A Picture Worth $13 Billion?

How do you know when government is broken and rife with incompetence? A good indicator could be when Federally managed workers with the Federal Emergency Management Agency are lining up for food handed out by an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement, Occupy Sandy.

Last week, FEMA shut down its New York centers set up to respond the devastation caused by superstorm Sandy because of… bad weather. This left a disaster aid void that was filled by independent volunteer groups, including Occupy Sandy. Many residents in the region reported feeling abandoned by the Federal helpers sent to aid them.

Currently, a photo circulating the Internet makes a strong case for community-based disaster aid programs taking the place of the wildly expensive and bureaucratic Federal apparatus that is FEMA. The photo, verified by factions of the Occupy movement, shows FEMA workers being supplied with food and beverages served by the activists from the back of a U-Haul truck.

The photo, posted by a Twitter user going by the name TshirtToby, reportedly was snapped on the outskirts of New York City.

Ron Paul’s Final Speech To Congress: A Warning

Representative Ron Paul, an unyielding champion of liberty and perhaps the most honest member of Congress in modern history, gave what is likely to be his last address to Congress yesterday. The Congressman will leave his office at the end of the year. In his speech he warned of a bleak American future if the Nation remains addicted to welfare, war and debt.

Find below a video and transcript of Paul’s speech:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOgg0LdgTD0&w=420&h=315]

This may well be the last time I speak on the House Floor.  At the end of the year I’ll leave Congress after 23 years in office over a 36 year period.  My goals in 1976 were the same as they are today:  promote peace and prosperity by a strict adherence to the principles of individual liberty.

It was my opinion, that the course the U.S. embarked on in the latter part of the 20th Century would bring us a major financial crisis and engulf us in a foreign policy that would overextend us and undermine our national security.

To achieve the goals I sought, government would have had to shrink in size and scope, reduce spending, change the monetary system, and reject the unsustainable costs of policing the world and expanding the American Empire.

The problems seemed to be overwhelming and impossible to solve, yet from my view point, just following the constraints placed on the federal government by the Constitution would have been a good place to start.

In many ways, according to conventional wisdom, my off-and-on career in Congress, from 1976 to 2012, accomplished very little.  No named legislation, no named federal buildings or highways—thank goodness.  In spite of my efforts, the government has grown exponentially, taxes remain excessive, and the prolific increase of incomprehensible regulations continues.  Wars are constant and pursued without Congressional declaration, deficits rise to the sky, poverty is rampant and dependency on the federal government is now worse than any time in our history.

All this with minimal concerns for the deficits and unfunded liabilities that common sense tells us cannot go on much longer.  A grand, but never mentioned, bipartisan agreement allows for the well-kept secret that keeps the spending going.  One side doesn’t give up one penny on military spending, the other side doesn’t give up one penny on welfare spending, while both sides support the bailouts and subsidies for the banking and  corporate elite.  And the spending continues as the economy weakens and the downward spiral continues.   As the government continues fiddling around, our liberties and our wealth burn in the flames of a foreign policy that makes us less safe.

The major stumbling block to real change in Washington is the total resistance to admitting that the country is broke. This has made compromising, just to agree to increase spending, inevitable since neither side has any intention of cutting spending.

The country and the Congress will remain divisive since there’s no “loot left to divvy up.”

Without this recognition the spenders in Washington will continue the march toward a fiscal cliff much bigger than the one anticipated this coming January.

I have thought a lot about why those of us who believe in liberty, as a solution, have done so poorly in convincing others of its benefits.  If liberty is what we claim it is- the principle that protects all personal, social and economic decisions necessary for maximum prosperity and the best chance for peace- it should be an easy sell.  Yet, history has shown that the masses have been quite receptive to the promises of authoritarians which are rarely if ever fulfilled.

If authoritarianism leads to poverty and war and less freedom for all individuals and is controlled by rich special interests, the people should be begging for liberty.  There certainly was a strong enough sentiment for more freedom at the time of our founding that motivated those who were willing to fight in the revolution against the powerful British government.

During my time in Congress the appetite for liberty has been quite weak; the understanding of its significance negligible.  Yet the good news is that compared to 1976 when I first came to Congress, the desire for more freedom and less government in 2012 is much greater and growing, especially in grassroots America. Tens of thousands of teenagers and college age students are, with great enthusiasm, welcoming the message of liberty.

I have a few thoughts as to why the people of a country like ours, once the freest and most prosperous, allowed the conditions to deteriorate to the degree that they have.

Freedom, private property, and enforceable voluntary contracts, generate wealth.  In our early history we were very much aware of this.  But in the early part of the 20th century our politicians promoted the notion that the tax and monetary systems had to change if we were to involve ourselves in excessive domestic and military spending. That is why Congress gave us the Federal Reserve and the income tax.  The majority of Americans and many government officials agreed that sacrificing some liberty was necessary to carry out what some claimed to be “progressive” ideas. Pure democracy became acceptable.

They failed to recognized that what they were doing was exactly opposite of what the colonists were seeking when they broke away from the British.

Some complain that my arguments makes no sense, since great wealth and the standard of living improved  for many Americans over the last 100 years, even with these new policies.

But the damage to the market economy, and the currency, has been insidious and steady.  It took a long time to consume our wealth, destroy the currency and undermine productivity and get our financial obligations to a point of no return. Confidence sometimes lasts longer than deserved. Most of our wealth today depends on debt.

The wealth that we enjoyed and seemed to be endless, allowed concern for the principle of a free society to be neglected.  As long as most people believed the material abundance would last forever, worrying about protecting a competitive productive economy and individual liberty seemed unnecessary.

This neglect ushered in an age of redistribution of wealth by government kowtowing to any and all special interests, except for those who just wanted to left alone.  That is why today money in politics far surpasses money currently going into research and development and productive entrepreneurial efforts.

The material benefits became more important than the understanding and promoting the principles of liberty and a free market.  It is good that material abundance is a result of liberty but if materialism is all that we care about, problems are guaranteed.

The crisis arrived because the illusion that wealth and prosperity would last forever has ended. Since it was based on debt and a pretense that debt can be papered over by an out-of-control fiat monetary system, it was doomed to fail.  We have ended up with a system that doesn’t produce enough even to finance the debt and no fundamental understanding of why a free society is crucial to reversing these trends.

If this is not recognized, the recovery will linger for a long time.  Bigger government, more spending, more debt, more poverty for the middle class, and a more intense scramble by the elite special interests will continue.

Without an intellectual awakening, the turning point will be driven by economic law.  A dollar crisis will bring the current out-of-control system to its knees.

If it’s not accepted that big government, fiat money, ignoring liberty, central economic planning, welfarism, and warfarism caused our crisis we can expect a continuous and dangerous march toward corporatism and even fascism with even more loss of our liberties.  Prosperity for a large middle class though will become an abstract dream.

This continuous move is no different than what we have seen in how our financial crisis of 2008 was handled.  Congress first directed, with bipartisan support, bailouts for the wealthy.  Then it was the Federal Reserve with its endless quantitative easing. If at first it doesn’t succeed try again; QE1, QE2, and QE3 and with no results we try QE indefinitely—that is until it too fails.  There’s a cost to all of this and let me assure you delaying the payment is no longer an option.  The rules of the market will extract its pound of flesh and it won’t be pretty.

The current crisis elicits a lot of pessimism.  And the pessimism adds to less confidence in the future.  The two feed on themselves, making our situation worse.

If the underlying cause of the crisis is not understood we cannot solve our problems. The issues of warfare, welfare, deficits, inflationism, corporatism, bailouts and authoritarianism cannot be ignored.  By only expanding these policies we cannot expect good results.

Everyone claims support for freedom.  But too often it’s for one’s own freedom and not for others.  Too many believe that there must be limits on freedom. They argue that freedom must be directed and managed to achieve fairness and equality thus making it acceptable to curtail, through force, certain liberties.

