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A Non-Voter’s Thoughts on Ron Paul

November 19, 2007 Leave a comment

A Non-Voter’s Thoughts on Ron Paul

by Bretigne Shaffer
by Bretigne Shaffer


DIGG THIS

As long as it’s just George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and John Ashcroft who are evil – a “bad batch” – then you don’t have to kick the habit entirely. Just make sure you get a good batch next time – elect “good” politicians – and you’ll never have to question the political system to which you have become attached.

~ Me, three years ago: “Kick the Habit: Politics Is Not the Answer

I can’t believe the things that have been coming out of my mouth these past few months. If anyone had told me a year ago that today I’d be sending an e-mail to my friends urging them to vote – and to vote Republican – I would have said that person was either nuts or just didn’t know me.

And yet here I am, writing the e-mails, getting involved in the movement, and trying to explain to my friends – long used to hearing me tell them why voting is worse than a waste of time, how it helps perpetuate a system that is destructive and wrong – why this time it’s different, this time it not only makes sense to vote, but they must vote …and get all of their friends to do it too.

And all the while, a little voice gnaws away at me, asking if I’m not just falling into the same trap I warned against when I wrote about the 2004 elections “Kick the Habit: Politics is Not the Answer“; If I’m not just putting my faith in a politician to solve problems that have no political solution; If I’m not just trying to solve problems with the very mechanism that created them; if I’m not granting legitimacy to the state by participating in its elections. And the truth is, I don’t have a clean answer to any of those questions. I can’t just dismiss them or pretend I’m not in fact falling victim to the same attachment to political solutions – the same addiction – that I saw so clearly as being part of the problem four years ago, and that I still believe is part of the problem.

But neither can I answer the other voice that asks questions just as troubling. Questions like: “so why haven’t you, and the anti-war movement, been able to end the war in Iraq?” and “what exactly is it you’re going to do to stop them from nuking Iran?” I don’t have answers to these questions either, and I am quite frankly tired of feeling helpless in the face of this kind of evil. And I know: that’s how they suck you in. That’s what politicians and drug pushers alike look for in their potential customers: a sense of helplessness, neediness… an emptiness needing to be filled. I know all that.

But I also know that this time something is different. Ron Paul’s entire political career calls into question my beliefs about how political systems work and how politicians survive within them. My understanding of democratic politics may explain everyone else in Washington, but it certainly doesn’t explain Dr. Paul’s success in being elected and returned to office for ten terms. Or maybe he is the exception that proves my rules. Whatever he is, he is not the same animal as the others in Washington, he’s not selling the same stuff. And his candidacy for president forces me – and, I believe, anyone who has taken a principled stand against voting – to re-examine my reasons for not participating in the system.

The truth is, I never was a “principled” non-voter. I’ve always said – jokingly of course – that if a candidate came along who promised to drastically reduce the scope of government, and I trusted them to do so, and that person actually had a shot at winning, I would have to consider voting for that person. Not surprisingly, I have never been faced with this particular dilemma. I suspect that I am not alone among lifetime non-voters who have never really had to examine their stance. As long as there is clearly no point in voting, we are never really forced to dig deeply into the reasons why we don’t vote. And, certainly in my lifetime, there has never been any point in voting in a presidential election. Until now.

I first encountered Ron Paul the last time he was running for president. He was running as the Libertarian candidate, and nobody even pretended he had a chance of winning. As an opportunity to spread ideas about liberty and free markets though, my friends and I thought his candidacy was a good thing. One of my friends wrote to him and asked him to come speak at our school, the University of California at Santa Cruz (think Cuba to UC Berkeley’s Kremlin).

This was 1987, when the “Internet” was little more than a handful of geeks in computer labs engaging in vibrant discussions on a Unix platform and sometimes making little pictures with X’s and O’s across the screen. My friends and I spent one Saturday plastering the UC campus with “Who is Ron Paul?” flyers and did whatever else we could think of to spread the word in advance of his appearance. When the evening came, maybe six or seven people showed up. (One of my co-organizers says it may have been a dozen, but I think she’s being generous.)

The word “gracious” does not describe Dr. Paul’s response to the meager turnout. “Gracious” would have been skillfully concealing his annoyance and soldiering on through the evening. Dr. Paul was not gracious. He was genuine and engaged and seemed to care only about presenting and defending the ideas he cares about so deeply. He was, I imagine, the same person he continues to be as he pursues the Republican nomination today; a person committed to liberty, doing whatever he can to bring it about in our society.

The contrast between our pathetic gathering twenty years ago and the rock-star receptions Dr. Paul receives wherever he goes today is heart-warming and gratifying. It makes me happy that Dr. Paul’s years of tirelessly speaking the same words in defense of freedom are paying off, and it makes me feel that there may yet be hope for this country.

Like many of his supporters, I don’t agree with Dr. Paul on all of his positions. We part ways on abortion and immigration. But the issues where we do agree are so important and there is so much at stake that our differences are not an impediment to my support. More importantly – and I believe this is one of the greatest keys to his success – I know that his stance on each issue is the product of his genuinely held beliefs. He does not choose his words based on opinion polls or on the fundraising successes they have earned other candidates, but on his own understanding of what is right and what is wrong. Because of this I have unending respect for the man.

I don’t think I am alone in this. People are beyond fed up with empty political promises. They are tired of meaningless “choices” at the ballot box. They are rightly cynical about the entire process. Ron Paul has spent over 30 years of his life demonstrating that his promises are not empty and that he is utterly devoted to the pursuit of liberty in this country. Even people who have just been introduced to him see that he means what he says.

And this changes things. People are accustomed to voting for the lesser of two evils. What happens when someone who is not evil shows up? Integrity is not generally an ingredient found in presidential elections and its presence here now changes the entire nature of the game. Ron Paul is not playing by the same rules as everyone else, and by playing by his own rules – by committing the political cardinal sin of meaning what he says – he changes the rules for everyone else. Candidates are now no longer measured against other politicians whose words mean nothing, but against a man of integrity, and in order to succeed they must rise to his level. But they can’t. A reputation earned in over thirty years of dealing with people is not something that can be bought. Nor can it be “spun” out of thin air. Quite simply: Ron Paul has something none of the other candidates have or can get in time for the elections. This fact alone could very possibly win him the Republican nomination and even the presidency.

And that’s when my own words come back to haunt me. There’s that voice, reminding me that I don’t even believe in the process. That I don’t want anyone to be my president, that decisions over how much freedom I have shouldn’t be up to the majority. That by participating in the system, I’m agreeing that they should, that the majority has the right to rule over my life. So, for the record: I don’t want a president. And I don’t grant the majority the right to make decisions over my life.

But what is at stake is so great now that it is just no longer acceptable to not try whatever means I can find to fight what is going on. It is not acceptable to sit by and watch as “my” government lays waste to entire nations of human beings who have never done me any harm. It is not acceptable to sit by as the same government lays waste to the (however imperfect) institutions that evolved to protect citizens’ rights and freedom from tyranny. Not if there’s anything I can do to stop it. So, if there’s even a chance that Dr. Paul can have an impact in these areas, I feel an obligation to help him do that.

It’s not like I haven’t tried other things. I’ve stood out in front of the New York Public Library in sub-zero weather handing out anti-war pamphlets. I’ve written articles. I’ve marched in anti-war demonstrations alongside tens if not hundreds of thousands of other people – demonstrations that, if you get your information from the mainstream media, never happened. I’ve tried what I knew to try, and none of it has worked. The evils committed by the state – in my name and with my money – have only gotten worse and more widespread, and will continue to do so.

The truth is: I just don’t know what else to do.

So, come February, or whenever it is they hold the primaries in my state (I’m told I can only do this in one state, which is disappointing), I’ll be marching myself down to the voting booths and I’ll be pulling a lever… or filling in a form… or tapping on a screen. Actually, I don’t exactly know how I’ll be doing it, but I’ll be doing what I’ve never done before and what I never thought I’d ever do: Voting in an election for a presidential candidate who I believe can make things better.

I’ve long believed that politicians cannot get ahead by delivering more freedom and less government; that the game of politics can be won only by delivering more favors and more of other people’s money to one’s constituents; that the only real winner, ultimately, is the state, and that those who play the game end up serving its expansion. I’ve always qualified my condemnation of politics and politicians with the words “except for Ron Paul.” I’d then usually say something like “but of course he doesn’t actually accomplish anything.” Well I was wrong about that. Really really wrong. For all these years, Dr. Paul has been building something no other politician has – something that when just one person has it, suddenly becomes an incredibly valuable asset: credibility.

