Wednesday, December 29, 2004

It Can't Happen Here by Ron Paul

Congressman Ron Paul writes:

"Undoubtedly many Americans and members of Congress don’t believe America is becoming a police state, which is reasonable enough. They associate the phrase with highly visible symbols of authoritarianism like military patrols, martial law, and summary executions. But we ought to be concerned that we have laid the foundation for tyranny by making the public more docile, more accustomed to government bullying, and more accepting of arbitrary authority – all in the name of security. Our love for liberty above all has been so diminished that we tolerate intrusions into our privacy that would have been abhorred just a few years ago...

"American history, at least in part, is a history of people who don’t like being told what to do. Yet we are increasingly empowering the federal government and its agents to run our lives...

"Many citizens believe that once the war on terror is over, restrictions on their liberties will be reversed. But this war is undeclared and open-ended, with no precise enemy and no expressly stated final goal. Terrorism will never be eradicated completely; does this mean future presidents will assert extraordinary war powers indefinitely?

"Washington DC provides a vivid illustration of what our future might look like. Visitors to Capitol Hill encounter police barricades, metal detectors, paramilitary officers carrying fully automatic rifles, police dogs, ID checks, and vehicle stops. The people are totally disarmed; only the police and criminals have guns. Surveillance cameras are everywhere, monitoring street activity, subway travel, parks, and federal buildings. There's not much evidence of an open society in Washington, DC, yet most folks do not complain – anything goes if it's for government-provided safety and security.

"After all, proponents argue, the government is doing all this to catch the bad guys. If you don’t have anything to hide, they ask, what are you so afraid of? The answer is that I’m afraid of losing the last vestiges of privacy that a free society should hold dear. I’m afraid of creating a society where the burden is on citizens to prove their innocence, rather than on government to prove wrongdoing. Most of all, I’m afraid of living in a society where a subservient populace surrenders its liberties to an all-powerful government...

"It may be true that average Americans do not feel intimidated by the encroachment of the police state. Americans remain tolerant of what they see as mere nuisances because they have been deluded into believing total government supervision is necessary and helpful, and because they still enjoy a high level of material comfort. That tolerance may wane, however, as our standard of living falls due to spiraling debt, endless deficit spending at home and abroad, a declining fiat dollar, inflation, higher interest rates, and failing entitlement programs. At that point attitudes toward omnipotent government may change, but the trend toward authoritarianism will be difficult to reverse.

"Those who believe a police state can't happen here are poor students of history. Every government, democratic or not, is capable of tyranny. We must understand this if we hope to remain a free people."

It Can't Happen Here by Ron Paul

Homeschoolers Need Grandparents (And Grandparents Need Grandchildren) by Linda Schrock Taylor

Homeschoolers Need Grandparents (And Grandparents Need Grandchildren) by Linda Schrock Taylor

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Why We Must Stay in Iraq (or Not) by Harry Browne

Harry Browne writes:

"Withdrawing from Iraq would not be 'the greatest surrender in history.' The greatest surrender already has occurred – when we surrendered to the federal government the power to sacrifice our lives and eat away our sustenance – when we allowed one man to put this nation in such jeopardy...

You mean [holding Iraqi elections] will justify the deaths of upwards of 100,000 Iraqis and Americans – probably none of whom considers an election in Iraq to be a worthwhile reward for losing his life? And since you consider it will all be worth it, are you now on your way to Iraq to offer your life? Or is it worth only other people’s lives?"

Why We Must Stay in Iraq (or Not) by Harry Browne

It's Time To Support the Troops by Sheila Samples

Sheila Samples writes:

"Now we can all get back to supporting 'the troops' by keeping them out of public view and safely back where they belong – like Bush says – in our thoughts 'n prayers. Criticizing the boss for sending them unarmed and unprepared into a never-ending, no-way-out bloody fiasco only demoralizes the troops...

"I have a considerable stash of words, but none sufficiently harsh to describe the contempt I feel for these Democrat and Republican legislators who silently lowered their heads – who turned their backs – and allowed Bush and Rumsfeld to send their young constituents to their deaths, untrained and improperly equipped...

"Congress had to know Saddam Hussein posed no threat whatever to America; that he had no connection to 9-11, and that Iraq was broken by 12 years of sanctions, by the disease and death resulting from our relentless bombing of Iraqi infrastructure and the withholding of medicines and food...

"It is even more grisly when you consider they knew their silence would not only disrupt, but destroy thousands of families at home and abroad, and that even those troops lucky enough to return would never be the same again...

"Americans are not natural predators. Is it supporting the troops to maliciously turn them into monsters so they will be 'up' for the eyeball-to-eyeball killing they must do for 'God and Country?'...

"USA Today founder Al Neuharth... [suggested] last week that, although Support Our Troops is a wonderful patriotic slogan, '...the best way to support troops thrust by unwise commanders in chief into ill-advised adventures like Vietnam and Iraq is to bring them home. Sooner rather than later,' Neuharth wrote in a Dec. 22 editorial. 'That should be our New Year's resolution.'

