Saturday, May 31, 2008
Bureaucrash is dedicated to fighting the increase of government control over our lives. Our international network of pro-freedom activists works to change the political ideology of our generation through creative activism. While most youth politics supports the growth of the already bloated government bureaucracy, we fight for freedom.
Our activists are of all political persuasions united by the belief that sprawling governments and the bureaucrats and politicians who control them ought to be mocked. Mercilessly.
Why? Because when governments grow, our freedom to live our lives as we see fit shrinks. Every time a new law is passed, some bureaucrat squirreled away in a cubicle somewhere gets more power to make decisions over us. And because the vast majority of people have no idea of the lives and freedoms crushed every time the government’s power grows.
We believe that, only by spreading information about this absurd arrangement can we leash the bureaucracy and restore our fundamental freedoms.
Here a Bureaucrasher confronts Arlington County Police Officer Owens for violating the law.
Dear Friends, Activists and Fellow Libertarians,
I’ve just returned from the Libertarian National Convention, held this past week in Denver. I know a lot of people are stunned and some are still angry that Bob Barr won. Although I am exhausted, I wanted to get a message out about where we go from here.
Anti-Barr literature, buttons and posters were highly visible throughout the entire convention. Those who were opposed to Barr made it painfully clear to him how much they disliked him.
For my part, I have taken Barr to task on several occasions. I've blasted Barr for violating his oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution by shutting down the DC vote on medical marijuana -- a vote that the ACLU later found out through court action was a whopping 69% in support.
In fact, when I first met Barr, one of the first things I said to him was, "What should I tell all my friends and fellow activists who have suffered so terribly because of the laws you helped to write and fund?”
His response? "Tell them my conversion is sincere."
I've attacked Root as well, slamming him over his past comments about the threat of "Islamo-Fascism" and his promoting himself as "W.A.R."
Fortunately, I've had several opportunities to engage both men privately and to ask the tough questions, one on one. Their responses, their concerns and their integrity impressed me.
That's not to say that we still don't have our differences, but I can tell you that Barr and Root are sincere and effective spokesmen for reigning in the government, restoring our constitutional rights, allowing states to determine their own laws regarding drugs and for the full legalization of medical marijuana.
Although my good friend and long time party activist, Tom Knapp has been highly critical of Root, I have found Wayne to be one of the nicest, smartest, and honest human being I've ever known. After nearly two years of campaigning, we have developed enormous respect for each other and intend to be friends for life. I am just as
impressed with his wonderful wife and family. In particular, I was blown away by the nomination speech, delivered live to a national audience, by his beautiful, brilliant, home-schooled, 16-year-old daughter, Dakota Root.
After their victory, the Barr campaign could have told their opponents not to let the door hit them in the ass on their way out and saved themselves a lot of future grief. Instead, we have seen a concerted effort by Barr and Root to unify the party.
More importantly, I now believe Barr and Root are the strongest pro-freedom ticket we've ever had and that, with your support, we can have an enormous impact this November. These men are smart, media savvy and determined to win. Considering that we are already in a perfect storm politically, with a record level of voter discontent, anything is possible. At the very least, John McCain is already being discussed in MSM as a likely loser in November, now that Barr has won the Libertarian Party’s nomination.
Bob Barr and Wayne Root won their nomination fair and square. Now they are ready to carry the banner of liberty across the country and to provide a wide spectrum of voters with a clear choice this November. They deserve every ounce of support we can muster.
Let freedom grow,
Of course the pure libertarian response on gay marriage is that marriage is not a proper function of government. This is my personal position also.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Once the convention started it became painfully obvious that the GOP leadership intended to keep the Ron Paul supporters from electing any national delegates or alternates.
The convention rules did not allow any nominations from the floor. All nominations had to come from the "Nominating Committee" of the State party. The State party nominating committee had "screened" the potential national delegates before the convention. They only allowed a token number (about 4) of Ron Paul supporters on the delegate ballot and none on the alternate ballot.