Some decide what and whose freedoms are to be limited.  These are the politicians whose goal in life is power. Their success depends on gaining support from special interests.

The great news is the answer is not to be found in more “isms.”  The answers are to be found in more liberty which cost so much less.  Under these circumstances spending goes down, wealth production goes up, and the quality of life improves.

Just this recognition—especially if we move in this direction—increases optimism which in itself is beneficial.  The follow through with sound policies are required which must be understood and supported by the people.

But there is good evidence that the generation coming of age at the present time is supportive of moving in the direction of more liberty and self-reliance. The more this change in direction and the solutions become known, the quicker will be the return of optimism.

Our job, for those of us who believe that a different system than the  one that we have  had for the  last 100 years, has driven us to this unsustainable crisis, is to be more convincing that there is a wonderful, uncomplicated, and moral system that provides the answers.  We had a taste of it in our early history. We need not give up on the notion of advancing this cause.

It worked, but we allowed our leaders to concentrate on the material abundance that freedom generates, while ignoring freedom itself.  Now we have neither, but the door is open, out of necessity, for an answer.  The answer available is based on the Constitution, individual liberty and prohibiting the use of government force to provide privileges and benefits to all special interests.

After over 100 years we face a society quite different from the one that was intended by the Founders.  In many ways their efforts to protect future generations with the Constitution from this danger has failed.  Skeptics, at the time the Constitution was written in 1787, warned us of today’s possible outcome.  The insidious nature of the erosion of our liberties and the reassurance our great abundance gave us, allowed the process to evolve into the dangerous period in which we now live.

Today we face a dependency on government largesse for almost every need.  Our liberties are restricted and government operates outside the rule of law, protecting and rewarding those who buy or coerce government into satisfying their demands. Here are a few examples:

Undeclared wars are commonplace.

Welfare for the rich and poor is considered an entitlement.

The economy is overregulated, overtaxed and grossly distorted by a deeply flawed monetary system.

Debt is growing exponentially.

The Patriot Act and FISA legislation passed without much debate have resulted in a steady erosion of our 4th Amendment rights.

Tragically our government engages in preemptive war, otherwise known as aggression, with no complaints from the American people.

The drone warfare we are pursuing worldwide is destined to end badly for us as the hatred builds for innocent lives lost and the international laws flaunted. Once we are financially weakened and militarily challenged, there will be a lot resentment thrown our way.

It’s now the law of the land that the military can arrest American citizens, hold them indefinitely, without charges or a trial.

Rampant hostility toward free trade is supported by a large number in Washington.

Supporters of sanctions, currency manipulation and WTO trade retaliation, call the true free traders “isolationists.”

Sanctions are used to punish countries that don’t follow our orders.

Bailouts and guarantees for all kinds of misbehavior are routine.

Central economic planning through monetary policy, regulations and legislative mandates has been an acceptable policy.

Excessive government has created such a mess it prompts many questions:

Why are sick people who use medical marijuana put in prison?

Why does the federal government restrict the drinking of raw milk?

Why can’t Americans manufacturer rope and other products from hemp?

Why are Americans not allowed to use gold and silver as legal tender as mandated by the Constitution?

Why is Germany concerned enough to consider repatriating their gold held by the FED for her in New York?  Is it that the trust in the U.S. and dollar supremacy beginning to wane?

Why do our political leaders believe it’s unnecessary to thoroughly audit our own gold?

Why can’t Americans decide which type of light bulbs they can buy?

Why is the TSA permitted to abuse the rights of any American traveling by air?

Why should there be mandatory sentences—even up to life for crimes without victims—as our drug laws require?

Why have we allowed the federal government to regulate commodes in our homes?

Why is it political suicide for anyone to criticize AIPAC ?

Why haven’t we given up on the drug war since it’s an obvious failure and violates the people’s rights? Has nobody noticed that the authorities can’t even keep drugs out of the prisons? How can making our entire society a prison solve the problem?

Why do we sacrifice so much getting needlessly involved in border disputes and civil strife around the world and ignore the root cause of the most deadly border in the world-the one between Mexico and the US?

Why does Congress willingly give up its prerogatives to the Executive Branch?

Why does changing the party in power never change policy? Could it be that the views of both parties are essentially the same?

Why did the big banks, the large corporations, and foreign banks and foreign central banks get bailed out in 2008 and the middle class lost their jobs and their homes?

Why do so many in the government and the federal officials believe that creating money out of thin air creates wealth?

Why do so many accept the deeply flawed principle that government bureaucrats and politicians can protect us from ourselves without totally destroying the principle of liberty?

Why can’t people understand that war always destroys wealth and liberty?

Why is there so little concern for the Executive Order that gives the President authority to establish a “kill list,” including American citizens, of those targeted for assassination?

Why is patriotism thought to be blind loyalty to the government and the politicians who run it, rather than loyalty to the principles of liberty and support for the people? Real patriotism is a willingness to challenge the government when it’s wrong.

Why is it is claimed that if people won’t  or can’t take care of their own needs, that people in government can do it for them?

Why did we ever give the government a safe haven for initiating violence against the people?

Why do some members defend free markets, but not civil liberties?

Why do some members defend civil liberties but not free markets? Aren’t they the same?

Why don’t more defend both economic liberty and personal liberty?

Why are there not more individuals who seek to intellectually influence others to bring about positive changes than those who seek power to force others to obey their commands?

Why does the use of religion to support a social gospel and preemptive wars, both of which requires authoritarians to use violence, or the threat of violence, go unchallenged? Aggression and forced redistribution of wealth has nothing to do with the teachings of the world great religions.

Why do we allow the government and the Federal Reserve to disseminate false information dealing with both economic and  foreign policy?

Why is democracy held in such high esteem when it’s the enemy of the minority and makes all rights relative to the dictates of the majority?

Why should anyone be surprised that Congress has no credibility, since there’s such a disconnect between what politicians say and what they do?

Is there any explanation for all the deception, the unhappiness, the fear of the future, the loss of confidence in our leaders, the distrust, the anger and frustration?   Yes there is, and there’s a way to reverse these attitudes.  The negative perceptions are logical and a consequence of bad policies bringing about our problems.  Identification of the problems and recognizing the cause allow the proper changes to come easy.

Too many people have for too long placed too much confidence and trust in government and not enough in themselves.  Fortunately, many are now becoming aware of the seriousness of the gross mistakes of the past several decades.  The blame is shared by both political parties.  Many Americans now are demanding to hear the plain truth of things and want the demagoguing to stop.  Without this first step, solutions are impossible.

Seeking the truth and finding the answers in liberty and self-reliance promotes the optimism necessary for restoring prosperity.  The task is not that difficult if politics doesn’t get in the way.

We have allowed ourselves to get into such a mess for various reasons.

Politicians deceive themselves as to how wealth is produced.  Excessive confidence is placed in the judgment of politicians and bureaucrats.  This replaces the confidence in a free society.  Too many in high places of authority became convinced that only they,   armed with arbitrary government power, can bring about fairness, while facilitating wealth production.  This always proves to be a utopian dream and destroys wealth and liberty.  It impoverishes the people and rewards the special interests who end up controlling both political parties.

It’s no surprise then that much of what goes on in Washington is driven by aggressive partisanship and power seeking, with philosophic differences being minor.

Economic ignorance is commonplace.  Keynesianism continues to thrive, although today it is facing healthy and enthusiastic rebuttals.  Believers in military Keynesianism and domestic Keynesianism continue to desperately promote their failed policies, as the economy languishes in a deep slumber.

Supporters of all government edicts use humanitarian arguments to justify them.

Humanitarian arguments are always used to justify government mandates related to the economy, monetary policy, foreign policy, and personal liberty.  This is on purpose to make it more difficult to challenge.  But, initiating violence for humanitarian reasons is still violence.  Good intentions are no excuse and are just as harmful as when people use force with bad intentions.  The results are always negative.