"I don't know about you, but I'm with Rosa and Al. It's time to stop the killing – time to stop the grievin' 'n mournin'. It's time to truly support American troops."

It's Time To Support the Troops by Sheila Samples

Support Out Troops: Bring Them Home

USA TODAY Founder, Al Neuharth, writes:

"Despite unhappy holidays, nearly all of us who served in WWII were proud, determined and properly armed and equipped to help defeat would-be world conquerors Hitler in Germany, Mussolini in Italy and Hirohito in Japan.

"At age 80, I'd gladly volunteer for such highly moral duty again. But if I were eligible for service in Iraq, I would do all I could to avoid it. I would have done the same during the Vietnam War, as many of the politically connected did.

" 'Support Our Troops' is a wonderful patriotic slogan. But the best way to support troops thrust by unwise commanders in chief into ill-advised adventures like Vietnam and Iraq is to bring them home. Sooner rather than later. That should be our New Year's resolution."

USATODAY.com - They can only dream of holidays at home

Hands Off the Electoral College by Ron Paul

Congressman Ron Paul reminds us that "our country is not a democracy."

"Our nation was founded as a constitutionally limited republic, as any grammar school child knew just a few decades ago. Remember the Pledge of Allegiance: 'and to the Republic for which it stands'? The Founding Fathers were concerned with liberty, not democracy. In fact, the word democracy does not appear in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution...

"Yet we have become obsessed with democracy, as though any government action would be permissible if a majority of voters simply approved of it... But the founders created a constitutionally limited republic precisely to protect fundamental liberties from the whims of the masses, to guard against the excesses of democracy. The Electoral College likewise was created in the Constitution to guard against majority tyranny in federal elections. The President was to be elected by the states rather than the citizenry as a whole, with votes apportioned to states according to their representation in Congress. The will of the people was to be tempered by the wisdom of the Electoral College...

"By contrast, election of the President by pure popular vote totals would damage statehood. Populated areas on both coasts would have increasing influence on national elections, to the detriment of less populated southern and western states... A popular vote system simply would intensify the populist pandering which already dominates national campaigns.

"Not surprisingly, calls to abolish the Electoral College system are heard most loudly among left elites concentrated largely on the two coasts. Liberals favor a very strong centralized federal government, and have contempt for the concept of states' rights (a contempt now shared, unfortunately, by the Republican Party). They believe in federalizing virtually every area of law, leaving states powerless to challenge directives sent down from Washington. The Electoral College system threatens liberals because it allows states to elect the president, and in many states the majority of voters still believe in limited government and the Constitution. Citizens in southern and western states in particular tend to value individual liberty, property rights, gun rights, and religious freedom, values which are abhorrent to the collectivist elites. The collectivists care about centralized power, not democracy. Their efforts to discredit the Electoral College system are an attempt to limit the voting power of pro-liberty states."

Hands Off the Electoral College by Ron Paul

Cell Phone Ban Has Totalitarian Implications by James Ostrowski

Attorney James Ostrowski makes a compelling case that the New York state law against making a cell phone call while driving "is a law that forbids innocuous behavior that millions of people in this country engage in every day without incident, but leads to enforcement efforts that in and of themselves cause accidents!"

Cell Phone Ban Has Totalitarian Implications by James Ostrowski

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Roasted Chestnuts in July by Gary North

Gary North writes:

"One of the most popular of all Christmas songs was written by one of America’s great pop singers, Mel Tormé. It begins, 'Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. . . . 'It’s called 'The Christmas Song.' It was written in 1945 and was turned into a seasonal classic in 1946 by Nat 'King' Cole – in my book, the greatest of America’s pop singers.

"Christmas is merry. But what you do with it in July may make all the difference."

Fascinating story of the history of this popular song.

Roasted Chestnuts in July by Gary North

The Christmas Truce by Laurence M. Vance

Laurence M. Vance writes:

"The Christmas of 1914 was the first Christmas of the 'war to end all wars.' The war would drag on through three more...

"Brief and localized pre-holiday truces were springing up, usually initiated by the Germans...

"No one knows for certain where and how the truce officially began. What is known is that men from both sides up and down the front agreed on informal truces for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day...

"Where they couldn’t talk the language they were making themselves understood by signs, and everyone seemed to be getting on nicely. Here we were laughing and chatting to men whom only a few hours before we were trying to kill!

"That last sentence alone shows the utter folly of war. It also shows that left to themselves, men would not naturally engage in such a senseless war like World War I. It takes the state to get men to hate and kill other men that have never aggressed against them and that they don’t even know.

"After a silent night and a day, the war continued – the commanders saw to it...

"The situation described by Lew Rockwell just after Christmas two years ago has not changed: 'The US remains the only government in human history to have dropped nuclear weapons on people, it has far more weapons than anyone else, and remains the only country that reserves to itself the right of first strike.'