The convention was to elect 14 delegates and 14 alternates to the National convention. The nominating committee allowed 24 people to be on the national delegate ballot and only 16 on the national alternate ballot. Separate elections were held for delegates and alternates.
Quite amazingly the Ron Carey backed delegate slate were all selected for inclusion on the ballot by the nominating committee. Amazing.
The convention rules required that everyone vote for exactly 14 delegates and 14 alternates. If you voted for any less, none of your votes would count. Therefore Ron Paul supporters had to vote for McCain delegates if they wanted their vote for Ron Paul delegates to count. Not surprisingly only one Ron Paul delegate got elected.
Most Ron Paul supporters turned in blank or otherwise invalid ballots in the national alternate election.
For a party that talks about how important the grassroots is, this convention was a farce. Rather than risking any grassroots people taking any delegate or alternate spots, the State party tightly controlled the entire process and shut out the grassroots.
Ron Carey the arrogant state chair had sent out letters and email to make sure McCain supporters showed up. Since there is no official GOP nominee for President, this is a violation of Carey's responsibilities as State Chair. A State Chair is supposed to remain neutral until there is an officially endorsed candidate. Of course what would you expect from Carey, since he violated his office by endorsing Mike Huckabee back in January.
Here is a video of interviews with several Ron Paul supporters before the convention began:
From the New Zealand Herald:
The number of sex workers in New Zealand does not appear to have increased since legislation decriminalising prostitution became law, according to a new report.
The Prostitution Law Review Committee was set up to report on the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 three to five years after the act came into force.
Its report, just published, was based on work carried out by the Christchurch School of Medicine and Victoria University's Crime and Justice Research Centre.
However, a comparison between the number of sex workers in Christchurch in 1999, before decriminalisation, and 2006 - after the act was passed - showed the total had stayed about the same.
Around 93 per cent of sex workers cited money as the reason for getting into and staying in the sex industry.
"The most significant barriers to exiting are loss of income, reluctance to lose the flexible working hours available in the sex industry and the camaraderie and sense of belonging that some sex workers describe."
The committee said a Christchurch School of Medicine survey found that more than 90 per cent felt they had legal rights under the act.
More than 60 per cent felt they were more able to refuse to provide commercial sexual services to a particular client since the enactment of the law.
Before the act, the illicit status of the industry meant workers were open to coercion and exploitation by managers, pimps and clients. Research indicated there had been "some improvement" in employment conditions "but this is by no means universal".
Generally, brothels that had treated their workers fairly before the act continued to do so, while those that did not, continued to have unfair management practices, it said.
"The committee recommends that the sex industry, with the help of the Department of Labour and others, moves towards written, best-practice employment contracts ... becoming standard for sex workers working in brothels."
Other findings included that the majority of sex workers felt the act could do little about violence that occurred, although a significant majority felt there had been an improvement since the passing of the act.
Other recommendations included that the Government provide additional funding to the Ministry of Health to enable medical officers of health to carry out regular inspections of brothels.
It also said the Government should provide funding so that non-government organisations could provide services, including assistance with exiting for those who wanted to quit sex work.
Associate Justice Minister Lianne Dalziel said the report showed the act had had a positive effect on the health and safety of sex workers and had not led to an increase in numbers of sex workers as predicted by critics of the law reform.
Full article here.
Prostitution, like mood altering drugs has been around since the dawn of man. It is time that individuals through the force of government quit trying to control the lives of others. No one benefits from these control efforts. Society pays a huge price in police, court and prison costs. Not to mention the costs in corruption and increased crime. Public health also suffers since those involved are considered criminals and thus less likely to seek out medical care.
