On February 9, Morbitzer and YAL requested permission to immediately begin collecting signatures and discussing the merits of the amendment with their fellow students across campus, citing the need to get started right away.

UC denied that request, instead assigning the group to the "Free Speech Area" and imposing a waiting period. UC even told Morbizter that he and his group were "not permitted to walk around," and stated that "if we are informed that you are, Public Safety will be contacted."

Working in conjunction with the 1851 Center, FIRE aided Morbitzer in finding counsel and filing suit.

UC has been on notice that its policy is unconstitutional for more than four years. FIRE named UC's policy its "Speech Code of the Month" in December 2007, calling it "truly shameful" that a public university "threatens students with criminal prosecution merely for exercising their constitutionally protected rights outside of the paltry area it has designated for free speech." FIRE also wrote to UC in December 2008, explaining that UC's free speech zone represented a serious threat to liberty on campus.

FIRE's efforts have defeated similar free speech zones on campuses across the nation, including the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, West Virginia University, the University of Nevada at RenoCitrus College in California, Valdosta State University in Georgia, and Texas Tech University.

"UC's illiberal decision to restrict this kind of political speech to one tenth of one percent of its campus is shocking enough, but making students register to use that space ten working days in advance is even worse," said FIRE Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Will Creeley. "UC cannot deny its students their First Amendment rights. FIRE is confident that UC's free speech zone will be the latest in a long line to fall in federal court."

FIRE is a nonprofit educational foundation that unites civil rights and civil liberties leaders, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals from across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of individual rights, due process, freedom of expression, academic freedom, and rights of conscience at our nation's colleges and universities. FIRE's efforts to preserve liberty on campuses across America can be viewed at thefire.org.

###





Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

How Afghanistan Repays Us

Send tens of thousands of young men and women overseas to invade two countries, overthrow their governments, and facilitate the process of transition to a new regime-- all over a period of more than a decade-- and while most of them are going to behave honorably and intelligently, it is simply unavoidable that you're going to have a few idiots in the mix. Let international agencies like the Brussels-based North Atlantic Treaty Organization take the lead in organizing their efforts, and you're going to have a few more idiots and idiotic incidents.

Very angry and increasingly violent protests have raged for a week now in Afghanistan precisely because of the actions of a couple such idiots-- two NATO personnel who Afghan witnesses have described as Americans were seen burning Korans in a fire pit, an act that anyone-- especially NATO personnel working in the country-- should know by now would offend the people of Afghanistan, incite violence, and put other Americans in danger. Instead of unfairly blaming all of America or its military for the faux pas, Afghans should be willing to recognize this for what it is-- an isolated incident of two idiots making a stupid mistake.

Unfortunately, America's enemies are ever-willing to paint with broad brush strokes and spin an isolated incident of idiocy into a malicious Koran-burning conspiracy by "the Great Satan" --America and its Western coalition allies. The result has been unrestrained and deadly violence against American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, violence led not only by the civilian population of the country, but even members of its fledgling government, a government that your tax dollars built, paid for, and continue to fund.

A Reuters report from Kabul catalogs the violence:

  • Seven U.S. military trainers were wounded on Sunday when a grenade was thrown at their base in northern Afghanistan...
  • Despite an apology from U.S. President Barack Obama, riots raged across the country for a sixth day on Sunday against the desecration of the Muslim holy book at a NATO air base at Bagram. Some protesters hoisted the white Taliban flag.
  • The Afghan Interior Ministry identified one of its employees as a suspect in the fatal shooting of two U.S. officers in its headquarters a day earlier...
  • One civilian was killed, 15 more were wounded and three policemen injured in riots near the NATO base in northern Kunduz province...
  • The protests have killed 30 people and wounded 200, including two other U.S. troops who were shot dead by an Afghan soldier who joined rallies in the country's east.

This is how the people of Afghanistan are repaying America for sacrificing the material wealth of its own citizens and the blood of their sons and daughters to liberate it from oppressive Taliban rule, patrol its streets, keep it safe, build its schools, modernize its infrastructure, and guarantee its people basic human rights and democratic self-rule.

Does any honest conservative want to reward this kind of behavior with the continued sacrifice of our national treasure and the precious blood of our brave, brightest, and best young men and women? Should Americans continue dying overseas and other Americans continue doing without jobs here at home so we can continue the trillion-dollar fool's errand of civilizing this region? Do the Afghan people deserve it?

After this last week of violence and riots despite ten years of nation-building and freely-flowing American generosity, does anyone actually still think this can work? Or is it finally time for conservative cheerleaders of the nation-building strategy overseas to listen to and understand the inevitable corollary to their own argument that the world-- especially the Middle East-- is filled with people who hate and despise America. The corollary is this: DON'T GIVE THE REST OF THE WORLD ANYTHING. They will gladly take American generosity, then turn around and kill Americans with the weapons that Americans paid for, driving on roads that Americans built, and while drawing a salary from a government propped up with American tax dollars.