"Instead of invading the world, the United States should declare a truce with the world. No more threats. No more bombs. No more troops or bases on foreign soil. No more spies. No more trade sanctions. No more embargoes. No more foreign aid bribes. No more foreign entanglements. No more simultaneously playing the world’s bully and policeman. In a word: non-interventionism; that is, the principles of our Founding Fathers. What is wrong with 'peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations'? What is wrong with avoiding 'entangling alliances'? What is wrong with 'having as little political connection as possible' with foreign nations? What is wrong with not going abroad 'seeking monsters to destroy'? Can anyone honestly say that Bush’s principles are better than Jefferson’s principles?

"Over 1,300 U.S. soldiers won’t be celebrating Christmas this year – or any year. They died in vain for an unconstitutional, immoral, senseless war while in the service of a reckless, imperial presidency. They will forever have a silent night."

The Christmas Truce by Laurence M. Vance

Monday, December 13, 2004

Lyn Nofziger on political party affiliation

Lyn Nofziger writes in his mini-autobiography:

"I am a Republican because I believe that freedom is more important than government-provided security. Sometimes I wish I were a Democrat because Democrats seem to have more fun. At other times I wish I were a Libertarian because Republicans are too much like Democrats.

"What I actually am is a right-wing independent who is registered Republican because there isn't any place else to go. In the future I expect to be critical of both parties and their leadership and a lot of other people and things, too.

"Hope to see you around. 10/19/04"

Welcome to Lyn Nofziger.com

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Conservative by Charley Reese

Charlie Reese explains what is a true conservative:

"A conservative believes that not only should the Supreme Court strictly construe the Constitution, but so should the president, the House, the Senate, governors, mayors and everybody else. A conservative does not approve of wars, except in defense of the land and the people, and only upon a declaration of war by both houses of Congress. A war to liberate somebody else from a nasty government is unconstitutional, illegal and immoral...

"A conservative is against foreign aid. Nowhere in the Constitution is Congress authorized to tax the American people and then hand their money to a foreign government as either a gift or a loan. Nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government authorized to provide welfare, health care, housing or education. Nowhere in the Constitution does it mention abortion or gay marriage. Nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government authorized to subsidize either individuals or corporations...

"Philosophical and moral issues are to be decided by the legislatures of the states, not by federal courts or even by Congress, whose duties and powers are strictly limited by the Constitution. Whether homosexuals should be allowed to marry or form civil unions and whether abortion should be legal or illegal are both questions to be decided by the state legislatures. No state or federal judge should have a say in the matter, and Congress likewise has no authority to intervene one way or the other...

"A conservative Christian believes that his own soul is not imperiled if other people down the street decide to do some sinning. A conservative Christian recognizes that he is commanded to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and comfort the sick and dying. He is not commanded to shift this responsibility to government. He is not commanded to judge other people's lives and to regulate their behavior. A conservative Christian recognizes that something does not have to be illegal in order for him to refrain from doing it.

"A conservative believes in the real, traditional values of this country: courage, hard work, self-reliance, frugality, chastity before marriage, faithfulness after marriage, loyalty to family and loyalty to the Constitution. Loyalty to a political party or to a politician is profoundly un-American...

"Now, it should be noted that the republic handed to us by our Founding Fathers died with the Confederate States of America. That's what that war was about. Since then, we have had a centralized national government ever increasing its powers, and an imperialistic foreign policy. People in Washington pay lip service, if that, to the Constitution, and people outside of Washington don't seem to care.

"As for traditional values, they are little observed. America is a decadent country, especially its cultural elite. One would have to be deaf, blind and living in a monastery not to recognize this. A true conservative has no place in either major party. They are both committed to a centralized government at home and imperialism abroad. One's only choice on Election Day is to try to pick the more competent of two candidates...

Conservative by Charley Reese

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Congressman Ron Paul Denounces National ID Card

“National ID cards are not proper in a free society,” Paul stated. “This is America, not Soviet Russia. The federal government should never be allowed to demand papers from American citizens, and it certainly has no constitutional authority to do so.”

“Nationalizing standards for drivers licenses and birth certificates, and linking them together via a national database, creates a national ID system pure and simple. Proponents of the national ID understand that the public remains wary of the scheme, so they attempt to claim they’re merely creating new standards for existing state IDs. Nonsense! This legislation imposes federal standards in a federal bill, and it creates a federalized ID regardless of whether the ID itself is still stamped with the name of your state.”

“Those who are willing to allow the government to establish a Soviet-style internal passport system because they think it will make us safer are terribly mistaken,” Paul concluded... “Every conservative who believes in constitutional restraints on government should reject the authoritarian national ID card and the nonsensical intelligence bill itself.”

Paul Denounces National ID Card

Saturday, December 04, 2004

TSA- Bullies at the Airport

Congressman Ron Paul points out the out-of-control airport security gestapo tactics.

"A new TSA policy begun in September calls for invasive and humiliating searches of random passengers; in some instances crude pat-downs have taken place in full public view. Some female travelers quite understandably have burst into tears upon being groped, and one can only imagine the lawsuits if TSA were a private company. But TSA is not private, TSA is a federal agency-- and therefore totally unaccountable to the American people...