Those involved in such pursuits are driven underground where they are more open to exploitation and physical violence. As mentioned above their health also suffers. By making these pursuits illegal society also makes it harder for anyone to leave since they will be worried about the legal consequences of seeking help.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 27, 2008
Minneapolis, Minnesota – Presidential candidate and Congressman Dr. Ron Paul will speak to his supporters, and other delegates and alternates to the Minnesota Republican State Convention, Friday morning, May 30, at 7:30 AM at the Mayo Memorial Park, 30 Civic Center Drive, Rochester MN. The park features an amphitheater setting adjacent to the rear of the Mayo Civic Center where the convention is to be held.
After repeated requests for an invitation, the Republican Party of Minnesota’s Chairman, Ron Carey, issued a letter to Marianne Stebbins, Minnesota Campaign Coordinator for Ron Paul 2008 PCC, denying Ron Paul a speaking opportunity at the convention.
“I put in five calls to the MN GOP over the past several weeks, requesting a simple yes or no on letting Dr. Paul speak, with no response,” said Stebbins, “and only received the written denial following a demand for response via certified mail. So the Ron Paul campaign extends our invitation to all GOP state delegates and alternates to hear for themselves why this remarkable man has created such a stir in this presidential election.”
When the gavel drops in the Civic Center at 9:00 AM, Stebbins anticipates the convention Rules Report will favor the MN GOP Chairman’s picks for national delegate, allowing only “qualified” candidates to appear on the ballot, to be named later by the Nominating Committee, while not defining such qualifications. Paul’s supporters will appeal to the delegates of the convention to amend the rules in the interests of fairness and openness to allow for all who filed their intent to run with the MN GOP to appear on the ballot.
“Other challenges to the rules may be brought in an orderly fashion,” said Stebbins, “by no means as an attempt to disrupt the convention, but strictly to favor an open, democratic process to allow for the delegation to make decisions about whom it wishes support, as opposed to an orchestrated election of unopposed, backroom candidates.”
MN GOP Chairman, Ron Carey, last week sent an email to party officers urging them to turn out their McCain delegates, forwarding an email message from the Ron Paul campaign as an additional motivator. Contrary to Carey’s claims, the vast majority of caucus attendees voted against McCain.
Marianne Stebbins, Minnesota Campaign Coordinator for Ron Paul 2008 PCC stated, “Ron Carey is misusing his office of Chairman to encourage turnout only of delegates for one candidate. The Republican Party Bylaws clearly forbid this activity. If Mr. Carey wishes to actively campaign for one candidate and for his slate of candidates for national delegate, he should relinquish the Chair to someone who can more impartially handle the duties of the office.”
Dr. Ron Paul, tenth-term Congressman from Texas, is one of two candidates remaining in the Republican race for President, and has earned seven national delegates so far out of Minnesota. With his new book, The Revolution: A Manifesto, now in its third week on the New York Times Bestseller List, he remains in the race to offer conservatives an option in the primaries, and to spread the message of Liberty, Peace and Prosperity.
Here is the email Minnesota GOP Chair Ron Carey sent out:
From: Ron W. Carey
Sent: Thu, 22 May 2008 10:12 am
Subject: Turn out your folks, please!
We need to realize that all the planning in the world is for naught if our traditional conservative Republican Delegates and Alternates do not turn out in Rochester next week. I’ve provided below a memo that has gone out to all the Ron Paul supporters to motivate their base. Every Ron Paul supporter will be in Rochester to swell their ranks. Empty chairs will be filled with Ron Paul Alternates. Please take this as a serious challenge. I need your help to motivate EVERY member of your delegation to get to Rochester and be in their chairs at 9 AM Friday at the latest (not 10 AM…..9 AM). In Oklahoma, the Ron Paul people immediately tried to take control of the convention as soon as the gavel went down. We need to have a full convention delegation that reflects the strong majority support across the state for our presumptive nominee, John McCain. Please work with your BPOU leadership to get people in Rochester who support John McCain by early Friday AM.
By the way, we are finalizing the speaker roster for Thursday night’s rally and reception at the Convention Center; one of our nation’s leading conservatives is planning to headline the event. I hope to have the details to you in the next twenty-four hours so you can use this information to further motivate your folks to be in Rochester early.
