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.

 

 

 

 

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

Washington Post: Is Top Brass Too Pampered?

In the wake of a sex scandal that has brought to light the decadence of the lifestyles of America’s highest command of military and intelligence officers, The Washington Post has published an article calling into question the lavish lifestyles of the Nation’s four-star generals.

The article outlines how it often becomes possible for the military’s top commanders — many of whom enjoy lifestyles akin to the living arrangements of billionaires with chartered jets, gourmet chefs and servants at home — to forget what life is like for regular people and especially those living the modest lifestyles of lower-ranking service members.

“Being a four-star commander in a combat theater is like being a combination of Bill Gates and Jay-Z — with enormous firepower added,” Thomas E. Ricks, author of The Generals, a recently published history of American commanders, told The Post.

But many retired top brass defend the kickbacks afforded to America’s military command, citing 18-hour work days filled with massive amounts of stress combined with having to balance budgets higher than those of many small countries.

Republicans Rally Against Susan Rice

Republican lawmakers rallied en masse this week against the potential of President Barack Obama nominating United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice as Secretary of State because of her involvement in the Benghazi, Libya terror-attack scandal.

The letter, signed by 97 House Republicans, says that Rice’s  actions in the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi attack raise serious questions about her credibility and ability to hold a position of such power as Secretary of State.

“Though Ambassador Rice has been our Representative to the U.N., we believe her misleading statements over the days and weeks following the attack on our embassy in Libya that led to the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans caused irreparable damage to her credibility both at home and around the world,” they wrote in their letter, led by Representative Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.).

Though the Senate, not the House, would have the last word on confirmation if Obama did opt to nominate Rice, House Republicans have allies in Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham R-S.C.), who have vowed to block the nomination.

Contrarian Professor Attacked For Rejecting Racial Conventional Wisdom

California State University Long Beach professor Kevin MacDonald has come under fire, being called a white supremacist and neo-Nazi, for arguing that white people should have the same ability to pursue their interests as minorities.

MacDonald is a psychology professor at the college as well as the leader of the American Third Position (A3P), a political party that opposes immigration.

On its website A3P states:

The American Third Position is a patriotic, democratic alternative to the two parties that have wrecked our great nation. The U.S. political system has been shaped by the corrupt, entrenched, nearly identical Democrat and Republican machines. They are united in their ruthless suppression of all “third” parties.

Parts of our beautiful country now resemble Third World communities in Latin America, Africa and Asia. White people are already a minority in many cities and counties, along with several states, both large and small. Without constructive political action, within a few decades we will become a minority across the entire country. Enough is enough!

The American Third Position Party believes that government policy in the United States discriminates against white Americans, the majority population, and that white Americans need their own political party to fight this discrimination. Our government no longer represents us. The Democrats no longer represent us. The Republicans no longer represent us. There is a real need to educate European Americans that they have common interests, common values, and common traditions.

MacDonald’s prosecution for his beliefs that white Americans (who he says will be a minority by 2045) should have groups working in their best interests has led to attempts to have him fired from his job and students boycotting his classes.

“There’s the NAACP for black people, the ADL for Jewish-Americans, but the very thought that white people have identity and should be able to organize to pursue their interests as white people is off the map, and anyone who talks that way they will try to fire them,” MacDonald said in a recent interview.

His beliefs in white advocacy has made his ideas popular with some white supremacists and hate groups, though the professor contends that he is not espousing hate, but rather wishes to preserve white society.

Unfortunately for MacDonald, groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Anti-Defamation League — both have been described as extremely intolerant of views not in line with their own — have led an assault against the professor to portray him as a man who justifies slavery and genocide.

SPLC even relished in harming the man’s teaching career in a bio on its website:

Kevin MacDonald is the neo-Nazi movement’s favorite academic. A psychology professor at California State University, Long Beach, MacDonald, who also is a board member of the white supremacist Charles Martel Society, published a trilogy that supposedly “proves” that Jews are genetically driven to destroy Western societies. MacDonald also argues that anti-Semitism, far from being an irrational hatred for Jews, is a logical reaction to Jewish success in societies controlled by other ethnic or racial groups. After the publication of a 2007 Intelligence Report exposé detailing MacDonald’s anti-Semitism, his teaching duties were reduced and many of his colleagues publicly condemned his racist research.

Reading some of MacDonald’s writings offers a far less sensational portrait than anti-hate, hate groups like SPLC or ADL would have one believe. The academic’s biggest crime, it seems, is taking a contrarian academic view on issues that were long ago hijacked by the political-correctness movement. While many of MacDonald’s views may not be popular, they are far less dangerous than the free-speech chilling tactics undertaken by his detractors at SPLC and ADL.

