Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ron Paul on Anniversary of Department of "Justice"

Statement of Congressman Ron Paul
United States House of Representatives

Statement on H. Res. 1422

June 24, 2010

Ron PaulMadam Speaker, the House of Representatives recently considered H.RES. 1422, honoring the 140th anniversary of the Department of Justice. I voted against this resolution because of the Justice Department’s history of violating individual rights.

It is the Justice Department that leads the ongoing violations of the Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments in the name of the “war on drugs.” It is Justice Department agents who perform warrantless wiretap, and “sneak-and-peak” searches under the misnamed PATRIOT Act. It is the Justice Department that prosecutes American citizens for violating unconstitutional federal regulations even in cases where no reasonable person could have known their actions violated federal law.

Some like to pretend that the Justice Department’s assault on liberties is a modern phenomenon, or that abuses of liberties are only carried out by one political party. However, history shows that the unconstitutional usurpations of power and abuse of rights goes back at least almost a hundred years to the “Progressive” era and that Justice Departments of both parties have disregard the Constitution and violated individual liberties.

During World War I, President Woodrow Wilson’s Justice Department imprisoned people who dared to speak out against the war. Following the war, the progressive assault on the First Amendment continued with the infamous “Palmer raids,” named for Wilson’s Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer. Just as President Wilson’s policies of foreign interventionism and domestic welfare served as a model for future presidents, Attorney General Palmer’s assaults on civil liberties served as a model for future attorney generals of both parties. Think of Robert Kennedy authorizing the wiretapping of Martin Luther King, Jr, John Mitchell’s role in the abuses of civil liberties by Nixon Administration, Ed Meese’s assault on the First Amendment with his “pornography commission,” Janet Reno’s role in the murder of innocent men, women and children at Waco, and the steady erosion of our rights over the past decade. In addition, it is the attorney general and the Justice Department that defend and justify violations of constitutional liberties by the president and the other federal bureaucracies.

Many civil libertarians were hopeful the new administration would be more sympathetic to civil liberties than was the prior administration. But the current administration has disregarded campaign promises to restore respect for civil liberates and has continued, and in many cases expanded, the anti-freedom policies of its predecessors. For instance, the current administration is supporting renewal of the policies of warrantless wiretapping, and other PATRIOT Act provisions. The administration, despite promising to be more open and transparent, is also continuing to use the claim of "state secrets" to shield potentially embarrassing information from Americans. According to the New York Times, the current administration is even outdoing its predecessors in the prosecution of government whistleblowers. It is little wonder that the head of the American Civil Liberties Union recently said he is disgusted with the administration’s record on civil liberties.

Of course, Madam Speaker, Congress bears ultimate responsibility for the Justice Department’s actions, as it is Congress that passes the unconstitutional laws the Justice Department enforces. Congress also fails to perform effective oversight of the Justice Department. Instead of honoring the Justice Department, Congress should begin to repeal unconstitutional laws and start exercising congressional oversight of executive branch agencies that menace our freedoms.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ron Paul on Recognizing Juneteenth Independence Day

Statement of Congressman Ron Paul
United States House of Representatives

Statement on H.Con.Res. 546

June 22, 2010

Ron PaulMadame Speaker, I am pleased to support H.Con.Res. 546, legislation commemorating a monumental day in the history of liberty, Juneteenth Independence Day. Juneteenth marks the events of June 19, 1865,when slaves in Galveston, Texas learned that they were at last free men and women. The slaves of Galveston were the last group of slaves to learn of the end of slavery. Thus, Juneteenth represents the end of slavery in America.

I hope all Americans will take the time to commemorate Juneteenth. Friends of human liberty should celebrate the end of slavery in any country. The end of American slavery is particularly worthy of recognition since there are few more blatant violations of America’s founding principles, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence, than slavery. I am particularly pleased to join the recognition of Juneteenth because I have the privilege of representing Galveston.

I thank the gentleman from Illinois for introducing this resolution, which I am proud to cosponsor. I thank the House leadership for bringing this resolution to the floor, and I urge all of my colleagues to honor the end of slavery by voting for H.Con.Res 546.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Abolitionist Argument in 35 Seconds

An excellent article by Glen Allport on the most important lesson from Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings:

The Lord of the Rings trilogy was released on Blu-Ray in April, which reminded me that I hadn't seen the first installment, The Fellowship of the Ring, since its theatrical release in 2001. While watching the film again I was struck anew with its abolitionist message – a message that is clear, direct, and at the very heart of the story.

The exchange below, from a 35-second sequence in the film, illustrates this message well. The wizard Gandalf has just described the Ring of Power to Frodo, into whose possession the Ring has come, and has told the frightened hobbit that yes, the Dark Lord Sauron and his evil horde have learned the whereabouts of the Ring and are already heading to the Shire to take it back.

The Ring will give Sauron enough power to enslave the Earth, and so the Ring must not stay in the Shire – it must be destroyed (almost impossible to do) or at the very least, hidden from those seeking it. Showing rare indifference to the powers conferred by the Ring, Frodo sensibly offers the Ring to Gandalf, who does not live in the Shire and whose magic might be enough to keep the Ring safely hidden.

Gandalf knows better. Even he – a wise and good soul and a powerful wizard – is hypnotically drawn to the Ring; Gandalf lusts for its power despite knowing that to use the Ring would corrupt him and bring great evil into the world. With visible effort, Gandalf refuses to even touch the Ring:

(Frodo, desperately handing the Ring to Gandalf)
Take it, Gandalf. Take it!

(Gandalf, backing away from the Ring)
No, Frodo.

You must take it!

You cannot offer me this Ring.

I'm giving it to you!