Please make convention turnout a priority on your schedule in the next few days. Thanks for your leadership!
Subject: We NEED you at the state convention. (You don't want to miss Ron Paul live!)
> There is some great news which I hope will ensure your attendance next week in Rochester: we are 95% certain that Ron Paul will be in Rochester to speak to us early Friday morning, May 30 (7:30 AM, most likely). We will be sending an email with the specifics as soon as they are firmed up.
> Long story short, in order for us to win these fourteen national delegate spots, we need every last delegate and alternate for Ron Paul there. Alternates will be seated and will probably make the difference for us. It's going to be a squeaker, and could easily come down to one or two votes.
> Marianne Stebbins
> Ron Paul 2008
> Minnesota Campaign Coordinator
Carey as State Chair is supposed to remain neutral in ALL campaigns until there is an official Party endorsed candidate. Carey violated his duties earlier this year when he came out and endorsed Mike Huckabee for President. He is violating his duties again since there is no officially endorsed Republican candidate for President.
From Terry's introduction to the video:
The internal suspicionless Homeland Security checkpoint seizure depicted in this video took place on April 22, 2008 - over 40 miles North of the border along Southern Arizona's SR86 near mile marker 146.
Both agents working primary have also stopped me in the recent past. The videos of these previous stops can be viewed at:
here and here
Unlike the previous stops however where I was waved through relatively quickly, this time around Agents Cruz & Villa played tag team during the stop & illegally detained me absent reasonable suspicion for close to ten minutes. This despite the fact that both agents know who I am and that I'm not an illegal alien.
Instead this was merely another exercise in obedience training and dominance games absent reasonable suspicion along a public highway inside the country.
One of my goals in documenting these checkpoint encounters is to demonstrate their arbitrary nature and intrusiveness on the traveling public.
While such suspicionless enforcement tactics are commonplace in third world dictatorships, they have no place in a Constitutional Republic such as ours. Especially considering that more efficient enforcement alternatives are available to the Border Patrol if the agency is really interested in 'securing' the border. One such alternative being to actually patrol it - something these agents weren't doing because they were too busy interfering with the traveling rights of domestic travelers.
There's a reason why the 4th amendment prohibits unreasonable search & seizure. The increasing hostility being directed against individuals who object to these suspicionless enforcement tactics is one of them.
The 'writ of assistance' was supposed to have disappeared generations ago after the overthrow of the British government. Unfortunately, the spirit of the writ lives on within those who seek to dominate & control instead of serve & protect.
See more here.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
The Clinton campaign really mastered the art, using satellite feeds before campaign rallies to locate anti Clinton protesters and have security muscle them out of sight.
Another segment documents how thew media and the Democratic Party manipulated the polls and silenced Larry Agran who was running for the Democratic nomination for President.
According to the Orange County weekly:
During his quixotic campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1991 and 1992, Agran was systematically excluded from candidate forums and debates. He bravely stood up in the crowd at a debate in Nashua, New Hampshire, and demanded inclusion; two local cops were leading him out of the room when the outraged citizenry embarrassed the other candidates into inviting him onto the dais.
But that paled in comparison with what happened in the Bronx, when the same stunt resulted in a thumping by the NYPD, who busted him on charges of disorderly conduct, criminal trespass and resisting arrest.
Years ago, in discussing his motivation for standing up at those events, Agran told me, “I had become so frustrated that I concluded that this was not a legitimate process . . . I was reminded of Martin Luther King when he said that these laws [sanctioning racial segregation] do not deserve respect, these are not rules to be respected.”
No one in this video comes off looking good. It certainly is an indictment of what passes for news. It demonstrates the lack of honesty of politicians and how spin is more important than truth.
