Happy Hour for the Pauls, and for Freedom

Congressman Ron Paul on Happy Hour April 14

Happy hour sums up how I feel about Ron Paul today. First there was Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

Pit maverick Republican Congressman Ron Paul against President Obama in a hypothetical 2012 election match-up, and the race is – virtually dead even.

Also today, Ron Paul introduced the “End the Mandate Act,” to take out the mandatory portion of the new health care law.

Madam Speaker, today I am introducing the End the Mandate Act. This legislation repeals the sections of the recently-passed health reform bill that forces all Americans to purchase federally-approved health insurance plans.

Forcing every American to obtain health insurance is a blatant violation of the Constitution. Defenders of this provision claim the Congress’s constitutional authority to regulate “interstate commerce” gives Congress the power to mandate every American obtain a federally-approved health insurance plan.

However, as Judge Andrew Napolitano and other distinguished legal scholars and commentators have pointed out, even the broadest definition of “regulating interstate commerce” cannot reasonably encompass forcing Americans to engage in commerce by purchasing health insurance.

And wait-there is more: Retiring Senator Jim Bunning named Rand Paul (Ron Paul’s son) as his chosen successor today.

“Dr. Paul will be his own man in Washington, not beholden to the special interests and beltway insiders who come looking for handouts on a daily basis,” Bunning said. “Instead, Dr. Paul will be a strong voice and advocate for the people and values of Kentucky.

Normally I would complain about media bias for the “I think I love him” comment at the end of the clip. I can tolerate my own bias pretty easily, so I’ll let it go, and just say its happy hour for the Pauls and happy hour for freedom.

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Ron Paul SRLC highlights

Ron Paul at Southern Republican Leadership Conference

Just a couple of ideas from Ron Paul I’d like to hear more politicians promote.

No matter how badly you would like to have them, all empires end, not because they’re defeated militarily, all empires end for financial reasons.

We can do better with peace than with war.

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War: Fog of Moral Justification

Sons of Confederate Veterans Chairman Defends Omission of Slavery from Confederate History Month


To explain why there is still a divide over why the US Civil War was fought, look to the war in Iraq. If a public opinion poll was taken today asking what the Iraq war is about, you’d probably get several different views and just as heated discussions.

Some of the debated reasons for the war in Iraq:

  • WMD’s (Weapons of Mass Destruction)
  • Oil
  • Combating Terrorism
  • Human Rights
  • Bringing democracy to the Middle East

The original emphasis of the war was to remove WMDs from Iraq, because they posed a threat to the US and the stability of the Persian Gulf region. After no WMDs were found, the emphasis (and justification) for the war shifted. Concerns over human rights, combating terrorism and promoting democracy were elevated over removing non-existant WMDs as the reason for the war.

Was the Iraq war fought for the original issue of WMDs, or was it to combat terrorism? When the war is over, will there be another reason promoted? We are living through the years of the war right now, and still there isn’t a consensus over why the war is being fought.

Something very similar happened in the Civil War. Originally, Presidents Lincoln’s goal was to preserve the union; after the war began, the emphasis shifted to ending slavery.

Except from Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address

I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this and many similar declarations and had never recanted them; and more than this, they placed in the platform for my acceptance, and as a law to themselves and to me, the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read:

Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.

In Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, prior to the end of the war, the issue became the morality of slavery.

Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

When justifications for war change as a war goes on, it leads to endless debates about the “real reason” for fighting the war. A hundred and fifty years from now, the question will be asked, “Why was the Iraqi war fought?” And there won’t be a consensus on that war, either. Once the fog of war sets in, the fog of moral justification sets in too.

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Democrats or Republicans: Who’s Pro-Freedom?

I stumbled across this article: Elect more nonconforming libertarian-Republicans while reading articles over at The Free Republic.

I Hate It When I Don't Listen To MyselfIt cracks me up to read the comments to these articles, where the subject of adopting some Libertarian ideas is introduced to either Democrats or Republicans. The comments often run along the lines of, “Well I agree Libertarians here and there, but I part ways when it comes to the authority I wish to maintain over other people.”

Here is an example of one what I mean; it’s from one of the comments left to the article on The Free Republic.

If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.” — Ronald Reagan

Up to the point of the Constitution. Sometimes I’m not sure that some Libertarians cross that line. Otherwise, I’m pretty much in full agreement and let the states work out the details. Politically and financially, our country would be rich. Spiritually, its another story. Our country needs real help in that area.

And as usual, a comment about Libertarians being members of the enemy camp.

