The Militant Libertarian

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

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Your Religion Stinks!

by Larken Rose

Lots of people seem to think that it's good--or at least possible--to keep religion and politics separate. Trouble is, they're both mostly about how other people should be treated, and they almost always conflict. Maybe people try to keep them separate just so they don't have to come face to face with their own internal contradictions and hypocrisy.

Lots of people consider themselves righteous, moral, devout folks, and take pride in how religious they are. I have one simple question for such people: "Do you advocate my enslavement?" They always say no (which is rarely true), and then they usually wonder why I would ask such a thing.

The reason I ask is because their faith and loyalty to "government" usually completely dwarfs, and renders useless, their belief in what they call their religion. If they piously live by the rule of "thou shalt not steal"--except when they're advocating that the state forcibly confiscate wealth from almost everyone they know (via "taxation")--what good is their "religion"? The fact that they don't commit the robbery themselves, but instead beg to "authority" to do it for them, doesn't make them noble; it makes them thieves and cowards (instead of just thieves).

Let me make this perfectly blunt. (If this doesn't offend most people who read it, they weren't reading carefully enough.) If you advocate that "government" treat your neighbors in a way that you wouldn't treat them yourself, you are what's wrong with the world. If you are a Republican or a Democrat (or anything in between), your "religion" is worthless, empty window-dressing. You advocate theft, assault, harassment, terrorism and murder. Of course, when you support such things, you use euphemisms to describe them, such as "taxation," "regulation," "law" and "war."

Even I have to cringe when I say such things, because the statement applies to most of the people I know, even most of the people I like. But friends don't let friends advocate evil. When statist friends and family express horror at what the federal extortion machine did to me and my wife, I don't usually have the heart to say what I should: "Who do you think put that monster there?" Every Republican and Democrat supports a system of massive, forced extortion, which wears the label of "taxation." They may differ on how much it should steal, and how the stolen loot should be spent, but they all believe that "taxation" can be legitimate. And "taxes" are not a request; they are a threat of violence. Therefore, all statists--even the ones I like personally--advocate widespread forcible robbery of hundreds of millions of people.

My wife and I were wrongfully imprisoned and economically almost wiped out by the system that all statists advocate. So when statist friends express sympathy for what Tessa and I went through, I have to bite my tongue not to say, "Why? It was your belief system that put us there."

(There is one possible philosophical "loophole" in our particular case. We didn't actually break the "law," because by the extortionists' own rules, we didn't "legally" owe the "tax" that we didn't pay. So I suppose a statist could say, "Well, if you had actually owed it, then I would have been glad that you were locked up for not complying, but you didn't actually owe it, so I feel bad that you were imprisoned." In other words, they sympathize with us based on a "technicality," not based on a principle.)

Interestingly, I don't think it would ever occur to any of our statist friends that they should feel the slightest shred of responsibility for what was done to us. Ironically, the Republican voters we know seem happy to blame the "pro-tax" leftists for what happened, even though my wife and I were both robbed and wrongfully imprisoned by a "judge" appointed by George Bush and a prosecutor appointed by Bush, with the help of an IRS Commissioner, a Secretary of the Treasury, an Attorney General, and the local U.S. Attorney, all appointed by Bush. Lots of our friends voted for the very monster that stomped on us, and yet they see no connection whatsoever between their actions and what happened to us.

When I see churches trying to get more followers, or otherwise spreading their message, I think, "What's the point? You still advocate that I (and everyone else) be robbed and controlled, so why should I give a damn [pun intended] about what you call your religion?" To put it as bluntly as I can, if what you call your "religion" doesn't stop you from advocating the theft, assault, harassment, terrorism and/or murder of millions of innocent people, then your religion stinks.

Hat tip to Freedom Shenanigans & High Jinks
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Will real health reform ever happen in America?

by Mike Adams,

When it comes to affordable, effective health care reform in America, there's only one question that really needs to be asked right now: What works?

In other words, what works to keep people healthy? What's affordable, safe and supports the long-term health of the population? What's available right now that can help people get healthy and remain healthy?

Those answers aren't difficult. They're found, in fact, in the fresh produce section of every grocery store in America, and even more answers are found in the dietary supplement sections of health food stores. In America today, we don't have a lack of good answers to the current health care crisis; what we have is too many people asking the wrong questions!

Instead of asking, "What works?" we have health care reform lobbyists and pharmaceutical pushers putting their efforts into a completely different question: "What's profitable?"

The entire health care reform conversation taking place today is based around that question: What's profitable? How can we make the most money by requiring the most people to participate in our profit-making system? That's the real reason behind mandatory health insurance requirements, by the way.

But what if we threw out everything we think we know about health care right now and started from scratch? Toss out the current complex system of failed treatments, failed insurance plans and the monopolistic practices that dominate western today. What if we started with a blank slate?

If we started over, wouldn't the first and most important question simply be "What works?"

A universe of possibilities to consider

Answering that question necessarily involves considering all the possibilities of what works. We've got to look at what works in the known universe, not just what works in one system of medicine. Proponents of western medicine, as you well know, want to limit the entire discussion of health care reform to their own narrowly-defined systems of chemical intervention, ineffective disease screening, medically unjustified surgeries and deadly chemotherapy treatments. But that's not an honest answer to the "what works" question... it's only a predetermined, narrow interpretation of the question that ultimately lends little value toward finding real health care solutions.

In answering the "what works?" question, we've got to consider healing foods, nutritional supplements, exercise, stress reduction, vibrational medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, spiritual medicine, healing through intention, body work, chiropractic care, mind-body medicine, the healing arts and much more. Not surprisingly, once you open up the possibility of answers to include the entire universe of possibilities, you quickly begin to discover safe, affordable and highly effective healing modalities that can help people prevent and eliminate disease while enhancing lifelong health and happiness.

For example, simple dietary changes alone can eliminate 70% of cancers all by themselves. Combined with superfood nutrition (which is ridiculously affordable compared to urgent medical care), sunshine, exercise and stress reduction, we can prevent 90% of all cancers using what we know right now -- without a single visit to a hospital or a clinic. (And without a single additional dollar being spent to "find a cure.")

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Criminalizing everyone

by Brian W. Walsh
Needed: A 'clean line' to determine lawfulness

"You don't need to know. You can't know." That's what Kathy Norris, a 60-year-old grandmother of eight, was told when she tried to ask court officials why, the day before, federal agents had subjected her home to a furious search.

The agents who spent half a day ransacking Mrs. Norris' longtime home in Spring, Texas, answered no questions while they emptied file cabinets, pulled books off shelves, rifled through drawers and closets, and threw the contents on the floor.

The six agents, wearing SWAT gear and carrying weapons, were with - get this- the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Kathy and George Norris lived under the specter of a covert government investigation for almost six months before the government unsealed a secret indictment and revealed why the Fish and Wildlife Service had treated their family home as if it were a training base for suspected terrorists. Orchids.

That's right. Orchids.

By March 2004, federal prosecutors were well on their way to turning 66-year-old retiree George Norris into an inmate in a federal penitentiary - based on his home-based business of cultivating, importing and selling orchids.

Mrs. Norris testified before the House Judiciary subcommittee on crime this summer. The hearing's topic: the rapid and dangerous expansion of federal criminal law, an expansion that is often unprincipled and highly partisan.

Chairman Robert C. Scott, Virginia Democrat, and ranking member Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican, conducted a truly bipartisan hearing (a D.C. rarity this year).

These two leaders have begun giving voice to the increasing number of experts who worry about "overcriminalization." Astronomical numbers of federal criminal laws lack specifics, can apply to almost anyone and fail to protect innocents by requiring substantial proof that an accused person acted with actual criminal intent.

Mr. Norris ended up spending almost two years in prison because he didn't have the proper paperwork for some of the many orchids he imported. The orchids were all legal - but Mr. Norris and the overseas shippers who had packaged the flowers had failed to properly navigate the many, often irrational, paperwork requirements the U.S. imposed when it implemented an arcane international treaty's new restrictions on trade in flowers and other flora.

The judge who sentenced Mr. Norris had some advice for him and his wife: "Life sometimes presents us with lemons." Their job was, yes, to "turn lemons into lemonade."

The judge apparently failed to appreciate how difficult it is to run a successful lemonade stand when you're an elderly diabetic with coronary complications, arthritis and Parkinson's disease serving time in a federal penitentiary. If only Mr. Norris had been a Libyan terrorist, maybe some European official at least would have weighed in on his behalf to secure a health-based mercy release.

Krister Evertson, another victim of overcriminalization, told Congress, "What I have experienced in these past years is something that should scare you and all Americans." He's right. Evertson, a small-time entrepreneur and inventor, faced two separate federal prosecutions stemming from his work trying to develop clean-energy fuel cells.

The feds prosecuted Mr. Evertson the first time for failing to put a federally mandated sticker on an otherwise lawful UPS package in which he shipped some of his supplies. A jury acquitted him, so the feds brought new charges. This time they claimed he technically had "abandoned" his fuel-cell materials - something he had no intention of doing - while defending himself against the first charges. Mr. Evertson, too, spent almost two years in federal prison.

As George Washington University law professor Stephen Saltzburg testified at the House hearing, cases like these "illustrate about as well as you can illustrate the overreach of federal criminal law." The Cato Institute's Timothy Lynch, an expert on overcriminalization, called for "a clean line between lawful conduct and unlawful conduct." A person should not be deemed a criminal unless that person "crossed over that line knowing what he or she was doing." Seems like common sense, but apparently it isn't to some federal officials.

Former U.S. Attorney General Richard Thornburgh's testimony captured the essence of the problems that worry so many criminal-law experts. "Those of us concerned about this subject," he testified, "share a common goal - to have criminal statutes that punish actual criminal acts and [that] do not seek to criminalize conduct that is better dealt with by the seeking of regulatory and civil remedies." Only when the conduct is sufficiently wrongful and severe, Mr. Thornburgh said, does it warrant the "stigma, public condemnation and potential deprivation of liberty that go along with [the criminal] sanction."

The Norrises' nightmare began with the search in October 2003. It didn't end until Mr. Norris was released from federal supervision in December 2008. His wife testified, however, that even after he came home, the man she had married was still gone. He was by then 71 years old. Unsurprisingly, serving two years as a federal convict - in addition to the years it took to defend unsuccessfully against the charges - had taken a severe toll on him mentally, emotionally and physically.

These are repressive consequences for an elderly man who made mistakes in a small business. The feds should be ashamed, and Mr. Evertson is right that everyone else should be scared. Far too many federal laws are far too broad.

Mr. Scott and Mr. Gohmert have set the stage for more hearings on why this places far too many Americans at risk of unjust punishment. Members of both parties in Congress should follow their lead.

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The Only Legitimate Reasons For War

by Michael Gaddy

It is well that war is so terrible. We should grow too fond of it.

~ Robert E. Lee

Throughout history, those who have the tendency to "grow too fond of war," in most cases have never fought in one. Soldiers who have "seen the elephant" are impacted by the horror of it for life. Many who are unable to cope with the recurring thoughts and visions resort to escape mechanisms – alcohol, drugs, and in extreme cases, suicide. One soldier that I knew, a Vietnam Vet, literally ate himself to death. I visited him in the hospital shortly before his death. He was forced to sleep sitting up because when he reclined the fat compressed against his lungs and made breathing impossible. He had been forced to endure a court-martial during Vietnam for shooting a turncoat "Chu Hoi" for leading his unit into an ambush where several soldiers of his Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG) unit were killed.

A close friend tells the story of asking his dad, a WWI Vet, what the term "over the top" meant when he was just a young boy. He relates that his father got up from the table, went onto the porch and retched. His mother told him to "never mention that again!" There is great meaning to be found in the term: "no one loves peace like a soldier."

Just War

What in heaven’s name could be just about killing people you don’t even know because some lying politician needs to improve the bottom line of his corporate cronies and campaign contributors. Wars should be initiated for defense of country and liberty only. There is no one alive in this country to read these words that fought in a war that was not in some way predicated by political lies and deceptions. There is no one who fought in any of this country’s wars in the last sixty years that fought in a constitutional war. You know, the Constitution soldiers swear to uphold and defend. Could the domestic enemy we swore to defend our country and Constitution from be our politicians who ignore the Constitution and lead us into illegal wars? Who is a greater threat to our liberty, out of control politicians or terrorists created by these same politicians and their insane foreign policy that makes billionaires of their cronies? Who passed and confirmed the Patriot Act? Does Usama bin Laden care what library books you read, who you talk to on the phone or whether or not you own a gun or how many rounds that gun’s magazine holds?

What does it take to get an American to die for lies: words from a politician with no integrity, a few colored ribbons, a quest for glory, or a John Philip Sousa March? Even former Commandant of the Marine Corps, Major General Smedley D. Butler, said that in his 33-year military career he never had an original thought!

There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

~ Major General Smedley Butler

In my humble opinion, the last Just war that was fought in this country ended at Appomattox, Virginia in 1865.

"We should meet the federal invader on the outer verge of just and right defense and raise at once the black flag. No quarter to the violators of our homes and firesides."

~ Thomas Jonathan (Stonewall) Jackson, May 1861

Smedley Butler, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee were correct: war should be so terrible that it would never be considered except as a retaliation for invasion or an attack on liberty. Were an invasion of homes and firesides or an attack on liberty to occur, there should be no quarter given to those invaders and usurpers–death and total annihilation to those who would violate the sanctity of home or an attack on our liberties.

The terrible truth is: the invader that Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee had to war with from 1861–1865, is the same invader the people in Iraq and Afghanistan are warring with today and the same invader the American Indian fought to protect their homes and property from during and after the War Between the States. The attacks on our liberties are not coming from al Qaeda or terrorists – they are coming from our elected leaders and their money grabbing, freedom destroying, death machine.

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Top Things you Think You Know about Iran that are not True

by Juan Cole, President of the Global Americana Institute

Thursday is a fateful day for the world, as the US, other members of the United Nations Security Council, and Germany meet in Geneva with Iran in a bid to resolve outstanding issues. Although Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had earlier attempted to put the nuclear issue off the bargaining table, this rhetorical flourish was a mere opening gambit and nuclear issues will certainly dominate the talks. As Henry Kissinger pointed out, these talks are just beginning and there are highly unlikely to be any breakthroughs for a very long time. Diplomacy is a marathon, not a sprint.

But on this occasion, I thought I'd take the opportunity to list some things that people tend to think they know about Iran, but for which the evidence is shaky.

Belief: Iran is aggressive and has threatened to attack Israel, its neighbors or the US

Reality: Iran has not launched an aggressive war in modern history (unlike the US or Israel), and its leaders have a doctrine of "no first strike." This is true of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, as well as of Revolutionary Guards commanders.

Belief: Iran is a militarized society bristling with dangerous weapons and a growing threat to world peace.

Reality: Iran's military budget is a little over $6 billion annually. Sweden, Singapore and Greece all have larger military budgets. Moreover, Iran is a country of 70 million, so that its per capita spending on defense is tiny compared to these others, since they are much smaller countries with regard to population. Iran spends less per capita on its military than any other country in the Persian Gulf region with the exception of the United Arab Emirates.

Belief: Iran has threatened to attack Israel militarily and to "wipe it off the map."

Reality: No Iranian leader in the executive has threatened an aggressive act of war on Israel, since this would contradict the doctrine of 'no first strike' to which the country has adhered. The Iranian president has explicitly said that Iran is not a threat to any country, including Israel.

Belief: But didn't President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threaten to 'wipe Israel off the map?'

Reality: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did quote Ayatollah Khomeini to the effect that "this Occupation regime over Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time" (in rezhim-e eshghalgar-i Qods bayad as safheh-e ruzgar mahv shavad). This was not a pledge to roll tanks and invade or to launch missiles, however. It is the expression of a hope that the regime will collapse, just as the Soviet Union did. It is not a threat to kill anyone at all.

Belief: But aren't Iranians Holocaust deniers?

Actuality: Some are, some aren't. Former president Mohammad Khatami has castigated Ahmadinejad for questioning the full extent of the Holocaust, which he called "the crime of Nazism." Many educated Iranians in the regime are perfectly aware of the horrors of the Holocaust. In any case, despite what propagandists imply, neither Holocaust denial (as wicked as that is) nor calling Israel names is the same thing as pledging to attack it militarily.

Belief: Iran is like North Korea in having an active nuclear weapons program, and is the same sort of threat to the world.

Actuality: Iran has a nuclear enrichment site at Natanz near Isfahan where it says it is trying to produce fuel for future civilian nuclear reactors to generate electricity. All Iranian leaders deny that this site is for weapons production, and the International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly inspected it and found no weapons program. Iran is not being completely transparent, generating some doubts, but all the evidence the IAEA and the CIA can gather points to there not being a weapons program. The 2007 National Intelligence Estimate by 16 US intelligence agencies, including the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, assessed with fair confidence that Iran has no nuclear weapons research program. This assessment was based on debriefings of defecting nuclear scientists, as well as on the documents they brought out, in addition to US signals intelligence from Iran. While Germany, Israel and recently the UK intelligence is more suspicious of Iranian intentions, all of them were badly wrong about Iraq's alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction and Germany in particular was taken in by Curveball, a drunk Iraqi braggart.

Belief: The West recently discovered a secret Iranian nuclear weapons plant in a mountain near Qom.

Actuality: Iran announced Monday a week ago to the International Atomic Energy Agency that it had begun work on a second, civilian nuclear enrichment facility near Qom. There are no nuclear materials at the site and it has not gone hot, so technically Iran is not in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, though it did break its word to the IAEA that it would immediately inform the UN of any work on a new facility. Iran has pledged to allow the site to be inspected regularly by the IAEA, and if it honors the pledge, as it largely has at the Natanz plant, then Iran cannot produce nuclear weapons at the site, since that would be detected by the inspectors. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted on Sunday that Iran could not produce nuclear weapons at Natanz precisely because it is being inspected. Yet American hawks have repeatedly demanded a strike on Natanz.

