The Militant Libertarian

I'm pissed off and I'm a libertarian. What else you wanna know?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Jane Harman: Angry, partisan, civil liberties extremist

by Glenn Greenwald

Blue Dog Rep. Jane Harman -- once the most vigorous Democratic cheerleader of Bush's NSA warrantless eavesdropping program -- is rip-roarin' angry today. Apparently, her private conversations were eavesdropped on by the U.S. Government! This is a grave outrage that, as she told Andrea Mitchell just moments ago, demands a probing investigation:

That's what I asked Attorney General Holder to do -- to release any tapes, I don't know whether they were legally made or not, of my conservations about this matter . . . and to hope that he will investigate whether other members of Congress or other innocent Americans might have been subject to this same treatment. I call it an abuse of power in the letter I wrote him this morning. . . .

I'm just very disappointed that my country -- I'm an American citizen just like you are -- could have permitted what I think is a gross abuse of power in recent years. I'm one member of Congress who may be caught up in it, and I have a bully pulpit and I can fight back. I'm thinking about others who have no bully pulpit, who may not be aware, as I was not, that someone is listening in on their conversations, and they're innocent Americans.

So if I understand this correctly -- and I'm pretty sure I do -- when the U.S. Government eavesdropped for years on American citizens with no warrants and in violation of the law, that was "both legal and necessary" as well as "essential to U.S. national security," and it was the "despicable" whistle-blowers (such as Thomas Tamm) who disclosed that crime and the newspapers which reported it who should have been criminally investigated, but not the lawbreaking government officials. But when the U.S. Government legally and with warrants eavesdrops on Jane Harman, that is an outrageous invasion of privacy and a violent assault on her rights as an American citizen, and full-scale investigations must be commenced immediately to get to the bottom of this abuse of power. Behold Jane Harman's overnight transformation from Very Serious Champion of the Lawless Surveillance State to shrill civil liberties extremist.

But I'm really wondering: as serious as it is when a member of Congress is the target of government eavesdropping, can we really afford to investigate this? After all, we have so many very important things to do. It really seems like we need to be looking forward, not backwards. The Bush administration is gone. This all happened in 2005 -- years ago. Is this really a time to be pursuing grudges, to be re-litigating old disputes? What kind of partisan witch hunt is Harman after? We can, and surely should, reflect on what happened to her -- in fact, let us now pause together for a moment of quiet reflection on what was done to Jane Harman -- but this is not a time for retribution or looking back. "Most Americans" want the people's business done, not "abuse of power" investigations.

Besides, if Jane Harman didn't do anything wrong -- as she claims -- then what does she have to hide? Only Terrorists and criminals would mind the Government listening in. We all know that government officials have better things to do than worry about what innocent Americans are saying. If she did nothing wrong -- if all she was doing was talking to her nice constituents and AIPAC supporters about how she could be of service -- then Bush officials obviously weren't interested in what she had to say.

Beyond that, even if there were "illegal" acts committed here, surely we should be rushing to retroactively immunize those responsible, just as Harman eagerly advocated and engineered and then voted for when it came to the telecoms who broke our laws and enabled illegal spying on American citizens. That was when she voted to gut FISA protections and massively expand the Government's power to eavesdrop on Americans with no warrants as part of the Cheney/Rockefeller/Hoyer Surveillance State celebration known as the "FISA Amendments Act of 2008."

Ultimately, even if a few so-called "laws" were "broken," surely the people who did it were acting to protect us from possible foreign espionage. Are we now going to start subjecting the good men and women working to keep us safe to harassing, expensive investigations every time some member of Congress pipes up and claims they were victimized by "illegal" acts? Think how overly cautious our intelligence community will become, what that will do to morale, how much it will handcuff us in our Wars. And if, at the end of the day, all of this doesn't convice the "Rule of Law" purists among us to let bygones be bygones, I'm sure all reasonable and decent people can at least agree that the methods our government uses to eavesdrop on us are among the most sacred State Secrets that exist, and thus simply cannot and must not be reviewed by any tribunal for legality and propriety lest we all become deeply vulnerable to the Terrorists.

Jane Harman is so shrill and angry today. She sounds like some sort of unhinged leftist blogger. As The Washington Post's Dana Milbank so insightfully asked this week, what could any Democrat possibly have to be angry about? After all, they won. I wonder how long it's going to be before Harman joins the ACLU? What's that old saying -- a "civil liberties extremist" is a former Bush-enabling, Surveillance State-defending Blue Dog who learns that their own personal conversations were intercepted by the same government that they demanded be vested with unchecked power:

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Want Less Corruption? Shrink the Size of Government

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When Doctors Opt Out

We already know what government-run health care looks like.

Here's something that has gotten lost in the drive to institute universal health insurance: Health insurance doesn't automatically lead to health care. And with more and more doctors dropping out of one insurance plan or another, especially government plans, there is no guarantee that you will be able to see a physician no matter what coverage you have.

Consider that the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission reported in 2008 that 28% of Medicare beneficiaries looking for a primary care physician had trouble finding one, up from 24% the year before. The reasons are clear: A 2008 survey by the Texas Medical Association, for example, found that only 38% of primary-care doctors in Texas took new Medicare patients. The statistics are similar in New York state, where I practice medicine.

More and more of my fellow doctors are turning away Medicare patients because of the diminished reimbursements and the growing delay in payments. I've had several new Medicare patients come to my office in the last few months with multiple diseases and long lists of medications simply because their longtime provider -- who they liked -- abruptly stopped taking Medicare. One of the top mammographers in New York City works in my office building, but she no longer accepts Medicare and charges patients more than $300 cash for each procedure. I continue to send my elderly women patients downstairs for the test because she is so good, but no one is happy about paying.

The problem is even worse with Medicaid. A 2005 Community Tracking Physician survey showed that only 50% of physicians accept this insurance. I am now one of the ones who doesn't take it. I realized a few years ago that it wasn't worth the money to file the paperwork for the $25 or less that I received for an office visit. HMOs are problematic as well. Recent surveys from New York show a 10% yearly dropout rate from the state's largest HMO, the Health Insurance Plan of New York (HIP), and a 14% drop-out rate from Health Net of New York, another big HMO.

The dropout rate is less at major medical centers such as New York University's Langone Medical Center where I work, or Mount Sinai Medical Center, because larger physician networks have more leverage when choosing health plans. Still, I am frequently hamstrung as I try to find a good surgeon or specialist to refer one of my patients to.

Overall, 11% of the doctors at NYU Langone don't participate in at least two insurance plans -- Aetna or Blue Cross, for instance -- so I end up not being able to refer my patients to some of our top specialists. This problem, in addition to the mass of paperwork and diminishing reimbursements, is enough of a reason for me to consider dropping out as well.

Bottom line: None of the current plans, government or private, provide my patients with the care they need. And the care that is provided is increasingly expensive and requires a big battle for approvals. Of course, we're promised by the Obama administration that universal health insurance will avoid all these problems. But how is that possible when you consider that the medical turnstiles will be the same as they are now, only they will be clogged with more and more patients? The doctors that remain in this expanded system will be even more overwhelmed than we are now.

I wouldn't want to be a patient when that happens.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Obama's Demented Drug Policy

by Radley Balko

As he leaves on a trip to Mexico, the president looks poised to continue the same ruinous drug policies and the same failing tactics in the war on drugs.

When Barack Obama visits Mexico today, the drug war, and the violence it has spawned south of the border, is expected to dominate the agenda. Since 2006, more than 10,000 people have been murdered in Mexico as a direct consequence of the drug trade. This bloody outbreak began when, with the blessing of and funding from the U.S. government, Mexican President Felipe Calderon ordered the Mexican military to aggressively crack down on the drug cartels. Such crackdowns often ratchet up the level of violence, as the elimination of one major drug distributor provokes those who remain to war over his territory. That’s a pattern as old and predictable as Prohibition itself, yet politicians never seem to learn.

The best solution to what’s plaguing Mexico right now is the one topic that will almost assuredly be off the table: legalizing marijuana.

Last month, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Mexico, she expressed gave concern over the escalating violence... and then heaped praise on Calderon's crackdown, promising to support it with more funding and more military hardware. Obama appears poised to say much the same thing. According to a recent preview of his trip in The Washington Post, the president is expected to promise swifter delivery of drug-war aid and increased efforts by the U.S. to stop the flow of American weapons to Mexico. But the best solution to what’s plaguing Mexico right now is the one topic that will almost assuredly be off the table: legalizing marijuana. Marijuana makes up 60 to 70 percent of the Mexican drug trade. Lifting prohibitions on it in the United States would eradicate a major source of funds for the cartels.

