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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Friday, November 30, 2007

Oh Won't You Stay...?

From The Clarion-Ledger:

"The Mississippi Democratic Party, the Mississippi Republican Party, the state of Mississippi and the Mississippi NAACP have filed motions with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans asking for a stay [of Judge Allen Pepper's ruling] while their appeals are pending."

There would seem to be a good chance that this stay will be granted, since all four appellants are requesting it. Suppose the 2008 legislature enacts the measures that the judge has ordered, and then all or part of his ruling is reversed on appeal. That would create lots of unnecessary confusion and red tape. Besides, there's not a lot of folderol involved in issuing a stay. This would move back Pepper's August 31, 2008 deadline and likely exempt our spring 2009 municipal primaries from the ruling.

"Democrats would welcome independents in their primaries, Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Dowdy said."

If there was any doubt, this removes it. Once the dust has settled, independents will have the same choices on primary day that ALL voters have in the present setup, i.e., independents will be able to vote in either the Democratic or the Republican primary.

Here is my view as to the scenario that will unfold: Pepper's ruling that Mississippi's primary election law is unconstitutional will be upheld on appeal. His orders for voter ID and party registration will be reversed, however, as those two matters are in the legislature's domain.

"Requirements that would dramatically change Mississippi's voting system..."

The main change will be that the Democrats will be able to block Republicans from voting in Democratic primaries-- which was the Democrats' purpose in bringing the lawsuit. Since the Republicans have said that they will keep their primaries open to ALL voters, Democratic voters will also continue to have their choice of either party's primary. In other words, Republicans will be the only voters who will have fewer choices on primary day than they have now.

The Importance of Virtue

In the Virginia convention, the soft-spoken, five-foot-four-inch Madison faced the sparkling oratory of Patrick Henry, the Constitution's chief opponent. Such luminaries as George Mason, Edmund Randolph, and future President James Monroe also opposed the Constitution. Virginia's ratification came on an 89-79 vote; this was only a few days after New Hampshire had become the necessary ninth state to ratify. Meanwhile, Alexander Hamilton led the fight for the Constitution in the New York convention, which climaxed in a 30-27 vote for ratification.

"Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a
wretched situation. No theoretical checks-- no form of government--
can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will
secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is
a chimerical idea; if there be sufficient virtue and intelligence
in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these
men. So that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence
in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them."

-- James Madison (speech at the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 20 June 1788)

Reference: The True Republican, French edition (28-29)

"[N]either the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the
liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt."

-- Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, who opposed the Constitution

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Will Ron Paul be a Third Party Candidate?

by John Fund | Wall Street Journal | November 28, 2007

Many Ron Paul supporters think he's seriously considering a third-party run for the White House after the GOP primaries are over. In 1988, he left the GOP to run as the Libertarian Party candidate, and pundits note that he's been sounding increasingly exasperated with the current GOP field. You'd think that the recent success of the U.S. surge in stabilizing the security situation in Iraq might make Mr. Paul, who is emphasizing his anti-war message, more charitable towards his fellow GOP candidates. Nothing doing.

RealClearPolitics.com notes that Mr. Paul has now taken to calling all his GOP rivals "neo-conservatives" and suggesting none would be worthy of his support as the party's nominee next fall. "They think we're supposed to spread our goodness through force," Mr. Paul told MSNBC. Noting that none of his adversaries would pledge not to wage war on Iran, he added, "How could I support something like that?"

Mr. Paul did tell MSNBC: "I don't plan to run in a third party. That's not my goal. But if we have a candidate that loves the war and loves the neo-con position of promoting our ...." Unfortunately, in a classic example of an interviewer stepping on potential news, the MSNBC reporter chose that moment to interrupt and the remainder of Mr. Paul's thought was lost.

Should he choose to go the third-party route, Mr. Paul would enjoy far more visibility than in his haphazard 1988 campaign. The Libertarian Party national convention doesn't meet until late May in Denver, and becoming its nominee would immediately guarantee him a spot on 26 state ballots. Another 20 state ballot lines would be fairly easy to obtain.

It's also likely Mr. Paul would be the rare third-party candidate who could actually raise his own money. He's on track to raise over $12 million for the GOP primaries in just the last quarter of 2008.

Despite the conventional wisdom that Mr. Paul would hurt the GOP candidate if he ran in the general election, an argument can be made his third-party run would also take votes away from the Democratic candidate. If he emphasized his support for pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq immediately, he would trump Hillary Clinton on the left. If he talked about his support for drug decriminalization, he would clearly appeal to a constituency ignored by both major parties. Hillary Clinton and the GOP frontrunners all support the Patriot Act, a major bugaboo for Mr. Paul. Calling for its repeal could increase his appeal to the ACLU crowd.