Don't tempt me, Frodo! I dare not take it, not even to keep it safe. Understand, Frodo – I would use this Ring from a desire to do good . . . [long pause] . . . but through me, it would wield a power too great and terrible to imagine.

You can view this scene on YouTube, here (the sound level is a bit low; you may have to turn it up to make out the dialog). The clip is from director Peter Jackson's gorgeous and epic screen adaptation of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (part 1 of the trilogy). The dialog for this scene in Tolkien's book is longer than in the film, and makes the same point even more powerfully: that Power is almost supernaturally attractive and addictive, and creates horrifying outcomes even when wielded with the best of intentions. Many other scenes in the book and film reinforce this same message.

Read the rest at Strike-the-Root

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Napolitano Revolution Hits Television (Jacob Hornberger)

Jacob Hornberger comments on the significance of Judge Napolitano's libertarian show Freedom Watch making it on the air:

The Napolitano Revolution Hits Television
by Jacob G. Hornberger | Future of Freedom Foundation

In October 2009 in an article entitled “Judge Andrew Napolitano’s Libertarian Phenomenon,” I wrote:

If Fox News were to decide to put Napolitano on the air, his show would undoubtedly shake up the nice, little comfortable world of the statists. Both conservatives and liberals would undoubtedly be stunned, shell-shocked, and dumbfounded over how to deal with a television show filled with purist, hard-hitting libertarians challenging the fundamental premises of the welfare-warfare state that is so beloved to conservatives and liberals.

Well, I can’t say that the statists who appeared on the judge’s inaugural show this past weekend were stunned, shell-shocked, and dumbfounded, but I can say that for the first time in television history, they were challenged to address libertarian positions by a libertarian television talk-show host. For that reason alone, it was an absolutely incredible hour in the history of the libertarian movement.

Read the rest on the FFF blog

U.S. Flag Recalled After Causing 143 Million Deaths

Great stuff from The Onion:

WASHINGTON—Citing a series of fatal malfunctions dating back to 1777, flag manufacturer Annin & Company announced Monday that it would be recalling all makes and models of its popular American flag from both foreign and domestic markets.

Representatives from the nation's leading flag producer claimed that as many as 143 million deaths in the past two centuries can be attributed directly to the faulty U.S. models, which have been utilized extensively since the 18th century in sectors as diverse as government, the military, and public education.

"It has come to our attention that, due to the inherent risks and hazards it poses, the American flag is simply unfit for general use," said Annin & Company president Ronald Burman, who confirmed that the number of flag-related deaths had noticeably spiked since 2003. "I would like to strongly urge all U.S. citizens: If you have an American flag hanging in your home or place of business, please discontinue using it immediately."

Added Burman, "The last thing we would want is for more innocent men and women around the world to die because of our product."

Go to The Onion for the rest

Ron Paul: Authoritarianism is Bad for Your Health

Dr. Paul's latest Texas Straight Talk:

Ron PaulThe administration's terrible healthcare reform bill is now law, but the debate over how-- and whether-- the federal government should be involved in providing healthcare services is not over. It is not too late for America to correct its course and stop the march toward a government run, "single payer" healthcare system.

Polls show that a large majority of Americans don't want Obamacare. Congress should seize the opportunity to repeal the very worst aspect of this new legislation, namely the mandate that forces every American either to purchase health insurance or face an IRS penalty. This mandate represents nothing more than an unconstitutional, historically unprecedented gift to the insurance industry. I introduced the "End the Mandate Act” (HR 4995) expressly to prevent the administration from ever putting this provision into effect.

Instead of mandating the same failed entitlement healthcare schemes that are bankrupting Europe, Congress should fundamentally re-examine the case for free-market healthcare. Our current model, based on employer-provided health insurance, did not arise based on market preferences. On the contrary, it makes no sense to couple health insurance with employment. But federal wage and price controls instituted during World War II left employers with no alternative to attract workers in a tight labor market other than offering extra benefits such as health insurance and pensions. Over time these nonwage benefits became the norm, especially since employers could deduct the cost of health insurance premiums from their income taxes while individuals could not. The perverse consequence is that employees lose both their paychecks and their health insurance when they lose their job.

As reliance on third-party health insurance grew, patients became detached from the true costs of their doctor visits. In the 1970s the Nixon administration, along with the late Senator Edward Kennedy, championed the cause of health maintenance organizations (HMOs). Congress accepted the faulty premise that HMOs would reduce costs through centralized management of patients, when in fact the opposite was true: more bureaucracy would only lead to higher costs, less accountability, and worse patient care.

In recent years Congress has only intensified the problem with more laws and more regulations, especially with the disastrous Medicare prescription drug benefit. The drug benefit was another example of naked patronage to a politically-connected industry, and it exponentially worsened the federal government’s balance sheet. Obamacare will be the last nail in the coffin of our bankrupt entitlement system.

More laws are not the answer. Instead, we need to allow a market system to operate that reflects consumer choices while rationally pricing services. In a market system patients likely would pay cash for basic services, while maintaining relatively high-deductible catastrophic insurance for serious illnesses and accidents. The cost of most routine medical care would drop if the patient paid the bill on the spot, especially if doctors no longer needed to employ large staffs solely to deal with insurance and billing.

Let me repeat: we need a system in America where patients pay cash for basic services, and carry insurance only for serious illnesses and accidents. “Health maintenance” is the responsibility of each of us individually. We cannot continue to collectivize the costs of healthcare and expect things to get better.

Authoritarianism is bad for your health. Congress should end the Obamacare mandate and allow market-based medicine to flourish.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Judge Napolitano's Freedom Watch on TV!

In case you missed Judge Napolitano's inaugural episode of Freedom Watch on Fox Business, you can watch the entire episode here or on YouTube here. You can also watch it below:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fighting Gravity

A cool performance on America's Got Talent that's worth checking out: