The Blood Of Patriots And Tyrants

“God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.
The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is
wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts
they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions,
it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. …
And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not
warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of
resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as
to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost
in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from
time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
It is its natural manure.”

—Thomas Jefferson

Take My Liberty And Give Me Money

“I, however, place economy among the first and most important republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared.”

“The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.”

-Thomas Jefferson

Even liberals are prone to being effusive about the intellect and perspicacity of Thomas Jefferson. That is, until they actually look at the results of that intellect, other than the magnificent but necessarily broad Declaration of Independence. JFK, when reasonably sober and taking a break from his non-stop sexual predation, once opined to his dinner guests that this was as intelligent a group as has ever been in this room, except when Thomas Jefferson dined alone. He was, of course, pretending to be erudite and witty, perhaps achieving the latter.

In any event, reading the Jefferson quotes above, even those “educated” in government schools must admit that he and the Founders feared an overbearing central government. Given that the federal government has and requires the powers enumerated in the Constitution, most of our trouble stems from “emergency” or other lamely-excused deviations and expansions therefrom. It started with Dishonest Abe, who found it convenient to ignore Supreme Court rulings, borrow enormous sums of money for his war, throw inconvenient individuals in jail for impure thoughts, and was fine-tuned by FDR. FDR discovered how easy it was to buy votes with tax dollars; he never stopped, and his war opened the floodgates. Not for nothing did Bismarck opine that “War is the health of the state.” Here is a small but significant point about Lincoln’s war: Prior to it, one referred to these United States; after, the United States. States’ rights never recovered; nor is there much hope they will.

Had we remained vigilant about the enumerated powers of our Constitution, none of the problems that now threaten our nation would exist. We would have fought no undeclared wars, created no welfare state, or have any national debt. Hard to imagine, but true.

Read more here.

LA’s X-Rated Referendum is an Obscene Attack on Liberty

The electorate of Los Angeles County will go to the polls in three weeks to decide, among other critical questions in a time of economic stagnation, budget deficits, and educational crisis, whether to require the use of condoms in pornography films.

Ballot Measure X–excuse me, B–reads, in part: “The measure would require the use of condoms for all acts of anal or vaginal sex during the production of adult films.”

Thank goodness the voting age is 18.

Measure B appears on the November ballot thanks to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and proponents defend it as a “vote to safeguard public health and for workplace protection.”

The measure would apparently require “on-set inspections.” No doubt LA’s bureaucrats are already lining up for that assignment–but it’s unlikely there will be much left to inspect if Measure B passes.

Love it or loathe it, the U.S. pornography industry is largely based in LA’s San Fernando Valley. Lately, the multi-billion dollar industry has been struggling, and Measure B would likely push it out of California, to other states or Canada.

More jobs destroyed, more tax revenue lost–and yes, perhaps, a few infections prevented, though the industry says it is good at policing itself. And those who join it know what they are (ahem) getting into.

More is at stake in Measure B than economic damage. The greater price is liberty itself.

You don’t have to like or care about pornography to understand that there is something absurd about the government–or even the majority of citizens–deciding that when consenting adults engage in otherwise legal sexual expression, they have to use a particular form of contraception, subject to supervision by the Department of Public Health.

Recall the uproar during the Republican primary earlier this year over the phony issue of contraception. The mainstream media threw a fit over the constitutional question of whether states had the power to regulate contraception, and the left attacked GOP candidates for allegedly wanting to ban it.

Read more here.

Its Worse Than You’ve Been Told

One of the big topics of the upcoming election is the national debt and the yearly deficit. Although there have been recent attempts to portray President Obama as a fiscal conservative, we all know that this administration has spent and borrowed more than any other. We know he has added five trillion dollars to the national debt and that yearly deficits under his administration have been 1.3 to 1.5 trillion dollars. These are the numbers we are familiar with. They are very bad. We are borrowing forty cents out of every dollar and using these numbers, we would have to cut the federal budget by forty percent to balance it. We know the Democrats have no intention of attempting that but do you really think that the Republicans have the guts to cut real expenditures by forty percent? Or twenty? Or ten? Or even five? The gimmicks of reducing the deficit by some amount over ten years may fool some but they are worthless gestures that do nothing to slow our headlong rush to fiscal destruction.

Even if the looters in Washington could muster the political courage to cut the deficit in half or, miracle of miracles, balance the budget, it would all be a lie. You see, Washington doesn’t use the same accounting practices every other business in America is required to use. In fact, if a business did accounting like the politicians in Washington they would be in jail. But fudging the numbers for political benefit has a long and storied tradition in Washington, just look at the economic numbers, especially unemployment, they put out on a regular basis. Getting back to the point. Washington does not have to include future benefits in its budgetary considerations. A business must include future pensions and health benefits in its yearly budget, Washington does not. If it did, the numbers would get much, much worse. While many of us have heard that the national debt of sixteen trillion dollars is just the tip of the iceberg and unfunded liabilities put that number in the one hundred trillion dollar range, putting that in yearly and personal terms is something else entirely.