"In the rush to hire a new workforce, 28,000 screeners were put to work without background checks. Some of them were convicted felons. Many were very young, uneducated, with little job experience. At Kennedy and LaGuardia airports in New York, police arrested dozens of TSA employees who were simply stealing valuables from the luggage they were assigned to inspect. Of course TSA has banned locks on checked luggage, leaving passengers with checked bags totally at the mercy of screeners working behind closed doors...

"... we must understand the reality of TSA: its employees have no special training, wisdom, intelligence, or experience whatsoever that qualifies them to have any authority over you. They certainly have no better idea than you do how to prevent terrorism. TSA is about new bureaucratic turf and lucrative union makework, not terrorism...

"TSA has created an atmosphere of fear and meek subservience in our airports that smacks of Soviet bureaucratic bullying. TSA policies are subject to change at any moment, they differ from airport to airport, and they need not be in writing... Think you have a right to know the laws and regulations you are expected to obey? Too bad. Get in line and stay quiet, or we'll make life very hard for you. This is the attitude of TSA personnel...

"Passengers, of course, have caught on quickly. They have learned to stay quiet and not ask any questions, no matter how ludicrous or undignified the command. It's bad enough to see ordinary Americans bossed around in their stocking feet by newly-minted TSA agents, but it's downright disgraceful to see older Americans and children treated so imperiously. But any objection, however rational and reasonable, risks immediate scrutiny. At best, complainers will be taken aside and might miss their flight. If they don't submit quickly and attempt to assert any rights, they will end up detained, put on a TSA list that guarantees them hostile treatment at every airport, and possibly arrested or fined for their 'attitude'...

"Airlines should be using every last ounce of their lobbying and public relations power to stop TSA from harassing, delaying, humiliating, and otherwise mistreating their paying passengers. They should be protecting their employees, passengers, and aircraft using private security and guns in the cockpit. After all, who has more incentive to create safe skies than the airlines themselves? Many security-intensive industries, including nuclear power plants, oil refineries, and armored money transports, employ private security forces with excellent results. Yet the airlines prefer to relinquish all responsibility for security to the government, so they cannot be held accountable if another disaster occurs. But airlines are finding out the hard way that millions of Americans simply won't put up with TSA's abuse... Who can blame anyone for avoiding airports altogether?

"While millions of Americans undoubtedly welcome any TSA indignity under the guise of 'preventing terrorism', millions more are not willing to give blind obedience to arbitrary authority. TSA creates only a false sense of security, at great cost not only financially but also in terms of our dignity. How we as Americans react to authoritarian agencies like TSA is an indicator of how much we still value freedom over our persons and effects."


TSA- Bullies at the Airport

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Chuck Muth on pork-barrel spending and who's really "pro-choice"

Chuck Muth points out how the White House crowd regularly paints everyone and anyone who voices an objection to ILLEGAL immigration as anti-immigrant or, worse, a racist... Josh Bolten, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, brags that raising the debt ceiling to over 8 TRILLION dollars and passing a larded-up $388 billion omnibus spending bill is somehow "a significant victory in the battle for spending discipline in Washington" by President Bush and Congressional leaders... And pro-choicers lament that allowing hospitals to opt out of providing abortions is somehow a great step back for women's rights... Hogwash. If a woman chooses to have a legal abortion after this bill is enacted, she’ll just have to get it from a doctor or hospital which chooses to provide that service. Congress merely extended “choice” on this issue to others. But apparently, in the minds of the abortion rights crowd, the pro-choice road is a one-way street.

Time for Some Political Truth-In-Labeling

Friday, November 26, 2004

Selective Bullying, by Harry Browne

Harry Browne says the Bush administration is unleashing the dogs of war again, this time on Iran.

Selective Bullying, by Harry Browne

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Once Again, Incumbents Are the Big Winners

Patrick Basham and John Samples write:

Election Day 2004 showed the power of incumbency in American politics. For the fourth time in row, incumbents in the House of Representatives won over 98 percent of their races. And not only are they winning consistently, but they're doing so by increasingly wider margins; incumbency now adds about 11 percent to the vote share of the average officeholder. The past three elections constituted the least competitive elections (with one exception) since 1946.

The congressional franking privilege allows incumbents to flood their districts with mail that often is little more than taxpayer-funded campaign literature. Large administrative and political staffs on Capitol Hill and in district offices attend to the needs of voters, all the while stressing the qualities of their bosses. Incumbents also receive taxpayer-subsidized travel, easy access to the media and, most recently, Web sites to communicate with the electorate. And they have the power to deliver pork barrel spending to their districts. The limits on all of those advantages are set by their beneficiaries -- the Congress members themselves.