The immoral use of force is the source of man’s political problems.  Sadly, many religious groups, secular organizations, and psychopathic authoritarians endorse government initiated force to change the world.  Even when the desired goals are well-intentioned—or especially when well-intentioned—the results are dismal.  The good results sought never materialize.  The new problems created require even more government force as a solution.  The net result is institutionalizing government initiated violence and morally justifying it on humanitarian grounds.

This is the same fundamental reason our government  uses force  for invading other countries at will, central economic planning at home, and the regulation of personal liberty and habits of our citizens.

It is rather strange, that unless one has a criminal mind and no respect for other people and their property, no one claims it’s permissible to go into one’s neighbor’s house and tell them how to behave, what they can eat, smoke and drink or how to spend their money.

Yet, rarely is it asked why it is morally acceptable that a stranger with a badge and a gun can do the same thing in the name of law and order.  Any resistance is met with brute force, fines, taxes, arrests, and even imprisonment. This is done more frequently every day without a proper search warrant.

Restraining aggressive behavior is one thing, but legalizing a government monopoly for initiating aggression can only lead to exhausting liberty associated with chaos, anger and the breakdown of civil society.  Permitting such authority and expecting saintly behavior from the bureaucrats and the politicians is a pipe dream.  We now have a standing army of armed bureaucrats in the TSA, CIA, FBI, Fish and Wildlife, FEMA, IRS, Corp of Engineers, etc. numbering over 100,000.  Citizens are guilty until proven innocent in the unconstitutional administrative courts.

Government in a free society should have no authority to meddle in social activities or the economic transactions of individuals. Nor should government meddle in the affairs of other nations. All things peaceful, even when controversial, should be permitted.

We must reject the notion of prior restraint in economic activity just we do in the area of free speech and religious liberty. But even in these areas government is starting to use a backdoor approach of political correctness to regulate speech-a dangerous trend. Since 9/11 monitoring speech on the internet is now a problem since warrants are no longer required.

The Constitution established four federal crimes.  Today the experts can’t even agree on how many federal crimes are now on the books—they number into the thousands.  No one person can comprehend the enormity of the legal system—especially the tax code.  Due to the ill-advised drug war and the endless federal expansion of the criminal code we have over 6 million people under correctional suspension, more than the Soviets ever had, and more than any other nation today, including China.  I don’t understand the complacency of the Congress and the willingness to continue their obsession with passing more Federal laws.  Mandatory sentencing laws associated with drug laws have compounded our prison problems.

The federal register is now 75,000 pages long and the tax code has 72,000 pages, and expands every year.  When will the people start shouting, “enough is enough,” and demand Congress cease and desist.

Liberty can only be achieved when government is denied the aggressive use of force.  If one seeks liberty, a precise type of government is needed.  To achieve it, more than lip service is required.

A government designed to protect liberty—a natural right—as its sole objective.  The people are expected to care for themselves and reject the use of any force for interfering with another person’s liberty.  Government is given a strictly limited authority to enforce contracts, property ownership, settle disputes, and defend against foreign aggression.
A government that pretends to protect liberty but is granted power to arbitrarily use force over the people and foreign nations.  Though the grant of power many times is meant to be small and limited, it inevitably metastasizes into an omnipotent political cancer.  This is the problem for which the world has suffered throughout the ages.  Though meant to be limited it nevertheless is a 100% sacrifice of a principle that would-be-tyrants find irresistible.  It is used vigorously—though incrementally and insidiously.  Granting power to government officials always proves the adage that:  “power corrupts.”

Once government gets a limited concession for the use of force to mold people habits and plan the economy, it causes a steady move toward tyrannical government.  Only a revolutionary spirit can reverse the process and deny to the government this arbitrary use of aggression.  There’s no in-between.  Sacrificing a little liberty for imaginary safety always ends badly.

Today’s mess is a result of Americans accepting option #2, even though the Founders attempted to give us Option #1.

The results are not good.  As our liberties have been eroded our wealth has been consumed.  The wealth we see today is based on debt and a foolish willingness on the part of foreigners to take our dollars for goods and services. They then loan them back to us to perpetuate our debt system.  It’s amazing that it has worked for this long but the impasse in Washington, in solving our problems indicate that many are starting to understand the seriousness of the world -wide debt crisis and the dangers we face. The longer this process continues the harsher the outcome will be.

Many are now acknowledging that a financial crisis looms but few understand it’s, in reality, a moral crisis.  It’s the moral crisis that has allowed our liberties to be undermined and permits the exponential growth of illegal government power.  Without a clear understanding of the nature of the crisis it will be difficult to prevent a steady march toward tyranny and the poverty that will accompany it.

Ultimately, the people have to decide which form of government they want; option #1 or option #2.  There is no other choice.  Claiming there is a choice of a “little” tyranny is like describing pregnancy as a “touch of pregnancy.”  It is a myth to believe that a mixture of free markets and government central economic planning is a worthy compromise.  What we see today is a result of that type of thinking.  And the results speak for themselves.

American now suffers from a culture of violence.  It’s easy to reject the initiation of violence against one’s neighbor but it’s ironic that the people arbitrarily and freely anoint government officials with monopoly power to initiate violence against the American people—practically at will.

Because it’s the government that initiates force, most people accept it as being legitimate.  Those who exert the force have no sense of guilt.  It is believed by too many that governments are morally justified in initiating force supposedly to “do good.”  They incorrectly believe that this authority has come from the “consent of the people.”  The minority, or victims of government violence never consented to suffer the abuse of government mandates, even when dictated by the majority.  Victims of TSA excesses never consented to this abuse.

This attitude has given us a policy of initiating war to “do good,” as well. It is claimed that war, to prevent war for noble purposes, is justified.  This is similar to what we were once told that:  “destroying a village to save a village” was justified.  It was said by a US Secretary of State that the loss of 500,000 Iraqis, mostly children, in the 1990s, as a result of American bombs and sanctions, was “worth it” to achieve the “good” we brought to the Iraqi people.  And look at the mess that Iraq is in today.

Government use of force to mold social and economic behavior at home and abroad has justified individuals using force on their own terms.  The fact that violence by government is seen as morally justified, is the reason why violence will increase when the big financial crisis hits and becomes a political crisis as well.

First, we recognize that individuals shouldn’t initiate violence, then we give the authority to government.   Eventually, the immoral use of government violence, when things goes badly, will be used to justify an individual’s “right” to do the same thing. Neither the government nor individuals have the moral right to initiate violence against another yet we are moving toward the day when both will claim this authority.  If this cycle is not reversed society will break down.

When needs are pressing, conditions deteriorate and rights become relative to the demands and the whims of the majority.  It’s then not a great leap for individuals to take it upon themselves to use violence to get what they claim is theirs.  As the economy deteriorates and the wealth discrepancies increase—as are already occurring— violence increases as those in need take it in their own hands to get what they believe is theirs.  They will not wait for a government rescue program.

When government officials wield power over others to bail out the special interests, even with disastrous results to the average citizen, they feel no guilt for the harm they do. Those who take us into undeclared wars with many casualties resulting, never lose sleep over the death and destruction their bad decisions caused. They are convinced that what they do is morally justified, and the fact that many suffer   just can’t be helped.

When the street criminals do the same thing, they too have no remorse, believing they are only taking what is rightfully theirs.  All moral standards become relative.  Whether it’s bailouts, privileges, government subsidies or benefits for some from inflating a currency, it’s all part of a process justified by a philosophy of forced redistribution of wealth.  Violence, or a threat of such, is the instrument required and unfortunately is of little concern of most members of Congress.

Some argue it’s only a matter of “fairness” that those in need are cared for. There are two problems with this. First, the principle is used to provide a greater amount of benefits to the rich than the poor. Second, no one seems to be concerned about whether or not it’s fair to those who end up paying for the benefits. The costs are usually placed on the backs of the middle class and are hidden from the public eye. Too many people believe government handouts are free, like printing money out of thin air, and there is no cost. That deception is coming to an end. The bills are coming due and that’s what the economic slowdown is all about.