But Obama has little patience for such talk. We saw this at the now-infamous (at least on the Internet) town-hall meeting last month, where the president was asked whether he would consider legalizing marijuana to help the ailing economy. The question was the top vote-getter on a White House Web site set up in the spirit of making the president accessible to the public. But Obama dismissed it with a one-word answer, then derided the very online community that raised half a billion dollars for his campaign as a bunch of half-baked morons.

The incident offended many former Obama activists, yet other supporters have chided those upset by his answer by pointing out that Obama has never supported marijuana legalization. That’s true. But it also misses the point. The drug-reform community rallied behind Obama’s candidacy because in the past he has taken thoughtful, nuanced positions on the issue. Consider this video, from 2004:

Obama's curt response last month was a striking departure from that video. It didn't take long for him to go from a thoughtful drug-war critic to a typical Beltway drug warrior.

To answer the question Obama batted away, Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron estimates that legalizing all drugs would produce a net boon of $77 billion per year to government alone, much of it in savings on enforcement and incarceration. That's not accounting for the money from the sale of drugs that, under a legalized system, would go to the above-ground economy instead of to cartels and crime syndicates. Miron estimated in a 2005 study that if we were to only legalize marijuana, the savings to government would be $10 to 14 billion, a figure endorsed by 530 other economists. Obama's callous dismissal of the question—as if serious people didn't even require an explanation—wasn't warranted.

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Pirates and Emperors - Schoolhouse Rock

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Is the Union Perpetual and Indivisible?

by Virginian Rebel

Are you a slave to the federal government, never being permitted under any circumstances to opt out and preserve your natural rights to life, liberty, and property?

According to some Texas Democrats, no matter what the US government does to us, the people and their respective States are not allowed to secede. Apparently the Texas Democrats are even proposing a resolution expressing "complete and total disagreement with any fringe element advocating the 'secession' of Texas or any other state from our one and indivisible Union."

Somehow the people of a nation born through secession cannot entertain secessionist ideas or they are "the ultimate anti-American" as Rep. Dunnam stated for this AP report. All of this comes in reaction to Governor Perry's comments yesterday that Texas may one day get to the point where they entertain the ideas of secession. I say that this day may be sooner than later. To Perry's credit he has refused to back down from his statements.

After all, the Union was initially formed as a voluntary contract between independent States. It was not until Lincoln came along that there was even a thought that the States did not have the right to withdrawal from the Union.

Once again I think Thomas Jefferson saw all of this coming when he said:

"When all government, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the Center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated."

And seeing as Jefferson was a secessionist himself, I would venture to bet that under our current circumstance he would be in full support of Texas and Virginia seceding from our tyrannical federal government. His advice to us today?

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Obama’s Inherited Problems

by Bill Huff

They’re the same as every president before him.

Obama sees inherited problems. I see inherited solutions. One of us is looking back much further. History provides every important detail of how we got into this mess. It also illuminates the path of escape. Tyranny can be reverse engineered.

"A government that has outgrown its Constitutional size cannot afford to talk substantively about its past." ~ LEXREX

Obama’s constant kvetching about "inherited problems" would be cause for an instant discharge for any executive in the real world of real business [where all Bailouts are unlawful]. It is akin to Homer Simpson’s: "It was like that when I got here." I don’t need to hear it. He was not drafted. He asked for the job. We could have elected Ron Paul.

It is the responsibility of the President to faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and, to the best of his Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. His duties are outlined in Article II of the Constitution. They do not include blaming previous presidents. They would necessarily include making things right that are out of line with Constitutional Mandates. This might include small details like prosecuting almost everyone in the top tiers of the financial rackets that have been erected despite the Constitution – instead of bailing them out. As we carefully read Article II we have to wonder how long it has been since a president took it to heart.

Precedent is no basis or excuse for executive function or authority. Sadly, we have also found it to be very popular within the judicial branch – which is by far the most corrupt, having known better since before day One. The judicial branch has knowingly excused a creeping, incremental departure from the rule of law. They are not just useful idiots. They have proven to be brilliant Seditionists.

In the real world we don’t just cite blame – we fix blame. For that we need some evidence; some history, some context, some forensics. Could it be our financial problems began when we first abandoned sound Constitutional principles related to lawful money and banking?

This is a really old problem:

Consider the political rhetoric during a "peaceful transition of power" documented in 1st Kings 12: "My father laid on you a heavy yoke [read ‘total burden of government’]; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions [read ‘unlawful trillions for bailouts on top of all the unlawful spending that preceded them – with more on the way’]."

The words were blurted out by Rehoboam, a young, overbearing new king, who had decided to ignore the wise old men who had served his father very well, and take the advice of his contemporaries and cronies who had no real wisdom or experience.

The old counselors had advised: "If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever." [The "good words" spoken of were to be in pursuance of the Law of Moses.]

If Obama, and the rest of us, would realize the inherited blame goes back through every administration including Washington’s; and if we would carefully heed the wisdom of all the old men who framed the Constitution as well as their contemporaries, and even their critics, we would have the most realistic hope of returning our society to the rule of law. Every president, and every generation must decide to pass the buck forward or backward, or take full responsibility for a sweeping correction which cannot be accomplished without returning to first principles. And we cannot return to first principles until we know them in full context.

Samuel Adams said it best: "But we want no excuse for any supposed mistakes of our ancestors. Let us first see it prov'd that they were mistakes. Till then we must hold ourselves obliged to them for sentiments transmitted to us so worthy of their character, and so important to our security…"

Please realize the statement above is as pregnant with meaning as an Obama or a Dubya speech is vacuous. Take it to heart and take it to brain. Sam incited our first Revolution. We have to go back to the place where we departed from the truth. And we have to study the original documents until we "get it."

Did Obama inherit the ability to read, carefully study, and obey the Constitution? If not, why not? Take all the in-between guys out and we find that Obama inherited the same Constitution we all had in the beginning. That is the "change" I will always be working for.

Does Obama say, "Here’s where Dubya [or any other president] disobeyed the written law – and this is another area in which my administration will obey it?" He might as well be saying, "Dubya chastised you with Whips, I will chastise you with Scorpions" or "Whereas Dubya’s deficits were in the Trillions, mine will be in the Quadrillions – and it is none of your damn business what I spend it on."

Will these Scorpions sting us or our grandchildren? Will there be a trace of American Liberty left for any of them to enjoy?

A partial list of major things plaguing us; things that we didn’t get from the Constitution – or any alleged flaw in the Constitution:

The Federal Reserve, Fiat Money, Toxic Paper, Standing Armies, Deficits, Federal Supremacy, Judicial Supremacy, Bailouts, The erosion of Habeas Corpus, Abuse of Eminent Domain, Gun laws, Foreign Aid, The Military Industrial Complex, Imperial Hubris.

As you can readily see, the partial list above contains hypertext links to corresponding Google searches at In a sense, we are all Auditing the federal government all of the time – but without enough definitive data – or the proper accounting tools. We need to get into the forensic accounting phase and expose the magnitude of the Problem. For this I would enlist the Austrian School of Economists and have a few of them camped out in Congress and the White House, feeding unfiltered information directly to the American People, until we all realize not only the impossibility of "auditing" the Federal Reserve Banking System, but also the necessity of Abolishing it and eradicating it completely. The more we know, the more support there will be for shutting it down. Those who continue to worship at the Keynesian Altar will be more and more embarrassed as the lights are turned on. Right now their minions are locking arms. But the truth is on the side of Liberty.

Instead of going back to our founding principles, this administration is going back to the perpetrators of our most egregious financial problems – "the usual suspects" – and asking them for a fresh approach, while it perpetuates the addiction to military adventurism of the past few presidents. This is not enough of a change for me.

If Obama is as brilliant as advertised we may find he is also callous and cynical – because he is taking the country in a disastrous direction that has been tried many times before. The slope of hyperinflation is at hand. Like a black hole, the closer you get the more certain your extinction becomes. Yet Obama is not quoting anything I recognize from the wisest counselors of the past. Either they are wrong or he is wrong.

How can Obama have the gall to begin a pitch with words like, "Before we ask the American Taxpayer to foot the bill, we have to do such and such [where ‘such and such’ is some bizarre allusion to some form of virtual accountability]?" There is no accountability. The buck is passed backward and there is no accountability going forward. Obama is not asking you or me. He’s not asking the Founders and Framers. He is taking; stealing, misappropriating. It doesn’t seem as though he even has to ask the fawning Dems for anything. They are all as gaga as Nancy Pelosi. The Republicans seem to be either dazed or daft. They are still not humbled enough to eat Ron Paul’s Crow.