The question with regard to Ron Paul is not whether or not he will keep his campaign promises – he will. The only question is whether he will be able to accomplish what he has set out to. Will he be elected? And if he is, how far will he be able to get on his wish list of dismantling the leviathan state to which we have become so accustomed?

I don’t have answers to either of these questions. And anyone who says they do doesn’t understand what is happening here: The very nature of the game is changing and all because one man has insisted all along on playing it his way.

So maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it is possible to effect positive change toward a more free society through the political process. Ron Paul has proven me wrong once already and he may just do it again.

I hope he does.

November 15, 2007

Bretigne Shaffer [send her mail] is a writer and filmmaker living in the Bay Area. She also directs the Free World Media Center, the media production center of the non-profit Liberty and Privacy Network. The views she expresses here are her own and do not reflect the views of the Free World Media Center or the LPN.

Copyright 2007 LewRockwell.com

 

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Dear Dr. Paul

November 19, 2007 Leave a comment

Dear Dr. Paul

by John Hamilton
by John Hamilton


DIGG THIS

Enclosed please find a photograph of my two precious children. These children are precious to me and motivate me greatly to give them a better life than I have had. I am not saying I have had a bad life. On the contrary I have had what I consider a great life. And isn’t that part of the American dream, that our children have a better life than we had?

The reason I am writing you, and the reason I am enclosing these photos, is because they are a major reason for me to make sacrifices in time, in money, in energy and in prayer to do everything I can to see that you become our next president.

I am currently 40 years old and know that if things continue as they are going that when I am old that things will be different than they are today. I know that I will not be able to rely on social security to support me. I know that prices will be higher and that my privacy will be less. And I know that we will still be tilting at windmills in our nebulous and expensive wars on all perceived social and political ills. These facts I can live with. I may not like them but I have had 40 years of mostly freedom to prepare for it. I also had the privilege to be educated and raised in such a way as to understand and love the American ideal.

When I look at my 3-year-old daughter, Grace, and my infant son, Asa, I shudder to think what this country will be like when they are old.

If we continue on our current course my children will be adults in a country totally unrelated to the America that I grew up in. In their America, freedom, and liberty and privacy will be words that have a completely different meaning than what you and I know they mean. They will live in a society still at war with half the planet. They will live in a country that dictates what medical procedures they can have and what supplements they can take. They will live in a country that may or may not remember that it was once a world leader in economics and technology and most importantly freedom. Their dollars will purchase just a fraction of what our dollars purchase.

When I was a young adult my country was the envy of the world. Many people wanted what we had. When I was a young adult my country was a creditor nation that people looked to for aid and assistance. When my children are adults I fear the rest of the world will fear their country and that they will be pariahs if they travel outside her borders. When they are adults I fear that we will be begging favor of other countries because of our collapsed currency and low standing in the world.

When I was a child I was taught that our government was made to insure freedom for its citizens. I fear that my children will be conditioned to believe that we give our government freedom in return for safety and security.

I know that you have undertaken a daunting task in pursuing the presidency. A daunting, exhausting and draining task if there ever was one. When you are attacked, when you are exhausted, when you feel the strain of the constant demand placed upon you in these upcoming months please think of these children, and the tens of thousands of others just like them, and think what they have to look forward to if you and I and the rest of your supporters do not succeed. Realize that they have done nothing to inherit a multi-trillion dollar debt, war without end, a failing currency, or a government that treats them as subjects.

I consider you my best hope that my children have a better life than I have had. And it is for that reason that I will do all in my power to help you succeed. For them and the multitudes like them, it is imperative that you do succeed.

Note the open mouth expression on my daughters face. It is because the picture was taken while she was in the back of a Ron Paul truck in a Veterans Day parade yelling “Vote for Ron Paul, Vote for Ron Paul!”

Sincerely,
John Hamilton

November 17, 2007

John Hamilton [send him mail] is Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Arkansas.

Copyright © 2007 LewRockwell.com

 

Find this article at:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig8/hamilton-j1.html

Glenn Beck asks if our military should be used on “domestic enemies”? Like Ron Paul supporters?

November 19, 2007 Leave a comment

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Headzup: Are Ron Paul Supporters Terrorists?Youtube
Monday November 19, 2007

Glenn Beck asks if our military should be used on “domestic enemies”? Like Ron Paul supporters?

Check out the actual segment here–
http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/…



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Muslims Discover Ron Paul

November 19, 2007 2 comments
Muslims Discover Ron PaulBy Maria Hussain
11-18-7
http://www.rense.com/general79/musron.htm
NOTE:
Please click on above link for a good format to read–Thanx! DickG
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
After the Republican debate on Tuesday evening in Dearborn, Mich., a reporter from the Arab-American News asked Ron Paul what he thought of the term “Islamic fascism.”
“It’s a false term to make people think we’re fighting Hitler,” Paul responded. “It’s war propaganda designed to generate fear so that the war has to be spread.”
The call has gone out to all the Muslim Americans to hurry up and register to vote Republican so that they can vote in the Republican Primary to support Ron Paul, the anti-interventionist, non-isolationist candidate for President of the United States. Muslims are opening their wallets and joining teaparty07.com as well.
An anonymous Ron Paul supporter posted the following message on the internet: “Muslims and Americans have an unique window of opportunity for the 2008 election. There is a candidate running as a Republican that would work to completely cut off the funding to Israel, remove ALL US troops from Arab lands, and repeal the Patriot Act. He’s a Republican with Libertarian views named Ron Paul. Ron Paul’s policies ranging from monetary to foreign are top notch. Till now Muslims and Americans have not had an American Presidential candidate that really suited their best interests. This election is unique in that we have a man running as a Republican that speaks the truthWe know the current policies in the Middle East are failing, not only making it less safe in the world but hurting and killing innocent Muslims, which our media callously calls collateral damage. It is our duty as Muslims to follow the truth regardless of how futile it may seem. Ron Paul is the only candidate that does not seem to be swayed by the influential lobbies that the other candidates are catering to.”
Ron Paul stood up in Congress in 2006 and opposed a resolution that sided with Israel in the Lebanon-Israel conflict. He stated the following.
Ron Paul: “Mr. Speaker, I follow a policy in foreign affairs called non-interventionism. I do not believe we are making the United States more secure when we involve ourselves in conflicts overseas. The Constitution really doesn’t authorize us to be the policemen of the world, much less to favor one side over another in foreign conflicts. It is very clear, reading this resolution objectively, that all the terrorists are on one side and all the victims and the innocents are on the other side. I find this unfair, particularly considering the significantly higher number of civilian casualties among Lebanese civilians. I would rather advocate neutrality rather than picking sides, which is what this resolution does.”
Ron Paul has also sponsored a bill to overturn the Patriot Act. He is one of the few members of Congress from either of the major houses that is speaking rationally about these issues. How can we get everyone, and I mean everyone, to join the Ron Paul Republican voter sign-up campaign?
There is general frustration with politicians these days, and the unwillingness to believe that supporting a particular candidate will make a difference. But whether Ron Paul wins or loses, ronpaul.meetup.com is a great way to meet your neighbors who are against the war and organize the community on a grassroots level. If something like Katrina ever happened to us, knowing our neighbors could mean the difference between life and death to our families.
The common thread I’ve been reading lately about leftists and Jews is that they are having trouble getting more than a dozen people to come to their stuff (whether anti-Zionist or Zionist). The anti-Israel movement is not moving forward, because “protest Zionist imperialism” is just not a catchy slogan. By contrast, there are over 400 RP activists against war taxes in Boston alone. Every day the list of passionate anti-war activists grows. Very few of them agree with every single RP position, they just want to get the Lobby out of the way and pull the troops out of Iraq.
One reason it’s working is because of the software. They made the ronpaul.meetup.com site almost like a dating site, where you can make friends with people in or near your zip code. They made it very easy to get together with new people to join the activism. You can’t beat technology, may as well use it.
In the event that RP actually won the election and got the Hamas treatment, his supporters are fully in support of the Right to Bear Arms. It would be interesting to see what followed.
If anti-war protesters want to continue to focus on the genocidal machinations of the global zionist-imperialist military, industrial, financial, political, neoliberal, media complex, they have to be willing to meet with anyone any time to hear what ideas people have to address this, which is our primary responsibility – even if they are Republicans.
If you ever saw Ron Paul in an interview it cannot be said that he avoids discussing vital issues. He is someone who is willing to make a statement and stick by it even when no one agrees with him. I don’t “believe” in electoral politics but it’s not that much sweat off my brow to go and vote to end war.
I think the fact that NO pro-Israel group will let Ron Paul speak at their convention, not even peace Zionists, is evidence enough that he is the only person to put in charge as commander-in-chief. And, even if he loses, making all these contacts with local anti-interventionists is priceless. If you want to expand the peace movement so that it overlaps with the freedom movement like ripples in a pond, you just have to respect the fact that people might agree with you, but for different reasons.
http://mariahussain.wordpress.com/2007/11/18/muslims-discover-ron-paul/
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Are Ron Paul Supporters “Constitutional Terrorists”?