Sure. Fight conservatism, fight America, and help the left with their 1960s agenda to destroy American Christian culture and traditions, while somehow fantasizing that you can win those left wing compatriots to leave the conservative economic policies standing. Here is the leftists agenda hidden behind the Libertarian Party curtain. Libertarian Party Platform: Throw open the borders completely; only a rare individual (terrorist, disease carrier etc.) can be kept from freedom of movement through “political boundaries”.

For comparison,  here is an article from the Daily Kos, The Libertarian Dem. The thought process runs along the same lines when evaluating Libertarian principles. These comments are from the Democratic Underground about the Daily Kos article.

I’m for max individual freedom, but w/a social safety net I’m for rights of gun owners, gay folks to get married, whistleblowers not to get fired, speech, freedom from unlawful search (strenghten 4th amendment), internet privacy, credit info privacy, but I’m for pension protection, environmental legislation, worker rights, universal health care.

And also a comment about Libertarians being members of the enemy camp.

Dems don’t need libertarian contradictions Warpy echoed my thoughts: “There is an obvious need for big government to protect the powerless from the powerful, whether it’s natural disasters or cartels of obscenely rich men.” I wouldn’t depend on self-proclaimed libertarians, with their vague language and curious double standards, for those protections. “Our first proposed solution to a problem facing our nation shouldn’t be more regulation, more government programs, more bureaucracy”. That is pure Republican pro-business talk.

The Daily Kos article is from 2006, back when the Democrats didn’t control the house, senate, or the White House. The Democrats were searching for ways to get back into power and briefly considered adopting some liberty-minded principles. Just as the Democrats didn’t adopt any Libertarian values while out of power, I doubt the Republicans will seriously embrace any Libertarian ones.

3D Character and Question MarkAs Ron Paul is fond of saying,  “Freedom is popular,” and the majority of Americas are pro-freedom. If everyone is for freedom, what is left to distinguish one party from another? What distinguishes these parties is where they do NOT support freedom–they are special and unique via the avenues they limit freedom.

The areas where the Democratic and Republican parties differ from Libertarianism are the areas where they call for coercive government. The base of voters for both the Democratic and Republican parties are the ones who want limits to liberty; if either party were to truly commit to not running other peoples lives, they would loose their base and hence, their identity.

Both parties existence is due to a self-deception of being pro-freedom while simultaneously calling for restrictions to freedom. As seen in the comments above, the “I’m all for freedom, except where I’m not” perspective is how they choose their respective parties. The Authoritarian Party of Democrats and Republicans can never truly be for freedom, because they would cease to exist if they did.

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Mandatory Purchases: New Lane on the Superhighway to Serfdom

Not enough fear mongering has been done about the mandatory purchase of health insurance. I know it’s a slippery slope argument, saying having mandatory health insurance will lead to government specifying mandatory purchases on everything. The slippery slope  helped make mandatory health insurance purchase requirements possible, by virtue of mandatory auto insurance.

It’s not a stretch to assume at some point, something else will be added to the list of mandatory purchases. Health and auto insurance will be used as the justification for further governmental control of personal income. I can’t predict what the next mandatory purchase will be, or how many there will be. Once the government has been granted a new power, it inevitably discovers additional “need” for exercise of the new-found power.

To avoid abuses of such authority, the next logical step would seem to be to set limits on how far government can go in requiring mandatory purchases. This obviously won’t work, because the federal government has repeatedly shown itself to ignore limits. Case in point, the federal debt limit:  each time the debt limit is reached, congress simply votes to raise the debt limit. Once a limit has been placed on power, they simply vote to extend the limits of the power.

There is the belief that as long as you have freedom of speech and religion, you still live in a free country, or that if you loose some of the ability to decide what to do with your own money but still have these basic rights, you are still free. The fallacy of this belief becomes clear as the percent of control the government has over income becomes closer to 100 percent than to zero percent.

Once the amount of taxes crosses fifty percent of income, people take notice and start to complain. They quickly come to realize the closer you get to being taxed at 100 percent, the closer you are to having zero freedom. If 100 percent of what you make is taken by government, then basically government owns you and the fruits of your labor. So government has to be careful not to go too far past the halfway point to enslavement.

The TEA Party protests indicate to me the government has pushed the boundary of taxation about as far as it safely can. While I’m sure there is still some room in there to squeeze in minor taxes, there is no room for large-scale tax increases–the type needed to fully fund health care coverage for all Americans. That’s why a new form of governmental control over income was needed. Enter mandatory purchases.

Allowing the federal government the ability to mandate purchases has opened up this new lane in The Superhighway to Serfdom. You’ll still have somewhere around half of your income in your hands, but the amount of your income you’ll have control over will gradually decrease through mandatory purchases.