Sadly, we have become accustomed to living with the illegitimate use of force by government.  It is the tool for telling the people how to live, what to eat and drink, what to read and how to spend their money.

To develop a truly free society, the issue of initiating force must be understood and rejected.  Granting to government even a small amount of force is a dangerous concession.

Our Constitution, which was intended to limit government power and abuse, has failed.  The Founders warned that a free society depends on a virtuous and moral people.  The current crisis reflects that their concerns were justified.

Most politicians and pundits are aware of the problems we face but spend all their time in trying to reform government.  The sad part is that the suggested reforms almost always lead to less freedom and the importance of a virtuous and moral people is either ignored, or not understood. The new reforms serve only to further undermine liberty.  The compounding effect has given us this steady erosion of liberty and the massive expansion of debt.  The real question is: if it is liberty we seek, should most of the emphasis be placed on government reform or trying to understand what “a virtuous and moral people” means and how to promote it. The Constitution has not prevented the people from demanding handouts for both rich and poor in their efforts to reform the government, while ignoring the principles of a free society. All branches of our government today are controlled by individuals who use their power to undermine liberty and enhance the welfare/warfare state-and frequently their own wealth and power.

If the people are unhappy with the government performance it must be recognized that government is merely a reflection of an immoral society that rejected a moral government of constitutional limitations of power and love of freedom.

If this is the problem all the tinkering with thousands of pages of new laws and regulations will do nothing to solve the problem.

It is self-evident that our freedoms have been severely limited and the apparent prosperity we still have, is nothing more than leftover wealth from a previous time.  This fictitious wealth based on debt and benefits from a false trust in our currency and credit, will play havoc with our society when the bills come due.  This means that the full consequence of our lost liberties is yet to be felt.

But that illusion is now ending.  Reversing a downward spiral depends on accepting a new approach.

Expect the rapidly expanding homeschooling movement to play a significant role in the revolutionary reforms needed to build a free society with Constitutional protections. We cannot expect a Federal government controlled school system to provide the intellectual ammunition to combat the dangerous growth of government that threatens our liberties.

The internet will provide the alternative to the government/media complex that controls the news and most political propaganda. This is why it’s essential that the internet remains free of government regulation.

Many of our religious institutions and secular organizations support greater dependency on the state by supporting war, welfare and corporatism and ignore the need for a virtuous people.

I never believed that the world or our country could be made more free by politicians, if the people had no desire for freedom.

Under the current circumstances the most we can hope to achieve in the political process is to use it as a podium to reach the people to alert them of the nature of the crisis and the importance of their need to assume responsibility for themselves, if it is liberty that they truly seek.  Without this, a constitutionally protected free society is impossible.

If this is true, our individual goal in life ought to be for us to seek virtue and excellence and recognize that self-esteem and happiness only comes from using one’s natural ability, in the most productive manner possible, according to one’s own talents.

Productivity and creativity are the true source of personal satisfaction. Freedom, and not dependency, provides the environment needed to achieve these goals. Government cannot do this for us; it only gets in the way. When the government gets involved, the goal becomes a bailout or a subsidy and these cannot provide a sense of  personal achievement.

Achieving legislative power and political influence should not be our goal. Most of the change, if it is to come, will not come from the politicians, but rather from individuals, family, friends, intellectual leaders and our religious institutions.  The solution can only come from rejecting the use of coercion, compulsion, government commands, and aggressive force, to mold social and economic behavior.  Without accepting these restraints, inevitably the consensus will be to allow the government to mandate economic equality and obedience to the politicians who gain power and promote an environment that smothers the freedoms of everyone. It is then that the responsible individuals who seek excellence and self-esteem by being self-reliance and productive, become the true victims.

What are the greatest dangers that the American people face today and impede the goal of a free society? There are five.

1. The continuous attack on our civil liberties which threatens the rule of law and our ability to resist the onrush of tyranny.

2. Violent anti-Americanism that has engulfed the world. Because the phenomenon of “blow-back” is not understood or denied, our foreign policy is destined to keep us involved in many wars that we have no business being in. National bankruptcy and a greater threat to our national security will result.

3. The ease in which we go to war, without a declaration by Congress, but accepting international authority from the UN or NATO even for preemptive wars, otherwise known as aggression.

4. A financial political crisis as a consequence of excessive debt, unfunded liabilities, spending, bailouts, and gross discrepancy in wealth distribution going from the middle class to the rich. The danger of central economic planning, by the Federal Reserve must be understood.

5. World government taking over  local and US sovereignty by getting involved in the issues of war, welfare, trade, banking,  a world currency, taxes, property ownership, and private ownership of guns.

Happily, there is an answer for these very dangerous trends.

What a wonderful world it would be if everyone accepted the simple moral premise of rejecting all acts of aggression.  The retort to such a suggestion is always:  it’s too simplistic, too idealistic, impractical, naïve, utopian, dangerous, and unrealistic to strive for such an ideal.

The answer to that is that for thousands of years the acceptance of government force, to rule over the people, at the sacrifice of liberty, was considered moral and the only available option for achieving peace and prosperity.

What could be more utopian than that myth—considering the results especially looking at the state sponsored killing, by nearly every government during the 20th Century, estimated to be in the hundreds of millions.  It’s time to reconsider this grant of authority to the state.

No good has ever come from granting monopoly power to the state to use aggression against the people to arbitrarily mold human behavior.  Such power, when left unchecked, becomes the seed of an ugly tyranny.  This method of governance has been adequately tested, and the results are in: reality dictates we try liberty.

The idealism of non-aggression and rejecting all offensive use of force should be tried.  The idealism of government sanctioned violence has been abused throughout history and is the primary source of poverty and war.  The theory of a society being based on individual freedom has been around for a long time.  It’s time to take a bold step and actually permit it by advancing this cause, rather than taking a step backwards as some would like us to do.

Today the principle of habeas corpus, established when King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215, is under attack. There’s every reason to believe that a renewed effort with the use of the internet that we can instead advance the cause of liberty by spreading an uncensored message that will serve to rein in government authority and challenge the obsession with war and welfare.

What I’m talking about is a system of government guided by the moral principles of peace and tolerance.

The Founders were convinced that a free society could not exist without a moral people.  Just writing rules won’t work if the people choose to ignore them.  Today the rule of law written in the Constitution has little meaning for most Americans, especially those who work in Washington DC.

Benjamin Franklin claimed “only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.”  John Adams concurred:  “Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

A moral people must reject all violence in an effort to mold people’s beliefs or habits.

A society that boos or ridicules the Golden Rule is not a moral society.  All great religions endorse the Golden Rule.  The same moral standards that individuals are required to follow should apply to all government officials.  They cannot be exempt.

The ultimate solution is not in the hands of the government.

The solution falls on each and every individual, with guidance from family, friends and community.

The #1 responsibility for each of us is to change ourselves with hope that others will follow.  This is of greater importance than working on changing the government; that is secondary to promoting a virtuous society.  If we can achieve this, then the government will change.

It doesn’t mean that political action or holding office has no value. At times it does nudge policy in the right direction. But what is true is that when seeking office is done for personal aggrandizement, money or power, it becomes useless if not harmful. When political action is taken for the right reasons it’s easy to understand why compromise should be avoided. It also becomes clear why progress is best achieved by working with coalitions, which bring people together, without anyone sacrificing his principles.

Political action, to be truly beneficial, must be directed toward changing the hearts and minds of the people, recognizing that it’s the virtue and morality of the people that allow liberty to flourish.

The Constitution or more laws per se, have no value if the people’s attitudes aren’t changed.

To achieve liberty and peace, two powerful human emotions have to be overcome.  Number one is “envy” which leads to hate and class warfare.  Number two is “intolerance” which leads to bigoted and judgmental policies.  These emotions must be replaced with a much better understanding of love, compassion, tolerance and free market economics. Freedom, when understood, brings people together. When tried, freedom is popular.