The bottom line is that while everyone assumes Mr. Paul would be the Pat Buchanan of 2008, he also might appeal to some voters who backed Ralph Nader in 2000. Exit polls in 2000 found that a quarter of Mr. Nader's supporters would have backed George W. Bush if Mr. Nader hadn't been on the ballot, and another third wouldn't have voted at all.

Two Virginians

Note that he refers to the United States as "they."

"My ardent desire is, and my aim has been... to comply strictly
with all our engagements foreign and domestic; but to keep the
United States free from political connections with every other
Country. To see that they may be independent of all, and under
the influence of none. In a word, I want an American character,
that the powers of Europe may be convinced we act for ourselves
and not for others; this, in my judgment, is the only way to be
respected abroad and happy at home."

-- George Washington (letter to Patrick Henry, 9 October 1775)

Friday, November 23, 2007

War Stanzas

Stanza 1865

Where the reeds and rushes grow
Where the forest dims the light,
How the brave lads charge forth,
How the valiant fight!

Order in disorder sways,
Close up on the right,
The lame and walking wounded
With gaping holes of fright.

Raise the banner proudly,
Fair glory to be gained:
Boyhood friends are stumbling,
Brooding o'er their pain.

They cry out to God their Maker,
Their heads held down in swoons,
While officers are shouting,
Maneuvering for room.

The battle lines enmeshed, embraced
As the bankers watch the doom.


So good night mama,
We're burying our dead
Another generation
In long neat rows
Of chipped, hard stone reflecting.
Their lives are gone.

The bankers live on.

~~ Ken Gillespie

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Words From a Famous Agnostic

"It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of
Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits,
and humbly to implore his protection and favors."

-- George Washington (Thanksgiving Proclamation, 3 October 1789)

As everyone knows, these United States of America were founded by a bunch of agnostics and deists.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Let's Rename it the Mississippi Diet

As a result of the runoff elections of Saturday, November 17, the new Louisiana House of Representatives will consist of 53 Democrats, 50 Republicans, and two independents. According to Richard Winger at Ballot Access News, this is the largest number of Republicans in the Louisiana House since the 1870s. Note that Louisiana has a total of 105 House members and 39 senators.

Mississippi, with a smaller population, has 122 representatives and 52 senators.

All of these states have larger populations than Mississippi:

California (about 12 times our population): 80 assembly members and 40 senators
Tennessee: 99 representatives and 33 senators
Texas: 150 representatives and 31 senators
Alabama: 105 representatives and 35 senators
Florida: 120 representatives and 40 senators
South Carolina: 124 representatives and 46 senators
North Carolina: 120 representatives and 50 senators
Virginia: 100 delegates and 40 senators
Georgia: 180 representatives and 56 senators
Kentucky: 100 representatives and 38 senators
Missouri: 163 representatives and 34 senators
Oklahoma: 101 representatives and 48 senators
Ohio: 99 representatives and 33 senators
Illinois: 118 representatives and 59 senators
Indiana: 100 representatives and 50 senators
Iowa (about the same population as Mississippi): 100 representatives and 50 senators
Michigan: 110 representatives and 38 senators

These states have less population than Mississippi:

Arkansas: 100 representatives and 35 senators
Nebraska (the only unicameral legislature): 49 members. Also, there are no party primaries in legislative elections here. In each district, all the candidates run in the same election.

We keep hearing about Mississippi's problem with obesity. It appears that our legislature also needs to reduce. We could rename it the Mississippi Diet, as some legislative bodies are already called.

Note: In 1993, Lt. Gov. Eddie Briggs sponsored a ballot initiative to reduce the Mississippi legislature to a maximum of 60 representatives and 30 senators. Since the initiative did not get the required number of signatures within a year's time, it did not qualify for the ballot.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Latest Ron Paul Fraud

by James W. Harris | The Liberator Online | November 15, 2007

Newspapers and TV shows have been buzzing with reports that libertarian Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul raised over 4 million dollars in just 24 hours, on November 5.

If true, that would be the largest amount of money any Republican presidential candidate this year has raised in a single day. In fact, that's remarkably close to the most successful presidential fundraising day ever in American history: John Kerry's $5.7 million -- and that happened only after Kerry accepted the Democratic presidential nomination, not in the days before the primaries.

But of course this cannot be true. It has to be some kind of trick.

After all, every savvy political observer knows that Ron Paul has just a handful of fanatical supporters.

When he started winning virtually all of the online polls, it was clear this was the work of just a few pro-Paul nuts, with computers and far too much time on their hands, endlessly spamming the polls.