The video is nearly an hour but well worth the time. Here is Spin:
Monday, May 26, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Root edged out Steve Kubby on the second ballot to win the Vice Presidential nod. Kubby who had endorsed Ruwart after he was eliminated on the second Presidential ballot was endorsed by Ruwart for VP. Barr had endorsed Root for VP.
In a sad note this is the AP story that ran after Barr was endorsed:
Libertarian Party picks Barr as presidential candidate
2 hours ago
DENVER (AP) — The Libertarian Party has picked former Republican Rep. Bob Barr to be its presidential candidate after six rounds of balloting.
The party is meeting in Denver.
Barr beat research scientist Mary Ruwart, who was the party's presidential nominee in 1983 and vice presidential candidate in 1992. Barr left the GOP in 2006 over what he called bloated spending and civil liberties intrusions by the Bush administration.
Mary Ruwart was NOT ever the Libertarian Party's nominee for either President or Vice President. It is pretty sad when that is the degree of fact checking that AP uses in its stories.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Health officials in Carver County want to perform physical exams and health assessments on all the county's adult residents -- more than 63,000 people -- with the goal of making Carver the healthiest county in the nation.
The first step of the plan was taken this week when the Carver County Board unanimously approved spending $45,000 donated by a local hospital to hire a consultant to help determine whether the idea is feasible.
"It's somewhat of a novel approach," said Carver County Administrator Dave Hemze.
If the county goes ahead with the idea, the program would entail having residents visit clinics, hospitals or doctors' offices to undergo physical exams, including blood tests, and to fill out extensive health questionnaires on everything from mental health to personal habits.
Authorities hope to collect the data over about a year, then do follow-up checks in the next three to five years to see how effective prevention and education programs prove in addressing health issues uncovered by the study.
"We're just at the very beginning stages," Rae Jean Madsen, planning development manager for the county Public Health Department, said Wednesday.
Full article here.
So the County wants to obtain health data on all its citizens. Of course it would be a voluntary program... at least for now. The goal is to make Carver "...the healthiest county in the nation". Hmm... that can't be accomplished just by obtaining information, it would mean some kind of program would have to be instituted to "encourage" people to eat better, smoke less and exercise more.
Eventually the health assessment will become mandatory and the encouragement will to turn into a mandate to change habits. After all just like mandatory seat belt usage it is for your own good.
You can reach Carver County Public Health at (952) 361-1329 or email@example.com to let them know what you think about this plan.
It sure is comforting to know that incumbent politicians can use taxpayer dollars to send out thinly disguised campaign mailings.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Kathryn Johnston, a 92 year old black woman, was shot 39 times as plainclothes Atlanta narcotics officers broke into her home on Nov. 26, 2006. The warrant was obtained using false information and the officers involved planted evidence afterward to cover up their lies. For more go to previous posts here.
From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
An Atlanta police officer convicted of lying to investigators about the Kathryn Johnston shooting was sentenced Thursday to four years and six months in prison, as well as six months on probation.
The sentence, handed down by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson, was close to the maximum of five years in prison.
Police detective Arthur Bruce Tesler, 42, spoke on his own behalf at the sentencing hearing. Earlier this week, he was convicted of lying but acquitted of two other charges stemming from the botched drug raid in which the 92-year-old Johnston was killed in a hail of police gunfire.
"I'm truly sorry for what happened," Tesler said. "I want to do as much as I can to see that it never happens again." Tesler said he hopes the community around Johnston's Neal Street home and her family can heal.
Prosecutors sought the maximum five-year prison term, while Tesler's attorney asked for the minimum one year in prison.
Full story here.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Senate File 3780 is chock full of government-imposed initiatives that will empower government control over medical decisions. While the controversial Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange is no longer in the bill, and a small health insurance premium tax credit got inserted into the bill last minute, these changes do not mitigate the disaster that awaits the Minnesota health care system if this bill is signed into law.
Governor Pawlenty should veto this health care reform bill—and keep medical decisions in the hands of patients and doctors.