There is a much larger philosophical debate to be had, because some questions grow louder and louder each day: How much power do we give those with the monopoly on righteousness? And who will they be?

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.

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

Senators Urge Obama Keystone XL Action

A bipartisan group of Senators is calling on President Barack Obama to meet with them in “the near future” to discuss moving forward with the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.

In a letter, the 18 Senators implore the President to consider the thousands of jobs the pipeline project would create for Americans, as well as the impact on American energy security.

The Senators write:

Setting politics aside: Nothing has changed about the thousands of jobs that Keystone XL will create. Nothing has changed about the energy security to be gained through an important addition to the existing pipeline network built with sound environmental stewardship and the best modern technology. Nothing has changed about the security to be gained from using more fuel produced at home and by a close and stable ally. And nothing has changed about the need for America to remain a place where businesses can still build things

Discussing Obama’s directive last spring (which allowed Nebraska to move forward in some work on the pipeline), the Senators said the State route is near completion and the President should issue a permit to allow the rest of the project to move forward.

The state of Nebraska is nearing completion of the new pipeline route within Nebraska. With that process near completion, we look forward to an affirmative determination of national interest soon.

We then urge you to issue a Presidential Permit immediately afterward.

Signatories of the letter include Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), David Vitter (R-La.) and Jim Webb (D-Va.).

Another Botched FBI Raid Nearly Kills Unarmed Family

Last week, an FBI raid of a suburban Maryland home left an 18-year-old woman wounded when agents burst through her door to execute a warrant before opening fire on the unarmed inhabitants of the home.

Members of the Hughley family said that agents swarmed their George’s County home at 6 a.m. last Thursday. The FBI’s Washington field office has yet to specify what the warrant was for.

When the agents entered the home forcibly in full riot gear, homeowner Emory Hughley said that one agent allegedly felt threatened by his 18-year-old daughter who was clad only in a sleep shirt. According to the resident, the agent then opened fire at least seven times putting multiple holes in the brick wall behind his daughter and barely missing her head.

“I’m shouting ‘Nobody is armed, nobody has a gun!’ and then all of a sudden I heard ‘She’s got a gun!’ and they just opened fire,” he told ABC 7.

His daughter was treated for a minor wound and released from a local hospital.

“I’ve got eight holes in my wall. One bullet went past my head, almost hit me, ricocheted off my brick wall and some of the shrap metal hit my little daughter in the back of her neck, all for nothing.” said Hughley.

Hughley’s neighbors told reporters that they could not imagine any reason for the family to be raided by the FBI.

Facial Recognition Surveillance Is Coming

Facial recognition software, a major privacy concern for many people, is here to stay. And it looks as though the software is going to become a mainstay of law enforcement agencies throughout the Nation.

According to a report by RT, facial recognition software created by a company called FaceFirst, a division of Airborne Biometrics Group of Camarillo, Calif., is already in use in San Diego. FaceFirst boasts that the software is capable of identifying anyone, as long as the police have a facial profile in their database.

The software is similar to that which is being popularized by a smartphone-based system that allows shoppers to be identified when they enter certain retail establishments. The system then issues discounts and deals on merchandise.

On FaceFirst’s website, the company boasts that not only can it issue deals, but it can also identify possible shoplifters by matching their faces with past arrest records.

From the site:

Our military-grade technology targets (or identifies) individuals with prior arrest records or persons who may not necessarily have been previously arrested. These can be individuals suspected, or on the users internal watch or ban list when they enter your store. Suspects photographed by our high-speed face-tracking video camera are automatically matched with watch list photos. Alerts are instantly sent directly to cash registers, cell phones and/or computers.

Your loss prevention department can monitor the suspects’ movements, or ask them to leave the premises before a criminal act is committed. Staff can also take cell phone photos of suspected offenders and receive a confirming match in seconds.

Similarly, law enforcement agencies throughout California are currently working to integrate FaceFirst into public surveillance systems, which could possibly lead to increased scrutiny of pedestrians with prior arrest records as they traverse public areas.

Monday 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.

  • A gun shop owner in Arizona doesn’t want any supporters of President Barack Obama shopping at his store. A sign at the door reads: “If you voted for Obama, please turn around and leave! You have proven you are not responsible enough to own a firearm.”
  • The European Union is facing even more financial trouble. A summit planned for this week to work out a long-term trillion-euro budget looks doomed for failure.
  • “Shadow banking,” a system of international banking which is largely out of reach of regulators grew to a new high of $67 trillion globally last year. Some have blamed “shadow banking” for the recent economic crises.