A few presidents have made manly attempts to return to the rule of law.

Bastiat maintained that government cannot lawfully commit an act that would be unlawful for any individual. His reasoning in this is unassailable as far as I have been able to determine.

In Luke 11:11–13 we find another Biblical reference to the friendly Scorpion: "If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"

Do you, do I, know enough about Liberty to bequeath it to our children and grandchildren?

"Honour, justice and humanity call upon us to hold, and to transmit to our posterity, that liberty, which we received from our ancestors. It is not our duty to leave wealth to our children: but it is our duty, to leave liberty to them. No infamy, iniquity, or cruelty can exceed our own, if we, born and educated in a country of freedom, entitled to its blessings, and knowing their value, pusillanimously deserting the post assigned to us by Divine Providence, surrender succeeding generations to a condition of wretchedness, from which no human efforts, in all probability, will be sufficient to extricate them; the experience of all states mournfully demonstrating to us, that when arbitrary power has been established over them, even the wisest and bravest nations, that ever flourished, have, in a few years, degenerated into abject and wretched vassals." [from the Resolutions of Committee for the Province of Pennsylvania – 1774]

Exercise: Get a transcript of Anything Obama is saying. Check to see how it corresponds to the Founding Principles or the Communist Manifesto. Make the same comparisons/contrasts with anything his cronies are saying. Repeat as necessary. Find someone to mentor. Many of you are already doing this. You are the Liberty Choir.

Keep Singing! Louder!

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Stop Spending Our Future - The Crisis

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Anarchy and Chaos in Black Communities

by Robert A. Wicks

People often use anarchy and chaos interchangeably. They refer to civil unrest as "anarchy, total chaos." As an anarchist of the anarcho-libertarian variety myself, naturally, this habit irks me. Anarchy is simply the absence of forceful authority. Chaos is disorder. The two things can coexist, but it may be shocking to some to find that the presence of the one does not imply the presence of the other. Nor does the absence of the one imply the absence of the other. They are neither unrelated nor equivalent. And the correlation between the two can often be surprising. This is particularly true among blacks.

I grew up in a black, rural community in Mississippi. I have always enjoyed listening to the stories of the past from my elders. Many of them were relatives from other cities such as Detroit and Chicago. Others were local, or from other parts of the South. One common thread among their reminiscences was the notion that while things were in many ways worse, since there were legal barriers in place which limited black property rights, the neighborhoods themselves were safer than the surrounding areas. In short, blacks were endangered when they encountered law enforcement or people who had the support of law enforcement, since those things enabled them to use force against blacks without fear of retaliation or negative repercussions. Within those black communities in many areas, however, there was no law enforcement, unless they had been summoned. The day-to-day life of those blacks, so long as they remained within their own neighborhoods was essentially anarchic. The state was what was encountered when one left the neighborhood, be it for business or pleasure.

Those neighborhoods, with their localized anarchy, were nonetheless orderly places. The communities policed themselves through ostracism and familial ties. There was little disorder within anarchy. Black-owned businesses served primarily black customers, unless the state intervened to prevent even that bit of freedom. Even during my own childhood in the 1970s, police presence in my community was an almost unheard of occurrence. Crimes and vices were handled among families and family members. Even though some people could be considered leaders, those leaders were followed voluntarily. There was no mayor who forced his edicts upon supporters and opponents alike. Each community was usually a little pocket of anarchy. The well-known negatives associated with involving oneself with a hostile state made self-governing a far better alternative. Consider, however, the situation today: Blacks often have far more frequent encounters with the state. Everything is regulated. There is little anarchy. From drug laws and house raids, which limit what a person can do with his own property and body, to welfare and subsidized housing, which allow a person who has not shown the ability to earn his own keep to remained housed, clothed, and well-fed without having to display character traits which are necessary to earn those things, the state is a constant intruder on the social order. And what do we frequently see in those areas now? Chaos. Disorder. Mayhem. Government.

What afflicts many American black neighborhoods and communities today is not the absence of rules so much as the natural effects of rules forced upon the unwilling. In stark contrast to the more organic leadership of church and business leaders of past generations, modern "leaders" are most frequently bureaucrats or government shills who profit from government action. Since they profit from the state, they are naturally disposed to defend the state. This treachery is clearly on display when we look at how these so-called leaders endorse two things which are devastating to blacks nationwide: the war on drugs and welfare. When we look honestly at the actual effects of these two programs, we see a horror story of nearly unparalleled proportions. Illegitimacy is rampant largely due to the state's subsidizing of irresponsibility. The high levels of violence in many neighborhoods is almost entirely the product of the barbaric war on drugs. Despite these things, the misguided, the foolish, and the downright evil continue to support both of these horrible assaults on property rights and common decency. Make no mistake: any black person who is in favor of the war on drugs is morally defective, mentally defective, or both. The argument for welfare is the common mistake of all socialists. There is no way to do evil and produce only good as a result. What these communities, and all others, need is the elimination of the false, imposed "order" of the state, and more of the unpredictable, natural true order of voluntary association. The state, by attempting to control the natural tendencies of humans to improve themselves and their own conditions, causes the very chaos it claims to prevent.

This really should be surprising to no one. Most of us live in homes which are largely anarchic, yet which have less crime and violence than city streets, which are completely owned by governments. Far from bringing chaos, the anarchic portions of our lives are usually the most peaceful and orderly parts of them. So, when someone asks me "what do you want, anarchy?" I feel completely justified in saying "I can only hope."

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Rush Towards Socialism – and How To Stop It

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

It only took the Obama administration a couple of weeks to prove that the national leadership of the Democratic Party is guided by totalitarian-minded socialists who seek to create an omnipotent government. The U.S. government is now controlled by people who have been dreaming of living out their utopian socialist fantasies ever since the fantasies were brought to their attention in college decades ago by their Mao/Castro/Che Guevara poster-hanging, capitalism-hating, communistic professors.

The administration’s main agenda is an explosion of federal spending and debt so large and outrageous that America will soon exceed Sweden in the proportion of the economy that is controlled by government – if it hasn’t already. That’s just for starters. They also want to sharply increase taxes on the most productive and hardest-working people in society; increase the capital gains tax to deter private investment; expand the welfare state; spend trillions on pure, pork barrel spending in a massive vote-buying spree; set all corporate compensation levels by governmental fiat; tax away the wealth of unpopular business people (only starting with those AIG executives); regulate and control all risk taking by private entrepreneurs; enforce a civilian draft to create a modern-day, American version of the Hitler Youth (See Rahm Emanuel’s creepy, Stalinist-sounding book entitled The Plan); nationalize entire industries, starting with the capital markets (they understand that there can be no capitalism without private capital markets); and double, triple, and quadruple the number of "regulators" who already regulate all aspects of human life in America.

At the recent G-20 meeting Obama even signed off on the creation of an international regulatory "authority" that could set compensation policies in American corporations. On top of this, there is a never-ending drumbeat of anti-capitalist propaganda coming from the administration and its worshipful mouthpieces in the "mainstream media."

What can be done? How can this rush toward totalitarian socialism be stopped? Will the Republicans find another old, angry geezer to appeal to the angry white male vote? How about another mumbling and incompetent Bush family heir? Will there be another Reagan who will talk libertarian while governing more like a European Social Democrat? Will they trot out another old "war hero" who will plunge us into war with Iran, North Korea, China, or whomever, to divert our attention away from the economic mess government has placed us in? These are the likely alternatives if we cling to the fantasy that "throwing the bums out" at election time leads to something other than another group of slightly different bums.

The fact is that the American people have been servants or slaves to their government for generations. It wasn’t always that way. When the Adams administration enforced the Sedition Act that made criticism of the federal government illegal, Jefferson and Madison responded with the Virginia and Kentucky Resolves of 1798 that clearly stated that the people did not intend to allow the enforcement of this unconstitutional law within those two states. Section One of Jefferson’s Kentucky Resolve stated, for example, that "the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principles of unlimited submission to their General Government . . ." Other states supported Jefferson and Madison in their defense of free speech.

When President Thomas Jefferson imposed a national trade embargo and consummated the Louisiana Purchase, New Englanders, led by George Washington’s Secretary of State, Timothy Pickering, loudly threatened to secede. They decided against it (for practical economic and political reasons) at the Hartford Secession Convention of 1814, but their actions sent a clear message to national politicians.