Health Care Deform
The health care reform bill, S.F. 3780, puts government in control of medical decisions by leaving too much discretion in the hands of government bureaucrats, limiting public input, imposing a new managed care system, expanding government surveillance, rationing care through payment “incentives,” handing out “fat scores,” expanding welfare healthcare, and laying a foundation for universal health care.
Outside the Rule of Law
SF 3780 leaves too much discretion to government agencies. For instance, many terms like “quality,” “evidence-based,” and “health care homes” are not defined. Furthermore, agencies are allowed to write standards that have the full force and effect of law with little public input.
The Public is Not Welcome
The legislation calls for “expedited rulemaking” in two sections. This means 100 people have to request a public hearing on the department’s proposed rule or no hearing will be held and the rule will become law. The usual rulemaking process requires only 25 people to request a hearing. Since there’s no emergency here, it appears the government does not want the public to get in its way.
Imposes a New Managed Care System
SF3780 establishes “health care homes” with definitions and standards to be defined by government agencies. Specifically, health care homes are to limit access to specialists, conduct intrusive health assessments on patients, identify at risk patients, “incorporate measures of quality, resource use, cost of care,” use electronic data collection and surveillance systems.
Expands Government Surveillance on Patients and Doctors
Almost every physician, practitioner, clinic, and hospital will be required to establish data collection and surveillance systems that allow the government and health plans to readily tap into their medical records electronically. They must establish electronic prescription programs that permit easy tracking of patient medications—and patient choice of pharmacy. All health plans must send detailed patient data and contract pricing data to the government. All physician clinics and hospitals must report patient outcomes and treatment data to the government. No patient consent for data transfers is required.
Rationing Care through Financial Penalties
Government will establish several “incentive payments,” which will penalize any doctor who does not comply with the government standards of “quality” even if that standard is no care, less care, or inferior care. The commissioner of health will develop a payment system that “rewards high-quality, low-cost providers” and “creates enrollee incentives to receive care from high-quality, low-cost providers.” Doctors who do not have the inclination, time or money to file government reports will be penalized.
Intrusive Government Monitoring of Body Fat
Health officials asked for a Body Mass Index surveillance system. While this bill does not include that language, health officials are not prohibited from collecting height and weight of children and giving them ‘fat scores’ through BMI measurements.
Intrusive Expansion of Welfare Healthcare
Eligibility for taxpayer-funded programs was expanded into higher income levels. Without the consent of parents, the Department of Education will be authorized to share income data on school children and their parents with the Department of Human Services so the government can identify and contact eligible people who aren’t signing up for Medicaid. Parents are only allowed to opt-out.
Laying a Foundation for Universal Health Care
SF 3780 sets up a standard for how much state government thinks individuals can be required to pay for health insurance. It creates a workgroup to design a universal, one-size-fits-all state “health benefit set” and it establishes a new long-term health care bureaucracy made up of the special interest advocates of this legislation, the Health Care Reform Review Council. As the bill says, “[T]he council does not expire.” This council can be expected to push Big Government “solutions” far into the future.
SF 3780 most certainly imposes and expands government-run health care on the people of Minnesota. Governor Pawlenty should veto this bill.
Citizens' Council on Health Care supports freedom for patients and doctors, medical innovation, and the right to a confidential patient-doctor relationship.
Citizens' Council on Health Care
1954 University Ave. W., Ste. 8
St. Paul, MN 55104
From the Telegraph:
The Home Office will create a database to store the details of every phone call made, every email sent and every web page visited by British citizens in the previous year under plans currently under discussion, it has emerged.
The Government wants to create the system to fight terrorism and crime. The police and security services believe it will make it easier to access important data as communications become more complex.
Telecoms firms and internet service providers (ISPs) have already been approached by the Home Office, which would be given customer records if the plans were realised.
The plans will raise concern from data protection and civil liberty campaigners and fuel objections to the perceived rise of a "Big Brother" state. There will be worries about the Home Office's ability to safeguard the data from loss or theft, after recent incidents such as when the child benefit information of every family in Britain with a child under 16 were mislaid.