November 19, 2007 Leave a comment

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Are Ron Paul Supporters “Constitutional Terrorists”?

Kurt Nimmo
TruthNews
Monday November 19, 2007

In the wake of Glenn Beck calling Ron Paul supporters “terrorists,” we should remember that the FBI—at least the FBI’s Phoenix anti-terrorism task force—believes those of us who support the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are terrorists.

“A disturbing flyer purportedly authored by the FBI’s Phoenix anti-terrorism task force has been circulating in the conservative community. The flyer instructs the reader to report as a possible terrorist anyone who asks why they were stopped by police or anyone who dares to defend “the U.S. Constitution against federal [sic] government,’” Declan McCullagh wrote back in November, 2001.

So I gave the FBI field office a call. FBI spokesman Ed Hall confirmed the flyer was produced by the joint anti-terrorism task force in Phoenix. But he said it dealt with domestic terrorism: “That flyer was put out two years ago. Someone picked it up, and put it on the Internet like it was put out this week.”

Hall admitted the section that said anyone spotting a defender of the U.S. Constitution “should call the Joint Terrorism Task Force” was perhaps a tiny bit ill-advised. “It could have been a bit better foundation worded saying you’re not a right-wing extremist if you defend the Constitution… or if you ask a police officer why they’re stopping you. There’s some misinterpretation there.”

He added: “Not that a person who defends the Constitution is a criminal or terrorist, or a person who askes you, ‘Why did you stop me’ may be a terrorist, but certain things, I don’t want to use the word common, certain characteristics that these people who were legitimately investigated reflect it.”

Is it possible the FBI considered its COINTELPRO “a tiny bit ill-advised” and that’s why it went on, undiscovered and uninterrupted, for decades, destroying countless lives, including the actress Jean Seeberg and any number of less famous activists?

In fact, the brochure in question is quite explicit and reading it leaves little room for “misinterpretation.”

Al Lorentz, chairman of the Constitution Party of Texas, writes:

Many of you have no doubt heard of the FBI’s pamphlet on identifying domestic terrorism. Perhaps you saw as I did the black and white copies floating around but wondered if these were simply manufactured on someone’s personal computer. I frankly thought the same when I first saw them and so I wrote to the FBI’s office in Phoenix and received an anonymous and official reply from a nameless individual there.

The tone of the letter I received back was both officious and rude. “Yes” the brochure was printed by them but it went on to explain “the general public was not supposed to see it”. I wonder if that would be a defense to a traffic ticket “Yes officer, I was speeding but you weren’t supposed to see me”.

The letter also went on to assure me that the brochures were never in fact distributed even though I and hundreds of others have seen them which begs the question: “How did I get a copy of this brochure?”

Now a color copy has surfaced and we have it here for all to see. We ask that instead of copying the picture, you distribute a link to the page because we want to make people aware of more than just the brochure, we want to make them aware that there is a political party that is legitimate with a long history that is not only aware, it is doing something. In addition to this brochure, those who receive the link from you will also find a website that is dedicated to the preservation of our Constitutional Republic and provides insight, commentary and resources to that cause.

Follow this link to see a reproduction of the color brochure.

Indeed, it appears the FBI campaign against “Constitutional terrorists” has gone prime-time—from the Joint Terrorism Task Force to corporate media neocon shills such as Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly, the latter who wants to lock up “leftist loons” in opposition to the occupation of Iraq, including filmmaker Brian DePalma and billionaire Mark Cuban.

Finally, it is likely no coincidence O’Reilly characterizes his enemies as “loons,” a noun defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as follows: “One who is crazy or deranged.” And “liberal” Bill Mahr believes those who talk about reality—Building 7 was not brought down by fire alone—are in need of Paxil.

Recall Bush’s “New Freedom Initiative,” a blatant violation of the Fourth and Tenth Amendments, designed not only to test children for inappropriate thoughts—for instance, thoughts inculcated by home schooling parents—but potential dissidents as well. “It will also help the fascists who are controlling our government to keep our dissidents and independent thinkers under chemical restraints just like they’ve done to so many children in foster incarceration facilities,” explains the Fight CPS website. “It will help them break down the will and autonomy of the population, forcing more beautiful souls to become mindless, over-medicated sheep.”

As Dr. Rima Laibow notes in the film “One Nation Under Siege,” it is a distinct possibility the government may one day forcibly medicate the “politically insane,” for their own good as well as society. Bill O’Reilly’s task is to prepare for this possibility right out of the Soviet Union—where dissidents and other “socially undesirable people” were sent to Psikhushka psychiatric-prisons.

But then, as the United States increasingly resembles the Soviet Union, this development is to be expected. After all, former Stasi chief Markus Wolfe and former head of the KGB General Yevgeni Primakov were hired by the Ministry of Homeland Security for a specific reason.


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Ron Paul Dollars Soar Above $200 on eBay After Raid on Liberty Dollar

November 19, 2007 Leave a comment

http://www.jonesreport.com/articles/161107_ron_paul_dollars.html

Ron Paul Dollars Soar Above $200 on eBay After Raid on Liberty Dollar

JonesReport.com | November 16, 2007

Uncertainty after the raid on Liberty Dollar has led to a sharp spike in the trade value of Ron Paul Liberty Dollars on eBay. Almost two tons of the commemorative Ron Paul Dollars were reportedly seized by the FBI, along with the companies other holdings in gold, silver and platinum.

The company states that it is unsure if production will resume or if outstanding orders can ever be fulfilled due to the seizure and pending charges for supposed ‘mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.’

Some of these 1 oz. coins– previously sold for $20– are exceeding prices of $200 amidst the uncertainty surrounding Liberty Dollar. Most eBay items don’t reach full value until the last few minutes of the auction– so that price could spike further. One Ron Paul dollar has now sold at a winning bid of $330.

http://www.jonesreport.com/articles/161107_ron_paul_dollars.html

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Guide to Leadership

November 19, 2007 Leave a comment

Guide to Leadership

by Charley Reese
by Charley Reese


DIGG THIS

As you watch the presidential election unfold, I thought you might find it useful to read the qualities of a good leader as listed by an ancient Chinese emperor in the Tang Dynasty.

He starts off by saying a good leader must be a man of few words, must be modest toward the people, and must be able to suppress his emotions. He must be a good negotiator.

He lists the following qualities necessary for good governance: respect for those with wisdom and virtue; caring for the people as if they were your own children; promoting the development of industry; and establishing friendly relations with people abroad.

“As birds in a forest and fish live aplenty in wide rivers, with plenty of love and reason in governing a country, people will naturally come together. All the disasters of life come from lack of love and reason,” the emperor wrote.

He warns that a leader must make the distinction between public and personal affairs and never give special attention to family or specific interest groups; he should be extremely careful of what he says in public; he should also be educated, as uneducated people involved in politics cannot make effective and rightful policies.

Here is some advice that might ring a bell with some of you. They are the four things a ruler must never do. He must never rule with falsehoods and lies. He must never forget public duties and responsibilities and instead pursue personal interests and desires. He must never lack restraint and self-control. He must never be materialistic, extravagant and conceited.

Just so you’ll know that free speech is not a modern invention, the old emperor, whose rule began in 626 A.D., warns: “To suppress freedom of speech is like blocking the flow of a river. Eventually the force of the water will lead it to overflow and flood the surroundings, causing a large number of casualties. It is best not to suppress the voice of the people and instead listen attentively to their criticism.”

While noting that everyone is free to believe whatever religion he or she chooses, he warns that a ruler must not preach religion. He warns against reckless wars lest they wear out the army and lead to defeat.

“Looking back in history, those who irresponsibly sent troops to combats for no reason have been defeated. Armaments are a country’s weapons. Constant engagement in war can wear out the people of even the world’s largest nations,” he wrote.

Knowledge is always time- and place-specific, and therefore can become obsolete. We no longer need to know how to fight with a sword, for example. Wisdom, however, is universal and timeless. The principles involved in good governing are the same today as they were 2,000 years ago.

These excerpts from the emperor’s writing are contained in a fine little book, Secret Tactics: Lessons From the Great Masters of Martial Arts, edited by Kazumi Tabata, a grandmaster in the Shotokan style of Japanese karate. The 138 pages of this book, published by Tuttle Publishing, contain a lot of sound advice and wisdom.

So there you have a few criteria by which to judge the candidates. I haven’t seen much humility – or reason, for that matter. With the exception of Ron Paul, all the Republicans seem to be competing to be the chief warmonger. The Democrats are following the script written for them by the Israeli lobby. You would think a nation of 300 million people could find a better slate of candidates, but unfortunately money is everything in American politics. Big money wants servility, not leadership, in its candidates.

November 19, 2007

Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years .

© 2007 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

Charley Reese Archives

 
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Pitts: Who Made Al Sharpton the President of Blacks?

November 19, 2007 Leave a comment

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Pitts: Who Made Al Sharpton the President of Blacks?

Leonard Pitts Jr., The Miami Herald

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Beg pardon, but who died and made Al Sharpton president of the Negroes?

Not that Sharpton has ever declared himself as such. But the fact that some regard him as black America’s chief executive was driven home for the umpteenth time a few days ago after TV reality show bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman got in trouble for using a certain toxic racial epithet — six letters, starts with “n,” rhymes with digger — on the phone with his son.

As you may have heard, Chapman was expressing disapproval of the son’s black girlfriend. “It’s not because she’s black,” he said. “It’s because we use the word ‘n——-’ sometimes here. I’m not going to take a chance ever in life of losing everything I’ve worked for for 30 years because some f——— n——- heard us say ‘n——-’ and turned us in to the Enquirer magazine.”

Naturally, the son sold a tape of the conversation to the National Enquirer. Which leaves me in the awkward position of simultaneously loathing what Chapman said and pitying him for having raised a rat fink son who would sell out his own father for a few pieces of silver. Anyway, with his life and career circling the drain, an apologetic Chapman fell back on what is becoming standard operating procedure for celebrities who defame black folk. He contacted Sharpton.

In so doing, he follows the trail blazed by Don Imus, Washington shock jock Doug “Greaseman” Tracht, and Michael Richards, who sought out Sharpton (or, alternately, Jesse Jackson) after saying what they wished they had not. They were all in turn following the news media, which, whenever a quote on some racial matter is required, turn to the right reverends by reflex. You’d think they knew no other Negroes.

I don’t begrudge Jackson or Sharpton their fame. Jena, La., might have gone unnoticed had they not used that fame to direct public attention there. Still, I question whether we ought not by now have grown beyond the notion that one or two men can speak for, or offer absolution in the name of, 36 million people.

Certainly, black America has a long and distinguished history of charismatic leadership, from Frederick Douglass to Booker T. Washington to W.E.B. DuBois to Marcus Garvey to Malcolm X to Martin Luther King Jr. It was King to whom the “president of the Negroes” honorific was jokingly applied during the civil rights era in recognition of the moral authority that allowed him to rally masses. Since King’s murder in 1968, a number of men have jockeyed to position themselves as his heir. They have not been conspicuous by their success.

Louis Farrakhan couldn’t do it, handicapped as he is by the fact that he is Louis Farrakhan. Sharpton couldn’t do it; one hardly thinks of moral authority when one thinks of the man at the center of the Tawana Brawley debacle. Jesse Jackson seemed to presage a new era of charismatic leadership when he ran for president, but he is dogged by a perception some of us have that he serves no cause higher than himself.

But beyond the strengths and weaknesses of the men who seek to be charismatic leaders, there is a sense that the job itself has grown obsolete. Who, after all, are the nation’s white leaders? To what one man or woman do you apologize when you insult white folks? Doesn’t the very idea that there could be one person deny the complexity and diversity of the population?

Similarly, black America is served by dozens of magazines, Web sites, television networks and media figures that did not exist when King was killed. So it’s about time news media — and those who will insult us in the future — get past this notion that one or two people are anointed to speak for 36 million. That is a simplistic, antiquated and faintly condescending idea.

I speak for myself. Don’t you?

 
 
 

 
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Americans: Sheep to the Constitutional Slaughter?

November 19, 2007 Leave a comment

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Reason Magazine

Americans: Sheep to the Constitutional Slaughter?

An Interview with Judge Andrew Napolitano


Judge Andrew Napolitano
is one of American media’s most tenacious defenders of Americans’ rights. His official title at Fox News, where he appears regularly on Fox and Friends and The Big Story, is “Senior Judicial Analyst.” But at the often Bush-besotted network, the decidedly skeptical Napolitano thinks of himself more as “House Civil Libertarian.”

He’s the youngest life-tenured Superior Court judge in New Jersey history, and a former teacher of constitutional law at Seton Hall Law School. He also writes books alerting Americans to how their own government threatens their liberties, including The Constitution in Exile and Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When the Government Breaks Its Own Laws. Nick Gillespie interviewed Napolitano for our March 2005 issue.

Napolitano’s latest book is the pugnaciously and provocatively titled A Nation of Sheep. The book is certainly sharply critical of the Bush administration for its assaults on our freedom and privacy. But Napolitano also provides valuable historical context, showing there’s little new under the sun when it comes to the tendency of power to expand, even in a nation explicitly built to keep government powers as tiny oceans in a sea of individual rights.

He tells of Daniel Ellsberg’s brave stance against government wartime secrecy during Vietnam, former Ohio Congressman Clement Vallandigham’s standing up to Abraham Lincoln (and subsequent arrest and banishment after a military commission trial for doing so), and Vermont Congressman Matthew Lyon’s arrest for insulting President John Adams.

The book is wide-ranging in history and subject matter, containing entertaining (and often blood-curdling) takes on potential threats from ever-present surveillance cameras, the Transportation Security Administration, the government’s insistence that it can grab any private information a company may have collected about you, press pusillanimity, and our government’s yen for torture. It hits the pleasing tone of all-American barn-burning dudgeon that animated the Americans who, enraged with Lincoln’s treatment of Vallandigham, as Napolitano writes, “rioted and burned the local Republican building, cut down telegraph lines, and destroyed a bridge.”

I spoke to Judge Napolitano by phone on November 12, touching on some of the matters that most alarm him these days about America, a nation that has in his estimation become alarmingly close to a nation of sheep.

reason: Your book contains over 200 pages of alarming stuff (except for the part in the back where, for your readers convenience, you reprint the Declaration of Independence and Constitution), but let’s touch on some specific ills affecting the health of constitutional liberties in America. What, for example, is the “special needs exception” to the 4th Amendment that 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Chester Straub invoked, as you discuss in chapter 2?

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Of course, there is no “special needs exception,” not in case law, not in the Constitution. But it’s an argument that big government makes whenever it feels constrained by the document that created it, namely the Constitution.

The government has dispatched its lawyers into federal court to make this so-called “special needs” argument. It says to the court—it’s the sort of pedestrian argument you and I hear every day—”Oh, the Constitution was written 230 years ago. These guys couldn’t have anticipated planes into buildings or wiretaps. They were not the subject of ethnic and religious hatred like we receive from Islamo-fascism today.” So the “special needs” of public safety require us to find in the Constitution—and they never admit they are going around the Constitution—to find authority to do a, b, c, and d, which might be, oh, wiretap without a warrant, monitor the keystrokes on citizens’ computers, open mail, and use self-written search warrants.

And some judges regrettably have accepted this argument. [Former Attorney General Alberto] Gonzales did not make it up. Government’s been arguing this for years, though the phrase “special needs” is not a term of art in law; it’s just a handle used by federal prosecutors when they do not want to uphold their oath of office to uphold the Constitution.

reason: The Patriot Act seems to be a special bete noire of yours. What’s the problem with it?

Napolitano: The Patriot Act’s two most principle constitutional errors are an assault on the Fourth Amendment, and on the First. It permits federal agents to write their own search warrants [under the name “national security letters”] with no judge having examined evidence and agreed that it’s likely that the person or thing the government wants to search will reveal evidence of a crime.

Remember that the British government permitted its soldiers to execute self-written search warrants. They called them “writs of assistance,” and they were one of the last straws that caused American colonist to rebel. It’s bitterly ironic that 230 years later a popularly elected government would authorize its own agents to do the same thing that when a monarchy did it, we fought a war of rebellion in reaction—which we won!

Not only that, but the Patriot Act makes it a felony for the recipient of a self-written search warrant to reveal it to anyone. The Patriot Act allows [agents] to serve self-written search warrants on financial institutions, and the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2004 in Orwellian language defines that to include in addition to banks, also delis, bodegas, restaurants, hotels, doctors’ offices, lawyers’ offices, telecoms, HMOs, hospitals, casinos, jewelry dealers, automobile dealers, boat dealers, and that great financial institution to which we all would repose our fortunes, the post office.

So FBI agents can write their own search warrant with just the permission of their superior, no judge at all, nobody at the main Department of Justice, and serve it essentially on any entity they want, and if they serve this search warrant on your doctor, lawyer, grocer, or mailman, and that doctor, lawyer, grocer, or mailman tells you they received it, then that doctor, lawyer, grocer, or mailman, can be prosecuted for a felony, face five years in jail. What part of the First Amendment’s “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech” do they not understand?

This creates a Soviet-style conundrum for the recipient, who can’t even tell his or her lawyer or general counsel about getting the search warrant. You can’t hire outside counsel to challenge it, you can’t mention it to your spouse on the pillow, to your priest in confession—not even to a federal judge in a federal courtroom where all language except perjury should be permitted. This is a conundrum the likes of which government has never visited even under the Alien and Sedition Act. If they prosecuted you for criticizing [President John] Adams you could complain about it to your heart’s content without being charged with another crime.

reason: The Patriot Act was sold as a necessary protection from terror. How has that worked out?

Napolitano: How many people has the DOJ convicted in a jury trial for terrorism based on evidence obtained from the Patriot Act? Zero. They’ve gotten people to plead guilty, to fold, and convicted many on drug trafficking, white slavery, prostitution, gambling, and political corruption, but haven’t gotten a single [terror] case where they presented evidence in a public court before a judge and jury and the jury found a defendant guilty under evidence obtained under Patriot Act.

The reasons stated by [Attorney General John] Ashcroft and the House Republican leadership for there being no debate on the Patriot Act was that terrorists were under every bed, behind every toilet, and inside every refrigerator. Therefore the Patriot Act was so necessary to keep the country safe that there was no time for debate. The most sinful aspect of its passage was how members of the House were not permitted to read it. It was posted on the House Intranet for 15 min [before the vote] and it’s 315 pages long. I read it twice, and it took me 20 hours each time. And you need in front of you not just it, but lots of other statutes, the full U.S. criminal code, to process it. It does lots of amending of other statutes, so you need to reread [those] statues to figure out what government has done by amending that statute.

I was speaking in the Midwest—I don’t want to tell you where, somewhere in the great Heartland—two weeks ago and at the end of my speech, after I said many of these things I’m saying here and in my book, there was a congressman in the audience. He and I socialized a bit, and he said, “Judge, I’m a little ill at ease. I didn’t know until hearing you tonight that the Patriot Act permitted self-written search warrants and criminalized speech about receiving them, and I voted for it twice.”

And I said—knowing how he was going to answer—I asked, “Didn’t you read it? You voted on it.” No, he didn’t have time, he only read the summary. And he didn’t remember the summary talking about self-written search warrants and criminalized speech. He told me many of his colleagues were in the same situation. I said, “WRONG—all your colleagues are in the same situation! No one in the House except maybe leadership read the Patriot Act you voted on!” It’s abominable for the government to tamper with our basic liberties—but it’s inconceivable that they would do so without any debate.

reason: Yet it happened. You called your book A Nation of Sheep, which indicates a pretty low opinion of the people who would let their elected representatives do this to them. But Bush’s approval ratings are pretty low—it seems as if there is something about his administration that’s begun to piss people off. You must have a lot of opportunity to hear from the public with your status as a big public voice on these issues—how upset are Americans about all this?

Napolitano: There is more widespread feeling [against these assaults on our liberty] than you would think, though I have discovered that widespread feeling after coming up with the title of the book! One place I’ve discovered a lot of it I didn’t expect…I speak to lots of right to life groups; I describe myself as “fiercely pro-life,” and I’ve found among right to life groups tremendous disdain with the president and the Congress about abuse of the Constitution, much to my surprise. If while talking about Roe v. Wade I make a comment about Bush and Congress tampering with the Constitution, I’m interrupted with a standing ovation at right to life gatherings, so there is this undercurrent of anger [over the Bush-era assaults on the Constitution].

Another platform for that undercurrent is the campaign of Ron Paul. Congressman Paul has rejuvenated almost single-handedly the Goldwater wing of the GOP. Now Reagan tried, before [James] Baker and his boys advised him on how to behave. Now, I loved the man, but if you look at his record and rhetoric, they are two different things. But Ron Paul had made it legitimate again for small government, maximum individual liberty, Goldwater Republicans to come forth and complain about big government, and I am the recipient of lots of those complaints.

Now, for the most part the president and his colleagues in both parties have succeeded in scaring the daylights out of people. Government grows in wartime because people are afraid, and they accept the satanic bargain that government offers: Give us your liberty and we will keep you safe. Many people think that when government is suppressing speech or privacy or fair prosecutions, that since those usurpations are so drastic that they must be keeping us safer.

But when the president says that his first job is to keep us safe, He is dead wrong. Read the oath of office: His first job is not to keep us safe, but to keep us free [by upholding the Constitution]. When you have this value judgment between freedom and safety, I’d rather have freedom with danger than slavery with safety.

But the supposed tradeoff when it comes to civil liberties isn’t really there. Geoffrey Stone of the University of Chicago Law School spent five years reading every judicial opinion in the history of the United States on freedom of speech. Of all the cases of people prosecuted and convicted of violating some law that regulated speech, his conclusion is there is not one, not one single instance in all American history, where America’s security was adversely affected because of too much free speech. When government says it is keeping you safer by criminalizing speech, it’s a canard. They are making their own job easier by criminalizing speech because they have less dissent to confront.

reason: It seems like you really stand out from the flock at Fox, a network with a reputation for being far more supportive of Bush than you are. In fact, in your book you are downright hostile, even referring to “impeachable offenses.”

Napolitano: The arguments I am articulating here are arguments I have made in the hallways of Fox every day. But I love my job here and my role as house civil libertarian. I am able to do at Fox what I hope to do with this book—help people awake from lethargy and a naive trust of government and question whether or not a government has the power to take rights away. I argue it doesn’t—that these rights are natural and we should be debating these issues before our rights are taken away.

My favorite part of working at Fox, and my books, is the arguments I present about the difference between positivism and natural law, between those who believe all rights come from government, and the natural law position which says that rights come from our humanity, not from government; that we are created by God in his image and likeness, and as He is perfectly free, our rights to speech and thought, and to say what we think and write what we say, to develop our personality, to travel, to privacy, are all as natural as the fingernails on the ends of our finger.

This is more than an academic debate. If our rights come from government, then the Patriot Act is lawful and constitutional because the government that gives freedom can take it away just by having the president sign a bill into a law. But if rights come from our humanity, as I argue almost every day on Fox, then government cannot take freedom away absent due process and a fair trial, where you are charged and convicted of violating someone else’s freedom.

The president had said he believes in natural rights. Unfortunately when he signs these bills that take away our rights, he reveals he either doesn’t know what he’s doing or he doesn’t really believe in natural rights. The Patriot Act is not only unconstitutional, it’s unnatural, since it purports to take away that which naturally belongs to us.

reason: In chapter six, you discuss the very alarming “National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive 20/51” and the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007. What’s so bad about them?

Napolitano: Those basically allow the president to declare martial law whenever he thinks there’s a state of emergency. Then he—he or she—can use the military to enforce ordinary criminal law and even suspend the authority of state criminal enforcement agencies. This is wildly, fantastically unconstitutional because it allows one human being by declaring emergency–like Pervez Musharraf just did—to suspend rights guaranteed by the Constitution, and Americans don’t even know; there was very little debate or awareness of this.

reason: I noticed that “he or she” in your previous statement. Have you made any headway with your Republican friends on the matter of, well, they might believe in this whole “war on terror” and trust Bush needs these extraconstitutional powers to protect us, but what about when a president they don’t trust wants to use them for goals they don’t believe in?

Napolitano: Bill O’Reilly defended Bush on his declaration of three Americans as enemy combatants, before the Supreme Court told him he can’t do it—and Bush refused to even say why—but Bill said “I trust him, it’s good for him to do that.”

I asked him, “Would you give that power to Hillary Clinton? She could declare you an enemy combatant and dispatch you to Guantanamo.” He just said, “Would you come and visit?” I said, “No….they’d keep me down there too!”

So many of my Fox colleagues, whom I love working with, have such trust and faith in the heart and head of President Bush. But look at the calendar: He’ll be Mr. Bush in 14 months, and unless it’s Ron Paul, God knows what his successor will do with the powers Congress had purported to give him. And I say “purported” because they don’t have the right to actually do all the extraconstitutional things they’ve done.

Senior Editor Brian Doherty (bdoherty@reason.com) is author of This is Burning Man and Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement.

Discuss this article online.


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The Essence of Liberty #187, IV. The Monetary Breakdown of the West

November 19, 2007 Leave a comment

The Essence of Liberty : Part 187 (1)

Compiled by 

Dr. Jimmy T. (Gunny) LaBaume 

A Summary of: What Has Government Done to Our Money by Murray N. Rothbard by Jimmy T. LaBaume and Toni Jolin. (The complete book is available for download at http://www.mises.org/money.asp )

IV. The Monetary Breakdown of the West

 

Bretton Woods and the New Gold Exchange Standard 1945-1968

This new system was essentially the gold-exchange standard of the 1920s but with the dollar replacing the British pound as the “key currency.” No private individuals, only governments, were to be allowed to redeem dollars in the world gold currency. The uS started the post-war period with a very large stock of gold. Therefore, there was plenty of play for pyramiding dollar claims on top of it. Furthermore, the system was able to “work” for a while because all the world’s currencies returned to their pre-WWII pars and most of these pars were highly overvalued due to their inflated and depreciated currencies.

The result was an artificial undervaluation of the dollar and an undervaluation of most of the world’s other currencies. This made the dollar scarce and resulted in a “dollar shortage.” Ultimately the hapless American taxpayer was forced to make this up in the form of foreign aid.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s the harder-money countries of West Europe became nervous about being forced to accumulate increasingly overvalued dollars. As the value of the dollar fell, it became increasingly unwanted by foreign governments and the gold standard check came into use. During the two decades after the early 1950s, Gold flowed out of the US and its gold stock fell drastically.

The Unraveling of Bretton Woods, 1968-1971

The dollar kept inflating and depreciating and American balance of payments deficits continued. As this happened, Europeans (and other private citizens) started accelerating their sales of dollars into gold. As a result, in order to keep the dollar at $35 an ounce, the uS government was forced to leak gold from its ever dwindling stock to support the $35 price in London and Zurich.

Then, in 1968, a crises of confidence in the dollar caused the uS to implement a fundamental change in the monetary system. The idea of the “two-tier” gold market was hatched. Henceforth and forevermore, the uS would ignore the free market price for gold no longer try to keep it at $35. Instead, it and other governments agreed to keep the value of the dollar at $35.

In addition, the uS pushed hard for a new world paper currency to be issued by a future World Reserve Bank. The hope was that this new paper would eventually replace gold altogether.

Now that gold was cut off from its “support” by the dollar, the pro-paper economists were confident that it would disappear from the international monetary system. They predicted that the free-market gold price would soon fall below $35 and even down to the estimated “industrial” (non-monetary) price of $10 an ounce.

But American inflation and deficits continued as did the outflow of gold and the two-tier system moved rapidly toward crises.

The End of Bretton Woods: Fluctuating Fiat Currencies, 1971

In 1971 President Nixon took the uS completely off the gold standard. For the first time in American history, the dollar was totally fiat—i.e. with absolutely no backing in gold. Then, in an attempt to restore an international monetary order without a link to gold, the uS led the world into the Smithsonian Agreement.

The Smithsonian Agreement, 1971-1973

The Smithsonian Agreement was even more shaky and unsound than the gold-exchange standard of the 1920s. As in the 1920s, the countries of the world pledged to maintain fixed exchange rates—but this time with no gold or world money to back any currency.

The agreed upon fixed exchange rates had wide zones of fluctuation. But, a medium of world exchange was lacking. Thus, it was inevitable that fixed exchange rates were doomed to defeat. This was especially true since inflation and balance of payments deflects continued unchecked in America.

Fluctuating Fiat Currencies, 1973-?

With the dollar breaking apart, the world shifted again, to a system of fluctuating fiat currencies.

It is true that dollar surpluses and sudden balance of payments crises do not plague the world under fluctuating exchange rates. Furthermore, falling dollar rates benefited exports by making American goods cheaper abroad. But the he long-run problem is that other countries will not sit idly by and watch their currencies become more expensive and tolerate their exports being hurt for the benefit of their American competitors.

Then there is the other side of the coin. The depreciating dollar makes American imports more expensive. American tourists suffer abroad and cheap exports are snapped up by foreign countries so rapidly as to raise prices of exports at home.

Since the uS went off the gold standard in 1971, it and the rest of the world have suffered the most intense and sustained peace-time inflation in the history of the world. The gold market price has never been below the old fixed price of $35 and has almost always been much higher than that. This higher gold price indicates the catastrophic deterioration of the dollar since “modern” economists had their way and all gold backing was removed.

Currently currency exchange rates are extremely volatile and unpredictable—a direct consequence of fiat money. This system has fragmented the world’s money and added artificial political instability to the natural uncertainty in the free-market price system.

Unfortunately, the gold standard seems to have been forgotten. The ultimate goal of most world leaders is a one-world fiat paper standard. It is true that any such an international paper currency would indeed be free of balance of payments crises. However, any such World Reserve Bank could issue as much of the world currency as it wished and supply it to its country of choice. This would be an invitation to unlimited world-wide inflation—unchecked by either balance of payments crises or by declines in exchange rates.

The future of the international monetary system looks grim indeed. Until we return to the classical gold standard, the international money system will continue to shift back and forth between fixed and fluctuating exchange rates. Each system each system will continue to pose unsolved problems and ultimately disintegrate. American prices will show no sign of abating since inflation of the dollar will fuel these disintegrations. All the future will hold is accelerating and eventually runway inflation at home and monetary breakdowns and economic warfare aboard. This prognosis can only be changed by a return to a free market commodity money such as gold and by removing government totally from the monetary sphere.

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Copyright ©2004, FlyoverPress.com

Jimmy T. LaBaume, PhD, ChFC is a full professor teaching economics and statistics in the School of Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, Sul Ross State University, Alpine, TX. He does not speak for Sul Ross State University. Sul Ross State University does not think for him.

Dr. LaBaume has lived in Mexico and spent extended periods of time in South and Central America as a researcher, consultant and educator.

“Gunny” LaBaume is a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War and Desert Storm. His Marine Corps career spanned some 35 years intermittently from 1962 until 1997 when he refused to re-enlist with less than 2 years to go to a good retirement. In his own words, he “simply got tired of being guilty of treason.”

He is also currently the publisher and managing editor of FlyoverPress.com, a daily e-source of news not seen or heard anywhere on the mainstream media. He can be reached at jlabaume@sulross.edu.

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Entangling Alliances

November 19, 2007 Leave a comment

NEWS YOU WON’T FIND ON CNN

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Entangling Alliances

By Ron Paul

11/15/07 “ICH” — — In the name of clamping down on “terrorist uprisings” in Pakistan, General Musharraf has declared a state of emergency and imposed martial law. The true motivations behind this action however, are astonishingly transparent, as the reports come in that mainly lawyers and opposition party members are being arrested and harassed. Supreme Court justices are held in house arrest after indicating some reluctance to certify the legitimacy of Musharraf’s recent re-election.

Meanwhile, terrorist threats on US interests may be more likely to originate from Pakistan, a country to which we have sent $10 billion.

Now we are placed in the difficult position of either continuing to support a military dictator who has taken some blatantly un-Democratic courses of action, or withdrawing support and angering this nuclear-capable country. The administration is carefully negotiating this tight-rope by “reviewing Pakistan’s foreign aid package” and asking Musharraf to relinquish his military title and schedule elections.

By the time he complies with the requests of the White House sufficiently to continue to receive his “allowance,” courtesy of the American taxpayer, his mission will be accomplished. A more friendly Supreme Court will be installed and enough of the opposition party will be jailed or detained to assure an outcome of the elections that will meet with his approval. All the while, our administration lauds Musharraf as a trusted friend and ally.

So much for a War on Terror. So much for making the world safe for democracy.

Free trade means no sanctions against Iran, or Cuba or anyone else for that matter. Entangling alliances with no one means no foreign aid to Pakistan, or Egypt, or Israel, or anyone else for that matter. If an American citizen determines a foreign country or cause is worthy of their money, let them send it, and encourage their neighbors to send money too, but our government has no authority to use hard-earned American taxpayer dollars to mire us in these nightmarishly complicated, no-win entangling alliances.

When we look at global situations today, the words of our founding fathers are becoming more relevant daily. We need to understand that a simple, humble foreign policy makes us less vulnerable and less targeted on the world stage. Pakistan should not be getting an “allowance” from us and we should not be propping up military dictators that oppress people. We should mind our own business and stop the oppressive taxation of Americans that makes this meddling possible.