Outraged by the embargo, the Massachusetts legislature used the language of Jefferson’s own Kentucky Resolve to proclaim that the embargo "was not legally binding on the citizens of the state" while denouncing the federal law as "unjust, oppressive, and unconstitutional" and reminding President Jefferson that "this state maintains its sovereignty and independence . . ." All the New England states, plus Delaware, did the exact same thing and nullified the embargo.

When Alexander Hamilton’s Bank of the United States, a precursor to the Fed, created 72 percent inflation in the first five years of its existence and corrupted politics with its politicized spending policies, citizens all over the country assisted President Andrew Jackson in eventually destroying the institution. The heroic Ohio legislature slapped a $50,000/year tax on each branch of the BUS, attempting to drive it out of business. "The states have an equal right to interpret the Constitution for themselves," announced the Ohio legislature, and it decided that the BUS was not constitutional. Kentucky, Tennessee, Connecticut, South Carolina, New York, and New Hampshire followed suit.

When the War of 1812 broke out the New England states effectively seceded from the union by refusing to participate. A proclamation by the Connecticut legislature was representative of the opinions of New Englanders: "[I]t must not be forgotten that the state of Connecticut is a FREE SOVEREIGN and INDEPENDENT State; that the United States are a confederated and not a consolidated Republic," and that it was refusing to support the war.

When the 1828 "Tariff of Abominations" created an average tariff rate of 45%, applying mostly to Northern manufactured goods, South Carolinians clearly understood that this was a pure act of political plunder at their expense. They convened a political convention to utilize the Jeffersonian idea of nullification and refused to collect the tariff. They even got the South Carolina legislature to allocate $160,000 for the purchase of firearms with which to fend off any would-be federal tax collectors. The result was that they forced the federal government to lower the tariff rate.

During the 1850s the "middle states" of New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey developed a very active secession movement that sought to either join a Southern confederacy, form a middle-states confederacy, or support Southern secession. (See The Secession Movement in the Middle States by William C. Wright). Their overriding desire was to separate themselves from the imperious New England Yankees.

When the Southern states seceded in 1860–61, Abraham Lincoln pledged his everlasting support for Southern slavery in his first inaugural address, an address in which he endorsed a constitutional amendment (the "Corwin Amendment") that would have forbidden the federal government from ever interfering with slavery. In the same speech he promised a military invasion and "bloodshed" in any Southern state that ceased paying his beloved tariff on imports which, at the time, accounted for more than 90% of federal tax revenue. The average tariff rate had just been doubled by the Republican-controlled Congress.

The Southern states, along with most people in the North, still held the Jeffersonian belief that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and when that consent is withdrawn the citizens have a duty to abolish the existing government and form a new one. Jefferson never wrote in the Declaration of Independence that the citizens have a duty to abolish the government and form a new one "as long as the other states all agree that you may do so." If the right of secession depends on someone else’s permission, then one does not have a right of secession. That was a fantasy invented by Lincoln, which he used to "justify" waging total war on his own country, murdering some 350,000 American citizens, including some 50,000 civilians. From that time on, government in America was no longer "for the people, by the people, of the people," as Chief Justice John Marshal once said in a phrase that was later plagiarized by Lincoln. From that time on the purpose of government has been for those who run it to plunder those who do not. Nullification and secession were no longer tools with which the citizens could control their own government.

The final nails in the coffin of government by consent were pounded in during the year 1913 with the advent of the federal income tax, the creation of the Fed, and the Seventeenth Amendment calling for the direct election of U.S. senators. The income tax and the Fed gave the federal government the ability to do whatever it wanted to do regardless of the Constitution – even to wage "undeclared" wars. These vast "riches" were used to make millions of Americans totally subservient to the state lest they lose their tiny government subsidies, and to bribe or threaten state governments to do whatever our masters in Washington, D.C. decree, lest they lose their cherished federal highway grants. The ability of the citizens to oppose the federal Leviathan by organizing political communities at the state and local levels was finally destroyed and the centralized, monopolistic bureaucracy that rules America and much of the rest of the world today was created.

The direct election of U.S. senators, as opposed to the original system of having them appointed by state legislature, ended popular control of the federal government. Today, candidates for the senate go to New York, California, China, or wherever the big money is that can be raised as "campaign contributions" to finance their political careers. The interests of such "contributors" are not necessarily congruent with those of the folks back home.

If American citizens are to resist the rush to Obammunism they must first give up on the fantasy that the Republican Party is anything but another cabal of crooks, conmen and clowns, just like the Democratic Party. The only realistic route to freedom, including a restoration of genuine free enterprise, is through the devolution of power away from Washington, D.C. via peaceful secession and nullification, the original American ideals.

Thomas Jefferson understood that democracy could never work in a country as large as the U.S., let alone one with more than 300 million people. In a January 29, 1804 letter to Dr. Joseph Priestly he wrote: "Whether we remain one confederacy, or form into Atlantic and Mississippi confederacies, I believe not very important to the happiness of either part. Those of the western confederacy will be as much our children & descendants as those of the eastern." On the topic of secession, Jefferson continued: "[D]id I now foresee a separation at some future day, yet I should feel the duty & the desire to promote the western interests as zealously as the eastern, doing all the good for both portions of our future family which should fall within my power." When the New England Federalists were threatening secession, Jefferson wrote to his friend John C. Breckinridge on August 12, 1803 that if New England seceded and created a second confederacy, "God bless them both if it be for their good, but separate them, if it is better."

Unlike Lincoln, Jefferson did not believe in threatening "bloodshed" in the case of a "separation" or secession. He understood that such behavior would be a moral abomination and an unimaginable act of barbarianism. A civilized society does not wage total war on "our children," as Jefferson described the future citizens of a new state formed by an act of secession. Yet it is Lincoln, not Jefferson, who is portrayed by American court historians as a kindly, benevolent, and charitable angel.

The Constitution long ago ceased placing any meaningful limits on governmental power. This social contract between the American people and their government was destroyed long ago by Hamiltonian nationalists. Americans now live under a series of dictators (called "presidents") who all believe that they are essentially dictators of the world, capable of ordering the bombing of any place on earth without anyone’s approval. (Within weeks, Obama dipped his hands in blood by ordering a few bombs to be dropped in Pakistan).

As of this writing, several dozen states have reportedly issued resolutions in support of the Jeffersonian principle of nullification. These will all be completely meaningless unless the American public has the fortitude to actually enforce the resolutions and begin ignoring any and all federal government actions that they interpret as unconstitutional and illegitimate. In addition, citizens of every state should learn about the Second Vermont Republic which, for several years now, has been laying the groundwork for Vermont to secede and once again become an free and independent republic, just as all the states thought of themselves as being prior to 1865.

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Boston College Campus Police: "Using Prompt Commands" May Be a Sign of Criminal Activity

by Matt Zimmerman

On Friday, EFF and the law firm of Fish and Richardson filed an emergency motion to quash [pdf] and for the return of seized property on behalf of a Boston College computer science student whose computers, cell phone, and other property were seized as part of an investigation into who sent an e-mail to a school mailing list identifying another student as gay. The problem? Not only is there no indication that any crime was committed, the investigating officer argued that the computer expertise of the student itself supported a finding of probable cause to seize the student's property.

The warrant application [pdf] cites the following allegedly suspicious behavior:

It's recommended that you visit the original article for this post at the Electronic Frontier Foundation so you can view the PDF links and image citations directly.

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The End of Private Health Insurance

When government 'competes,' guess who always wins?

Above every other health-care goal, Democrats this year want to institute a "public option" -- an insurance program financed by taxpayers, managed by government and open to everyone, much like Medicare. This new middle-class entitlement is the most important debate in Congress this year, because it really is the last stand for anything resembling private health insurance.

This public option will supposedly "compete" with private alternatives. As President Obama likes to put it, those who are happy with the insurance they have now can keep it -- and if they happen to prefer the government offering, well, gee whiz, that's the free market at work. The reality is far different. Not only will the new program become the default coverage for the uninsured, but Democrats intend to game the system to precipitate -- or if need be, coerce -- an exodus to government from private insurance. Soon enough, that will be the only "option" left.

A public program won't compete in a way that any normal business would recognize. As an entitlement, Congress's creation will enjoy potentially unlimited access to the Treasury, without incurring the risks or hedging against losses that private carriers do. As people gravitate to "free" or heavily subsidized care, the inevitably explosive costs will be covered in part with increased outlays to keep premiums artificially low or even offer extra benefits. Lacking such taxpayer cash, private insurance rates will escalate.