The yearly deficit under standard accounting practices, is a smidgen over five trillion dollars. Every year. This is not new, of course. Go back to the Clinton administration and the “balanced budget” and “surpluses” the he and the Republicans like to crow about. It was all an accounting trick. In fact the national debt rose by 1.6 trillion during Clinton’s eight years. The surpluses were created by taking all Social Security income and treating to as ordinary income. If any corporation treated pension contributions as ordinary income and spent it all its officers would be in prison. Yet our politicians do it routinely and lie about it with a smile.

There is no way to make up this deficit with taxes. No way. The average yearly household income in the United States is around $49,000. To balance the budget the government would have to confiscate $42,000 of that, leaving the average family $7000 a year to live on. In fact, if we collected one hundred percent of the income in this country, we would still be running a deficit. That is not going to happen. Raising taxes is not going to solve this problem. When the government is spending half our GDP, they cannot tax enough to cover it all without destroying the economy completely. But they are going to try. While confiscating all the wealth of the rich would fund the government for days or hours, politicians, particularly Democrats, will try to convince us that taking more money from the people who create wealth will improve the lives of those who don’t.

In addition to taxes, an even more nefarious scheme to keep people from protecting their wealth is coming. We all know that some corporations keep a portion of their profits outside the United States because we have the highest corporate tax rate in the world and that wealthy individuals often keep some of their money “offshore” to protect a portion of their assets. As our situation becomes ever more dire and the government looks for ways to get hold of even more of our money, politicians are considering ways to keep it here in the country where their tentacles reach into every financial institution. Barny Frank and Sander Levin recently wrote a letter to Timothy Geithner complaining that our current trade agreements don’t adequately address “capital controls.” What they are concerned about is the ease with which capital can flow out of the country and into other non US investments. I would like to remind you that one of the ten goals in the communist manifesto is the confiscation of the wealth of emigrants. What this means is that the government wants the ability to keep you from protecting your wealth by trading dollars for gold or other currencies.

Why does that matter to the vast majority of us who don’t have offshore accounts or trusts? Because neither party in Washington is going to make the cuts necessary to solve our fiscal nightmare. They are not going to eliminate any departments, they are not going to reduce Social Security or Medicare benefits, they are not going to cut military spending, food stamps or unemployment benefits. They do not have the political will or courage to do it. They will ride this horse to death and we are the ones who will pay the ultimate price. The only way the government can pay for all this is for the Federal Reserve to keep printing money. They have been printing trillions of dollars every year and inflation is rearing its ugly head. The only thing that is keeping the dollar strong at this point is that Europe is in even worse shape, in the short term, than we are. The dollar is the “least worse” currency right now. When that changes, hyperinflation will wipe out the savings and wealth of the average American and the only way to protect yourself is to own something of value other than dollars. But the politicians are working on making that impossible (remember FDR outlawed gold ownership, it has happened before), ensuring that we all go over the cliff together. Everyone except the political class and their well connected friends.

It is time to tell the truth. It is time to elect people who know it and are willing to take the radical steps needed to mitigate the worst effects of our foolishness. It is time to try liberty once again. Democrats and Republicans have gotten us into this mess and neither has the courage or desire to get us out. It is time for real change.

Mike Calpino
Candidate for Congress

Yes, Congress can steal your liberty

Can the president use the military to arrest anyone he wants, keep that person away from a judge and jury, and lock him up for as long as he wants? In the Senate’s dark and terrifying vision of the Constitution, he can.

Congress is supposed to work in public. That requirement is in the Constitution. It is there because the folks who wrote the Constitution had suffered long and hard under the British Privy Council, a secret group that advised the king and ran his government.

We know from the now-defunct supercommittee, and other times when Congress has locked its doors, that government loves secrecy and hates transparency. Transparency forces the government to answer to us. Secrecy lets it steal our liberty and our property behind our backs.

Last week, while our minds were on family and turkey and football, the Senate Armed Services Committee decided to meet in secret. So, behind closed doors, it drafted an amendment to a bill appropriating money for the Pentagon.

The amendment would permit the president to use the military for law enforcement purposes in the United States. This, of course, would present a radical departure from any use to which the military has been put in the memory of any Americans now living.

The last time the federal government regularly used the military for domestic law enforcement was at the end of Reconstruction in the South, in 1876. In fact, the deal to end Reconstruction resulted in the enactment of federal laws forbidding the domestic use of American military for law enforcement purposes.

This has been our law, our custom and our set of values to which every president has adhered for 135 years.