Ron Paul is a Republican Congressman from Texas.

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The American Dictatorship Institute

November 19, 2007 Leave a comment

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The American Dictatorship Institute
By Thomas J. DiLorenzo

11/17/07 “Lew Rockwell” — – In response to Ron Paul’s phenomenal fundraising successes and his widespread, national popularity, the neocon establishment has commenced a smear campaign. One such smear artist is John C. Fortier, a “research fellow” at what Lew Rockwell has called the Supreme Soviet of Neoconservatism – the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

Writing on the AEI website, Fortier complained that Congressman Paul “sometimes displays a sinister conspiratorial aspect, implying that those who disagree with him are the vanguard of dictatorial government.” The Congressman and his supporters, says Fortier, think they “are there to stop such a dictatorship.”

Fortier is especially incensed at the fact that Congressman Paul asked him many hard questions, and opposed some of his recommendations, when he was executive director of something called the “Continuity in Government Commission.” In particular, the congressman was suspicious of the neocon commissioner’s recommendation that the president appoint members of Congress in the aftermath of some kind of “emergency” that incapacitates Congress. (Leaving the definition of “emergency” up to Washington, D.C. politicians is always dangerous to liberty, as anyone with any concern about constitutional government would know.)

Well, the work of Fortier’s Continuity in Government Commission is now finished, and the results of its efforts are seen in something called the National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive 20/51, also known as the “National Continuity Policy.” This is another one of those presidential “directives” that was sneaked in under the media’s radar screen that does indeed grant the president dictatorial powers. Judge Andrew Napolitano describes the meaning of this “directive” in his brilliant new book, A Nation of Sheep (pp. 74–76).

The White House published the directive on its website after it was already signed by the president. Most Americans who have actually read and studied the directive, writes Napolitano, “are terrified by its implications.” They are terrified because presidential “directives” as such can be issued without any oversight by any other branch of government. The “National Continuity Policy” directive “concentrates power into the office of the president to coordinate any and all government and business activities” in the event of a “catastrophic emergency,” writes the judge.

The problem this creates for the American public is that “the pliable language in the directive creates the ability for a vast scope of executive authority without the checks and balances of the other branches of government,” writes Napolitano. It creates dictatorial powers, in other words.

“Catastrophic emergency” is defined so broadly that it could include an economic downturn, an environmental catastrophe, large-scale protests against the Iraq war, a power blackout, a bridge collapse such as the one on the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis last summer, a tsunami, a volcanic eruption such as Mount Saint Helen’s, and, says Napolitano, possibly even if “a plague of fire ants invades Crawford, Texas.”

The president gets to decide what constitutes a “catastrophe” that allows him to enforce his own directive and assume dictatorial powers over the government and the economy. If the president does declare such an emergency, writes Napolitano, “he can take over all government functions including the Congress and the federal courts and direct all private sector activities.” Moreover, “the emergency exists until the president decides it is over.” The question is not, why was Ron Paul suspicious of the government “commission” that dreamed up this dictatorial nightmare, but why wasn’t every other member of Congress?

It gets even worse. The Bush administration, thanks to the work of John C. Fortier’s Continuity in Government Commission, was emboldened to simply ignore the federal National Emergencies Act, passed in 1976, that was intended to prevent a perpetual state of national emergency “and formalize Congressional checks and balances on presidential emergency powers.” They just thumbed their collective noses, figuratively speaking, at the Congress and the American public, and broke the law – again. But then, the president’s lawyers have argued for years that anything he does is legal and constitutional. The Constitution doesn’t say this, mind you; Republican Party hacks with law degrees do.

All of this is why, of all the former Trotskyites and other assorted neocons who hang their hats at AEI, it was John C. Fortier who took the lead to smear Ron Paul on the Institute’s website. It was Ron Paul, almost alone among members of Congress, who understood the potential devastating dangers to American liberty that might come from a commission such as the one that was directed by Fortier.

The “National Continuity Policy” was put in place in secret, without the knowledge of even very many members of Congress. Fortier must be in a state of panic. He understands that, because of his exponentially-growing popularity, Ron Paul has the ability to expose this atrocious attack on American liberty to the entire nation, which may come to understand that AEI – the Supreme Soviet of Neoconservatism – is best thought of as the American Dictatorship Institute.

Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War, (Three Rivers Press/Random House). His latest book is Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe (Crown Forum/Random House).

Copyright © 2007 LewRockwell.com

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CBS’ Bogus Vet-Suicide Stats – Its ‘Scandal’ Numbers Don’t Add Up

November 19, 2007 Leave a comment

New York Post
November 19, 2007

CBS’ Bogus Vet-Suicide Stats
Its ‘Scandal’ Numbers Don’t Add Up

By Michael Fumento

THERE’S “startling” and “stunning” news of a “hidden epidemic” of veteran suicides. So claimed CBS News in two reports last week.

Most of the airtime went for heart-rending interviews with wives of vets who had killed themselves. But CBS also provided statistics that it said showed that “veterans were more than twice as likely to commit suicide in 2005 than non-vets.”

Problem is, we have absolutely no way of verifying the CBS data nor how the network claims it collected the info. CBS News admits to collecting the data itself, rather than relying on an independent outside party. It also concedes its rate is “much higher” than that in an uncompleted Department of Veterans Affairs study.

So somebody isn’t telling the truth. And the evidence is overwhelming that it’s CBS.

One hint of an agenda is the two “veterans’ activists” CBS interviewed for the segments – hardly disinterested parties. One is also very much an antiwar activist, a fact that CBS failed to disclose. In all, the networks stacked three commentators hyping its claims against one (from the VA) questioning them.

But the most devastating evidence of the network’s nefariousness lies in out- side studies, both individually and combined. For example, CBS put special emphasis on vets of the current wars.

“One age group stood out,” it said: “veterans age 20 through 24, those who have served during the War on Terror. They had the highest suicide rate among all veterans, estimated between two and four times higher than civilians the same age.”

CBS said the suicide rate of these young vets was 22.9 to 31.9 per 100,000 people.

Which looks very strange next to the data on active-duty soldiers in the War on Terror. Last month, the Army released a report finding that the suicide rate among these GIs in 2006 was 17.3 per 100,000 troops – rather lower than CBS’s rate for veterans. Why would soldiers who were recently on active duty be killing themselves at a much higher rate than those still serving?

More important still, the Army study corrected for some key demographic facts – notably, that the military is largely male and that men are much likelier to commit suicide than women are. Among civilians who match the overall age, gender and race profile of the U.S. Army, the suicide rate was 19 per 100,000 – higher than for the troops.

So, even if CBS’s numbers for younger vets’ suicides hold up, the rate isn’t twice the relevant civilian one – let alone the “two to four times higher” that CBS claimed.

Another problem shows up when you look at the repeated studies of the 700,000 or so vets of first Gulf War – which have found no increased suicide rate. The same is true of a massive 2004 study of Vietnam vets.

That is, a solid body of work shows no “extra” suicides among vets of the only previous two major U.S. wars of the last half-century – yet CBS claims a massive increase among vets generally. For the networks’ numbers to hold up, there’d have to be a vast jump in suicides among vets who never saw combat.

And since suicide rates among ‘Nam and Gulf vets match those the general population, CBS’s numbers translate to higher suicide rates for peacetime vets than for wartime ones.

Which contradicts a powerful implication of the CBS presentation – namely, that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a major cause of these suicides. (That’s what those interviews with the wives helped show.)

Now, PTSD is quite real; I suffered it after my trial by fire in two fights and the wrong end of a nasty ambush in Ramadi, Iraq, all within two days. But multiple research groups have found that PTSD is way down the list of factors that drive both veteran and active-duty suicides.

In fact, a huge VA study of more than 800,000 subjects (released just weeks ago) compared suicide rates of depressed veterans with or without a PTSD diagnosis. It found a suicide rate of 68.16 per 100,000 person years for those with PTSD versus a rate of 90.66 for those without PTSD. (The researchers theorized that this was because PTSD sufferers are likelier to get treatment, including psychotherapy.)

As for long-term effects of experiencing combat, a 1998 study of Vietnam vets concluded:
“The traumatic experience of combat makes only a small contribution to the report of current physical health problems.”

Ultimately, there’s no credible evidence of any increased suicide rate for vets or evidence that PTSD is anything but a minor factor in the suicides that do occur. (And if you don’t believe that, CBS has some documents on President Bush’s National Guard service they’d like to sell you . . . )

Of course, suicide is always a tragedy; whatever the rate among veterans, it would be good to reduce it. But success will require an agenda that puts the well-being of these heroes above crass media sensationalism and political causes.