Belief: The world should sanction Iran not only because of its nuclear enrichment research program but also because the current regime stole June's presidential election and brutally repressed the subsequent demonstrations.

Actuality: Iran's reform movement is dead set against increased sanctions on Iran, which likely would not affect the regime, and would harm ordinary Iranians.

Belief: Isn't the Iranian regime irrational and crazed, so that a doctrine of mutally assured destruction just would not work with them?

Actuality: Iranian politicians are rational actors. If they were madmen, why haven't they invaded any of their neighbors? Saddam Hussein of Iraq invaded both Iran and Kuwait. Israel invaded its neighbors more than once. In contrast, Iran has not started any wars. Demonizing people by calling them unbalanced is an old propaganda trick. The US elite was once unalterably opposed to China having nuclear science because they believed the Chinese are intrinsically irrational. This kind of talk is a form of racism.

Belief: The international community would not have put sanctions on Iran, and would not be so worried, if it were not a gathering nuclear threat.

Actuality: The centrifuge technology that Iran is using to enrich uranium is open-ended. In the old days, you could tell which countries might want a nuclear bomb by whether they were building light water reactors (unsuitable for bomb-making) or heavy-water reactors (could be used to make a bomb). But with centrifuges, once you can enrich to 5% to fuel a civilian reactor, you could theoretically feed the material back through many times and enrich to 90% for a bomb. However, as long as centrifuge plants are being actively inspected, they cannot be used to make a bomb. The two danger signals would be if Iran threw out the inspectors or if it found a way to create a secret facility. The latter task would be extremely difficult, however, as demonstrated by the CIA's discovery of the Qom facility construction in 2006 from satellite photos. Nuclear installations, especially centrifuge ones, consume a great deal of water, construction materiel, and so forth, so that constructing one in secret is a tall order. In any case, you can't attack and destroy a country because you have an intuition that they might be doing something illegal. You need some kind of proof. Moreover, Israel, Pakistan and India are all much worse citizens of the globe than Iran, since they refused to sign the NPT and then went for broke to get a bomb; and nothing at all has been done to any of them by the UNSC.

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Bikini vs. Burka: The Debauchery of Women

by Henry Makow Ph.D.

On my wall, I have a picture of a Muslim woman shrouded in a burka.
Beside it is a picture of an American beauty contestant, wearing nothing but a bikini.

One woman is totally hidden from the public; the other is totally exposed. These two extremes say a great deal about the clash of so-called "civilizations."

The role of woman is at the heart of any culture. Apart from stealing Arab oil, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are about stripping Muslims of their religion and culture, exchanging the burka for a bikini.

I am not an expert on the condition of Muslim women and I love feminine beauty too much to advocate the burka here. But I am defending some of the values that the burka represents for me.

For me, the burka represents a woman's consecration to her husband and family. Only they see her.It affirms the privacy, exclusivity and importance of the domestic sphere.

The Muslim woman's focus is her home, the "nest" where her children are born and reared. She is the "home" maker, the taproot that sustains the spiritual life of the family, nurturing and training her children, providing refuge and support to her husband.

In contrast, the bikinied American beauty queen struts practically naked in front of millions on TV. A feminist, she belongs to herself. In practice, paradoxically, she is public property. She belongs to no one and everyone. She shops her body to the highest bidder. She is auctioning herself all of the time.

In America, the cultural measure of a woman's value is her sex appeal. (As this asset depreciates quickly, she is neurotically obsessed with appearance and plagued by weight problems.)

As an adolescent, her role model is Britney Spears, a singer whose act approximates a strip tease. From Britney, she learns that she will be loved only if she gives sex. Thus, she learns to "hook up" furtively rather than to demand patient courtship, love and marriage. As a result, dozens of males know her before her husband does. She loses her innocence, which is a part of her charm. She becomes hardened and calculating. Unable to love, she is unfit to receive her husband's seed.

The feminine personality is founded on the emotional relationship between mother and baby. It is based on nurturing and self-sacrifice. Masculine nature is founded on the relationship between hunter and prey. It is based on aggression and reason.

Feminism deceives women to believe femininity has resulted in "oppression" and they should adopt male behavior instead. The result: a confused and aggressive woman with a large chip on her shoulder, unfit to become a wife or mother.

This is the goal of the NWO social engineers: undermine sexual identity and destroy the family, create social and personal dysfunction, and reduce population. In the "brave new world," women are not supposed to be mothers and progenitors of the race. They are meant to be neutered, autonomous sex objects.

Liberating women is often given as an excuse for the war in Afghanistan. Liberating them to what? To Britney Spears? To low-rise "see-my-thong" pants? To the mutual masturbation that passes for sexuality in America? If they really cared about women, maybe they'd end the war.

Parenthood is the pinnacle of human development. It is the stage when we finally graduate from self-indulgence and become God's surrogates: creating and nurturing new life. The New World Order does not want us to reach this level of maturity. Pornography is the substitute for marriage. We are to remain single: stunted, sex-starved and self-obsessed.

We are not meant to have a permanent "private" life. We are meant to remain lonely and isolated, in a state of perpetual courtship, dependent on consumer products for our identity.

This is especially destructive for woman. Her sexual attraction is a function of her fertility. As fertility declines, so does her sex appeal. If a woman devotes her prime years to becoming "independent," she is not likely to find a permanent mate.

Her long-term personal fulfillment and happiness lies in making marriage and family her first priority.

Feminism is another cruel New World Order hoax that has debauched American women and despoiled Western civilization. It has ruined millions of lives and represents a lethal threat to Islam.

I am not advocating the burka but rather some of the values that it represents, specifically a woman's consecration to her future husband and family, and the modesty and dignity this entails.

The burka and the bikini represent two extremes. The answer lies somewhere in the middle.

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Why The War For Southern Independence Was Not Over Slavery

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Bombs and Bribes

by Congressman Ron Paul

What if tomorrow morning you woke up to headlines that yet another Chinese drone bombing on US soil killed several dozen ranchers in a rural community while they were sleeping? That a drone aircraft had come across the Canadian border in the middle of the night and carried out the latest of many attacks? What if it was claimed that many of the victims harbored anti-Chinese sentiments, but most of the dead were innocent women and children? And what if the Chinese administration, in an effort to improve its public image in the US, had approved an aid package to send funds to help with American roads and schools and promote Chinese values here?

Most Americans would not stand for it. Yet the above hypothetical events are similar to what our government is doing in Pakistan. Last week, Congress did approve an aid package for Pakistan for the stated purposes of improving our image and promoting democracy. I again made the point on the floor of the House that still no one seems to hear: What if this happened on US soil? What if innocent Americans were being killed in repeated drone attacks carried out by some foreign force who was trying to fix our problems for us? Would sending money help their image? If another nation committed this type of violence and destruction on our homeland, would we be at all interested in adopting their values?

Sadly, one thing that has entirely escaped modern American foreign policy is empathy. Without much humility or regard for human life, our foreign policy has been reduced to alternately bribing and bombing other nations, all with the stated goal of “promoting democracy”. But if a country democratically elects a leader who is not sufficiently pro-American, our government will refuse to recognize them, will impose sanctions on them, and will possibly even support covert efforts to remove them. Democracy is obviously not what we are interested in. It is more likely that our government is interested in imposing its will on other governments. This policy of endless intervention in the affairs of others is very damaging to American liberty and security.

If we were really interested in democracy, peace, prosperity and safety, we would pursue more free trade with other countries. Free and abundant trade is much more conducive to peace because it is generally bad business to kill your customers. When one’s livelihood is on the line, and the business agreements are mutually beneficial, it is in everyone’s best interests to maintain cooperative and friendly relations and not kill each other. But instead, to force other countries to bend to our will, we impose trade barriers and sanctions. If our government really wanted to promote freedom, Americans would be free to travel and trade with whoever they wished. And, if we would simply look at our own policies around the world through the eyes of others, we would understand how these actions make us more targeted and therefore less safe from terrorism. The only answer is get back to free trade with all and entangling alliances with none. It is our bombs and sanctions and condescending aid packages that isolate us.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

You Commit Three Felonies a Day

by L. Gordon Crovitz

When we think about the pace of change in technology, it's usually to marvel at how computing power has become cheaper and faster or how many new digital ways we have to communicate. Unfortunately, this pace of change is increasingly clashing with some of the slower-moving parts of our culture.

Technology moves so quickly we can barely keep up, and our legal system moves so slowly it can't keep up with itself. By design, the law is built up over time by court decisions, statutes and regulations. Sometimes even criminal laws are left vague, to be defined case by case. Technology exacerbates the problem of laws so open and vague that they are hard to abide by, to the point that we have all become potential criminals.

Boston civil-liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate calls his new book "Three Felonies a Day," referring to the number of crimes he estimates the average American now unwittingly commits because of vague laws. New technology adds its own complexity, making innocent activity potentially criminal.