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

Rand Paul Continues Indefinite Detention Fight

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) filibustered a vote on the Defense Authorization Act in an attempt to get Congress to vote on his amendment affirming the Constitution’s 6th Amendment to ensure Americans are protected against indefinite military detention.

The Paul Amendment would ensure that any American citizen being held by the military is granted the right of trial by a jury of peers and the right to confront witnesses against him.

“A citizen of the United States who is captured or arrested in the United States and detained by the Armed Forces of the United States pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40) shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense,” the amendment states.

The Senator came under fire from Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) who said the legislative body wanted to clear the Defense Authorization Act, S. 3254, before Congress breaks for Thanksgiving.

“[Republicans] say they want to move to the defense authorization bill, so I said yesterday, fine, let’s move to it,” Reid said on the floor last week. “But my friends can’t take ‘yes’ for an answer.

“[Democrats are] not the cause for why the defense authorization bill is not being brought to the floor.”

California City Considers Homeless Permits

Being homeless in Nevada City, Calif., may soon require a license.

The city’s police chief has proposed a law that would let the city hand out permits to a small group of homeless, giving them permission to sleep in public. The official believes that the initiative will give the peaceful homeless a place to stay, while weeding out troublemakers.

“The goal is to start managing the homeless population within our city,” Chief James Wickham told CBS Sacramento.

The police chief will give out about six to 10 permits at first, according to reports. After six months, he’ll check back to see if the program is working. If it is, he says he will hand out more permits to be homeless.

Currently, the police chief believes there are about 60 homeless in his community, and 500 countywide.

The permits will only pertain to sleeping outdoors, as the town’s council has passed a no camping ordinance to go along with the permits.

“It just basically means you can’t set up a tent. You can’t live in your vehicle. You can’t live in the woods in Nevada City,” Wickham said.

Coburn Report: The Military Is Full Of Wasteful Spending

The next time someone claims that the one place the United States cannot cut spending at all is the military because of devastating national security implications, point them to budget hawk Senator Tom Coburn’s (R-Okla.) recent report “Department of Everything.”

Coburn argues in his report that the United States could cut $67.9 billion from its bloated military budget over the course of a decade by cutting “non-defense” defense spending.

“I believe in peace through strength but we cannot be strong militarily unless we are strong economically. And we cannot be strong economically if we treat politically-sensitive areas of the budget as sacrosanct. At a time when our own military leaders are calling our debt our greatest national security threat we need to look at every area of the budget for potential savings. No part of the budget can be taken off the table. Achieving peace through strength, and getting our debt under control, must involve refocusing the Pentagon on its core mission,” Coburn said.

Some of the over-the-top expenditures Coburn says fell under the Defense budget included:

  • $300,000 for the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to fund Brown University’s research into archaeopteryx, the 150-million-year-old early bird. Researchers determined the creature likely had black feathers.
  • Money for the Office of Naval Research to develop an iPhone app, Caffeine Zone 2, which helps people manage coffee breaks.
  • $100,000 for a workshop on space travel, including a lecture called “Did Jesus Die For Klingons Too?” which discussed Christian theology and aliens.
  • Money for Pentagon researchers to study fish in order to determine “if ignorance can save democracy.”
  • $1.5 million for the development of beef jerky that looks like a Fruit Roll-up

Coburn also points out in his report that the United States military has more flag officers per troop than it did at the height of the Cold War and suggests “reducing general and flag officers from around 1,000 today to a Cold War ratio of five general officers per 10,000 troops (as opposed to the seven the Pentagon has today).” The report says that this would save the Department of Defense $800 million over the course of 10 years.

Congressional Report: Hezbollah, Iran Have Mexican Cartel Ties

A new report out from House Homeland Security Committee Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management says that Mideast terror organizations are making inroads with drug cartels south of the American border.

The report, “A Line in the Sand: Countering Crime, Violence and Terror at the Southwest Border,” details why government officials believe America’s Southwest border is the biggest threat to terrorist infiltration into the country.

The report says that not only have Mexican drug cartels developed the financial means to more successfully bring their products into the United States, but that there is also reason to believe the cartels are working in collusion with terror organizations such as Hezbollah.

From the report:

The presence of Hezbollah in Latin America is partially explained by the large Lebanese diaspora in South America. In general, Hezbollah enjoys support by many in the Lebanese world community in part because of the numerous social programs it provides in Lebanon that include schools, hospitals, utilities and welfare…

United in their dedication to the destruction of Israel, Iran has helped Hezbollah grow from a small group of untrained guerrillas into what is arguably the most highly trained, organized and equipped terrorist organization in the world. In return, Hezbollah has served as an ideal proxy for Iranian military force – particularly against Israel – which affords Iran plausible deniability diplomatically. Hence wherever Hezbollah is entrenched, Iran will be as well and vice-versa.