Government needs to be careful not to load up this new lane of serfdom to quickly. Once people are heavily taxed and burdened with mandatory purchases, seeing they have little control over their lives, it sometimes produces consequences like the French Revolution. I hope a movement will form to undo this new dangerous power, and I hope it will be called the BABE Party, Bitten At Both Ends.

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Manners Should not be an Issue of Law

Supreme Court Considers Westboro Baptist Church Protest Of Military Funerals


Some people try to make a distinction between free speech and hurtful speech. It’s still a matter of popular speech vs. unpopular speech, because the majority are the ones deciding if speech is hateful or not. This is clearly what happened in states where the Westboro Baptist Church was banned from protesting at funerals, while the majority was free to say hurtful things about the Westboro Church.

Unpopular speech is what the first amendment is there to protect, because popular speech is self-protecting. Imagine if DC ever tried to ban something as popular as the Bible, there would be a heavily armed group of millions on their steps the next day.

The less popular a view is, the more likely it is someone will try (and succeed) in having it banned. The core moral value of free speech protection is in protecting speech the majority finds repugnant. For free speech to have any real value, it has to include unpopular speech.

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SPLC: Where is the map of propaganda groups?

After seeing this Dylan Ratigan video from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which grouped ‘Patriot’ groups with hate groups, I decided to look into how these groups are defined.


From the Southern Poverty Law Center – definition of ‘Patriot’ groups:

Generally, Patriot groups define themselves as opposed to the “New World Order,” engage in groundless conspiracy theorizing, or advocate or adhere to extreme anti-government doctrines. Listing here does not imply that the groups themselves advocate or engage in violence or other criminal activities, or are racist. The list was compiled from field reports, Patriot publications, the Internet, law enforcement sources and news reports. Groups are identified by the city, county or region where they are located.

The list doesn’t imply theses groups advocate or engage in violence or other criminal activities, or are racist, but Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center does imply these groups advocate violence in this video.

The kinds of things we’ve seen in the last year are for instance the murder of six law enforcement officials by people, members of the radical right. We have seen plots to murder Obama, we have seen plots to murder black people, to murder jews and so on. I think these are all prompted by the rise of Obama to power. These real changes that are happening around us, people are really angry and hurting out there and many of them feel quite ready to take action.

The terms hate groups and radical right and patriot groups were used throughout this video from Southern Poverty Law Center. I can’t tell exactly which group Potok means in referring to violence, because all these organizations have become an amalgam of one group to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

But what they (Oath Keepers) are really about is the idea that Americans are about to be herded into concentration camps that martial law is going to be imposed, that foreign troops are going to be on American soil, putting Americans done and so on. If what the Oath Keepers did was merely plead one more time to defend the Constitution there would be nothing remotely bad about it.

I can’t say if Americans are about to be herded into concentration camps, but Americans were herded into concentration camp during WWII, so it’s not delusional to believe it could happen.

What is really worrying about a group like the Oath Keepers is this is a group of people who are armed by the rest of society. And in the case of police officers these are people who sometimes have the power of life and death over you or me, and what that means if these men and women are animated by ideas that are completely false, completely paranoid and groundless, you’ve got to worry about who they are going to see as the real enemy and what kinds of decisions they make in stressful situation.

Not everyone knows about the Readiness Exercise of 1984, the plan by the US to test their ability to detain large numbers of American citizens in case of civil unrest. Calling these fears completely false, completely paranoid and groundless is worrisome and inaccurate.

Whether the tea party movement becomes something more like the patriot group, more radical yet, or whether it becomes something else is something we don’t know yet.

So worrying over what the Tea Party movement might become isn’t paranoia, but worrying about what the government has done in the past being repeated is paranoia? The underlying argument is that Mark Potok’s paranoia about ‘Patriot’ groups is the good kind of paranoia and the concerns of ‘Patriot’ groups is the bad kind of paranoia.

Summing up the SPLC position on patriot groups: It’s OK to verbally defend the Constitution, but citizens possessing anything other than harsh words to defend the Constitution are dangerous.

The SPLC has a map of hate groups on their site.

Where is the map of propaganda groups?

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If HealthCare Reform is Like Buying Meat: Hands off My Hotdog

I’m glad the President made a meat industry analogy, because its a good opportunity to point out the flaws in the President’s proposal.