Mr. Silverglate describes several cases in which prosecutors didn't understand or didn't want to understand technology. This problem is compounded by a trend that has accelerated since the 1980s for prosecutors to abandon the principle that there can't be a crime without criminal intent.

In 2001, a man named Bradford Councilman was charged in Massachusetts with violating the wiretap laws. He worked at a company that offered an online book-listing service and also acted as an Internet service provider to book dealers. As an ISP, the company routinely intercepted and copied emails as part of the process of shuttling them through the Web to recipients.

The federal wiretap laws, Mr. Silverglate writes, were "written before the dawn of the Internet, often amended, not always clear, and frequently lagging behind the whipcrack speed of technological change." Prosecutors chose to interpret the ISP role of momentarily copying messages as they made their way through the system as akin to impermissibly listening in on communications. The case went through several rounds of litigation, with no judge making the obvious point that this is how ISPs operate. After six years, a jury found Mr. Councilman not guilty.

Other misunderstandings of the Web criminalize the exercise of First Amendment rights. A Saudi student in Idaho was charged in 2003 with offering "material support" to terrorists. He had operated Web sites for a Muslim charity that focused on normal religious training, but was prosecuted on the theory that if a user followed enough links off his site, he would find violent, anti-American comments on other sites. The Internet is a series of links, so if there's liability for anything in an online chain, it would be hard to avoid prosecution.

Mr. Silverglate, a liberal who wrote a previous book taking the conservative position against political correctness on campuses, is a persistent, principled critic of overbroad statutes. This is a common problem in securities laws, which Congress leaves intentionally vague, encouraging regulators and prosecutors to try people even when the law is unclear. He reminds us of the long prosecution of Silicon Valley investment banker Frank Quattrone, which after five years resulted in a reversal of his criminal conviction on vague charges of obstruction of justice.

These miscarriages are avoidable. Under the English common law we inherited, a crime requires intent. This protection is disappearing in the U.S. As Mr. Silverglate writes, "Since the New Deal era, Congress has delegated to various administrative agencies the task of writing the regulations," even as "Congress has demonstrated a growing dysfunction in crafting legislation that can in fact be understood." Prosecutors identify defendants to go after instead of finding a law that was broken and figuring out who did it. Expect more such prosecutions as Washington adds regulations.

Sometimes legislators know when they make false distinctions based on technology. An "anti-cyberbullying" proposal is making its way through Congress, prompted by the tragic case of a 13-year-old girl driven to suicide by the mother of a neighbor posing as a teenage boy and posting abusive messages on MySpace. The law would prohibit using the Internet to "coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person." Imagine a law that tried to apply this control of speech to letters, editorials or lobbying.

Mr. Silverglate, who will testify against the bill later this week, tells me he figures that "being emotionally distressed is just part of living in a free society." New technologies like the Web, he concludes, "scare legislators because they don't understand them and want to control them, even as they become a normal part of life."

In a complex world of new technologies, there is more need than ever for clear rules of the road. Americans should expect that a crime requires bad intent and also that Congress and prosecutors will try to create clarity, not uncertainty. Our legal system has a lot of catching up to do to work smoothly with the rest of our lives.

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Americans manufacture another nuclear crisis

by Eric Margolis

The U.S., Britain and France staged a bravura performance of political theatre last week by claiming to have just "discovered" a secret Iran uranium enrichment plant near Qum. On cue, a carefully orchestrated media blitz trumpeted warnings of the alleged Iranian nuclear threat and "long-ranged missiles."

In reality, the Qum plant was detected by U.S. spy satellites over two years ago, and was known to the intelligence community. Iran claimed the plant will not begin enriching uranium for peaceful power for another 540 days. UN nuclear rules, to which Iran adheres, calls for 180 days notice.

UN nuclear watchdogs say Iran should have revealed the plant earlier. Iran alerted the UN last week and said it would invite inspectors.

The reluctance of Iran to reveal its nuclear sites is magnified by constant threats of attack against them by Israel and the U.S. Iran also recalls Iraq, where many of the UN "nuclear inspectors" were likely spies for CIA or Israel's Mossad. This may explain some of Iran's secretive behaviour. The U.S., Britain, France and Israel have been even less forthcoming about their nuclear secrets.

Iran's test of some useless short ranged missiles, and an inaccurate 2,000-km medium ranged Shahab-3, provoked more hysteria. In a choice example of media scaremongering, the Globe and Mail printed a picture of a 1960s vintage SAM-2 anti-aircraft missile being launched, with a caption of Prime Minister Stephen Harper warning of the "grave threat" Iran posed to "international peace and security."

Welcome to Iraq deja vu, and another phony crisis. U.S. intelligence and UN inspectors say Iran has no nuclear weapons and certainly no nuclear warheads and is only enriching uranium to 5%. Nuclear weapons require 95%. Iran's nuclear facilities are under constant UN inspection and U.S. surveillance.

The U.S., its allies, and Israel insist Iran is secretly developing nuclear warheads. They demand Tehran prove a negative: That is has no nuclear weapons. Iraq was also put to the same impossible test.

Israel is deeply alarmed by Iran's challenge to its Mideast nuclear monopoly. Chances of an Israeli attack on Iran are growing weekly, though the U.S. is still restraining Israel.

The contrived uproar about the Qum plant was a ploy to intensify pressure on Iran to cease nuclear enrichment -- though it has every right to do so under international agreements. More pressure will be applied at this week's meeting near Geneva between the Western powers and Iran.

Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, poured fuel on the fire, again questioning the Holocaust and staging the ostentatious launch of missiles with little military value.

Why did Ahmadinejad antagonize the West and act belligerent when he should be taking a very low profile? Why would Iran face devastating Israeli or U.S. attack to keep enriching uranium when it can import such fuel from Russia?

Civilian nuclear power has become the keystone of Iranian national pride. As noted in my new book, American Raj, Iran's leadership insists the West has denied the Muslim world modern technology and tries to keep it backwards and subservient. Tehran believes it can withstand all western sanctions.

Iran appears to be very slowly developing a "breakout" capability to produce a small number of nuclear weapons on short notice -- for defensive purposes. Iraq's invasion of Iran cost Iran one million casualties. Iran demands the same right of nuclear self defence enjoyed by neighbours Israel, India and Pakistan.

Real solution

What Iran really wants is an end to 30-years of U.S. efforts to overthrow its Islamic regime. The U.S. is still waging economic warfare against Iran and trying to overthrow the Tehran government. Like North Korea, Iran wants explicit guarantees from Washington that this siege warfare will stop and relations with the U.S. will be normalized.

As Flynt and Hillary Leverett conclude in their excellent, must-read Sept. 29 New York Times article, detente with Iran will be bitterly opposed by "those who attach value to failed policies that have damaged America's interests in the Middle East ... "

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Ending it would be a patriot's act

by Robyn E. Blumner

You remember the USA Patriot Act, don't you? It was that 342-page bill that sped through a supplicant Congress within weeks of 9/11, dismantling our privacy rights like a castoff Hollywood set. A reauthorization in 2006 made some things better and some worse, but mostly the law stayed the same — really bad for American freedom.

Well it is time to revisit this act of congressional cowardice that vastly expanded the ability of the government to unjustly intrude on our private lives. Three provisions will expire by the end of the year, which means Congress will have to act.

The Senate Judiciary Committee debated a reauthorization bill on Thursday offered by committee Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. The measure falls short of resurrecting our shattered liberties, but it is a start.

You would think that with solid Democratic majorities in Congress, the Patriot Act's unleashing of FBI surveillance on innocent Americans would finally be redressed. But the fear among lawmakers is palpable that doing anything to return a constitutional balance to domestic spying operations will play badly come election time.

I can see the Dittoheads now on the one hand demanding that big government stay out of providing health insurance options, while on the other hand insisting that Big Brother be allowed to continue to peer into the financial, travel, communications and library records of anyone it wants with little or no evidence of wrongdoing. Principled consistency has never been one of their strong suits.

Here are the sections of the act that will expire:

• John Doe Roving Wiretaps. Under the act the FBI can go to a secret court under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and obtain a single warrant to tap multiple communications devices. But unlike a roving wiretap in a criminal investigation, the Patriot Act doesn't require the government to identify the target or the devices to be tapped. By leaving these details wide open, the warrant's execution is left entirely to the discretion of government agents, inviting privacy invasion and abuse.

• Lone Wolf. This provision allows the government to obtain a FISA warrant when the target is not connected to an international terrorist group or a foreign nation. The idea is that a foreign terrorist might be acting alone. But when a terror suspect has no ties to international terrorism the investigation looks quite a bit more like a criminal matter that can be handled through regular constitutional processes. Besides, the Justice Department has said that this authority has never been invoked. It's obviously not needed.

• Section 215 or the Library Provision. This is perhaps the best known part of the Patriot Act. It allows the government to go to the FISA court for "any tangible thing" relevant to a terror investigation — including library records. The provision is incredibly broad, allowing the government to demand huge quantities of records that don't have to pertain to the target of the investigation. It is an authorization for the FBI to sweep up and permanently store all sorts of personal details about people not suspected of doing anything wrong.