Are you finally starting to see a pattern here? American dollars funded and armed Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq during its war with Iran. Hussein turned around and paid us back by threatening to trade Iraqi oil in Euros instead of Dollars, eventually leading to U.S. military escalation at its first opportunity and the first Persian Gulf War. American dollars and military expertise also funded, armed, and supported the Taliban during the 80s so they could fight the Soviets. Then the Taliban turned around and paid us back by harboring the terrorists responsible for 9-11 and refusing to give them up. Now American dollars are funding a new government in Afghanistan, and its members are already attacking American troops and personnel who are there to build and strengthen their country!

It's time for conservatives in this country to really listen to and heed the words of President Ronald Reagan in his autobiography when he wrote about sending U.S. Marines to Lebanon where they were killed:

"Perhaps we didn't appreciate fully enough the depth of the hatred and the complexity of the problems that made the Middle East such a jungle. Perhaps the idea of a suicide car bomber committing mass murder to gain instant entry to Paradise was so foreign to our own values and consciousness that it did not create in us the concern for the marines' safety that it should have.

In the weeks immediately after the bombing, I believe the last thing that we should do was turn tail and leave. Yet the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics forced us to rethink our policy there. If there would be some rethinking of policy before our men die, we would be a lot better off. If that policy had changed towards more of a neutral position and neutrality, those 241 marines would be alive today."

Even as death tolls rise in the Middle East and after seeing record casualty numbers during Obama's management of Washington's efforts there, supporters of nation-building argue that we can't simply leave the region a mess, that because "we broke it, we own it," that we somehow owe it to the Afghan people to remain there until they have a stable society, that we have some moral obligation to them. Not anymore. Not after this last week of violence. Not if even members of their new government, propped up and supported by our presence there, are attacking and murdering our brave troops. I support the troops, not the people of Afghanistan. I believe our government has an obligation to promote America's best interests, not people who hate us and will use any excuse to demonize and kill us. We don't owe them a damned thing. Bring all the troops home right now and let them sort out their own messed up country.





Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Separation of Church and State makes Rick Santorum "want to throw up!"

The Washington Post reports (m):

Former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) on Sunday defended a statement he made last October in which he said that he “almost threw up” when he read John F. Kennedy’s 1960 Houston address on the role of religion in public life.

The statement by Santorum marks the GOP contender’s latest defense of his long-held views on the separation of church and state, although in his Sunday appearance he doubled down on the colorful language he employed in his October speech at a New Hampshire college.

In remarks last year at the College of Saint Mary Magdalen in Warner, N.H., Santorum had told the crowd of J.F.K.’s famous 1960 address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, “Earlier in my political career, I had the opportunity to read the speech, and I almost threw up. You should read the speech.”

Now just what kind of things did Rick Santorum find so objectionable in Kennedy's speech? Things like this:

"I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him."

Full JFK speech that made Rick Santorum almost throw up:



Now here's the money quote from that WaPo article above:

On Sunday, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Santorum whether he stood by his statement last year, noting that Santorum’s rival, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R), delivered an address on religion during the 2008 campaign that garnered comparisons to Kennedy’s address.

Santorum defended his remarks, telling Stephanopoulos that “the first line, first substantive line in the speech, says, ‘I believe in America where the separation of church and state is absolute.’”

I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute,” Santorum said. “The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country.”

Aren't we fighting multiple open-ended wars and engaging in open-ended nation-building operations overseas right now because conservatives believe that religious fundamentalists from the Middle East want to force their religion on us? Maybe while we're going to such great lengths, we could also do something about religious fundamentalists from Pennsylvania trying to force theirs on us too... like not vote for them.





Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

Why DOES Santorum get a free pass on this??

Saw this political cartoon on Facebook and I absolutely love it. The media is always twisting Ron Paul's words against him and making it seem like he's anti-American or something just for criticizing the actions of its government, but Santorum can say that Satan is infiltrating American culture and its "great institutions" and using our vices to destroy us?

Why aren't people calling that anti-American? It does smack a bit of President Ahmadinejad, doesn't it? Wait-- you mean conservatives actually are capable of understanding that Santorum isn't demonizing America here, but pointing out that America is under attack from within? Can we please just substitute closet-communists, crony-capitalists, central bankers, the military-industrial complex (that a Republican president warned us about decades ago), politically-correct smart asses, and elite globalists for Satan here and finally admit that Ron Paul is actually the MOST pro-American and pro-American values candidate in the Republican Presidential primary today?





Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

President Eisenhower Warns Against The Dangers of The Military Industrial Complex (Video)

The following is an excellent short video of Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower speaking to warn us of the dangers of the military-industrial complex:






Full text:

Ladies and Gentleman, The President of the United States:

Good evening, my fellow Americans. We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a century that has now witnessed four major wars among great nations. Until the latest of our world conflicts the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well, but we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense. We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportion. Added to this- three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment.

Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence: economic, political, even spiritual is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved, so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex.

The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.


Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fed News Friday: Gas prices rising (I wonder why)


The Christian Science Monitor reports:
“Obama sought to deflect growing Republican attacks over rising prices at the pump, blaming recent increases on a mix of factors beyond his control, including tensions with Iran, hot demand from China, India and other emerging economies, and Wall Street speculators taking advantage of the uncertainty.”
But it gets better. It gets so much better. You’re not going to believe what else Obama actually said while defending himself against criticism over rising gas prices. It’s so perfect one can’t help but wonder if it was intentional and Obama is being deliberately, malevolently funny.

Here it is, also from the Monitor:

at The Silver Underground.


Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

Is Ron Paul the Billy Beane of Politics?

This Sunday marks the Oscars. The critical and mainstream darling, "Moneyball" may go home empty handed this year, but also may have the most lasting effect out of any movie released in 2011.

The film follows manager Billy Beane and the 2002 Oakland Athletics baseball team - how they ignored conventional wisdom to make purely objective player valuations - causing them to match the New York Yankees total wins for the year with approximately 1/3 the salary costs.

They dismissed accepted baseball wisdom. That the most effective baseball players look a certain way. Swing a certain way. They argued the true value of a bunt, a steal and a walk.

They argued that baseball was a numbers game. And that virtually no one was playing it right.

Do you see where I'm going with this? Is Ron Paul the Billy Beane of political thought?

Because he is traveling around the country evangelizing an entirely different political game. He claims a smarter way. He argues for both the moral and effectual justifications for liberty. He not only ignores conventional wisdom, he stomps on it.

And these aren't Ron Paul's ideas, just as "Moneyball" wasn't Billy Beane's concept. Bill James was preaching this in the 70s to deaf ears, just as Barry Goldwater ran (and lost) on a similar political message 50 years ago.

So, I'm curious where we are in this timeline? Because, the truth will outring what is loud. In the end, we will win. Just as Moneyball is slowly winning more and more over.

Not that it has achieved anywhere near mainstream acceptance within those in baseball. In fact, there are those who still flat out reject it. But, the teams who have even partially embraced the concept are the very ones winning more games/$ today.

Brad Pitt may have helped tip Moneyball. So, when will Ron Paul tip liberty?

Ron Paul stars in 1983 Congressional Baseball Game







Eric Olsen,
Regular Columnist, THL
Articles | Author's Page
Critical Thinking Blog

Reader comment on my abortion post

This dissenting comment left on my libertarian pro-life argument post was so good I had to share it:

"What you miss - what you call evasive - is the fact that the fetus lives inside and is entirely dependent on the woman. So, even if the fetus does have rights, this is a clear case of a conflict of rights. Now, it's pretty clear that if we care about equality, we have to address the fact that women can have children. That can be a wonderful thing when you want it, but an oppressive experience otherwise. And this is where the conflict occurs. If you protect the rights of a fetus, you deny women a significant amount of freedom to choose the life she wants to live. This is why science won't help us here. If a fetus is fully a life and endowed with all rights, that just makes the resolution even harder. That's also why it is ridiculous to call it murder. I can't think of anywhere else in the world where you can find such a similar conflict of rights.

The thing is, there's a really easy way to resolve this conflict. We have contraceptives that are nearly 100% affective. By education people and giving them access to family planning, we can make abortion virtually unnecessary. But then I look at the pro-life movement and see that they are hostile towards even these common sense approaches. I see that the areas with the most pro-life legislation actually tend to have more abortions. That's not surprising because they are also neglecting other, less controversial means of family planning. Can you seriously justify a position against birth control based on life? If so, I doubt anyone will buy it. So what is the common factor here if it isn't life? And the only conclusion I can come to is that its about sex and control and about putting the government into your bedroom. If you can't see that you really shouldn't call yourself a libertarian."

As for the challenges that children pose to a consistent theory of liberty, I agree wholeheartedly and would say in fact, that I believe children are the most problematic and "gray" area for libertarian social and political theory. Even though I am still pro-life, this is one of the best dissenting comments I've yet seen on my pro-life article-- one that I can respect.

As for the easy and uncontroversial methods of decreasing the number of abortions that happen-- I am also in complete agreement and would like to see pro-life activists focus more attention here. Please note also, that I said nothing in my article against contraceptives and have no moral problem with them.





Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page