President Obama at the Health Care Summit:

We could set up a system where food was cheaper than it is right now if we just eliminated meat inspectors, and we eliminated any regulations on how food is distributed and how its stored. I’ll bet in terms of drug prices we would definitely reduce prescription drug prices if we didn’t have a drug administration that makes sure that we test the drugs so that they don’t kill us, but we don’t do that. We make some decisions to protect consumers in every aspect of our lives.

If the role of government in health insurance is analogous to the meat industry then according to the Presidents proposal –

  • We would all be required to purchase meat even if we didn’t want it.
  • We wouldn’t be able to choose between buying hotdogs or steaks; we have to buy steaks.
  • We could buy some steaks from some vendors in other states, but wouldn’t be able to buy hotdogs from anyone, anywhere.
  • Those too poor to afford meat would have free steaks, but not hotdogs.
  • The meat industry would be labeled greedy for profiting from people’s inevitable hunger.
  • Supermarkets would only be allowed to sell steaks.
  • We would all be protected from affordable meats like hotdogs, turkey, and chicken.

Its would be wrong to tell vegetarians to buy meat, and it’s equally wrong to tell Christian Scientists to buy health insurance. It would be an intrusion of government to decide which meats we can afford, just as its an overreach into our personal lives for DC to to tell us how much insurance to buy.

Forcing people to buy meat would only protect some meat companies, just as forcing people to buy health insurance only protects some insurance companies. The wide variety and affordable prices of meats at supermarkets didn’t come about through a DC-based algorithm of price controls and income-based prices. It came about by supply and demand and a free market.

To President Obama: stay away from my health insurance, and hands off my hotdog, too.

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If Celebrities Became Presidents

A common tactic in politics is to take some views and expand them to an extreme to make others afraid of them.

One of the most common ones is President Obama will reshape the country into a communist country like Soviet Russia. Even if the President were a devout communist, the slippery slope in American politics isn’t very slippery. The last year has shown even the most powerful person on Earth isn’t powerful enough to reshape America.

This isn’t just a left or right tactic. When Mike Huckabee was running for President, the attacker said the country would become a theocracy like Iran. For Ron Paul, the attack was the country would turn into anarchy like Somalia.

Just because one person isn’t powerful enough to reshape the country doesn’t mean we can’t have fun with the idea. Here are some new forms of government if celebrities were to become President.

  • Abe Vigoda: Immortal-ocracy
  • Barbara Walters: Bahwah-ahquacy
  • Carrot Top: Ginger-ocracy
  • Charlie Sheen: Rehab-ocracy
  • Chris Hansen: Itsatrap-ocracy
  • Joel McHale: Snark-ocracy
  • Kelly Osbourne: Ozzy-ocracy
  • Kevin Smith: Twoseat-ocracy
  • Kim Kardashian: Booty-ocracy
  • Moot: Anon-ocracy
  • Nadya Suleman : Octo-ocracy
  • Snooki: Friggin’ocracy
  • Snoop Dogg: Hip-ocracy
  • Tiger Woods: Player-ocracy
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Buying Health Insurance Across State Lines won’t bring Democracy to Cuba


And if I had just one wish, just one wish in the whole world…if I had one wish, it’d be for politics to change–that good ideas weren’t so easily dismissed by demanding impossible solutions.

In this episode of South Park, Kyle’s parents don’t want him to attend a concert, so they come up with an impossible task. They won’t allow him to go to the concert until he brings democracy to Cuba.

The health care debate brought this South Park episode to mind, because objections to purchasing health insurance across state lines are met with a similar response. Create a list of impossible goals to make the idea just go away.

Objections are raised to purchasing health insurance across state lines because it doesn’t do the following:

  • Cover everyone
  • Address the problem of preexisting conditions
  • Cap Out-of-Pocket Expenses
  • 100% Coverage for Check-Ups, Preventive Health Care
  • Guaranteed Insurance Renewal

Purchasing health care across state lines won’t do any of the above, either. It also won’t bring peace to the middle east or democracy to Cuba or cure cancer. What it will do is lower the cost of health insurance, making the goals above easier to achieve.

The truth is there isn’t any plan that can do all the above and bring down costs at the same time. Its not going to happen, because it violates the laws of supply and demand. It’s a fantasy and has been from its inception.

Purchasing health insurance across state lines has these advantages:

  • More people would be covered because they could afford insurance
  • Break up the control employers have over health care
  • More choices to those who can’t find coverage
  • The freedom for an individual to choose the amount of insurance
  • Not a government program which will cost billions to maintain

We have choices in life insurance, car insurance, home insurance. They don’t have the problems suggested by all the fear, uncertainty and doubt arguments made by opponents.

Its time politicians stopped playing these parental mind games, and started looking at real world solutions to real problems.

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