Even so, the FBI has been eschewing Section 215 orders preferring instead to use another gift of the Patriot Act, National Security Letters, as a way to bypass any judicial oversight. In 2008 there were only 13 requests for Section 215 orders, while in 2006 (the last figure available) there were 49,425 NSLs issued by the FBI, up from 8,500 in 2000.

NSLs are secret demand letters that can be internally created without court review. The Patriot Act reduced the standard to issue one and extended their reach. As long as the FBI claims the information sought is "relevant" to a terror investigation NSLs can collect volumes of personal financial records, credit reports, Internet searches and other sensitive information about Americans who are not suspected of anything.

The NSL provisions will not expire at the end of the year — they are permanent — though Leahy's legislation would put limits on NSLs after four years.

The passage of the Patriot Act was an American tragedy, one that can largely be undone with a little political backbone. This is where the Democrats in Congress can earn their keep. But will they?

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Providing Balance: America's Homeschoolers

by Paul Galvin

Everyone has a story about the pathetic state of the public schools. But from the government's perspective public schools are anything but failures. Lots of patronage and union jobs assuring a set of reliable serfs who will time after time vote back in the same policy makers; a steady supply of tax-funded income along with built-in excuses for increasing funding ("these kids aren't learning because they don't have the resources," [never, "we failed to teach"]); a new crop of non-critical thinking subjects added to the voting base with each class of "graduates" so-called. With this toxic stew of course nothing meaningful will ever change.

And this rigged system works. Look at who holds power in Congress, in the Executive branch, in the country's large population states. Statists all. Who voted these people in? Well, you know who. The same people who can't make change without computerized registers, who cannot compose proper sentences, who sport body tattoos or piercings in the oddest of places and of the strangest of images, who cry out they're helpless in the face of floods, fires, flus. Want more proof of dumbed-down America? Watch several internet videos of Leno's JayWalking, or just go to the mall.

By and large independent thinkers will never be found in the government's schools. These are after all statist schools; accordingly no one should be surprised when opinion only furthering government policies is taught to the exclusion of all others. Viewpoints espousing that an individual, not some collectivist-minded bureaucracy, might know what's best, are taboo. Yet the individual viewpoint would go a long way in solving many of life's ills. For example, racism would largely be a thing of the past if the statists among us would stop insisting that we all play, whether we want it or not, identity politics which is nothing more than raw collectivist thinking. If we would view each other as individuals and make judgments based, expressed famously by a leader of another era, on the content of character not on the color of skin, then certain societal tensions would be lessened considerably.

But on a micro basis there is something you can do to save your own child. Homeschooling. For the sake of that child.

My son and I home schooled, and as a result he does his own thinking. He does not possess a high school diploma; he didn't have the time, patience or need. His goal was knowledge of those matters which interested him. During the time when his age peers were in high school he was taking no-nonsense courses at Springfield Technical Community College (having outstripped the knowledge reservoir of his home school teacher) or pursuing an interest on his own (in his case, the study of film). In preparing for his transfer to a 4-year college (which he entered as an upperclassman with enough credits for that college's math major) he sat for the GED, the SAT & several SAT II exams, scoring well. From his experience he learned one of life's time-honored lessons: with focus, commitment and a willingness to do hard work, there is reward. But there is no short cut. None. The sooner in life this lesson in maturity is taught to and importantly learned by the child the happier and more rewarding his/her life can be.

Homeschooling has its challenges, some obvious, others less so. But with a dedication to purpose success can be yours. Keep one thing in mind however. No matter how well you may think your child is progressing, until you have independent verification of his/her progress, the child's achievements have little currency in the eyes of the wider world. This may seem unfair but at one time you and your child will come face-to-face with the "bureaucracy" which will demand proof that the child has in fact learned. If you have done your job this will not present any issues. To assure yourself of meeting this end it is suggested that you introduce into your curriculum samples of tests types that independent testing agencies might administer; these are readily available at book retailers. Using SSAT, ACT, SAT I & SAT II, and state proficiency assessment exercises, visual analogy tests, and perhaps some standard IQ batteries benefits the child if made part of your day-to-day teaching as they give the child familiarity with these testing materials. What is more, using a variety of teaching materials is itself helpful. As you will discover different authors approach the same subject somewhat differently, and exposure to different writing styles and approaches should be welcomed.

Here are several of the guiding lights upon which I relied to assure myself that Matthias would be an educated and independent minded person, not one who looks to government to solve problems.

Deferred gratification is perhaps the most important life lesson ever learned by a child. This lesson in maturity is easily imparted in the context of a home school. Understanding future time references and the ability to plan and importantly to see the consequences of chosen paths or decisions are beneficial as this is an essential life problem-solving skill. (Mature adults use it all the time. Why then do governments invariably fail to do so?)

Self-esteem. Telling a child he/she is smart is not the same as his/her having worked at developing a knowledge base, thereby becoming smart and confident through success. And an honest, discerning child knows it. Certainly praise and encouragement should be given when effort is demonstrated and knowledge gained. Expect excellence; children routinely rise to expectations. Deeply discount all politically correct notions. Our goal as parental teachers and supporters is helping children achieve through bona fides instruction and encouragement. In such a petri dish a child's self-esteem develops effortlessly.

Rote memorization is an excellent method of placing factual information into long-term memory such that recall is instantaneous. This method in effect grooves pathways into memory that does not allow for deviation later on when knowing something cold is essential. And to boot it gives the early learner both success and confidence.

Socialization. This criticism of homeschooling is like the Everyone-is-a-Winner-and-Therefore-No-One-Is-Keeping-Score-Any-More foolishness heard on baseball diamonds or soccer fields, just so much hot air. Not only did my son have the opportunities to interact with lots of other children he also met a fair number of adults, including coming with me on occasion to client meetings, where he put into practice the very academic skills he was learning at home.

Accuracy is more important than speed. Speed will come quite naturally as the proper methodologies are learned and as understanding deepens. This lesson is especially important in learning mathematics.

Time-Spent Ratio. To me this was one of the most compelling reasons of homeschooling. Your one hour easily equates to 5–6 institutionalized school hours. Depending on the subject, e.g., arithmetic, math, this ratio may even rise to 1:10. Children's time is equally as important as that of adults. Home schoolers do not waste time on needless tasks which abound in the government schools.

Once children have acquired the skill to read thoroughly they're on the road of reading to learn. With a solid reading skill children can then begin teaching themselves all sorts things, provided of course they are properly guided which is your role. Even as early as first, second and third grade levels, children should experience the joy of freedom to study those subjects which interest them, not topics dictated by a top-down hierarchy.

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Fractional Reserve Banking Made Easy

by Terence Gillespie

The paper bills in our wallet are not money. And they are not Notes as in "Federal Reserve Note" written on the top of the bill. They are actually just Tokens. Federal Reserve Tokens, if you like, is what should be written on top of the bills. They are not redeemable for anything other than themselves. And they represent only one thing: Your belief in their value. Hopefully, your belief extends to the next person you try to give them to.

The only real use for them is paying your taxes to either the state or federal government. You can be sure, however, that both will stop accepting them as payment even for taxes if you and I stop believing in the paper bills.

Paper money, or fiat, was originally accepted because you could redeem the paper for gold upon request. When people got used to the paper they felt more and more comfortable and were less likely to redeem it for their gold. They knew that they could redeem it at any time and the paper is lighter, more convenient and can be denominated in much smaller increments so that everyday transactions are made more practical.

By the time the gold imparts this trust to the paper the people storing the gold start using it for other purposes. The primary other purpose is to start using the gold as someone else’s money in addition to yours. When that happens the banker has now, in effect, doubled the amount of gold in his vault and is only in trouble if you decide to reclaim your gold. By that time many more people are storing their gold with the banker and he found that only a small percentage of people ever reclaimed their gold.

Now, at this point in the story nothing wrong has happened as long as:

You are told that your gold deposit is being lent out.
You are paid for storing your gold.
Your are not charged under the guise of a storage fee because the gold is no longer being stored by the banker.
There is a 1-to-1 relationship between the gold you lent the banker and the gold the banker has lent out.
Christians do not believe in charging interest to other Christians. But, even the Bible describes the business of lending while warning that "The borrower is a slave of the lender."

In the business of lending the difference between what you receive for the use of your gold and what the banker receives for lending it out is his legitimate profit. After all, if you don’t want the banker to lend it out then you can lend it out yourself and do all the work associated. More importantly, the gold is not taken out of circulation and can be used as legitimate capital for the borrower to invest in his ideas to create even more value for everyone.

As you might suspect, this is not how the story goes.

When the number of people who were likely to reclaim their gold was discovered then the banker could start to guess the amount of gold to keep on hand to make all his depositors believe he was storing their gold. This number becomes his required reserve ratio and fractional reserve banking is born.

The banker has used a combination of your gold, your trust in him and your infrequent need to reclaim your gold to pretend he has many times more money than the amount of gold that is actually stored with him. And since he is most likely not fulfilling the four requirements, above, he is probably charging you a storage fee, not paying you, not telling you he’s lent it out and is lending out much more gold than his depositors have deposited.