Much like Medicare, overall spending in the public option will be controlled over time by paying less for medical services, drugs and technology. With its monopsony purchasing power, below-market fees will be dictated on a take-it-or-leave-it basis -- an offer hospitals and physicians won't be able to refuse. Medicare's current reimbursement policies pay hospitals only 71% of private rates, and doctors 81%, according to the Lewin Group.

In a recent analysis, Lewin estimates that enrollment in the public option will reach 131 million people if it is open to everyone and pays Medicare rates. Fully 119 million people will shift out of -- or lose -- private coverage. Everything depends on the payment levels that Congress adopts, as well as the size of the eligible pool. But even if a public option available to all takes the highly improbable step of paying at some midpoint between private and Medicare rates, nearly 68 million people will still be crowded out of private insurance. The nearby table summarizes Lewin's eye-popping findings.

This public option would be the most radical change in the way American health care is financed -- and thus provided -- in at least 44 years, and maybe ever. About 170 million people currently have private insurance, which is already pressured by the price controls of Medicare and Medicaid. A significant share of government underpayments are simply transferred to the private sector, adding tens of billions of dollars every year to consumer health bills.

A 2006 study in the journal Health Affairs concludes that around 17 cents of every dollar in relative reductions in Medicare payments to private hospitals are shifted onto private patients -- and that such cost-shifting accounts for fully 12.3% of the total increase in private payer prices between 1997 and 2001.

This share would be far higher were government payment rates not limited to the elderly and the poor but imposed over the entire system. This will only hasten the flight to government. Meanwhile, employers small and large will have every incentive to dump their plans and transfer their workers to the public rolls. The result will inevitably be a cascade of failures or withdrawals from the market by commercial insurers, with the public option as the only option for the diaspora.

Congress will finish the job with regulatory changes. Under the aegis of a level playing field, all private plans will be forced to offer benefit packages similar to those in the public option. They will also be required to accept all comers, regardless of pre-existing conditions, and also be forced to offer similar rates to all enrollees, ending the ability to manage risk through underwriting. Any private plan will essentially become a public utility where government decides what products it must offer and how much it can charge.

Democrats couldn't be clearer on this point. House baron Pete Stark -- who thought HillaryCare was too moderate and has long favored Medicare for all -- said at a recent hearing that currently "We have no mechanism to directly push the private sector to do delivery system reform and address rising costs." But the public option, he added, would force private insurers to "modernize," which seems to be his term for industrial policy.

Under this model, the annual political warfare over Medicare payment policies would be imported to what is left of the private sector. Once government takes over the majority of U.S. health-care liabilities, it can either provide every service at huge and growing cost, or it can ration services. People who need an MRI or hip replacement or whatever will face waiting lines. Medical innovation will be at the mercy of the price controls hashed out in Washington.

Proponents of a public option point to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program to dismiss such criticism, but that program is offered only to a discrete population. Mr. Obama's proposal would be open to everyone and necessitate a huge permanent increase in government spending as a share of the economy. Medicare and Medicaid alone account for 4% of GDP today and will rise to 9% by 2035, according to the Congressional Budget Office. CBO estimates that individual and corporate income tax rates would have to rise by about 90% to finance the projected increase in spending through 2050 -- without the new middle-class entitlement.

Proponents will say we are exaggerating, but the consequences we describe are inevitable when government bulldozes into a market. Democrats want to sell their "public option" as a modest and affordable reform that won't affect anyone's private insurance. It isn't true. Republicans, especially those in the Senate who want to cut a deal on health care, should understand that a public option is the beginning of the end of private health insurance.

From the Wall Street Journal.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

HELP: Someone in Nevada is Being Evicted and Needs Your Help

Sounds like a scam, I know, but I've actually talked with this woman and a friend and I are working to help her out. She only needs $800 to get back on track to keep her house so her 3 children have a home.

If you can PayPal $1, $5, $50, whatever you can, that will help. Our goal is to get her the $800 to keep their home. Her and her husband are working, but she's recently off of Workman's Comp and her husband just finally got a job this week.

She needs your help. If you can help, use the PayPal below to help her out.

Thanks, all, and let's keep freedom alive! The person who's email this sends to is Jason, who's on Twitter as @i140. Talk to him directly (or myself) if you want more information. Jason has her full contact info as well.

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The DC Reality Tour

by Anders Mikkelsen

Libertarians everywhere have long been aware of the Ludwig von Mises Institute's famous Truth in Government tour of DC. It was offered some years ago by Jeffrey Tucker during a supporters summit. I've typed up my notes to make the tour an online experience.

We read about Washington DC in civics class, but nothing can compare with an actual visit to the Imperial City. Casual visitors to DC are often astounded by the opulence of wealthy quarters, the grandeur of the state's old monuments to itself and the brutalism of many newer ones, the poverty and crime of the bulk of the city.

The potholes and decay of DC are a favorite joke among foreign diplomats who often compare the city to hardship posts like Kinshasa or Cairo. Many thoughtful people ponder these stark contrasts within DC and between DC and their hometown. It is enough to make them wonder how much worse their city would be if DC were given any further responsibility for running their hometown.

Now, for the first time, we'll go behind the scenes and reveal to the general public some of the details of this magnificent and exclusive tour.

Below is the long thought lost itinerary of the "Truth in Government" DC Reality Tour.

Highlights Include …

The Lincoln Memorial

Erected during the Progressive Era, the idea here is to entrench the perception that the consolidated state is irreversible, not only in fact but also as a matter of faith.

Note that this is the "temple of democracy," but the man is featured with his hands on the fasces.

"Numerous governments and other authorities have used the image of the fasces as a symbol of power."

And note that it is a temple, meaning religion, meaning you had better not question the glory of this military dictator or else.

The Vietnam Memorial

"An amazing experience."

Visit the memorial listing the names of every single one of the 58,256 dead or missing Americans who volunteered or were forced to serve in Vietnam.

Not only is this powerful memorial visited by millions every year, it is also a critically acclaimed piece of architecture. It is a rare case of a monument that isn't designed to extol the glories of the state. Quite the opposite in fact.

Federal Trade Commission Statues

We also visit the statues in front of the Federal Trade Commission. Hear a private talk about the true story behind the remarkable statues of "Man Controlling Trade." The horse, you see, represents trade. And who trades? Well, we trade. That's what the whole of society does, every day. Trade means that people cooperate to their mutual benefit.

But look what happens. Some guy comes along and wrecks everything, stagnating progress and bullying us into not trading with each other. And this is supposed to be a great thing? From the government's point of view, yes. Note that this statue went up in 1942, when prices were fixed, rationing was in effect, and people were being drafted as fodder for the state's war.

Ronald Reagan Building

This is the biggest joke that DC has ever played on the country. You see, everyone thinks that Ronald Reagan cut the state's size. He is known as a champion of minimal government. But, of course, they know otherwise in the Beltway. He zoomed up the welfare and warfare state as never before, bringing boom times to the state, and it was especially impressive that he did it even while claiming to do otherwise — and being denounced for doing otherwise.

This is a town where up is down, right is left, and wrong is right, so why not? But in this building, we have truth telling. It is the most gargantuan monstrosity to ever visit the vast real estate of the Imperial City. It houses the staff of the president. Truth in architecture!

Random Congressional Subcommittee Meeting

We'll drag you to the nation's impressive and massive capitol, the seat of the government, and in to a random subcommittee meeting. See how inane the process of government truly is. Thankfully C-SPAN is available to provide a similar experience to the entire nation. However we find many tour members have never been able to watch C-SPAN for long enough to truly experience the DC reality.

Visitors have been known to experience severe bouts of boredom. Taking naps on the lawn is discouraged by Capitol Hill Police. For your convenience, complementary caffeine drinks will be provided before and after the visit.

HUD and The Department of Labor

We visit the massive buildings that — unlike Congress, the capitol, and official seat of the government — house the institutions that are running the country on a daily basis.

Palaces of the World Bank and IMF

We visit the several palaces of the World Bank and IMF. We discuss the details of the employees' very high and completely untaxed salaries.

Iwo Jima Memorial

We visit the statue at the Iwo Jima Memorial, which commemorates the USMC.

The inscription states,

In honor and memory of the men of the United States Marine Corps who have given their lives to their country since 10 November 1775

Some are under the illusion that this memorial praising the United States' offensive invasion force was a memorial for those defending the country. Fortunately the memorial brilliantly lists practically every country the US military has ever invaded, etched around the sides.

If you've ever doubted that the USA is an empire, there will be little doubt after this visit.