The problem we have faced over the years has been that economic interventionists are swayed by envy, whereas social interventionists are swayed by intolerance of habits and lifestyles. The misunderstanding that tolerance is an endorsement of certain activities, motivates many to legislate moral standards which should only be set by individuals making their own choices. Both sides use force to deal with these misplaced emotions. Both are authoritarians. Neither endorses voluntarism.  Both views ought to be rejected.

I have come to one firm conviction after these many years of trying to figure out “the plain truth of things.”  The best chance for achieving peace and prosperity, for the maximum number of people world-wide, is to pursue the cause of LIBERTY.

If you find this to be a worthwhile message, spread it throughout the land.

Thursday Morning News Roundup

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

 

 

 

 

  • Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) responded to President Barack Obama’s challenge to “go after me” in relation to the Benghazi attacks saying, “This President — this administration — has either been guilty of colossal incompetence or been engaged in a cover-up, neither of which is acceptable to the American people.”

 

  • Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney said in a recent call to donors that Obama won the election as a result of the “gifts” he has provided blacks, Hispanics and young voters.

 

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook.

Russia Asks U.S. To Remove Cuba Sanctions Via U.N.

U.N. officials urged the United States to end certain aspects of the 52-year-old embargo against Cuba, throwing support behind a resolution that asks Washington to lessen trade restrictions.

The embargo, which has had little effect in ending Cuban communism, was enacted under President John F. Kennedy after Cuban dictator Fidel Castro made the decision to align his country with the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War.

“We hope that after the US government eases its embargo in certain areas – in particular, on US citizens’ visiting relatives in Cuba, as well as on making money transfers and postal orders. Other steps for the final lifting of the embargo will follow,” said Vitaly Churkin, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, when addressing the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday.

On Tuesday, 188 U.N. member nations voted in favor of the resolution calling for the embargo to be lifted as soon as possible; the United States, Israel and Palau voted against the document.

Washington has taken steps in recent years to make limited travel and money transfer to Cuba easier, but many parts of the original American embargo remain in effect. U.N. member nations say that influencing the Cuban people’s choice of whether to strive for a new model of governance could be more easily accomplished by taking some economic pressure off of the nation.

American sanctions “have shown that it is impossible to influence the Cuban people’s sovereign choice of their [preference] for a development model,” Churkin noted, which only serves to “deteriorate the living conditions of the island’s population.”

Israel Engages Neighbors In Military Conflict

Israel is on the offensive against “terror targets” with a bombing campaign across the Gaza Strip which the nation’s leaders describe as a forward Iranian base. Some defense analysts believe that the offensive against Gaza and Syria is an Israeli ploy to fast-track war with Iran.

The Israeli military, through an operation dubbed “Pillar of Defense,” embarked on a heavy bombing campaign on the Gaza Strip. Reportedly, attacks on Gaza City carried out by Israeli fighter jets, drones and helicopters resulted in widespread destruction and civilian casualties.

The Israeli strikes on Gaza City targeted and killed Hamas military commander Ahmad Jabari. The Israelis also targeted Raad Atar, another senior Hamas military commander, but he survived the attack, Israeli Ynet reports.

“The purpose of this operation was to severely impair the command and control chain of the Hamas leadership, as well as its terrorist infrastructure. This was a surgical operation in cooperation with the Israeli Security Agency, that was implemented on the basis of concrete intelligence and using advanced capabilities,” a statement from the Israeli Defense Force said.

The strike came after four days of reported rocket fire from Gaza terrorist groups on southern regions of Israel. More than 150 rockets are reported to have been fired from Gaza, damaging homes and factories.

Israel called up its military reservists Wednesday in preparation for a ground invasion of Gaza.

A spokesman for Hamas vowed to wage open war with Israel after the attacks against its leaders “opened the gates of hell.” The organization promises suicide and military attacks against Israeli cities.

The Israeli Defense Force has also been keeping an eye on Syria as what military officials call the “painful disintegration” of the Bashar Assad regime has brought Syrian rebels close to Israeli-held territories. Violence near the Israeli-occupied Golan upset the Jewish state, which fired rockets into Syria twice this week after stray Syrian fire hit its side.

Google: Government Internet Spying On The Rise

A new Transparency Report out from Google shows that world governments increasingly ask the search engine to remove content from the Web and to provide information about users.

This is Google’s sixth transparency report, and the Internet giant says one thing is remarkably clear: Government surveillance is on the rise. The graph below illustrates how government demands for user data have increased steadily since the company first launched the Transparency Report. In the first half of 2012, there were 20,938 inquiries from government entities around the world for information about 34,614 accounts.

Gov't requests for user data

Worldwide government requests for the company to remove data from the Internet also rose in 2012. During the first half of the year, there were 1,791 requests from government officials around the world to remove 17,746 pieces of content.

Gov't requests Google services to remove content

A bulk of the requests came from government entities in the United States.

Google reported:

We received five requests and one court order to remove seven YouTube videos for criticizing local and state government agencies, law enforcement or public officials. We did not remove content in response to these requests.

We received a court order to remove 1,754 posts from Google Groups relating to a case of continuous defamation against a man and his family. We removed 1,664 of the posts, which fell within the scope of the order.

We received three court orders to remove 641 search results for linking to websites that allegedly defame organizations and individuals. We removed 233 of the search results requested, which fell within the scope of the orders.

In response to a court order, we removed 156 search results because the web pages in question used a trademark in violation of an earlier order.

The number of content removal requests we received increased by 46% compared to the previous reporting period.

Government entities in the United States also made 7,969 requests for user data related to information of 16,281 accounts. Google reports that it complied with 90 percent of these requests.

You can view Google’s full Transparency Report here.

Marijuana Laws Are A Prime Example Of Broken Federal Government

As the Federal government undoubtedly prepares to pounce on Colorado and Washington after voters in each State opted to legalize recreational marijuana use, it seems the Feds are fighting a losing battle with the American psyche.

Antiquated Federal prohibition on marijuana brought forth when “Reefer Madness” was considered an acceptable argument against recreational or medical use of the drug will drive the Drug Enforcement Agency to come down hard on States that, through populist vote, accept the drug for recreational purposes. And sporadic prosecution will likely continue against States that have allowed forbidden medical marijuana initiatives to pass against the will of the Federal government.

The problem with the Federal War on Drugs and the government’s obstinacy in admitting it may have been wrong about marijuana (and other drug) policy is that it is making unwitting hypocrites of nearly everyone involved.

Conservative who hold general disdain for a burgeoning police state and champion self-responsibility in making choices in the American spirit of liberty also champion a Federal drug war against marijuana because of archaic societal views and junk science from the early 20th century.

Fiscal conservatives who argue that drug users are a sap on society’s resources have no qualms about spending thousands of dollars per nonviolent drug offender to fill overcrowded prisons and providing untold thousands of dollars more to law enforcement agencies throughout the Nation to round up the offenders.

A Presidential Administration that claims to understand the benefits of marijuana as a medical product hides behind Federal laws to quash States that allow and regulate its use. And a Congress — listen up, Republicans — that claims to hold in high regard the rights of States to operate with as little Federal meddling as possible rolls over each time the criminal Department of Justice tramples the will of State residents.

Looking at the numbers, it isn’t hard to understand why — despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary — the criminals in charge throughout government have such a hard time admitting that they were probably wrong about marijuana back in the day. According to drugsense.org, between State and Federal government the United States has spent almost $36 billion on the War on Drugs this year. That money has led to some 1.5 million drug-related arrests and about 9,500 drug-related incarcerations.

That’s a lot of fines, court costs and jobs for judges, prison employees, police and lawyers. Likewise, there is an entire industry that thrives (simply because certain drugs remain illicit) by selling drug tests as well as kits to help users mask drugs in the very same tests.

With the explosion of methamphetamine across the United States and the horrific destruction the drug causes, the drug war remains defensible by law enforcement and communities that don’t want a criminal class of doped up zombies roaming the streets. The same argument has been used for the drug war at the height of crack and heroin epidemics in the Nation.