Even worse, the banker lends out gold that doesn’t exist and charges interest on the loan. The banker is now generating interest income on gold that he doesn’t have and that doesn’t exist. Fractional reserve lending is born. Here’s a video that describes how money is loaned into existence in today’s world. Start at 22:00 if you want to skip right to it:

There are three major problems with fractional reserve lending. The first problem is when the banker lends money that doesn’t exist to people who then use that money to purchase real goods then the money actually does now exist. The banker has loaned into existence new currency. The banker used to have to at least go to the trouble of printing up the actual paper bills. But, with computers he can even bypass that unpleasant task. This would be impossible if the banker had to attempt to fabricate the actual gold.

And that leads to the second major problem with fractional reserve lending: There is no longer any gold in the bankers vault. The "money" is just blips on a computer screen that can be typed in and deleted, as needed, to adhere to an extremely low, but legal, reserve requirement.

The third major problem with fractional reserve lending is that most of the deposits don’t come from people who received the money by creating real value. The majority of the deposits come from other loans that came from either the Federal government or the loaned out portion of another fractional reserve lending bank.

This leads back to the original point of this article: There is nothing backing the paper bills in our wallet but our belief in them. They are mere tokens redeemable for nothing and backed by nothing.

Although it may be convenient for the US, and the entire world, to continue believing in the US dollar there is actually no historical basis for the success of any fiat currency. That’s because no fiat currency has EVER survived in the history of the world. You read that correctly: It's not a matter of studying the good ones and seeing what they did right or wrong to make them succeed. None of them has ever survived.

Since the probability of any paper fiat currency collapsing is 100% then we can switch our focus on trying to guess when, not if it will fail.

For more on Fractional Reserve Banking and Lending and the history of many currencies around the world check out Larry Parks on YouTube or go to his website.

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It’s Not the People, It’s the Machine

by Michael Gaddy

"Government is an agency of force which can and must be employed against every deviationist. And this is only to say again that the government must oppose the individual. Therefore the "good" man in government is like a priest with a machine gun. The mechanism does the harm. The man who operates it merely pulls the trigger." ~Robert LeFevre, The Nature of Man

Every two years in this country there exists a mania we call elections where those involved in the electoral process work endless hours and spends billions of dollars in an effort to put "good" men/women into elected offices. This, each person believes, will improve/change the government apparatus and everyone will be better served. This is analogous to believing that if one could place the right person on my Harley it would perform the tasks of a dump truck. The machine (government) can only accomplish that which it was designed to do: all governments, in their evolutionary process, eventually turn on their progenitors; the machine eventually rules the individual, no matter what "safeguards" have been put in place.

Nowhere is that more evident than where we are today in this country. No matter who is elected to operate the machine, the machine continues in its quest to destroy all it considers adversarial to the goal of total control and domination.

The writings of LeFevre tell us that man has long been fascinated by the phenomenon of the government apparatus and seeks to rationalize the continued corruption with one of two explanations. Either the people elected to run the machine were/are evil, or if the proper "safeguards" had been installed, "they would have escaped the evil their government was busily engaged in inflicting upon them." I believe this perfectly describes our present dilemma, for those who voted for Obama wonder at how the campaign promises he made have been forgotten or the changes made were not what they expected. The opposition believes Obama to be an evil person. No matter how evil a person might be, as an individual they are unable to visit such tremendous evil on the world, without the power government provides. In turn, electing "good" people to run a gangster device will never deliver the hoped for product. LeFevre asks the question: "…then how does it happen that so many administrations of good men have been able to do so many evil and harmful things to their subjects?" As a country, we widely differ on exactly what administration has been good or bad. There are millions who believed George W. Bush to have been a "good" president, while millions believe Obama to be accomplishing "good" things, yet both have visited tremendous evil on the world, including their own supporters.

Individuals in this world have less freedom, are more and more controlled and coerced by government and continue to be robbed of the fruits of their labor, yet all this has occurred under the administrations of the "best" our country has to offer each election cycle, from both sides of the political spectrum. Isabel Patterson in her book, The God of the Machine, provides what she believes to be the answer. "…What good does it do to have a saint of every conceivable virtue operating a guillotine? Personally, the man may be above reproach. He may have the highest of morals and ethics. He may be imbued with a passion for doing good. But the mechanism he is hired to operate cuts off heads. He may dislike to cut off heads. He may weep with true sorrow whenever a head falls into the basket. But he was hired to pull the rope that lets the knife drop. And when it comes down, off comes the head. That is the way the tool works."

This methodology is, in part, accomplished with government’s admonishment there is a higher purpose in life than being an individual. Ironically, this rebuke always comes around to serving the machine. John F. Kennedy said to "ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country." It was not the country we were being asked to put foremost in our lives, but the machine. The government and its willing shills in the media and academia have been able to cloud the difference between the country and the government so that in the minds of many, they are inseparable. That is why, in today’s world, all who oppose the machine have been deemed "domestic terrorists." The spirit of individuality, or just wanting to be left alone, cannot be allowed to flourish, but must always be seen as the enemy and therefore destroyed.

People create government to control that which they fear. The machine enjoys its continued growth and strength to the spirit of fear among the people. Different people fear different things; in a great number of instances that fear is of people who think or act differently or ideas with which they disagree. The machine therefore evolves into a mechanism that seeks control over everyone and everything. Limited government is an illusion. Safeguards put in place to limit the scope and range of government are gradually eliminated as more fearful entities appear, or are created, requiring continued growth of the machine. Franklin was correct; trading freedom for security leaves the people with neither. The constant meddling in the affairs of other countries produces enemies of the machine and are converted into objects of fear for the people. Here we have the vicious cycle; more enemies require a larger and more powerful machine, which produces more and more enemies to fear.

Individualism and the wish to just be left alone by those who do not wish to control others is the mortal enemy of the machine. If the individual can exist without this desire to control others or seek power over them, the need for the machine no longer exists. The government machine’s survival depends on convincing the people that the anointed among them, selected during the electoral process, can indeed take the government back to a less intrusive and more friendly status. Throughout our history, this has never happened.

People decide to become involved in government for basically two reasons. They either want the power and control over others and the wealth that brings, or they believe by becoming involved in government they can limit the power of the machine. These folks, no matter how well intentioned, become the "priest with a machine gun." The machine continues to control and destroy the lives of others, while the "good" person in government pulls the trigger.

The machine will continue to create items of fear for the people. The fear of an economy going bad brings on illegal bailouts and controls of the economy that have the opposite effect intended and provide untold riches to supporters of the machine. This creates more fear among the people and enlarges the machine. The fear of being unable to pay for needed medical care creates fear that could give the government vast control over the people and their remaining money. The fear of the dreaded Communist, Muslim or person of different skin pigmentation, creates fear in the people and grows the machine’s arm of oppression: the military, law enforcement and the new scourge of private contractors. The fear of a pandemic in the form of some new exotic disease (created in a laboratory) brings the ability to control the masses with unneeded and potentially harmful forced vaccinations. When the machine seeks unparalleled growth, it creates false flag events to terrorize the population, bringing on new and more terrible laws and regulations, again to eliminate its greatest threat, the individual.

The machine has legions of faithful followers who willingly steal, intimidate and even kill for their paychecks, monies stolen by the machine from the production of their victims through intimidation and threat. These people are nothing but whores who care not for any oath they might have taken, but instead enjoy their unlimited, unrestrained power over their fellow citizens. These people will come after your guns, violate your rights, force you to be inoculated with harmful vaccines, steal your money and private property and place you in a detention facility if you dare resist, and be proud of the accomplishment. These people are not elected, but will always remain the real force of the government machine. Those elected to public office become the easily replaceable figurehead. It is accomplished every election cycle.

History teaches the machine always collapses under its own weight and corruption. Its loyal supporters are rewarded for their service with executions. The question is: how many freedom loving, liberty-seeking individuals must give up their freedom and/or their lives before this happens?

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Get Serious about Decriminalizing Drugs; Others Are

Tim Lynch and Juan Carlos Hidalgo, CATO

The international war against the black market trade in narcotics seems to be at a tipping point, as a new approach is gaining traction globally: decriminalization. More and more policymakers are coming to the view that it is wrong to jail drug users as criminals.

Last November, Massachusetts voters approved a referendum that decriminalized marijuana. In December 2007, voters in Denver approved a law that made adult marijuana possession the city's "lowest law-enforcement priority." In California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced it is time to closely study the decriminalization of marijuana, which is already the state's largest cash crop.

American policy makers seem to be cautiously following the shift in public opinion on drug policy. A recent Zogby poll showed that 52 percent of those polled thought marijuana should be legal, taxed and regulated. The shift is probably the result of experience: Many Americans have either used drugs or have relatives or friends who have tried marijuana or other drugs and do not see their friends and loved ones as criminals.

More people are asking why some drug users have to be jailed while other users (such as Olympic champion Michael Phelps) maintain successful, even flourishing careers.