When Technorati, which ranks popularity in the blogosphere, announced that "Ron Paul" was the number one Internet search term, that was obviously just more spam trickery by the miniscule but diabolically active Paul cult. When Ron Paul's YouTube channel reached over 30,000 subscribers last month -- far more than any other presidential candidate, and making him his channel the 39th most popular YouTube channel of all time -- it was just more of the same.

When he won almost every phone-in poll after each nationally-televised debate, once again it was clear to all right-thinking observers that it had to be the same few Ron Paul fanatics, dialing over and over again, somehow getting past blockers the networks put in place to make that impossible.

When he started winning or scoring high in numerous local GOP straw polls, it was obviously just the same tiny crew, now frantically traveling state to state and using false IDs to make it appear Paul had lots of supporters. No doubt this same handful are the ones who greet Ron Paul, cheering and waving signs, wherever he goes.

The more than 1,000 Ron Paul meet-up groups, in over 800 cities, who have put on over 12,000 events so far... just more trickery and manipulation by this small but determined band.

Ditto for the countless thousands of handmade Ron Paul signs that have seemingly popped up spontaneously across the country. The tiny Paul cabal probably does it while they're racing across the country to keep up with Paul's campaign appearances.

I frankly haven't figured out yet how this small group of isolated loners and fringe crazies, as they're often described, has managed to fool everyone into believing they raised over four million dollars in one day. But it obviously must be just another trick.

Because, if it's not a trick, it would mean that Ron Paul -- and his libertarian message of peace, civil liberties, economic freedom and limited government -- has far greater support than much of the media has ever imagined. And that couldn't be true.

Could it?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Big Bucks Roll in for the Jena 6

See here for a timeline of the events related to the "Jena 6" case.

by Howard Witt | Chicago Tribune | November 11, 2007

Just weeks after some 20,000 demonstrators protested what they decried as unequal justice aimed at six black teenagers in the Louisiana town of Jena, controversy is growing over the accounting and disbursing of at least $500,000 donated to pay for the teenagers' legal defense.

Parents of the "Jena 6" teens have refused to publicly account for how they are spending a large portion of the cash, estimated at up to $250,000, that resides in a bank account they control.

Michael Baisden, a nationally syndicated black radio host who is leading a major fundraising drive on behalf of the Jena 6, has declined to reveal how much he has collected. Attorneys for the first defendant to go to trial, Mychal Bell, say they have yet to receive any money from him.

Meanwhile, photos and videos are circulating across the Internet that raise questions about how the donated money is being spent. One photo shows Robert Bailey, one of the Jena 6 defendants, smiling and posing with $100 bills stuffed in his mouth. Another shows defendants Carwin Jones and Bryant Purvis modeling like rap stars at the Black Entertainment Television Hip-Hop music awards last month in Atlanta.

The teenagers' parents have strongly denied that they have misused any of the donated money. Bailey's mother, for example, insisted that the $100 bills shown in the photograph were cash her son had earned as a park maintenance worker.

But civil rights leaders... Keep reading>>>

Monday, November 12, 2007

Social Security and Other Ponzi Schemes

This was published as "Ponzi Was a Piker" in The Freeman of April, 1956.

By Dean Clarence E. Manion

Dr. Manion, formerly Dean of the Law School of Notre Dame, now [1956] practices law in South Bend, Indiana.

Latecomers to this troubled world will not remember Charles Ponzi, who stole (among other things) a great portion of the nation’s headlines back in 1920.

Ponzi claimed he could double anybody’s money in 90 days. Furthermore, he apparently did so. Thousands of his customers received this rich pay-off and told a hundred thousand others about their good fortune. Millions upon millions of dollars poured in upon Ponzi from eager investors during the first six months of 1920. The fabulous returns came back as promised, often ahead of schedule.

Then in August of 1920, the federal authorities moved in on this financial wizard. They closed his Boston bank and thus cut off his cash. The next day Ponzi was arrested for using the mails to defraud. He stoutly maintained that he had paid everybody; that if left alone he would continue to do so.

But the federal government wouldn’t leave Ponzi alone. It cut off his intake and outgo. Ponzi was through. Three months later he pleaded guilty. After serving eleven years of his long sentence, he was deported to his native Italy.

Ironically, Ponzi was hardly out of the country before the same federal government that had imprisoned him for fraud proceeded to adopt the Ponzi “get rich easy” scheme as its very own. Ponzi had represented his financial jackpot as a “securities exchange.” The federal government proceeded to call it “Social Security.”

The federal government was able to add some important features to this bizarre shell-game that were unavailable to Ponzi. First of all, the federal government cannot be prosecuted for fraud. But more important than that is the exclusive governmental feature of compulsory participation.

Ponzi had to induce his customers to come in voluntarily; whereas, the government now [1956] forces 65 million workers to “invest” six billion dollars a year in its glorified version of the Ponzi scheme.