But the people citing meth, crack and heroin to embolden support for the drug war often leave out a key fact: Marijuana arrests continually make up nearly half of drug-related arrests throughout the Nation.

“As in past years, the so-called ‘drug war’ remains fueled by the arrests of minor marijuana possession offenders,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said in a recent press release. “Cannabis prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, impedes upon legitimate scientific research into the plant’s medicinal properties, and disproportionately impacts communities of color. It’s time to stop stigmatizing and criminalizing tens of millions of Americans for choosing to consume a substance that is safer than either tobacco or alcohol.”

Indeed, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 37,000 annual U.S. deaths, including more than 1,400 in Colorado, are attributed to alcohol use alone (this figure does not include accidental deaths). But the CDC does not even have a category for deaths caused by the use of marijuana. The argument that marijuana-related car accidents would compete with drunk driving figures do not apply to these statistics; as mentioned before, they do not include accidental deaths.

What the figures do explain, however, is why the alcohol industry frequently lobbies against State initiatives to legalize marijuana.

There is another key player in the fight against American marijuana reform, perhaps the most evil and well-funded of all: the pharmaceutical industry.

The included chart, taken from a 2010 paper entitled “Medical Marijuana: Therapeutic Uses and Legal Status” from the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, lists some of the medical conditions that independent medical experts in a number of States have said marijuana could be used to treat.

Imagine the sheer number of pharmaceutical drugs that would find competition from an easily grown plant in treating the conditions and the financial implications that would result for a number of big-name drug makers.

The decision made by voters in Colorado and Washington last week to lighten up on recreational marijuana laws and the decisions made by a handful of other States in recent years to allow the drug for medical benefit are not going to stop the prosecution from the Federal government (paid for by police unions, private prison corporations, alcohol manufacturers, Big Pharma and prison guard unions) anytime soon.

What is coming to an end, however, is the willingness of the American public to believe that Federal officials are working in the citizenry’s best interest when it comes to marijuana prohibition. Oftentimes, lawmakers appear to be simply doing what keeps the money flowing to their coffers from monied special interests. A Rasmussen telephone poll conducted just yesterday relates the following:

  • Only 7 percent of American adults think the United States is winning the war on drugs.
  • Fifty-one percent of respondents said alcohol is more dangerous than pot, while 24 percent said pot is more dangerous and 24 percent aren’t sure.
  • Eighty-eight percent of respondents said they had not smoked marijuana in the past year.
  • Sixty percent said State governments “should decide whether marijuana is legal in a state,” while 27 percent said that responsibility belongs to the Federal government.
  • Thirty-four percent said that the United States spends too much on the drug war; 23 percent of respondents said we don’t spend enough; and 24 percent said drug war spending is “about right.”

As with so many other issues, Americans defining themselves as both conservatives and as liberals have a common gripe against the Federal government when it comes to the marijuana debate as it relates to personal liberty and States rights. The issue, it seems, is yet another pushing the Nation dangerously close to the realization that, for decades, “government for the people, by the people” could be more accurately described as government against the people to the benefit of a few.

Wednesday Morning News Roundup

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

  • While White House officials likely won’t take the petitions from Texas, Louisiana and Florida to secede from the United States too seriously, the petitions have received the required number of signatures for a response. Officials say that those petitions will now be reviewed and receive some sort of response from relevant policy officials.
  • The price of the Chinese yuan against the U.S. dollar has reached a record high at 6.2262.
  • Worries about the coming “fiscal cliff” coupled with the re-election of President Barack Obama have prompted many wealthy Americans to begin dumping assets like stocks, businesses and homes as the year ends to avoid higher taxes.
  • Despite the ongoing sex scandal, former CIA Director David Patraeus will still testify before Congress about the 9/11 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya. It remains unclear whether Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, who claimed a scheduling conflict, will testify.
  • A U.S. citizen who has worked for American Airlines for 13 years as a gate agent, in cargo operations and at the airline’s South Florida headquarters was placed on the government’s no fly list without explanation.

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook.

Center-Libertarian America

The people of the United States appear to be becoming more politically “center-libertarian” than the traditional “center-right” Nation that many described the electorate as in years past, according to some political observers.

A recent article published by the Los Angeles Times examines the outcome of several races throughout the Nation last Tuesday to conclude that while most Americans are fiscal conservatives, social liberalism is on the rise.

From the article:

After 32 straight losses for same-sex wedding laws, four states approved marriage-equality proposals last week. Two other states legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. Wisconsin elected the first openly homosexual U.S. senator in history, Tammy Baldwin. An Iowa Supreme Court justice targeted for removal because he voted in 2007 to approve gay marriage, David Wiggins, defeated an effort to oust him. And, crucially, Obama won with 60% of voters telling exit pollsters they supported the president’s call for higher taxes on the rich.

Aside from taxes on the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans, fiscal issues remain dominated by conservative viewpoints, with 51 percent of voters telling election exit pollsters that the Federal government should be reduced in size and debt and do less.

In some key races that would have been easily won by fiscally conservative candidates last week, GOP contenders lost as a result, some people believe, heavily because of social issues like gay marriage and abortion.

Some Celebrities Aren’t Just Shills For Obama

In the upcoming film “September Morn,” a handful of noteworthy Hollywood skeptics are expected to revisit the events that took place on 9/11 and examine the veracity of the 9/11 Commission’s report.

The film is to be produced by the same company that made a documentary about the Oklahoma City bombing called “A Noble Lie” which offers a different angle on the story of that event than what was reported by mainstream media.

It is rumored that Martin Sheen, Woody Harrelson, Ed Asner, John Heard, Esai Morales and Judd Nelson are set to reopen the investigation into 9/11 that the government closed more than a decade ago. All of the actors are members of the group Actors and Artists For 911 Truth, which calls for a second look at the often-criticized official story of 9/11.

Sheen said while his involvement is not completely certain, the project interests him.

“I read the script and talked to the director, but it’s not a fait accompli,” Sheen told The Huffington Post Canada during a recent interview. “[September Morn is] a very interesting examination of the 9/11 Commission’s report, and it really challenges a lot of their findings as being very, very less than complete.”

Sheen says that he became interested in the topic because his son, Charlie Sheen, has been vocal about his distrust for the official 9/11 story for years.

 
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWG2rR0twYM&w=420&h=315]
 

“He got me interested,” the elder Sheen acknowledged. “There are obviously a lot of unanswered questions, let me leave it that way, that are very, very disturbing. The key to that is Building 7 and how that came down under very, very suspicious circumstances.”

The film is still up in the air, and it is uncertain if other actors like Harrelson have committed to the project.

Harrelson narrated a 2011 documentary, “Ethos,” which examines how a handful of wealthy banksters used the Federal Reserve to gain global control.

You can watch the full film below:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LN3IhEae68o&w=560&h=315]

Get Hit By NYPD, Fix The Car

A man in New York City who was hit by a New York Police Department cruiser and injured received a letter from the department requesting $1,000 for damage to the vehicle.

Jesse Zorski, 25, was hospitalized at New York Downtown Hospital after the patrol car struck his left leg, causing him to fall into the side-view mirror and hit the ground. The uninsured man incurred $1,200 in medical costs due to the accident, according to the New York Daily News.

Zorski’s family sued the NYPD to cover the cost of the medical expenses, but received a bill in the mail rather than help covering the medical costs. A letter accompanying the bill demanded he pay for $1,028.08 in damage done to the patrol car. The department threatened to file a lawsuit against the victim if he did not address the fine quickly enough.

The NYPD defended its actions, claiming the officer who struck Zorski at a crosswalk in the city had the right of way, and claimed that pedestrian had been drinking.

The two beers he had drunk and the hearing aid he wears did not affect his walking, Zorski claims.

“I was perfectly coherent,” Zorski said. “I was shocked, certainly, but not inebriated.”