The report also details an increased Iranian presence in Latin America due to the relationship between Iranian officials and Venezuela’s newly re-elected socialist leader Hugo Chavez.

Friday 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.

  • President Barack Obama lied about the Afghan War. Marine General Joseph Dunford told the Senate Armed Services Committee the United States needs to present a “clear and compelling narrative of commitment” to Afghanistan, beyond the 2014 timeframe.
  • Former CIA director David Petraeus arrived quietly at the Capitol today to testify about the 9/11 terror attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
  • Twinkies are rumored to be the one snack that could survive nuclear holocaust, but they’re no match for a union strike.
  • Show me yours, and I’ll stop showing you mine. When a flasher exposed his genitals to a woman and her 6-year-old son, she promptly showed him her Ruger .380. “Oh, [expletive]!” the man declared, before running away.
  • Israel is ready to rock the Gaza Strip with a ground invasion. Stand by for all-out Mideast war.

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

Man Fighting Fire Shocked By Police With Taser

A Florida man who was attempting to keep a fire that had engulfed his neighbor’s house from reaching his own was shot with a Taser by police officers who told him to “let it go, that’s what insurance is for.”

Daniel Jensen, a 42-year-old father of two, woke up early last Thursday evening to his neighbor’s house being engulfed in flames. After clearing his own home and making sure no one was inside his neighbor’s, the man proceeded to attempt to keep the flames from spreading to his property with a fire extinguisher and water hose, as the fire department had not arrived.

“They kept telling me, ‘Let it go, that’s what insurance is for.’ That’s not acceptable to me,” Jensen told WTSP.

The Pinellas Park Police Department claim that Jensen ignored several commands to get away from the fire, and that after exhausting all other options they were forced to use a stun gun to keep him and officers out of the path of the flame.

The man was shot with the stun gun just as he grabbed a water hose to attempt to put out flames that were beginning to lick the roof of his home.

“As I went to grab the hose, I hear an officer on this side. There was a boat here; he was just behind it. He said, ‘Hit him, hit him! Take him down, tase him!'” explained Jensen. “I didn’t know they were talking to me, or about me. I was concerned about putting water on the fire, and the next thing you know I’m being tased.”

Jensen is filing suit against the department claiming that they used excessive force and poor judgment.

“It was horrible. I was laying [sic] in a puddle of water being electrocuted here by the people that are supposed to protect us. I’m trying to protect my family, my neighbor, and they bring harm to me. I don’t understand,” he said.

Senate Votes Down Cybersecurity Measure

Last summer, vocal opposition from American Internet users encouraged the Senate to back off on Senator Joseph Lieberman’s (I-Conn.) Cybersecurity Act. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called for another vote on the bill in a lame-duck session this week, leading to a close 51-47 vote against cloture for the act and barring it from moving forward.

The Cybersecurity Act, along with a handful of other Congressional cybersecurity initiatives, included vague definitions for terms such as “cybersecurity threat,” “cybersecurity threat indicator” and “countermeasures” that had the potential for manipulation to provide massive expansion of government power over the Internet.

According to the Electronic Freedom Foundation, the Senate voted correctly by not proceeding on the Cybersecurity Act. EFF lauded the fact that Reid declared “all cybersecurity bills dead for this Congress.”

EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien said: “We’re looking forward to having a more informed debate about cybersecurity next session, and hope Congress will bear in mind the serious privacy interests of individual Internet users. We don’t need to water down existing privacy law to address the challenges of cybersecurity.”

Montana Lawmaker Wants To Be Paid In Gold

A Montana State lawmaker sent a letter expressing a lack of faith in the U.S. dollar and asking the Legislature to pay his annual $7,000 salary in gold. The State says it isn’t going to happen.

Representative Jerry O’Neil, a Republican, said he requested the salary in coins because gold-advocating constituents told him that he was violating his Constitutional duty by accepting fiat dollars not backed by gold as payment.

“I believe that if you take a look at the Constitution, that’s what it says. Actually, I think we’ve gotten a tremendously long way from it,” O’Neil said of a Constitutional mandate that government debts be paid with gold-backed money.

“If we don’t start paying that debt down, we’re going to lose the country,” he told POLITICO.

But Jaret Coles, a legislative staff attorney for the State, says that O’Neil isn’t going to receive gold as payment for his service.

“The United States Constitution does not require states to pay debts in gold and silver. Additionally, there is no specific authority in the Montana Code Annotated for an agency to pay debts using gold or silver for services,” according to Coles.

O’Neil said that since the State will not comply with his request, he’s considering having his paycheck direct deposited to a coin dealer and then collecting the sum in gold and silver coin.

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:

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.