It is not for directing traffic that this legislation would authorize the president to use the military. Essentially, this legislation would enable the president to divert from the criminal justice system, and thus to divert from the protections of the Constitution, any person he pleases.

And that person, under this terrifying bill, would have no recourse to a judge to require the president either to file charges against him or to set him free.

Can you imagine an America in which you could lose all liberty — from the presumption of innocence to the right to counsel to fairness from the government to a jury trial — simply because the president says you are dangerous?

Nothing terrified or animated the Founders more than that. The Founders, who wrote the Constitution, had just won a war against a king who had less power than this legislation will give to the president.

Read more here.

Activist organizes Tea Party convention that ‘aint gonna be country club Republican’

Mark Skoda says the first Tea Party convention he was involved in was “too country club,” so he’s breaking away and helping to organize a separate convention this spring.

Like the first one that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin keynoted earlier this year, Skoda’s will be in Tennessee and will also use the name, “National Tea Party Convention.”

But Skoda, who leads the Memphis Tea Party, stresses that it’s an entirely different event. Judson Phillips, the leader of Tea Party Nation who organized the first convention, is not involved in this one. And unlike Phillips’ convention, Skoda said, the event will not be a for-profit event and guests won’t dine on seafood or steak.

“It aint gonna be country club Republican,” Skoda told The Daily Caller. He said the convention will be in Memphis, Tenn. and he’s hoping to keep tickets to event $250 or less, though organizers are still working out logistics.

Skoda, who served as a spokesman for Phillips’s event, said Phillips does not have the rights to the name “National Tea Party convention,” so he plans to using his experience at the first convention to help “get the bad taste” out of the name. The perception of it being expensive and “country club” really hurt it, he said.

“I was at a table with Sarah Palin. She didn’t even want to eat because she didn’t want people taking pictures of her,” he said.

Phillips, reached at home, is not happy that Skoda is using the same name for the convention. “It does bother me … I think he needs to call it something else,” he said.

But, Phillips said, Skoda’s “got the right to do it. Clearly he recognizes a good idea.”

Phillips also defended his convention: “We had a first-class event and people really liked it … If he wants to go serve people Happy Meals from McDonalds. That’s his call.”

As for speakers for the upcoming event, Skoda said the board overseeing the convention is still “in negotiations.”

The event will focus on the theme of “liberty through accountability,” he said, and will be chaired by Tennessee state Rep. Mark White.

Establishment is to blame for country’s problems — consider voting Libertarian

Many years ago, one of our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, provided us with this warning:

“We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds … (we will) have no time to think, no means of calling our mis-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers. … And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for (another) … till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery. … And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.”

The greatest threat to our national security and our sovereignty is our national debt. It is not terrorism, Iran or North Korea, but the financial crisis that is bearing down upon us.
Who is to blame for this? The same people we continue to elect to the same seats in every election from the same political parties.
Establishment candidates have prevailed in the primaries in Maryland. There are Libertarian choices on Election Day: Susan Gaztañaga for governor, Dr. Richard Davis for Congress and Mike Calpino for Wicomico County Council District 2.

Posted by Muir W. Boda

Supreme Court Deals Blow to Liberty

by David French

Monday, June 28, 2010, was a landmark day for liberty—but not in the way that most conservatives realize. News outlets led with stories of the Supreme Court’s gun rights ruling in McDonald v. Chicago (Matt Drudge even announced the ruling with one of his famous “siren” graphics) and then quickly shifted their attention to Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearing. Lost in the shuffle was a second Supreme Court decision, one that contains a line of reasoning that threatens our understanding of what liberty is.

That case, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, dealt with a seemingly simple issue: Could a university require a Christian student organization to open its leadership and voting membership to those who disagree with the group’s faith or who refuse to abide by its code of conduct? In other words, could the university require a Christian group to be led by Muslims or by people who disregard biblical commands regarding, for example, sexual behavior.

Common sense would dictate that a group should be able to limit its membership and leadership to those who share the group’s purpose. After all, who ever heard of a Republican group led by Democrats, an African-American group led by white supremacists, or a vegetarian group led by cattle ranchers? But this involved a university, where common sense is always trumped by political correctness, and this particular school (Hastings College of Law in San Francisco) said that each student group had to open its membership and leadership to every student on campus.

This “all comers” policy destroys freedom of association—the constitutional liberty to form a group around a shared purpose—and the Christian Legal Society sued to protects its rights. After a long and winding litigation road, the case reached the Supreme Court, and on Monday the court ruled against the Christian group.

The 5-4 decision was written by Justice Ginsburg and was joined by Justices Sotomayor and Breyer. Justices Stevens and Kennedy filing concurring opinions. Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia and Thomas.