And the incumbents' advantages are growing. Thirty years ago, in the wake of Watergate, Congress imposed restrictions on campaign contributions. The more recent McCain-Feingold legislation has set that limit at $2,000 for a congressional candidate. Under the rhetorical guise of warding off unspecified corruption, an incumbent is happy to cap contributions at $2,000 per contributor if his challenger must operate under the same limit. Certainly, an incumbent may detest the phone calls he has to make to potential donors and the fundraising breakfasts, lunches and dinners he has to attend. But at night he sleeps well in the knowledge that his challenger back home must do the same (more, if the challenger is serious about winning) without, in most cases, a comparable network of contacts, donors and lobbyists whose longstanding collective investment in the incumbent's career ensures continuing financial commitment...

Political gerrymandering has also helped incumbents. More and more House districts have become safe for Democrats or Republicans thanks to redistricting by state legislatures. In nearly a third of this year's House races, the winning candidate (i.e., the incumbent) was either unopposed or faced an opponent without campaign funds.

The public understands the electoral game is fixed. A Rasmussen poll found 72 percent of Americans agreed with the statement that, "In American elections,members of Congress have unfair advantages over people who want to run against them."

American elections do have competition between the political parties. After all, the Democrats could win back the House and Senate in 2006. What we lack is competition between insiders and outsiders. No one can seriously believe even 10 percent of incumbents will lose in 2006. This lack of competitive congressional elections is a direct consequence of public subsidy.

In the Federalist Papers, James Madison wrote that the House of Representatives was a "numerous and changeable body" that would most directly reflect the shifting popular will. These days, changes in the House are the rare exception rather than the democratic rule. Representative democracy works best when voters have choices and competition for office. Americans have too little of both now.

This article appeared on FOXNews.com, November 21, 2004.

Once Again, Incumbents Are the Big Winners

Ron Paul: Where To From Here?

U.S. Representative Ron Paul writes:

It’s important to note that total future obligations of the United States government are estimated at well over $70 trillion. These obligations obviously cannot be met. This indebtedness equates to an average household share of the national debt of $474,000!

No serious thoughts are expressed in Washington about the constitutional principle of local government. The notion of a loose-knit republican form of government is no longer a consideration. The consensus is that the federal government has responsibility for solving all of our problems, and even amending the Constitution to gain proper authority is no longer thought necessary...

With stronger partisan control over Congress, the president will have even less difficulty in raising the limit as necessary. It is now acceptable policy to spend excessively without worrying about debt limits. It may be a sign of the times, but the laws of economics cannot be repealed and eventually a price will be paid for this extravagance...

It is imperative that we resolve the dilemma of why it’s proper to financially reward an abortionist who acts one minute before birth, yet we arrest and prosecute a new mother who throws her child into a garbage bin one minute after birth...

Being more attuned to our Constitution and having a different understanding of morality would go a long way toward preventing unnecessary and dangerous wars. I’d like to make a few points about this different understanding:

First: The United States should never go to war without an express Declaration by Congress. If we had followed this crucial but long-forgotten rule the lives lost in Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, and Iraq might have been prevented. And instead of making us less secure, this process would make us more secure. Absent our foreign occupations and support for certain governments in the Middle East and central Asia over the past fifty years, the 9-11 attack would have been far less likely to happen.

Second: A defensive war is morally permissible and justified, even required. Just as a criminal who invades our house and threatens our family deserves to be shot on the spot, so too does a nation have the moral duty to defend against invasion or an imminent threat. For centuries the Christian definition of a just war has guided many nations in making this decision.

Third: The best test (a test the chicken hawks who promoted the war refused to take) for those who are so eager to send our troops to die in no-win wars is this: “Am I willing to go; am I willing to be shot; am I willing to die for this cause; am I willing to sacrifice my children and grandchildren for this effort?” The bottom line: Is this Iraq war worth the loss of more than 1200 dead Americans, and thousands of severe casualties, with no end in sight, likely lasting for years and motivating even more suicidal attacks on innocent Americans here at home?

Fourth: Can we as a moral people continue to ignore the loss of innocent life on the other side? Can we as a nation accept the callousness of the war proponents regarding the estimated 100,000 Iraqi civilian deaths? Can we believe these deaths are a mere consequence of our worthy effort to impose our will on an alien culture? Is it really our duty to sacrifice so much to pursue a questionable policy of dictating to others what we think is best for them? Can these deaths be dismissed as nothing more than “collateral damage,” and even applauded as proof of the professed progress we are making in our effort to democratize the Middle East? By ignoring the human costs of the conflict we invite problems, and the consequence of our actions will come back to haunt us.

Fifth: Arguing that the war in Iraq is necessary for our national security is pure fiction; that it has something to do with the 9-11 attack or WMDs is nonsense. Our meddling in the Middle East and the rest of the world actually increases the odds of us being attacked again by suicidal guerrillas here at home. Tragically, this is something the neo-cons will never admit.

Sixth: What kind of satisfaction can we achieve from the civil war we have instigated? A significant portion of the killing in Iraq now occurs amongst Iraqis themselves, at our urging. The country is in chaos, despite the assurances of our leaders. Even under the thug Saddam Hussein, Christians at least were protected by the government-- whereas today their churches are bombed and many are struggling to escape the violence by fleeing to Syria. There is no evidence that our efforts in the Middle East have promoted life and peace. Tragically, no one expects the death and destruction in Iraq to end anytime soon.