Ponzi paid back at the annual rate of sixteen to one. The federal government does even better. Some of its very lucky participants are now drawing back at the rate of $100 for every dollar invested.

How is this miracle worked? Here is what the Court said in the Ponzi bankruptcy cases: “Ponzi’s scheme was the old fraud of paying the early comers out of the contributions of later comers.” (In re Ponzi 280 Fed. Rep. 193.) “That Mr. Ponzi took advantage of a weakness and willingness of the community to be victimized is apparent . . . . So long as the current of money continued to flow in, he could pay the first investors with receipts from the latter. It was another instance of robbing Peter to pay Paul, of which the past affords examples.” (In re Ponzi 268 Fed. 997.)

The Court did not know that the future government Social Security scheme was to provide the most striking example of all. The Chief Actuary of the Social Security system now says of it: “The system is not fully funded in the sense that all benefit rights earned to date could be met by the existing assets if the program were to be liquidated, but the system is more or less self-supporting on the assumption that it continues indefinitely into the future with the compulsory coverage that exists by legislation.”

In other words, the official assumption is that there will always be more Peters to be robbed than there are Pauls presently to be paid. In fact, the susceptible Peters will be so numerous and will be robbed at such high rates of return that the Pauls can all be paid, with billions left over each year for the Israelis, the Egyptians, the British, and the French. This is now the official theory of the same government that put Charles Ponzi in jail for fraud. []

Reprinted, by permission, from the Manion Forum of Opinion Broadcast, February 5, 1956.


Security of Self

"The only security any person can have lies within himself. Unless he is free to act as an individual, free to be productive in his own behalf, free to determine what part of that production he will consume now and what part he will save, and free to protect his savings, there is no chance that he can find security anywhere."

Paul L. Poirot, The Pension Idea

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Paul Weyrich Wants to Stop Giuliani

The chairman of the Free Congress Foundation says that Mitt Romney is a better campaigner than Fred Thompson. He also notes that Mike Huckabee left the conservative movement in Arkansas in shambles and favors civil unions as well as statehood for the District of Columbia.

by Phil Brennan | November 5, 2007

Paul Weyrich, one of the nation’s most influential conservative leaders, says he is out to prevent Rudy Giuliani from winning the Republican nomination for president — and predicts the religious right will unite behind any GOP candidate except Rudy.

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.com, Weyrich also predicts Republicans face a “disaster” in the Senate in next year’s elections, says Hillary Clinton would be the easiest Democratic candidate to defeat, and charges that the Bush administration’s Iraq policy has been a “mistake” from the beginning.

Weyrich is no stranger to speaking his mind. As Chairman and CEO of the Washington-based Free Congress Foundation, he has long been recognized as one of America’s most thoughtful and principled conservatives.

He was founding president of the Heritage Foundation, one of the largest and most respected public policy research institutes and a major force in advancing conservative policies.

He was also instrumental in the formation of Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority.

Weyrich is a regular guest on radio and television talk shows, a frequent contributor to major U.S. publications, including Newsmax.Read more>>>

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Bill Would Ban Photo Voter ID

U. S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) has introduced a bill in Congress to ban the photo ID as a requirement for voting in federal elections.

The first Muslim elected to Congress, Ellison refused to be sworn in using the Bible.

Drug Prohibition Corrupts Law Officers

by Frosty Wooldridge | November 1, 2007

Front page headlines scream out across America each time a cop gets busted for corruption. The rest proves a tragedy for the officer, the family and The Thin Blue Line. How many? The United States Department of Justice stopped keeping statistics in 1988, but experts agree that the drug trade ensnares half of police officers. Prison guards smuggle in drugs, customs officers waive truckloads of narcotics into the country while money corrupts too many. Even as citizens learn how much the officer took, the reader rarely hears of the most pervasive form of corruption; namely how often officers lie under oath.

In this fourth part of a continuing series, I interviewed my brother, 18 year veteran police officer and detective, Howard Wooldridge (retired), with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, LEAP, now stationed in Washington, DC.

“The United States has been at war with its citizens in earnest since President Nixon declared a war on drugs/war on people in 1971,” Officer Wooldridge said. “Since then my profession has spent one trillion tax dollars to arrest 38 million Americans for drug offenses. Corruption has become pandemic across the US, as drug dealers offer huge amounts of money to conceal their valuable cargo. An ounce of cocaine is worth about 20 ounces of pure gold. Although police officers always start out with a ton of integrity that can go to zero all too quickly.”

The bribe becomes the most dramatic form of corruption to protect a dealer from being arrested, his stash or his shipment of drugs. We read of officers paid $10,000 to... Keep reading>>>