Drug policy reform is moving even faster abroad. In 2001, Portugal decriminalized all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Not only has the predicted spike in drug use and a public health crisis failed to materialize, Portugal's drug usage rates compare more favorably than many other European states that have kept up a strict "lock 'em up" approach.

In Latin America, policymakers impressed by the experience of Portugal and other countries have begun to move in that direction. Earlier this year, a commission headed by three former Latin American presidents — Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil, César Gaviria of Colombia and Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico — called on the governments of the region to break the taboo of discussing alternative drug policies such as decriminalization.

Just recently, Argentina hosted the first Latin American Conference on Drug Policies, a high-profile event sponsored by, among others, the United Nations, the Pan-American Health Organization and the Anti-Drug Latin American Initiative on Drugs and Democracy. The participants, including high-ranking government officials and experts from the region, labeled the war on drugs a failure and suggested a more pragmatic approach to drug policy based on decriminalizing possession for personal consumption.

During the event, Anibal Fernandez, chief of staff for Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, announced that her administration will be submitting a decriminalization bill to Congress in the upcoming months. An Ecuadorean official said similar legislation will soon be debated in that country's National Assembly. Brazil is considering similar changes.

Mexico recently decriminalized possession of any drug so long as the amounts were small enough to indicate personal use. The Supreme Court of Argentina recently ruled that it is unconstitutional to punish marijuana users if no other person is harmed by such use.

There is no ideological common denominator among those questioning the war on drugs. Both liberal and conservative policymakers are dissatisfied with the gang violence that pervades the black market and the futility of trying to stop adults who wish to use drugs from doing so.

We seem to have finally reached a tipping point where the costs of the drug war clearly exceed any perceived benefit. Drug addiction is a problem. But just as alcohol prohibition was a mistaken approach to the problem of alcoholism, so too is the drug war a mistaken approach to drug abuse.

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Feds Sentence Elaine Brown to 35 Years


Tax activist Elaine Brown was given a virtual death sentence of 35 years today, according to the Associated Press. In July, Brown was convicted along with her husband of plotting to kill federal agents during a nine-month standoff at their Plainfield, New Hampshire home. Brown’s lawyer asked for a sentence of 35 years. The government wanted to impose a 41 year sentence.

In April 2006, Edward and Elaine Brown were indicted in the United States District Court in New Hampshire for numerous federal tax violations. The government accused the couple of not paying federal income taxes since 1996. They had not filed income tax returns since 1998. The government claimed they were responsible for taxes of more than $625,000. The Browns countered with tax protester statutory arguments and said the government had not presented any law requiring them to pay income taxes.

In April, 2007, the Browns ordered a court clerk to close their case and vowed to resist the case. Ed Brown published an open letter presenting his arguments against the government and pleaded with supporters to come to his home to aid in his defense against the government.

During a “standoff” at the Brown “compound,” as the corporate media described their home, United States Deputy Marshals disguised themselves as supporters and arrested the couple on October 4, 2007. “Ultimately, this open-door policy that they [the Browns] seemed to have which allowed the Browns to have some supporters bring them supplies, welcome followers and even host a picnic—this proved to be their undoing… They invited us in. We escorted them out,” Stephen Monier told the media on October 5.

After their arrest, Ed Brown complained that he was singled out for abuse by the government. Brown said he was tasered, gassed, subjected to sensory deprivation, and isolated from other inmates.

The government also went after Brown supporters. Danny Riley of Cohoes, New York was sentenced to 36 years in federal prison, after having been convicted of helping to supply the Browns, and of stockpiling weapons and threatening law enforcement officials. Riley was convicted of conspiracy, aiding and abetting, and using guns and bombs in connection with the standoff. Also convicted in other trials were Jason Gerhard of Brookhaven, New York. Gerhard was sentenced to twenty years in prison. Cirino Gonzalez of Alice, Texas was sentenced to eight years in prison. Robert Wolffe of Randolph, Vermont was sentenced to two and a half years.

Ed Brown has yet to be sentenced on the weapons and conspiracy charges.

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Montana attorney general probing 'American Police Force' deal

by Matthew Brown, AP

Montana's attorney general launched an investigation Thursday into a California company that wants to take over an empty jail in the rural city of Hardin, following revelations that the company's lead figure is a convicted felon with a history of fraud.

Michael Hilton, who formed Santa Ana, Calif.-based American Police Force in March, came to Hardin last month promising to fill the city's never-used jail and build a large military and law enforcement training center.

Hilton has a decades-long track record of fraudulent activities and spent several years in a California prison on grand theft charges. A native of Montenegro, he uses at least 17 aliases.

Citing "significant concerns" about the city's dealings with American Police Force, Attorney General Steve Bullock asked Hardin economic development officials to produce by Oct. 12 all documents related to their dealings with the company.

His office made a similar demand of American Police Force, including information that would back up Hilton's claims of multiple defense contracts with the U.S government and other agencies.

The launch of the investigation came as some Hardin officials began backing away from American Police Force. The city's Two Rivers Authority reached a 10-year deal on the jail with the company last month.

But that was never ratified by US Bank, the trustee on the construction bonds used to pay for the 464-bed facility.

Attorney Becky Convery, who helped negotiate the deal, said Hilton overstepped his bounds when he showed up in Hardin last week with three Mercedes SUVs marked with fictitious "Hardin Police Department" logos.

He pledged to donate the SUVs to the city and also offered to provide law enforcement for Hardin for $250,000 a year. That prospect has stirred suspicion among critics that rural Hardin, population 3,500, could be transformed into a privately run police state.

Convery said Two Rivers director Greg Smith had a tentative deal with Hilton's company to provide law enforcement service, but she said it was never finalized and she was uncertain whether it would be legal.

"We are not at all pleased with American Police masquerading as if they were the police for the city of Hardin," she said.

Yet other Hardin officials remained loyal to American Police Force despite knowing little of its origins beyond what they've been told by Hilton.

"I don't know that his background has affected his position or his ability to do his work," said Carla Colstad, a member of the Hardin City Council. "I don't consider it relevant to what's going on today."

Hilton — who came to Hardin last week in a black, military-style uniform — portrayed his company as an international player in the security industry. No records have been found of the extensive U.S. government contracts he claims.

Instead, documents and interviews with Hilton's associates revealed a history of fraud and criminal activity. That includes outstanding judgments against him in three civil cases totaling more than $1.1 million.

"Such schemes you cannot believe," said Joseph Carella, an Orange County, Calif., doctor and co-defendant with Hilton in a real estate fraud case that resulted in a civil judgment against Hilton and several others.

Carella, described in court documents as a "pawn" in the scheme, said he was never a willing participant. But he acknowledged partnering with Hilton in other failed business deals after being won over by his charm.

"The guy's brilliant. If he had been able to do honest work, he probably would have been a gazillionaire," Carella said.

As for Hilton's military expertise, including his claim to have advised forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, several associates interviewed knew of no such feats, although one said Hilton had talked of being in the special forces in Greece decades ago.

Most who knew him described Hilton alternately as an art dealer, cook, restaurant owner, land developer, loan broker and car salesman.

Hilton did not return numerous calls seeking comment this week. American Police Force attorney Maziar Mafi referred questions to company spokeswoman Becky Shay.

When asked about court records detailing Hilton's past, Shay replied: "The documents speak for themselves. If anyone has found public documents, the documents are what they are."

The three SUVs Hilton brought to Montana have yet to be turned over to the city, which does not have a police force of its own but is considering forming one.

At least one is being driven by Shay, a former reporter who abruptly quit her job at the Billings Gazette to work for American Police Force. She said Hilton offered her $60,000 a year.

The jail deal is worth more than $2.6 million a year, according to city leaders.

His criminal record goes back to at least 1988, when Hilton was arrested in Santa Ana, Calif., for writing bad checks. In 1993, Hilton was sentenced to six years in prison in California on a dozen counts of grand theft and attempted grand theft and other charges including illegal diversion of construction funds.

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Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Myth of the "Christian Nation" Divides Us

by Tom Mullen

While our politicians get on with the work of plundering our wealth, planning our lives, and preparing their next war of aggression, they remain comfortably insulated from criticism of any of these substantive actions because they have successfully distracted average Americans with issues that should not involve government at all. There is none more divisive than religion.

The left reads into the First Amendment of the Constitution an active role for government in prohibiting the acknowledgment of religion or God in any public setting. The right reads into our Declaration of Independence a requirement of belief not only in God, but in the Christian God, in order for one to claim the unalienable rights that are “endowed by our Creator.” Neither position is correct.

If there was one thing that our founders made clear, it was their belief that each person’s inner life belonged wholly to him or her. They referred to this as the “right of conscience,” and they revered it above all other rights. They believed that each human being had the right to answer for himself the questions of whether there is a God and what the nature and will of God might be. They believed that reason was the means for man to do so. Regardless of the conclusions that any individual might reach, he was still entitled to all of the same unalienable rights. This is the true meaning of “religious freedom.”