By failing to understand the history of the region and the nature of tribal culture, we have made victory virtually impossible. Tribal customs and religious beliefs that have existed for thousands of years instruct that family honor requires reciprocal killing for every member of the family killed by infidels/Americans. For each of the possible 100,000 Iraqis killed, there’s a family that feels a moral obligation to get revenge by killing an American, any American if possible.

Ronald Reagan learned this lesson the hard way in coming to understand attitudes in Lebanon. Reagan spoke boldly that he would not turn tail and run no matter how difficult the task when he sent Marines to support the Israeli/Christian side of the Lebanese civil war in 1983. But he changed his tune after 241 Marines were killed. He wrote about the incident in his autobiography: “Perhaps we didn’t appreciate fully enough the depth of the hatred and 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 believed the last thing we should do was turn tail and leave… Yet, the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics forced us to re-think our policy there.” Shortly thereafter Reagan withdrew the Marines from Lebanon, and no more Americans were killed in that fruitless venture.

Reagan’s willingness to admit error and withdraw from Lebanon was heroic, and proved to be life-saving. True to form, many neo-cons with their love of war exude contempt for Reagan’s decision. To them force and violence are heroic, not reassessing a bad situation and changing policy accordingly.

A policy that uses the religious civil war within the Muslim faith as an excuse for remaking the entire Middle East by force makes little sense and will not end well. The more we fight and the more we kill the greater the animosity of those who want us out of their family feud-- and out of their countries.

Here are a few reasons why conservatives ought to reject the current policy of pre-emptive war:

1. The Constitution is on the side of peace. Under the Constitution-- the law of the land-- only Congress can declare war. The president is prohibited from taking us to war on his own.

2. The Founders and all the early presidents argued the case for non-intervention overseas, with the precise goals of avoiding entangling alliances and not involving our people in foreign wars unrelated to our security.

3. The American tradition and sense of morality for almost all our history rejected the notion that we would ever deliberately start a war, even with noble intentions.

4. The Christian concept of just war rejects all the excuses given for marching off to Iraq with the intention of changing the whole region into a western-style democracy by force, with little regard for the cost in life and limb and the economic consequences here at home.

5. America faces a 7.5 trillion dollar national debt that is increasing by 600 billion dollars per year. Fiscal conservatives cannot dismiss this, even as they clamor for wars we cannot afford.

6. History shows the size of the state always grows when we’re at war. Under conditions of war civil liberties are always sacrificed-- thus begging the point. We go hither and yon to spread our message of freedom, while sacrificing our freedoms here at home and eating away at the wealth of the country.

7. Those who understand the most important function of our national government is to provide strong national defense should realize that having troops in over 100 countries hardly helps us protect America, secure our borders, or avoid alienating our allies and potential enemies.

8. The best way to prevent terrorism is to change our policies, stop playing crusader, and stop picking sides in religious civil wars or any other civil wars. “Blowback” from our policies is not imaginary.

9. Promoting true free trade and promoting prosperity through low taxes and less regulation sends a strong message to the world and those interested in peace and commerce.

10. A policy of free exchange with other nations avoids the trappings of the new isolationists, who influence our foreign policy with the generous use of sanctions, trade barriers, and competitive currency devaluations. They are only too willing to defer to the World Trade Organization and allow it to dictate our trade and tax policies.

Conservatives who profess to uphold the principle of right-to-life should have little trouble supporting the position of the Founders and the Constitution: a foreign policy of “peace and commerce with those who choose and no entangling alliances.”

Where To From Here?

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

A Forgotten Day & A Forgotten Country

Harry Browne writes:

"Many of us know what once was and what could be again. And that's why we refuse to give up. We want to bring back 19th-century freedom and marry it with 21st-century technology. Then we can again celebrate this day and this country as it should be. And once again that great statue of Lady Liberty can provide light and hope and inspiration to the entire world"

A Forgotten Day & A Forgotten Country

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Why oppose a federal marriage amendment?

This posting summarizes the excellent rationale for pro-family citizens to oppose the proposed federal marriage amendment.

The Liberty Committee -- Legislative Alerts: federal marriage amendment

Why We Cannot Win by Al Lorentz

As my friend, Dean May, says:

"Let's really support our troops. Let's Bring 'Em Home."

Why We Cannot Win by Al Lorentz

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Opposed to government ban on smoking in private businesses

Following is a letter I sent today to the mayor and members of the City Council of Columbus, Indiana.


I have not seen a copy yet of the smoking ban ordinance that Mayor Armstrong plans to introduce to the City Council on September 21, but I am strongly opposed to any measure such as this which would dictate to private business owners how they may conduct business on their own property. Trying to cast a private business as a "public place" may try to put this in a different light, but it comes down to the same thing.

I encourage local government officials to seek out and find effective non-statutory means of promoting healthy individual and business choices.