IRS Building

We show you the inscription emblazoned on the top of the Internal Revenue Service's monumental headquarters.

Taxes are the price we pay for civilization.

This never fails to get a huge laugh.

The IRS is in a low-lying area. Ironically, during a storm in 2006, a flood flowed down the street and into the five-to-six-foot moat surrounding the building. The water pressure collapsed the windows around the sub-basement. The sub-basement was flooded with 20 feet of water. It had to close its own headquarters, due to the 95% damage to the electrical and mechanical equipment.

The Receptions

What never fails to make the biggest impression are the receptions. The lavish receptions are elaborate, decadent, and — most important —free to anyone with an attitude. One need never pay for a meal, and free scotch and shrimp are promptly available at 3:30 to anyone who knows where to go. This just doesn't happen in the real world.

For these events, tour members are encouraged to wear a jacket or suit and to exude the air of entitlement of a mid-level bureaucrat, party apparatchik, lobbyist, media member, think tank resident, or congressional staffer.

Click here to see the original article with photographs and more

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For Official Use Only: Department of Homeland Security Document Predicts Violence in Response to New Gun Restrictions

by Kurt Nimmo

In the wake of the MIAC report and the Virginia Terrorism Threat Assessment, another document issued by the Department of Homeland Security “for official use only” covering so-called “rightwing extremism” has surfaced. The document warns federal and local officials to expect “terrorism” in response to planned firearm restrictions and other points covered below.

(Read it here - PDF)

Alex Jones called the numbers listed on the document and validated its authenticity. He contacted the “watch captain” at the Department of Homeland Security’s National Infrastructure Coordinating Center who confirmed the product number on the document as legitimate but would not comment further. A call to the FBI went unanswered.

The following points covered in the document are of particular concern:

Gun Sales

According to the DHS and FBI, local law enforcement’s primary concern should be the high volume of gun and ammunitions purchases over the last few months. The document equates Americans who stockpile ammunition to “rightwing terrorists.” Moreover, stockpiling (merely purchasing) ammunition is an indication of involvement in “paramilitary training exercises” and potential terrorist activity.

According to the Irish Times, the “stockpiling” of ammunition and increased firearm sales are due to the fear Obama will impose new gun laws and other restrictions. “Gun-shop owners and the National Rifle Association (NRA) say the surge is driven by worries that President Obama is planning to ban many types of firearms and that the deepening economic crisis will fuel a crime wave.”

If we are to believe the DHS and the FBI, these Americans, numbering in the millions, are violence prone terrorists and a threat to local law enforcement. In addition, as noted below, concerns about crime due to a worsening economy are paranoid fantasies exploited by terrorists

Job Losses and the Economy

The document states that job losses, home foreclosures, and the collapsing economy are “perceived” by rightwing terrorists and exploited by them to “draw in new recruits” and further radicalize “those already subscribing to extremist beliefs.” According to the document, the economic crisis is a perception without a foundation in reality, merely an exaggerated device used by terrorists.

In other words, if you complain about the faltering economy reported upon numerous times a day by the corporate media you are a rightwing extremist and a terrorist who may resort to violence and threaten local law enforcement, especially if you support the Second Amendment, own firearms, and “stockpile” (purchase) ammunition.

Illegal Immigration

Like the economic crisis, illegal immigration is at best a perception, not reality, and the rightwing terrorists have exploited this political issue as a racist “call to action” and recruitment tool. The DHS document claims the extremists have exploited the First Amendment on this issue in order to foment violence against illegal immigrants and those who support amnesty and other schemes to legalize illegal immigration. The DHS document cites several examples supposedly linked to anti-immigrant violence committed by “militia members” and mentions a “machinegun attack on Hispanics.”

Stated Purpose of the Document

Dated April 7, 2009, the “scope” of the document is as follows:

This product is one of a series of intelligence assessments published by the Extremism and Radicalization Branch to facilitate a greater understanding of the phenomenon of violent radicalization in the United States. The information is provided to federal, state, local, and tribal counterterrorism and law enforcement officials so they may effectively deter, prevent, preempt, or respond to terrorist attacks against the United States. Federal efforts to influence domestic public opinion must be conducted in an overt and transparent manner, clearly identifying United States Government sponsorship.

The DHS document — with the unwieldy title “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” — contains the following warning:

LAW ENFORCEMENT INFORMATION NOTICE: This product contains Law Enforcement Sensitive (LES) information. No portion of the LES information should be released to the media, the general public, or over non-secure Internet servers. Release of this information could adversely affect or jeopardize investigative activities.

Warning: This document is UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY (U//FOUO). It contains information that may be exempt from public release under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552). It is to be controlled, stored, handled, transmitted, distributed, and disposed of in accordance with DHS policy relating to FOUO information and is not to be released to the public, the media, or other personnel who do not have a valid need-to-know without prior approval of an authorized DHS official. State and local homeland security officials may share this document with authorized security personnel without further approval from DHS.

The DHS wanted the document to remain secret but it was leaked, probably by “authorized security personnel” in local law enforcement (as was the case with the MIAC document produced by the Missouri State Police). Information in the document was “provided to federal, state, local, and tribal counterterrorism and law enforcement officials so they may effectively deter, prevent, preempt, or respond to terrorist attacks against the United States.”

The DHS document — produced in coordination with the FBI — begins by stating it is “one of a series of intelligence assessments published by the Extremism and Radicalization Branch to facilitate a greater understanding of the phenomenon of violent radicalization in the United States” (it is interesting to note the phrase “violent radicalization” is the same one used in H.R. 1955, entitled the “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007″).

Key Findings

In “Key Findings,” the DHS document states that the Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no “no specific information that domestic rightwing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence, but rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues [specifically gun control]. The economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment.”

The above text points to a footnote on the page dividing “rightwing terrorists” into two categories — “adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely.”

It is significant the DHS (and FBI) categorize opposition to the government as terrorism. The FBI in particular has labeled various “rightwing” movements as extremist for more than a decade, so this is nothing new or revelatory.

The authors of the document drag out all of the old “rightwing” bugaboos, most notably the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. In addition, they mention the “[p]roposed imposition of firearms restrictions and weapons bans” resulting in recruiting new members and culminating in the “planning and training for violence against the government.”

In order to underscore this assertion, the authors note the “high volume of purchases and stockpiling of weapons and ammunition by rightwing extremists in anticipation of restrictions and bans in some parts of the country continue to be a primary concern to law enforcement.” In fact, as noted above, the “high volume of purchases,” as the media has reported, is a reaction on the part of Americans in general regardless of ideological persuasion. It is a common sense reaction to the documented fact president Obama is opposed to firearms ownership, even though he claims to support the Second Amendment.

The DHS I&A attributes the purported “resurgence in rightwing extremist recruitment and radicalization activity” to economic factors and the election of Barack Obama. “Despite similarities to the climate of the 1990s [a reference to the militia movement exaggerated by government and corporate media], the threat posed by lone wolves and small terrorist cells is more pronounced than in past years. In addition, the historical election of an African American president and the prospect of policy changes [i.e., gun registration leading to eventual confiscation] are proving to be a driving force for rightwing extremist recruitment and radicalization.”

The tone of the document indicates that the government plans to impose restrictions on the ownership of firearms. In addition, the document warns local law enforcement that “rightwing terrorists” will violently resist any attempt to register or confiscate guns.

Link to Pittsburgh Cop Killer

In order to stress the point, the authors cite as an example the murder of three police officers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania:

The alleged gunman’s reaction reportedly was influenced by his racist ideology and belief in antigovernment conspiracy theories related to gun confiscations, citizen detention camps, and a Jewish-controlled “one world government.”

Following this event, the liberal noise machine, funded in large part by the Soros and Ford foundations, expended an extraordinary amount of energy attempting to link the murders to Fox News and Alex Jones. Jones was singled out by the Anti-Defamation League (Shooter In Pittsburgh Cop Killings Held Strongly Anti-Semitic And Racist Beliefs, April 6, 2009) as having influenced the alleged killer, Richard Poplawski, who frequented the white supremacist website hosted by Stormfront. “According to ADL, Poplawski also frequented ‘Infowars,’ the Web site of the right-wing conspiracy radio talk-show host Alex Jones, where he shared links to its stories with others and sometimes posted his own messages to the site,” the ADL wrote in the above linked press release.

Similarity to SPLC and ADL Talking Points

According to the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, the MIAC documents were heavily influenced by “faulty and politicized research issued by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Anti Defamation League (ADL).”