Justice Ginsburg’s opinion, contains a dangerous contention. To the court’s majority, the Christian Legal Society was simply arguing for special, or “preferential” treatment when it filed suit. According to the court:

“CLS, it bears emphasis, seeks not parity with other organizations, but a preferential exemption from Hastings’ policy. The 1st Amendment shields CLS against state prohibition of the organization’s expressive activity, however exclusionary that activity may be. But CLS enjoys no constitutional right to state subvention of its selectivity.”

Put in plain English, the court is allowing the university to put in place a policy that destroys the free-association right of all student groups, then is accusing the one group with the courage to challenge that action of seeking a “preferential exemption.” Since when did the defense of longstanding constitutional rights become a quest for special treatment?

Underlying the court’s reasoning is a dangerous view of the enormous breadth of government power. In the court’s eyes, students who want to meet in empty classrooms (rooms their tuition and tax dollars pay for) are receiving a government benefit, not exercising a fundamental right. In the court’s eyes, these “benefits” (broadly defined) can be made contingent on forcing citizens to surrender their most basic liberties. Cato’s Roger Pilon summed it up perfectly:

“That is a new standard for constitutionality when it comes to fundamental rights. And if students, whatever their interests or values, cannot form organizations limited to people who share those interests and values, what’s the point of having student organizations at all? In a word, like the mugger who says, “Your money or your life,” today’s opinion enables Hastings to say, “If you want benefits otherwise available to all, you’ve got to give up your right to freedom of association.” No public institution should be able to put people to such a choice.”

Not only is the court’s decision to equate the defense of fundamental rights with a quest for “special rights” legally suspect, it has a pernicious effect in the public square. Many Americans—especially conservatives—are outraged when groups seek special favors or special exemptions from generally applicable laws. To cast the Christian Legal Society in that light brings automatic suspicion to their claims.

The bottom line is that the government—whether acting through Congress or through a university administration—should not have the power to regulate away our fundamental rights. And those groups courageous to stand against such a power grab are defending liberty, not seeking special status.

Immigration and liberty

By: Walter Williams

My sentiments on immigration are expressed by the welcoming words of poet Emma Lazarus’ that grace the base of our Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Those sentiments are probably shared by most Americans and for sure by my libertarian fellow travelers, but their vision of immigration has some blind spots. This has become painfully obvious in the wake Arizona’s law that cracks down on illegal immigration. Let’s look at the immigration issue step by step.

There are close to 7 billion people on our planet. I’d like to know how the libertarians answer this question: Does each individual on the planet have a natural or God-given right to live in the U.S.? Unless one wishes to obfuscate, I believe that a yes or no can be given to that question just as a yes or no answer can be given to the question whether Williams has a right to live in the U.S.

I believe most people, even my open-borders libertarian friends, would not say that everyone on the planet had a right to live in the U.S. That being the case suggests there will be conditions that a person must meet to live in the U.S. Then the question emerges: Who gets to set those conditions? Should it be the United Nations, the European Union, the Japanese Diet or the Moscow City Duma? I can’t be absolutely sure, but I believe that most Americans would recoil at the suggestion that somebody other than Americans should be allowed to set the conditions for people to live in the U.S.

What those conditions should be is one thing and whether a person has a right to ignore them is another. People become illegal immigrants in one of three ways: entering without authorization or inspection, staying beyond the authorized period after legal entry or by violating the terms of legal entry. Most of those who risk prosecution under Arizona’s new law fit the first category — entering without authorization or inspection.

Probably, the overwhelming majority of Mexican illegal immigrants are hardworking, honest and otherwise law-abiding members of the communities in which they reside. It would surely be a heart-wrenching scenario for such a person to be stopped for a driving infraction, have his illegal immigrant status discovered and face deportation proceedings. Regardless of the hardship suffered, being in the U.S. without authorization is a crime.

When crimes are committed, what should be done? Some people recommend amnesia, which turns out to be the root word for amnesty. But surely they don’t propose it as a general response to crime where criminals confess their crime, pay some fine and apply to have their crimes overlooked. Amnesty supporters probably wish amnesty to apply to only illegal immigrants. That being the case, one wonders whether they wish it to apply to illegals past, present and future, regardless of race, ethnicity or country of origin.

Various estimates put the illegal immigrant population in the U.S. between 10 and 20 million. One argument says we can’t round up and deport all those people. That argument differs little from one that says since we can’t catch every burglar, we should grant burglars amnesty. Catching and imprisoning some burglars sends a message to would-be burglars that there might be a price to pay. Similarly, imprisoning some illegal immigrants and then deporting them after their sentences were served would send a signal to others who are here illegally or who are contemplating illegal entry that there’s a price to pay.

Here’s Williams’ suggestion in a nutshell. Start strict enforcement of immigration law, as Arizona has begun. Strictly enforce border security. Most importantly, modernize and streamline our cumbersome immigration laws so that people can more easily migrate to our country.

Examiner Columnist Walter Williams is nationally syndicated by Creators Syndicate.

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

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