By way of background, I am a non-smoker and I prefer to avoid entering and staying in situations where I am breathing significant second-hand smoke. Therefore I seldom frequent businesses in which smoking is prevalent, and I choose to work for an employer who voluntarily prohibits smoking on the premises, except in designated areas. The company for which I work has made this decision because they perceive it is a wise business decision for them.

I also favor no-smoking policies in government buildings, where there is no private competition available for the services which are offered there.

However, government regulation of smoking in private businesses unnecessarily forsakes the American tradition of providing the least intrusive government that serves the best interest of all its citizens. Here we are talking about a local government taking the money these very business people are forced to provide to support that government, and then wanting to turn right around and use their own money against them to force them to run their businesses in a different way than the way they perceive to be best. That just doesn't sound have a "land of the free" ring to it to me.

As in many other realms, the free market is effective and sufficient for regulating smoking in this situation. If having a smoking section is good for business, then the business owner should have the freedom to offer that situation. Customers (and employees) who disagree are free to vote with their feet. If there are enough of them, competition for customers and employees will show that the non-smoking establishments do better than businesses which permit smoking, and the enlightened business owner can choose to adjust his business strategy or not.

The specific fallacy which I have not seen much addressed thus far in the public debate is that employees are somehow helpless victims of an employer who chooses to offer a choice of smoking in his business. It is disingenuous to claim that "employees deserve a healthy work environment." While no employer should negligently permit unnecessary risks in the workplace, it is a fact of life that every job carries with it intrinsic hazards, some more so than others. The compensation for working in that workplace must implicitly take those hazards into account, or the employer would not be able to hire any employees who were willing to subject themselves to the risks inherent in that workplace.

For example, the general public understands that those who choose to work in such occupations as the armed forces, firefighting, law enforcement, mining, or offshore drilling voluntarily assume greater risks to life and health as a part of their job than those who choose many other occupations, for example as an office worker. Other than the military, nearly every other occupation in our country permits each employee to evaluate on a daily basis whether he considers the benefits of his job (e.g., the pay) to outweigh the costs, including the health risks.

Indentured servanthood has been gone for a long time in our society. Nearly everyone who works in our country, including the Columbus and Bartholomew County area, has the daily freedom to leave a job whenever he comes to believe that the risks outweigh the benefits for him. I understand there are many compelling reasons for wanting to stay in a long-held job, including accrued vacation and benefits, but those must all simply enter into the daily cost-benefit analysis.

I grew up on a hog farm in nearby Rush County, so that brings an illustration to mind. We occasionally shook our heads in near-incredulity to hear the stories of city folk who, longing for a nice place in the country, knowingly selected property near a hog confinement operation for their new residence. Then, after a period of enduring the odors to which they had knowingly subjected themselves, they took the hog farmer to court to protest the very smells that had been there all along, usually since long before they ever decided to place themselves in that environment.

This is the same sort of pomposity I see in an employee (or a well-intentioned public servant who wishes to intervene on his behalf in exchange for a vote in the next election) who knowingly hires into a smoking environment, and then suddenly decides that he has a right to demand the employer provide him a different environment, rather than just voting with his feet and selling his services to someone else who will provide him a work environment with a cost-benefit ratio more to his liking.

Another option open to any employee is to politely negotiate with the employer before deciding to leave. Perhaps faced with losing one or more valued and experienced employees, some employers would suddenly find it in their own enlightened self-interest to voluntarily institute a no-smoking policy for the business. If not, asking the question has at least helped to clarify whether the employer with these priorities is really the one for whom you wish to work anyway.

One of the sound bites playing on WCSI radio today in the story on the August 30 public forum was positively Orwellian. I did not hear who the man speaking was, but he said something to the effect that if the taxpaying members of the community were not voluntarily making "good" health choices (as he defines "good"), then he sees government's role as stepping in and forcing them to do so. This flies in the face of those like me who see one of government's primary roles as preserving the rights of liberty and private property.

It reminds me of Benjamin Franklin's comment, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." In this case, those giving up essential liberty are those seeking a little temporary safety from tobacco smoke by using the force of government to compel their neighbors to give up a measure of liberty.

While I am no fan of second-hand smoke, the loss of liberty, and the precedent it sets for further losses in the future for other perceived "public goods", is just not worth it.

Monday, July 05, 2004

"Red Dawn" and Iraq

Thomas Eddlem quotes a line from the 1984 movie "Red Dawn" and draws a parallel with the "friendly" British occupation of Boston in 1768 to help explain why the Iraqi people are not happy about being occupied by a foreign force.

Nostradamus, Bush Is Not - by Thomas R. Eddlem

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Whom Do We Elect?

Gary Benoit explains why it does not matter a whole lot who we elect as our next president. The critical elections in which an activist constitutionalist can really make a difference for our country's future are the 435 congressional districts.