The man said he believes the department was trying to punish him for filing suit over his medical costs.

The department has since withdrawn the case against Zoriski.

Tuesday Morning News Roundup

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

  • With the help of mainstream media, the scandal surrounding former CIA Director David Petraeus is quickly becoming depraved enough to be fit for reality television.
  • Conservative commentator Charles Krauthhammer thinks the timing of the sex scandal is a little suspicious.
  • Iranian officials said this week that the nation would “break Obama’s grasping hands” before launching massive “wargames” on Monday to test its ability to repel an air attack against “hypothetical sensitive sites.”
  • American Catholics are vowing civil disobedience if the Obama Administration doesn’t stop trouncing on their religious freedom to reject Obamacare abortion and birth control provisions.

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook.

Another TSA Sexual Assault

Shocking stories of unprofessional conduct, inappropriate actions and sexual molestation at the dehumanizing checkpoints set up at mass transportation hubs throughout the Nation abound. But for frequency, stories like that of 58-year-old Maggie Buckenmayer, who could be anyone’s mother or grandmother, are no less shocking.

Buckenmayer’s ordeal began at a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, Ala., as she tried to travel home to San Diego. Because the passenger has artificial knees, she was subject to a patdown by TSA agents, which involved groping of her genitals, thighs, buttocks and breasts. The agents proceeded to inform Buckenmayer that they had found a “protrusion” or “abnormality” between her legs.

“I’m shocked, I’m humiliated, so I don’t know what to say, I blurt out ‘I don’t have a penis’ and she looks at me and says ‘well I’m going to have to perform a second pat down on you,’” Buckenmayer said.

She was subject to a second search which she describes as “akin to sexual assault” before a group of TSA agents proceeded to discuss her female anatomy. After being taken to a private screening room, Buckenmayer angrily removed her pants, spread her legs, pointed at her crotch and said, “Do you see anything abnormal here, do you see a protrusion?”

After yet another patdown and having her genitals probed with a wand, the woman was finally cleared to board her flight and given a form to evaluate the TSA.

“I can’t believe you’ve just subjected me to this sexual assault, this emotional assault, there are bad guys out there… Why are you picking on me?” Buckenmayer asked TSA employees at that point.

Below is a video of Buckenmayer discussing the ordeal. She has asked that all who view it pass it along to stop the TSA abuse.

“Our country is a country of great civil liberties… Why the TSA is allowed to emotionally and sexually abuse passengers, I don’t get it. If some stranger did this to me, what one of these TSA agents did, that stranger would be convicted of sexual assault and sent to prison. Please, please get my story out,” she said.

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkM6n5qbMa4&w=560&h=315]

Secede, Or Don’t: The Beginning Of The End Of The Federal Monopoly On Power

When the White House implemented its “We the People” page on its website to give Americans an easier way to engage the Federal government with grievances and complaints, officials likely didn’t expect the type or the volume of petitions that have been logged in the wake of the re-election of President Barack Obama. Now, tens of thousands of Americans in at least 20 States are petitioning for the right of peaceable secession from the United States.

While the petitioners have been called everything from “a handful of rabble-rousers” to “idealistic dreamers,” many of the petitions state the portion of the Declaration of Independence that lends credence to the idea (Civil War notwithstanding) of peaceable State secession being an option:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

As of the writing of this article, a petition asking the Federal government to “Peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government” has the most virtual signatures at nearly 21,500. The “We the People” page promises that the appropriate individuals will review and possibly respond to petitions that reach 25,000 signatures within 30 days of the petition’s creation.

The Texas petition laments:

The US continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government’s neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending. The citizens of the US suffer from blatant abuses of their rights such as the NDAA, the TSA, etc. Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect it’s (sic) citizens’ standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government.

States where a citizen had petitioned on the website at the time of this writing include: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

Within the bodies of the various petitions, the petitioners cite a number of reasons for wanting to leave the Union. The most popular include domestic spying, the National Defense Authorization Act, Federal fiscal ineptitude, the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act, illegal and ongoing unwinnable wars, the Federal militarization of State and local law enforcement,  and a general sense of liberty lost at behest of Federal meddling.

While it is uncertain, it remains highly unlikely that any of the aforementioned petitions or those filed on behalf of other States will lead to a Federal willingness to cede power to States. But there are battles on the horizon resulting from last week’s election that will further irritate Federal/State relationships in coming months, when vast swaths of the populace are already clearly tired of Federal meddling in State matters.

The coming implementation of Obamacare, with which many States voted last week not to cooperate, is going to create friction between the already shaky relationship between Federal and State government. And voters in Colorado and Washington who voted to legalize recreational marijuana use are in the Federal government’s sights, as the Department of Justice prepares to use its Federal might to sue the States into complying with Federal prohibition of the drug, regardless of State wishes.

As Americans on both sides of the issues continue to feel more and more that the Federal government does not represent them, the political battle may change from conservatives versus liberals to the citizens of the Nation versus the elitists and corporate special interests in Washington, D.C. This could be a moment in history quite indicative of the beginning of the end for strong American central government.

 

Update

Petitions for secession now exist in at least 47 States and have as many as 375,000 signatures, according to reports.

Is Obama Unfettered On Gun Control?

Second Amendment advocacy groups like Gun Owners of America (GOA) and the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) are predicting a tough four years for the Nation’s gun owners as President Barack Obama readies himself for a second term in the White House.

Larry Pratt, executive director of GOA, said in a recent interview that he is shocked that the President won a second term. He expressed concerns over Washington’s call to restart debates over the United Nations’ proposed Arms Trade Treaty. He contends that Americans can expect the Administration to “openly launch broadsides” against their gun rights.

The Obama Administration joined with China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and more than 150 other governments to support renewed debate on the proposed United Nations Arms Trade Treaty less than 24 hours after the President was re-elected, according to SAF.

“It’s obvious that our warnings over the past several months have been true,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of SAF. “The election was called about 11 p.m. Tuesday and by 11 a.m. this [Wednesday], we got word that the United States was supporting this resolution. We have to be more vigilant in our efforts to stop this proposed treaty.”

Amnesty International issued a statement Wednesday lauding passage of the resolution, saying the treaty will protect human rights; but Gottlieb counters that the right to self-defense as allowed by the 2nd Amendment is a basic human right.

While both SAF and GOA highlight the importance of American vigilance when it comes to protecting the 2nd Amendment for those domestic and abroad who seek to undermine the rights it provides, they also say that Congress is unlikely to pass the international treaty if it makes it to the Capitol.

Pratt believes Obama will pursue more gun owner registration, more executive orders designed to limit 2nd Amendment rights and more anti-gun Supreme Court justices in the coming years.

U.S. Oil King By 2017

A new report out by the International Energy Agency predicts that U.S. oil output will be more than that of Saudi Arabia by the end of the decade.

Analysts say that this means two things: America is well on its way to energy independence, and environmental and green-energy advocates in the Nation will likely double down in their protestation against fossil fuels over the next few years.

The IEA predicts the United States will overtake Russia as a top gas producer by the year 2015 and be the world’s biggest oil producer by 2017. The result, according to the agency, will be a continued fall in U.S. oil imports, with North America becoming a net oil exporter by about 2030 and the United States achieving near energy independence by 2035.

“The United States, which currently imports around 20 percent of its total energy needs, becomes all but self-sufficient in net terms — a dramatic reversal of the trend seen in most other energy importing countries,” the report says.

The IEA attributes the expected boon in American oil production to new methods and technologies for mining oil and natural gas in the United States.

“Energy developments in the United States are profound and their effect will be felt well beyond North America — and the energy sector,” the IEA said in its annual long-term report.

“The recent rebound in U.S. oil and gas production, driven by upstream technologies that are unlocking light tight oil and shale gas resources, is spurring economic activity — with less expensive gas and electricity prices giving industry a competitive edge.”