The Southern Poverty Law Center was cited as a research source for the ‘Missouri Documents’. Furthermore, the attempt of these documents to cast suspicion of violent and life threatening behavior on millions of Americans who are concerned about these issues [unemployment, taxes, illegal immigration, gangs, border security, abortion, high costs of living, gun restrictions, FEMA, the IRS, The Federal Reserve, and the North American Union/SPP/North American Community] is consistent with the regularly released political materials of both the SPLC and ADL.

The DHS’ “Extremism and Radicalization Branch” participated in the “Global Summit on Internet Hate Speech” organized by the International Network Against Cyber-Hate and the Anti-Defamation League and held November 17-18, 2008, in Washington, DC. Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, was a key speaker at the event.

The DHS document claims today’s “rightwing terrorists” present more of a threat than those of the earlier period:

Unlike the earlier period, the advent of the Internet and other informationage technologies since the 1990s has given domestic extremists greater access to information related to bomb-making, weapons training, and tactics, as well as targeting of individuals, organizations, and facilities, potentially making extremist individuals and groups more dangerous and the consequences of their violence more severe. New technologies also permit domestic extremists to send and receive encrypted communications and to network with other extremists throughout the country and abroad, making it much more difficult for law enforcement to deter, prevent, or preempt a violent extremist attack.

The document makes it clear the DHS and FBI consider websites such as Infowars and Prison Planet to be vehicles for “potentially making extremist individuals and groups more dangerous and the consequences of their violence more severe.” (Note: Alex Jones has repeatedly warned his listeners against violence.)

Recall a House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on “Terrorism and the Internet” held in November, 2007, and broadcast on C-Span, that featured a panel of “experts,” including representatives formerly of the RAND Corporation and the Simon Wiesenthal Center who presented 9/11 truth websites sites alongside sites that celebrate the attacks and offer training in terrorist tactics. “The hearing was chaired by Democratic Rep. Jane Harman, and ranking Republican, Rep. Dave Reichert. It was supposed to focus on the use of the internet by ‘home grown terrorist recruiters’ yet in a shocking move it blatantly related the 9/11 truth movement with so called radical ‘jihadists,’” Paul Joseph and Steve Watson wrote at the time.

Alleged “falsehoods” and “conspiracy theories,” according to RAND corporation director Bruce Hoffman, “have now become so ubiquitous and so pervasive that they are believed, so you have almost a parallel truth, and it has become a very effective tool for recruiting people.”

Rep. Jane Harman sponsored the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007.

As Alex Jones has noted numerous times on his radio show, the FBI and military intelligence have taken a keen interest in the comment sections on Infowars and Prison Planet. In the last week and a half the liberal noise machine and to a lesser degree the corporate media have kicked into overdrive in an attempt to link Jones and his websites to a deluded and violent individual. It should not be considered a coincidence the DHS document considers the murders in Pittsburgh an indication of emerging “rightwing terrorist” violence, specifically in response to “proposed” gun laws now in the works, as the document indicates.


The document is designed primarily to radicalize local law enforcement and convince individual police officers that citizens opposed to violations of the Second Amendment, draconian gun legislation (including registration and ammunition tracking schemes) and illegal immigration are terrorists capable of committing acts of violence against them. It is a cynical effort to increase the tension between police and the community at large, especially members of the community that exercise the Second Amendment and oppose open border policies.

In addition, the document equates opposition to the policies of Barack Obama to racism. Opposition to "a range of issues, including immigration and citizenship, the expansion of social programs to minorities, and restrictions on firearms ownership and use" is characterized as exploiting "racial and political prejudices."

Obviously, the document is part of a larger campaign by the government to circumvent legitimate political activism and characterize such activity as the behavior of a violent minority of terrorists. It is noteworthy that several issues of concern to our rulers — namely firearm possession and the effort to flood the country with lower paid workers and thus undermine the middle class — are highlighted in this until now secret and restricted document.

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Are You Kidding Me?

by Don Cooper

I watched closely all the tea parties all over the country Wednesday. What a showing of national pride and solidarity. What a showing of subservient compliance and casual indifference. What a joke.

In Lafayette Park, Washington D.C., of all places to protest, the plan was to dump one million tea bags in the park, but the brave dissidents never did it because they forgot to get the proper permits. Are you kidding me? What is civil disobedience without civil disobedience? They even went so far as to say that they were willing to put down plastic tarps and clean up after themselves.

That’s like saying we don’t agree with your oppressive, unconstitutional despotism of our nation and to show our ire in no uncertain terms we’re going to break public law and disrupt the peace so take that, nah- nah-ne-boo-boo. But don’t worry because we’ll put everything back when we’re done as if nothing happened cuz we don’t want any trouble!

Videos on the Internet of Lafayette Park show people standing around in their trendy turtlenecks and Tommy Hilfiger and North Face jackets, chatting, socializing, drinking coffee and talking on their cell phones. Some dressed in colonial garb (how cute) and waving flags. Others even break into a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner followed by a chant of "USA, USA, USA." What a terrific show of meaningless symbolism.

Who are they chanting to? The buildings in front of them? The birds in the trees? Themselves? What was this supposed to do, because it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to surmise that it did NOTHING! All the politicians were inside, smugly and comfortably seated in their expensive leather chairs that we paid for. They were discussing their next round of special interest pandering and deficit spending at our expense while we mingled as if at a, well, tea party. But not the sort of 1773 but rather more like the sort at 4 p.m. in England that is served with crumpets.

The politicians could have cared less about the goings on outside and NO ONE took it to them. Shame on us. No one made sure they took notice. No one was put out one bit. No economic loss to the government whatsoever, as was the purpose of the original tea party, so why should they notice?

Is this like giving to a charity? You write a check to feed a starving child for 10 cents a day in some far off, nameless, faceless country and you feel better about yourself?

I attended a "tea party" in the Midwest on Wednesday and there were only about 200 people there. And it was literally a tea party: people came with their coffee mugs and sandwiches, holding signs and standing around and chatting and socializing and then everyone went home. No passion. No signs of real frustration or discontent. No real commitment to changing anything. You know why? Because nobody wants to fire the first shot! Everybody wants change, but only if they don’t have to pay for it. Only if their comfortable lives don’t have to be disrupted for their freedom. What a bunch of crap.

Then I see all these political pundits ( idiots ) on CNN talking about how the tea party movement is nothing more than a partisan, Republican, conservative movement against the Obama administration and how the majority of Americans agree with the taxing and borrowing and spending. Some numb-nuts CNN political (anal)yst named Jeff Toobin says that the Texas state legislative resolution to reaffirm their state’s sovereignty is a fantasy. Are you kidding me? State’s sovereignty is a fantasy? Well I guess that says it all. Come on everyone, down the rabbit hole.

[Background music] One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small…

Welcome to the other side of the looking glass everybody. My name’s Alice and I’ll be your host for the mad tea party today. Let me introduce some other guests: the Hatter, March Hare, Dormouse, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, Ted Kennedy, John McCain, Rod Blagojevich, Al Sharpton, Hillary Clinton all the AIG executives and many, many more. Don’t worry you’ll have time to get to know them all since you can’t leave no matter what you do so might as well just get used to it. Resistance is futile.

No doubt the majority of Americans didn’t want to go to war against the British in 1776. But would anyone say now that it was the wrong thing to do? No doubt the majority of Americans didn’t want a civil war. Both those wars were, at their core, about state’s rights. About oppressive governments trying to overreach their authority and impose unlawful mandates on the states. It was about their freedom to do what they wish with their lives.

I think we have met the enemy and it is us. We’re a bunch of fast food nourished, MTV anesthetized, shopping mall, plug-in-drug (aka television) addicts who will do anything to preserve that way of life at least until we die. After that who cares?

We’re a clinically obese, socially disconnected, politically inept and intellectually bankrupt nation of douche bags who deserve everything they get.

The movement has no leader. When I listen to anyone other than Ron Paul, Peter Schiff or Lew Rockwell speak about the issues we discuss on LRC I might as well be listening to any other political party spokesperson. They sound just the same. They dress just the same. They say the same old tired things. Ron Paul has even mentioned at times that the Libertarian party has become just another political party interested more in their political posturing rather than liberty. They have all the same sorts of infighting and power struggles that are symptomatic of the fact that they have lost their way.

Rallying the troops to vote more like-minded individuals into office won’t work. That’s an old, failing strategy. When will someone step forward with the courage, character, wisdom and intelligence to lead our nation into the 21st century the way our forefathers led it into the 19th century?

Will it be Texas governor Rick Perry? Perry is using rhetoric about seceding from the union. That is EXACTLY the kind of thing we need. I believe, given the other states with similar resolutions in their legislatures, that it would begin a domino effect. It would give people a chance to actually have a clear reason to fight: their state’s rights of sovereignty and they would know that they have the state’s resources behind them. Unfortunately, even though it’s clear what a boost Texas seceding would be in uniting us, I have no doubt that Perry is not up to the task and is using the issue as nothing more than a rallying point for reelection.

Where have all the heroes gone? Where are all the pioneers? Where are the visionaries? Where are the true statesmen? Where are the defenders of freedom? What has happened to the American Spirit of life and liberty? I guess they’re all at the mall or Starbucks and are too fat to get up out of their chair and fight. Or they’re looking forward to retirement and the "good life" after spending their life being a good soldier and playing by the rules and saving for the "golden years" while their real golden years of youth were passing them by. Certainly they can’t be asked to risk all that for something as silly as their children’s futures. How selfish of me.

Or maybe we don’t want to risk our children’s well-being now, so we defer it until they’re adults and let them deal with the fact that they can’t afford college or health care or a home without going into enormous debt and we never teach them the importance of things like: character, honor, integrity, truth and freedom but rather teach them how to live in fear and how important it is to get a "good job" and play by the rules and to go along to get along and that will be safe.

We’re pathetic.

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The Clandestine War Over the Food Safety Modernization Act

Is the day coming when even your home garden will be against the law?
by Brian Doherty

Critics say that the proposed Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 (H.R. 875), introduced in early February by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), will “effectively criminalize organic gardening,” conceivably outlaw “seed banking,” and will serve as part of a concerted Monsanto conspiracy to drive all but corporate agri-business out of the food production racket.

According to the office of Rep. DeLauro, the bill was inspired by a recent wave of contaminated food recalls and is supported by both consumer groups and big food production companies whose livelihoods depend on public trust in the food supply. (Which means that they have every incentive to police themselves, and in the enormous staggering majority of the time they manage to do business without killing or harming their customers.)

The chatter and controversy over the bill has become a pretty big to-do on the Internet, with 344 Technorati hits for an obscure piece of legislation whose major newspaper hits in the Nexis database are fewer than 15—with none from the major national papers. As DeLauro griped to the Huffington Post, the Internet-generated backlash “was substantial and it wasn't just my office...All of my colleagues—I have colleagues who come up to me on both sides of the aisle and they say to me, 'Rosa, what's this about 875?'"

But it’s all bullshit fearmongering, she insisted to HuffPo: "The intent of the bill is to focus on the large, industrial processes such as the peanut processing plant in Georgia that was responsible for the salmonella outbreak that killed nine people...This notion that we're destroying backyard farms is absurd. It's ludicrous."

Most of the anti-875 material floating around annoyingly lacks any reference to specific sections or language of the bill, which won't help curious readers figure out if the alarmists are correct or if the wave of people trying to assure us it’s a perfectly innocuous consumer protection bill are missing—or hiding—something.

It's worth noting that the anti-875ers are saying obviously untrue things in their attempt to raise an alarm. One such falsehood is the notion that the bill (still languishing in committee, with no particular sign that it’s actually going to get anywhere this year) is about to pass with no debate. However, 875's supporters are mostly just asserting that since the bill’s explicit language doesn’t empower the Food Safety Administration (FSA) to undertake specific tasks or impose specific prohibitions, then it’s rank and absurd fearmongering to suggest otherwise.

But that presumption ignores a long history showing what happens when Congress creates regulatory agencies and delegates broad mandates to them. In this case, the FSA’s mandate would encompass both the responsibility and enforcement power to keep our food supply safe by enforcing rigorous scientific standards on every food production facility, which “means any farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal-feeding operation.” (Sec. 3, 14.) Restaurants and other entities directly serving prepared food to consumers are explicitly not covered. (Sec. 3, 13(b).

Yet as history shows, many strong actions taken by regulatory agencies were never explicitly laid out in the legislation that created them, including the Clean Water Act’s current expansive definition—backed up by court decisions—of “navigable waters;” the Food and Drug Administration’s regulation of cigarettes as “nicotine delivery devices;” and the Endangered Species Act’s reinvention as a widespread, niggling, and extensive land-use regulation.

As Walter Olson recently pointed out, supporters of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act claimed that it was not intended to regulate certain small businesses, yet, lo and behold, that's exactly what the act has done. As detailed in a forthcoming Reason magazine feature by Katherine Mangu-Ward, that law is hobbling small makers of unique toys and sellers of old children’s books in ways entrepreneurs were assured they didn’t have to worry about.

And while it’s obviously an issue of temperament and judgment to believe that it’s dangerous to empower a federal agency to do anything it wants in order to ensure food safety, it’s by no means clear that just because DeLauro says that H.R. 875 is only meant to apply to those engaging in “interstate commerce” that small farmers and organic gardeners will actually fall outside its reach. Remember that the Supreme Court in Wickard v. Filburn (1942) defined growing food on your own land for your own consumption to be regulatable interstate commerce. Similarly, in Section 406, H.R. 875 declares: "In any action to enforce the requirements of the food safety law, the connection with interstate commerce required for jurisdiction shall be presumed to exist.” Rep. DeLauro's office says they are working on language to make the small garden exception more explicit.
While few of the anti-875ers quote chapter and verse, I imagine that what’s scaring them the most—feeling as embattled as some in the organic community do by the specter of agri-business—is this sort of talk from Section 203 (b): “The Administrator shall, upon the basis of best available public health, scientific, and technological data, promulgate regulations to ensure that food establishments carry out their responsibilities under the food safety law….the Administrator shall promulgate regulations that require all food establishments…—(1) to adopt preventive process controls that—(A) reflect the standards and procedures recognized by relevant authoritative bodies; (B) are adequate to protect the public health; ( C) meet relevant regulatory and food safety standards;( D) limit the presence and growth of contaminants in food prepared in a food establishment using the best reasonably available techniques and technologies.”

What if the regulatory bodies—which will be filled, to be sure, with agribiz reps—decide that organic techniques are not the “best reasonably available techniques” that are “adequate to protect the public health” because they don't use certain pest control techniques?

Or how about Section 206 (c) (3), which says that regulations will “include, with respect to growing, harvesting, sorting, and storage operations, minimum standards related to fertilizer use, nutrients, hygiene, packaging, temperature controls, animal encroachment, and water.” It is not inconceivable that the government’s bodies of experts may decide that certain organic practices don’t meet the “minimum standards” they decide are appropriate in things like fertilizer and animal encroachment.

In other words, the feuding 875 community is divided about trusting the future well-meaning of government regulators. Indeed, it's far from clear to anyone with a lick of sense just what an actual FSA would do, which is at least something that both sides seem to believe (though both also believe they are the only side with that lick of sense).

One of the interesting meta-aspects of this story is that it has played out almost entirely in the weirder interstices of the Net, the places where Codex Alimentarius is considered the linchpin of international tyranny. The Huffington Post is the closest thing to a prestige venue that’s given it much play—and yet as Rep. DeLauro complained to them, the Internet debate has had a real effect.

There is more material—some ridiculous, some sensible, some questionable—on the Internet about this one bill than any citizen could possibly care about. While the level of factual and analytical rigor of the material varies widely, all of it is available and searchable.

To put it another way, the H.R. 875 debate is a lively representation of what “journalism” in a post-newspaper age can do for “democracy.” Which is something far more important and detailed than just one writer with a million other things on his plate making a few calls and making a decision for you. (Meta-ironies noted.)

Certainly, it’s more convenient for a reader to think he’s read one 900-word piece in a respected source and therefore understands some public policy topic. The debate over H.R. 875 may well be an example of the rising dominant model of political reporting: contentious fighting among often careless, agenda-driven forces producing all of the information that the truly interested would need to know what they need to know.

It may well effect the superegos of some Sunday New York Times readers to realize that what they really wanted from the news was little more than what they were supposed to know or think about certain topics in the circles they move in—that they really don’t give enough a fuck about abstruse areas of public policy that don’t directly effect their daily lives to go through the trouble to get to the bottom of things.

When journalism no longer makes it easy for such people to feel on top of current events—when the thing journalism in a Web world actually makes easy is gaining access to a dizzying variety of information and opinion, not access to presumed-trustworthy predigested conclusions—it won't necessarily be a bad thing. As for H.R. 875, the actual legislation—God forbid you or your elected representatives ever resort to this—is just a fingertip away if you ever want to read it for yourself and reach own conclusions.

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