Whom Do We Elect? - The New American - July 12, 2004

Monday, June 28, 2004

The war on drugs feeds the war on guns

Joel Miller explains how the war on drugs threatens the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

WorldNetDaily: The war on guns

Friday, June 04, 2004

WorldNetDaily: Boy Scouts still under heavy fire

David Limbaugh weighs in on the "homosexual activists' relentless assault on the Boy Scouts of America, all because the BSA will not conform its standards to accommodate their lifestyle."

WorldNetDaily: Boy Scouts still under heavy fire

WorldNetDaily: Child murders and illegal immigration

Joseph Farah connects the heinous child murders in Baltimore with the illegal immigration problem.

WorldNetDaily: Child murders and illegal immigration

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

WorldNetDaily: Pizza man saved by gun, but fired for packin' heat

Rick Whitham points out "the incredible unfairness of a huge company telling its employees – in essence – they must agree to die for the company rather than use legal reasonable means to defend themselves..."

WorldNetDaily: Pizza man saved by gun, but fired for packin' heat

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Chuck Baldwin -- "The Spirit of Fear" Controls Many Christians

Pastor Chuck Baldwin reminds Christians that "Duty is ours; results are God's."

Chuck Baldwin -- "The Spirit of Fear" Controls Many Christians

How Much Is Hussein's Departure Worth?, by Harry Browne

Harry Browne asks, "Would removing Hussein be worth it if the cost were just one human life — but that life was yours?"

How Much Is Hussein's Departure Worth?, by Harry Browne

WorldNetDaily: 'Hate crimes' bill: Prescription for tyranny

Robert Knight says, ' Let's go to the bottom line: The federal "hate crimes" bill lays the groundwork for persecution of Christians in this country... This isn't a slippery slope; it's a luge ride toward totalitarianism.

If you value the freedom to speak our minds, you might want to let public officials know in no uncertain terms how you feel about politicians who aid and abet the effort to create "thought crimes." '

WorldNetDaily: 'Hate crimes' bill: Prescription for tyranny

Friday, May 28, 2004

WorldNetDaily: Randall Terry's prodigal son, the homosexual, Part 2

Randall Terry points out that ' Homosexual behavior is suicide on the installment plan. '

' The homosexual activists have become masters of "mix and match." They talk about "feelings" and behavior as if they are one and the some. They are not... Homosexual behavior is wrong because it violates the way our Creator made the world, and the Laws He gave us... absent the Created order and standards of the Almighty, there is no reason to oppose same-sex-marriage... The reason we oppose homosexual marriage is because it violates the way God made the world – it attacks the institution He created; it betrays and defies the Laws He gave us. '

' ... If there is no God... then anything goes... But if there is a God who makes the rules, then He has imposed His morals on all of us, and we are obliged to obey and defend those ethics in the public square... The Declaration of Independence declares that our rights come from God. It also declares that Laws come from God, and that God is the Supreme Judge of the Universe. We do not get to pick our rights, nor the laws that govern our behavior... God loves homosexuals, and will redeem their lives, and give them the strength to overcome this self-destructive behavior... '

' Our bad feelings don't come from our Maker. Our feelings are ours – they come and go – but we can all control our behavior, and overcome unhealthy feelings... we must not confuse homosexual "feelings" with homosexual behavior... We must never give up the idea that people can change. '

' We know there is a God in Heaven who loves us, and has helped many of us turn from unhealthy and unholy behaviors by the power of the Gospel. Likewise, with the help of God's grace, many of us have overcome unhealthy feelings, or we have learned how to defuse those feelings, and not let them rule over us... To say that homosexuals cannot overcome their addiction and their behavior is to deny the power of the Gospel. '

' We must have enough love and courage to tell the homosexual movement the Truth: We accept that you have feelings and struggles that are self-abusive, and we hope and pray you overcome them. We will help you as we are able. We love you, because you are made in the image of God. But don't expect us to validate, lionize, legalize or otherwise elevate as "normal" your self-destructive addiction. Don't expect us to tell our sons and daughters that homosexual behavior is a healthy path they might choose someday. '

' If homosexuals seek to live at peace while they work on their struggles, fine... But when they seek to cram their agenda and perversions down our throat as good and normal, we must oppose them, and defeat their efforts. '

WorldNetDaily: My prodigal son, the homosexual, Part 2

Monday, May 17, 2004

U.N. sea treaty supporters feel the heat

Cheryl Chumley recounts some excellent arguments to let the LOST (Law of the Sea Treaty) stay lost.

ESR | May 17, 2004 | U.N. sea treaty supporters feel the heat: "U.N. sea treaty supporters feel the heat"

Friday, May 07, 2004

Stop Immigration, Start Deportation

Mitchell Brooks makes a compelling case that George W. Bush refuses to protect our sovereignty while keeping the Border Patrol woefully understaffed.

The Washington Dispatch

Law Of Unintended FCC Consequences

Excellent commentary by Stuart Epperson on the downside of trying to gore the other person's ox.

The Washington Dispatch

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Why Pictures of Flag-Draped Coffins Should Be Published (The Washington Dispatch)

Excellent case for the U.S. government to back off its attempted suppression of the true costs of our involvement in another undeclared war.

The Washington Dispatch