Michael Fumento is a former paratrooper who has been embedded as a reporter three times in Iraq and once in Afghanistan.

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How US Attorney Sutton Stacked The Deck Against 2 Border Patrol Agent

November 19, 2007 Leave a comment

How US Attorney Sutton Stacked The Deck Against 2 Border Patrol Agent

by Michael Cutler
November 19, 2007
NewsWithViews.com

William E. Gladstone, former Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1868 to 1894 is famously remembered for his quote, “Justice delayed is justice denied.”

An article appears in today’s edition of the Washington Times written by a staff reporter Sara A. Carter. She was also awarded the Eugene Katz Award for journalism by the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington-based think tank with which I have been associated for a number of years.

The news report in question discusses the arraignment of Osvaldo Aldrete Davila, a Mexican citizen who has been charged with conspiracy to distribute hundreds of pounds of marijuana in the United States between June 2005 and November 2005. What makes this seemingly routine matter anything but routine is the fact that Border Patrol Agents Ramos and Compean were involved in an incident in which they fired a number of shots at the alleged smuggler after they attempted to stop him when they found him on the U.S. side of the Mexican border and he resisted arrest and then, according to the agents, spun around and pointed an object at them. They stated that they believed that he was holding a weapon and was about to shoot them. In short, they claim that they were acting in self defense. This is a reasonable concern that they articulated and it is my opinion that it is entirely likely that Aldrete Davila was armed because after the incident the vehicle he was observed driving just before the encounter was found to have hundreds of pounds of marijuana concealed within it. In my many years of experience in dealing with drug traffickers, it is virtually unheard of that a drug trafficker or smuggler would be moving a significant load of illicit drugs or cash and not be armed to protect his cargo.

According to the account of the Border Patrol agents, they did not believe that they had struck him with their bullets and therefore they did not file a written report of the incident to their superiors but believed that their boss who showed up minutes after the incident knew that shots had been fired. While it may well be that these two agents committed an administrative infraction where the failure to file a report is concerned, the incredible thing about this event is that they were charged with using firearms in the commission of a crime. It is my understanding that the intention of that law was to provide additional punishment to any criminal who uses a weapon in the commission of a crime. An example of this would be an alien smuggler who is armed at the time he is smuggling illegal aliens into our country or perhaps smuggling drugs into the United States. Other such crimes involving a firearm come to mind, but the point is clear, the law was obviously meant to punish armed criminals. This is a strategy that makes good common sense. In the case of Ramos and Compean, however, the weapons that they carried on the day of the incident were weapons that they were authorized to carry inasmuch as they were Border Patrol Agents and are required to carry firearms while on duty for obvious reasons.

What is even more disturbing is that the jury that heard the case against the Border Patrol Agnets was never told that Osvaldo Aldrete Davila had been subsequently arrested with a load of narcotics several weeks after the incident in which he was purportedly shot by the agents.

When United States Attorney Johnny Sutton appeared before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing he made a number of statements that I could dissect but will, for the sake of brevity focus on one particularly disturbing statement that he made. To quote from the transcript of the hearing:

“Some critics have claimed that all drug smugglers like Aldrete carry guns, and that my prosecution of Agents Compean and Ramos had a chilling effect on other Border Patrol agents, causing them to fear using their firearms. I believe both assertions are mistaken. From January 2004 through March 2005, there were 155 drug seizures at the Fabens Border Patrol Station, totaling over 43,000 pounds of marijuana. In none of those seizures was a gun found. Over the longer period between October 1, 2001, and February 15, 2006, the Fabens Border Patrol Station reported the seizure of only one firearm from a total of 496 drug seizures, totaling more than 131,000 pounds of marijuana. This is not to say Border Patrol agents’ jobs are not difficult and dangerous, or that drug smugglers are never armed, but it is inaccurate and misleading to assert that all drug smugglers are armed. The fact is that drug mules in El Paso almost never carry guns.” [emphases added]

I would ask you to pay particular attention to the last sentence of the paragraph above that I have highlighted. The sentence is extremely important because it represents the sort of misleading statements that, in my experience, the bad guys often use in order to alter perceptions of reality by stating something that is but itself true, but represents a distortion of reality. Aldrete Davila was a smuggler and not a mule. In the parlance of illegal aliens, smugglers and law enforcement officials, mules are illegal aliens who are, in one way or another coerced into carrying narcotics on their bodies. They are never armed because they themselves are a part of the cargo or load that the smuggler or coyote is paid to move across the border into the United States. Smugglers are not mules. By making that statement, Sutton stated a fact that is true when taken by itself, therefore he was not committing perjury before the Senate Judiciary Committee. This is important because had he openly lied, he could have himself been prosecuted for perjury. So he uses an inappropriate term that does not truly describe the nature of Aldrete Davila’s activities, comparing him to a mule rather than a smuggler or coyote which is in reality what he was on the day of the incident. Smugglers would no more provide a mule with a gun then would a law enforcement officer provide a prisoner with a gun. This is a point that, to my knowledge has never been made before but is one that is well worth considering.

You can read the entire transcript of the hearing by clicking here.

Now we come to the Washington Times news article. It is amazing that just three weeks before the appeals for the convictions of Ramos and Compean are to be heard that Sutton suddenly indicts Aldrete Davila. Why did he wait nearly two years to do this? Only he truly can answer that question. The point is that while Ramos and Compean may have mishandled the incident, in my judgement, they should never have been prosecuted for criminal violations and certainly they should never have been charged with the additional charge of possessing a firearm in the commission of a crime. Many members of the United States Congress and Senate are in agreement about this.

I have been to the Mexican border and it is a perilous place to be. There are numerous reports of armed criminals and indeed, members of the Mexican military who are heavily armed moving significant distances into our country apparently shepherding significant loads of narcotics into our country. We also know that our nation is the focus of terrorists who would want to enter our country, possibly with weapons of mass destruction to carry out attacks on our nation and our citizens. The outrageous prosecution of these two valiant Border Patrol agents did more than put these two men and their families through a living hell, it also served a message to their colleagues in the Border Patrol that when they go to work each day, they may not only lose their lives to the violent smugglers and criminals that easily cross our nation’s borders, but they may lose their jobs and their freedom to the very government that employs them.

The apparently malicious prosecution of Border Patrol Agents Ramos and Compean represents a threat to the safety and security of the United States and its citizens, because it has to have a chilling effect on the other valiant members of the United States Border Patrol.

The administration has had an abysmal track record where the security of our nation’s borders and the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws are concerned. Johnny Sutton is a long-time friend of the President going back to the days before George W. Bush even ran for the Presidency. This administration has consistently failed to take common sense steps to secure the borders and provide the resources to get this critical job done.

I have no direct knowledge about the final sentence in that Washington Times article concerning a statement attributed to a defense attorney for Ramos: “David Botsford, an attorney for Ramos, said that based on Mr. Sutton’s news release and Aldrete Davila’s testimony, it appears Aldrete Davila was smuggling “large quantities of marijuana into the United States” with a visa issued by the Department of Homeland Security.” Certainly if this is accurate it raises extremely disturbing questions about integrity at DHS, an agency I have unfortunately seen fit to refer to as the Department of Homeland Surrender.

It is time that Ramos and Compean were released from prison and that they be pardoned and compensated by this clear miscarriage of justice.

We the People should make our concerns known to our elected representatives and to the White House as well!

 

© 2007 – Michael Cutler – All Rights Reserved

 

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Michael W. Cutler graduated from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York in 1971 with a B.A. in Communications Arts and Sciences. Mr. Cutler began working for the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in October 1971 when he entered on duty as an Immigration Inspector assigned to John F. Kennedy International Airport. In August 1975 he became a Criminal Investigator (Special Agent) for the INS at NYC.

He rotated through virtually every squad in the Investigations Branch. From 1988 until 1991 he was assigned as the INS representative to the Unified Intelligence Division (UID) of the DEA in New York. In 1991 he was promoted to the position of Senior Special Agent and was assigned to the Organized Crime, Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) which required that he work with members of other law enforcement agencies including the FBI, DEA, ATF, U.S. Customs and local and state police as well as law enforcement organizations of other countries including Israel, Canada, Great Britain and Japan, to conduct investigations of aliens involved in major drug trafficking organizations. He retired from the INS in February 2002, after a career that spanned some 30 years.

Finally, Michael Cutler has appeared on numerous television and radio programs including Lou Dobbs, Fox News, MSNBC and many other television and radio news-oriented programs to discuss the enforcement of immigration laws.

E-Mail: mcutler007@aol.com


 

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