According to Reuters, the oil boom in the U.S. will likely have major geopolitical impacts “if Washington feels its strategic interests are no longer as embedded in the Middle East and other volatile oil producing regions.”

Environmentalists throughout the Nation have protested heavily against domestic oil production, arguing contaminated water supplies, increased air pollution and untold environmental destruction related to fracking will be the inevitable result.

Guns, Gold And Four More Years

Most conservatives believe that the re-election of President Barack Obama is going to bring dire economic circumstances over the next four years, which could possibly drive the Nation into total collapse.

The belief is likely not far-fetched considering the current state of affairs in American economics as the United States hurls toward a “fiscal cliff” which will combine rising tax rates and government shutdowns, the government prepares to raise its debt limit again to the tune of $2.4 trillion and the number of Americans out of work continues to trend at dismal levels.

All of the ominous headlines about the shape of the overall economy are driving up some key markets, most of which pertain to businesses patronized by American preppers.

In the immediate aftermath of the election, it became clear that those investing in gold and other precious metals will likely enjoy a profitable four years, just as they did during the President’s first term.

“With the fiscal cliff approaching fast, an entire new group of investors will be pouring into the precious metals in anticipation of the grim fact that the U.S. is going to try and print itself out of debt,” said David Morgan, publisher of “The Morgan Report,” told Market Watch.

Another sector of the economy that is preforming well at the moment is the firearm industry as fears of an Obama gun ban encourage purchases of extra magazines, ammo and firearms.

After the election last week, Smith & Wesson’s stock rose 9.62 percent and Sturm Ruger & Co. was up 6.81 percent in last Wednesday’s trading.

“We expect that with President Obama’s reelection these sales could continue well into his second term,” Mike Greene, an analyst at Benchmark Co., wrote in a research note.

Second Amendment supporter fears are likely compounded by the fact that the National Rifle Association — despite having 22 of the politicians it supported elected and five it opposed not — lost out on several of the most important Senate races. This has drawn claims from some NRA detractors that the power of the gun lobby in Washington is waning.

Did Climate Change Kill The Maya?

Climate change may or may not be a consequence of man’s activity on the planet, but researchers have found that it has definitely played part in the demise of great civilizations of the past.

According to research from two University of California, Davis, scientists, decades of extreme weather were responsible in part for the dismantling of political culture and later the entire human population of ancient Maya civilization.

“Here you had an amazing state-level society that had created calendars, magnificent architecture, works of art, and was engaged in trade throughout Central America,” said UC Davis anthropology professor and co-author Bruce Winterhalder. “They were incredible craftspersons, proficient in agriculture, statesmanship and warfare — and within about 80 years, it fell completely apart.”

The researchers conducted extensive reviews of the inscriptions on monuments within the Maya Hieroglyphic Database Project to learn more about sociological patterns just before the Maya disappeared.

“Every one of these Maya monuments is political history,” said UC Davis Native American Language Center director and linguist Martha Macri, a specialist in Mayan hieroglyphs for three decades.

Each monument is inscribed with the date it was erected and dates of significant events, such as a ruler’s birthday or accession to power, as well as dates of some deaths, burials and major battles. In the years leading to the collapse, the Maya erected fewer and fewer monuments, according to the researchers.

In order to examine weather patterns to correspond with the information on the hieroglyphs, the researchers turned to stalagmite formations in a cave in Belize near key Maya population centers.

The researchers discovered by examining the political writings alongside precipitation records that:

Periods of high and increasing rainfall coincided with a rise in population and political centers between 300 and 660 AD. A climate reversal and drying trend between 660 and 1000 AD triggered political competition, increased warfare, overall sociopolitical instability, and finally, political collapse. This was followed by an extended drought between 1020 and 1100 AD that likely corresponded with crop failures, death, famine, migration and, ultimately, the collapse of the Maya population.

“It’s a cautionary tale about how fragile our political structure might be. Are we in danger the same way the Classic Maya were in danger? I don’t know. But I suspect that just before their rapid descent and disappearance, Maya political elites were quite confident about their achievements,” Winterhalder said of the findings.

CIA Director Resigns

Central Intelligence Agency Director and drone warfare advocate David Petraeus announced last week that he will be stepping down as the Nation’s top spy after details of an extramarital affair emerged.

“Yesterday afternoon, I went to the White House and asked the President to be allowed, for personal reasons, to resign from my position as D/CIA,” he wrote in a resignation letter.

“After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours. This afternoon, the President graciously accepted my resignation,” he wrote.

Petraeus became CIA director in April 2011, replacing Leon Panetta, who moved to the Pentagon to become defense secretary. Some sources indicate that deputy CIA director and a longtime CIA officer, Mike Morrell, will take over Petraeus’ position within the agency.

During his tenure at the CIA, Petraeus oversaw the Barack Obama Administration’s aggressive counterterrorism campaign, using increased armed unmanned drones in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan and elsewhere. The aggressive drone policy has been cited for examinations by the United Nations and other international entities for the possibility of war crimes in instances where civilian death tolls tallied high.

States Rights And Marijuana

President Barack Obama, former member of the pot-centric group of boys known as the Choom Gang, has admitted to inhaling and has, in fact, built much of his persona around the fact that he was a laid-back Hawaiian kid who liked to smoke it up.

In his 1995 book Dreams of My Father, the President reminisced:

I had discovered that it didn’t make any difference whether you smoked reefer in a white classmate’s sparkling new van, or in the dorm room of some brother you’d met down at the gym, or on the beach with a couple of Hawaiian kids… You just might be bored or alone. Everybody was welcome into the club of disaffection.

And if the high didn’t solve whatever it was that was getting you down, it could at least help you laugh at the world’s ongoing folly and see through all the hypocrisy and bullshit and cheap moralism. That’s how it seemed to me then, anyway.

But that didn’t stop the President from allowing his Justice Department to lead massive Federal raids against marijuana dispensaries and licensed growers in California after that State legalized the drug for medical use. One of the President’s 2008 campaign promises to medical marijuana advocates was that he would not assault State’s rights and use Federal “resources to circumvent state laws on this issue.”

Now, with the President re-elected and two State initiatives passed (in Colorado and Washington) that allow for full legalization of the drug, the Obama Justice Department will have to decide whether to crack down and raid in the States or welcome a new era in the Nation. If they decide to do the latter, it could mean an eventual drawdown across the board of the failed War on Drugs.

It’s most likely, however, that the Obama Administration will come down hard on the States to flex Federal power and embolden the drug war with new enemies.

“The Department of Justice’s enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged,” a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Colorado said after the initiatives passed. “We are reviewing the ballot initiative and have no additional comment at this time.”

Colorado’s Governor John Hickenlooper opposed legalizing marijuana in his State and, in a statement, warned that the Federal law could hamper the State’s ability to move forward the voters’ will.

“The voters have spoken, and we have to respect their will,” Hickenlooper said. “This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly.”

In the coming months, the Federal government’s response to the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington will be a telling sign of how willing the Fed is to accept State sovereignty. Chances are that we will be seeing more armed raids than smoking circles.

Holder, Cabinet Members To Be Replaced

Attorney General Eric Holder could decline a second term at the Department of Justice, despite the re-election of President Barack Obama.

According to Reuters, Holder was speaking to law students at the University of Baltimore and said he still must speak with Obama and with his own family and ask himself, “Do I have some gas left in the tank?”

The AG’s remarks were not part of the speech, according to prepared remarks for the event on the Department of Justice website.

While it is not uncommon for the Attorney General to leave office after four years, Holder may have extra incentive to step down after a number of scandals, including Fast and Furious, the failed gun-running program that led to Congressional inquiry.

Reports indicate that Holder isn’t the only member of Obama’s first-term cabinet that may be replaced. Hillary Clinton and Tim Geithner have both publicly announced their exits. Leon Panetta, Eric Holder, Ray LaHood, Steven Chu, Ken Salazaar and Lisa Jackson are all also rumored to be leaving Obama’s Administration.