Among the growing minority that has recognized our loss of liberty and the importance of regaining it, there are many who mistakenly say that the United States was “founded as a Christian nation,” and that only returning to Christian principles will solve our problems. Others may not require that one believe in Christ, but do insist that belief in God is necessary in order to give authority to the law of nature and the natural rights. These positions not only alienate atheists, who are admittedly a small minority, but also a large contingency of Christians and other believers in God who do not want government – which is an institution of force – to play any role in their inner lives. This is an unnecessary division among people who might otherwise unite to fight for their liberty.

It is long past time to answer some fundamental questions about our history once and for all. Did the founders of the United States believe in God? Was the United States founded as a “Christian nation?” Was the Constitution based upon Christian or Judeo-Christian laws as found in their scriptures? Did the founders believe that belief in God was necessary to claim the unalienable rights?

The answer to the first question is a resounding “yes.” Even Jefferson, arguably the most “liberal” of the founding fathers, believed in a supreme being, despite the accusations of atheism made against him by political rivals. He also revered Christianity as the greatest religion in human history, as did his “conservative” counterpart, John Adams. However, neither Adams nor Jefferson believed that Jesus Christ was the son of God or even a divine being. Most people are familiar with Jefferson’s bible, which he cut apart and reorganized to eliminate all of the miracles. However, John Adams, a Unitarian, was even more ambivalent about the idea that Jesus Christ was God. In a letter to Jefferson, he wrote,

“They all believe that great Principle which has produced this boundless universe, Newton’s universe and Hershell’s universe, came down to this little ball, to be spit upon by Jews. And until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there never will be any liberal science in the world.”[1]

Neither Adams, Jefferson, Washington, nor Franklin believed that Jesus was literally the son of God or otherwise a divine being in any way. Rather, they admired most of the moral principles of Christianity, although not all of them. For instance, they disagreed with Jesus’ doctrine to “turn the other cheek.” They believed that self defense of one’s life, liberty, and property was not only a right, but a duty. However, it was the Christian principles of love and non-aggression that are espoused in virtually all religions that inspired John Adams to say, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”[2] This will become even more apparent shortly.

In any case, the answer to the first question is “yes.” Most of the founders believed in God. They revered the moral teachings of Christianity, although most of the philosophical leaders among them did not believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ.

Our second question is, “Was the United States founded as a Christian nation?” In 1796, the United States signed a treaty with Tripoli, promising a monetary gift in return for a cessation of hostilities. That treaty was unanimously ratified by the senate and signed by President John Adams. Among its articles resides the answer to our second question.

"Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."[3] [emphasis added]

Thomas Jefferson confirmed this statement in his autobiography when commenting on a Virginia bill to establish religious freedom.

“Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.”[4]

Next, there is the question of the philosophical basis for the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and original system of laws of the United States. According to Thomas Jefferson, that philosophical basis was most directly the enlightenment philosophers, specifically John Locke and Algernon Sydney. In 1825, Jefferson actually got a resolution passed by the Board of the University of Virginia to make this point clear.

"Resolved, that it is the opinion of this Board that as to the general principles of liberty and the rights of man, in nature and in society, the doctrines of Locke, in his 'Essay concerning the true original extent and end of civil government,' and of Sidney in his 'Discourses on Government,' may be considered as those generally approved by our fellow citizens of this, and the United States."[5]

Despite this and other unqualified statements by the founders regarding the philosophical basis for our founding principles, there are many that claim that the founders drew their philosophy from Judeo-Christian scriptures or teachings. While there is much common ground between these teachings and the enlightenment philosophers, the founders were clear that where scripture or dogma conflicted with the enlightenment philosophy of liberty, it was the non-aggression philosophy of liberty that prevailed. Regarding the scriptures, Jefferson wrote,

The whole history of these books is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills.[6]

The founder’s skepticism about man’s knowledge of the will of God was not confined to the scriptures themselves. John Adams makes clear that at least he recognized that human beings had no ability to definitively determine the will of God.

“That there is an active principle of power in the universe, is apparent; but in what substance that active principle resides, is past our investigation. The faculties of our understanding are not adequate to penetrate the universe.”[7]

Finally, there is the most important question. Did the founders assert that belief in God was necessary to claim the unalienable rights? As with the other questions, they answered this one quite unambiguously. In a letter to Peter Carr, Thomas Jefferson advised his young friend,

“Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.”[8]

“Do not be frightened from this enquiry by any fear of its consequences. If it ends in a belief that there is no god, you will find incitements to virtue in the comforts & pleasantness you feel in its exercise, and the love of others which it will procure you. If you find reason to believe there is a god, a consciousness that you are acting under his eye, & that he approves you, will be a vast additional incitement; if that there be a future state, the hope of a happy existence in that increases the appetite to deserve it; if that Jesus was also a god, you will be comforted by a belief of his aid and love. In fine, I repeat that you must lay aside all prejudice on both sides, & neither believe nor reject anything because any other persons, or description of persons have rejected or believed it.” Your own reason is the only oracle given you by heaven, and you are answerable not for the rightness but uprightness of the decision.”[9] [emphasis added]

There are those who argue that without God, there is no authority to base the natural rights upon. This was not the assertion of our founders and it directly contradicts our Declaration of Independence, which reads,

“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…” [emphasis added]

While the founders believe that our rights came from our Creator (whomever or whatever the Creator might be), they explicitly said that these truths are self evident. They are truths that can be observed directly. This is directly inspired by Locke’s empiricism. While he, too, believed in God, he based his philosophy only upon what he could directly observe in nature or reasonably conclude from those observations. Therefore, his philosophy recognized the existence of God but did not depend upon it for its validity.

Consider a useful analogy. If a priest and an atheist were both to consider a rock lying upon the ground, both would agree that the rock exists. They could see it, touch it, and hear its sound if they picked it up and then dropped it from their hand. The priest would say that the rock was created by God. The atheist would explain its existence with scientific theories. They may disagree vehemently on this point, but no third party would have to decide who is correct. All can see that the rock exists, for its existence is self evident. The same is true of our natural rights. Our Declaration of Independence says so explicitly.

The only authority that the founders recognized as the basis for our laws was the non-aggression principle, which they recognized as the fundamental law of nature. The beauty of this idea is that it transcends religion and thus welcomes members of all religions, as well as those with no religious beliefs at all. The non-aggression principle allows each individual to use his reason to answer the most important philosophical questions of life for himself, without being forced to assent to any beliefs that he does not hold. It allows people to believe in God voluntarily, or to not believe, as their reason dictates. The only restriction upon them is that they commit no aggression against anyone else, regardless of their beliefs. Jefferson expressed this beautifully when he wrote,

“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.[10]

If all of America’s founding principles, including freedom of religion, could be summed up in two sentences, no better than these could be found anywhere. If we could agree to live by this one statement alone, the number of people no longer divided along partisan lines would be staggering. Our politicians are wasting trillions of our dollars and assuming un-delegated powers over us that apply to believers and non-believers alike. We must grant each other the ability to exercise the right of conscience freely within the boundary of non-aggression. Only then will we see clearly where the true source of our crisis lies – in a government whose every act contradicts the reason for its existence and perpetuates a state of war with its people. We must unite together to eliminate this earthly threat in order to resume the pursuit of our happiness, both in this world and the next.

[1] Adams, John Letter to Thomas Jefferson January 22, 1825 from The Works of John Adams Second President of the United States Vol. X Charles C. Little and James Brown Boston, MA 1851Pg. 415

[2] Adams, John To the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachussetts 11 October 1798 from The Works of John Adams Second President of the United States Vol. IX Charles C. Little and James Brown Boston, MA 1851Pg. 229

[3] Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary June 17, 1797 from The Avalon Project Yale Law School Lillian Goldman Library There has been some debate on whether the language in Article 11 was translated correctly from the original Arabic in which the treaty was written. However, this is irrelevant. It was the English translation containing these exact words that the Senate reviewed and ratified, making the question of translation irrelevant on this point.

[4] Jefferson, Thomas Autobiography from Jefferson Writings edited by Merrill D. Peterson, Literary Classics of the United States, New York, NY 1984 pg. 40

[5] Thomas Jefferson, Writings, ed. Merrill Peterson (New York, N.Y.: Library of America, 1984), p. 479

[6] Jefferson, Thomas from The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Vol. 14 edited by Albert Ellery Bergh and Andrew A. Lipscomb The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association 1904 pgs. 71-2

[7] Adams, John Letter to Thomas Jefferson January 22, 1825 from The Works of John Adams Second President of the United States Vol. X Charles C. Little and James Brown Boston, MA 1851Pg. 414

[8] Jefferson, Thomas Letter to Peter Carr August 10, 1787 from Jefferson Writings edited by Merrill D. Peterson, Literary Classics of the United States, New York, NY 1984 pg. 902

[9] Jefferson, Thomas Letter to Peter Carr August 10, 1787 from Jefferson Writings edited by Merrill D. Peterson, Literary Classics of the United States, New York, NY 1984 pg. 903-4

[10] Jefferson, Thomas Notes on Virginia from Jefferson Writings edited by Merrill D. Peterson, Literary Classics of the United States, New York, NY 1984 pg. 285

© Thomas Mullen 2009

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