Those pesty civil libertarians, not trusting the government. Have governments ever done anything to harm their citizens? I mean you need to ignore Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Idi Amin and Saddam Hussein.
But in Western countries all government leaders and bureaucrats are superior to your average human and would never even consider violating the rights of their citizens. Okay, okay you need to ignore Franklin Roosevelts imprisoning of Americans of Japanese descent, the Tuskegee experiments on Blacks, those germ experiments on major American cities in the 50's, the... on second thought maybe we should fear the government.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Key developments in the weeks leading up to the Libertarian Party National Convention, which takes place this weekend, show a disturbing pattern. While none of them is sinister in itself, taken together they add up to a strong indication that outside forces are in the process of trying to take over the LP and turn it into an arm of the conservative movement.
Some of the principal officials working on the campaign for former Georgia Republican Congressman Bob Barr appear to be veteran "partyjackers." Barr finance operative Richard Viguerie, a longtime conservative fundraiser, mounted an unsuccessful hostile takeover attempt on the American Independent Party back in 1976. In 2000, Russ Verney, now Barr’s campaign manager, first opened the Reform Party up to a successful takeover by "the Buchanan Brigades," then defected and ran a rump convention to further split the party by nominating Natural Law Party invader John Hagelin.
Recent events within the LP show a similarly disturbing trend.
The convention organizers were told that they must invite Neal Boortz, a conservative Barr supporter, to be the speaker at the Sunday Banquet. Boortz had to cancel because of knee surgery, but the pattern of placing Barr supporters in many of the prominent speaking spots has continued.
The convention organizers were told that they must have Barr himself as the convention’s keynote speaker. After Barr launched his presidential exploratory committee, they were then told that his replacement would be Richard Viguerie. This choice of having Viguerie, a movement conservative, deliver the keynote was imposed on the convention organizers contrary to their own desire, which was to fill the slot with one of the many Libertarian speakers available and eager to fill the keynote slot.
The LP’s former Executive Director, Shane Cory, used the national office to release without authorization a statement that many considered to be openly hostile to candidate Mary Ruwart. He then resigned and has since accepted a position within Viguerie’s organization. (The unauthorized press release appears to have been taken down, but here’s the text.)
Sunday, it was announced that Mr. Viguerie has purchased the popular blog Third Party Watch, which until now has been a largely unmoderated site where proponents and opponents of all third party candidates could freely express their views.
Monday morning, longtime libertarian activist and Third Party Watch contributor Tom Knapp attempted to post a piece about a highly critical story appearing in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about Bob Barr’s fundraising practices. Within minutes, his piece was deleted and his previous posting privileges on the site were revoked.
Clearly, Barr and Viguerie are attempting to gain control of the LP so that Barr can campaign on a conservative/libertarian hybrid platform and Viguerie can extend his fundraising empire into the libertarian quadrant of the political universe. If they succeed, the Libertarian Party will become just one more mouthpiece for malcontent Republicans.
This makes the attempts of some Libertarians to get back to first principles, such as by restoring the 2004 platform, all the more important
Kathryn Johnston, a 92 year old black woman, was shot 39 times as plainclothes Atlanta narcotics officers broke into her home on Nov. 26, 2006. The warrant was obtained using false information and the officers involved planted evidence afterward to cover up their lies. For more go to previous posts here.
From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
A Fulton County jury acquitted an Atlanta police on two charges but found him guilty Tuesday of lying to investigators about a botched drug raid that led to the fatal shooting of a 92-year-old woman.
The verdict came after the jury deliberated for three days and spent hours reviewing a transcript of Detective Arthur Bruce Tesler's testimony in his own defense.
Tesler, 42, faces up to five years in prison, with sentencing set for Thursday. He was the only officer to face a jury on charges related to an illegal search warrant that led to the death of Kathryn Johnston in a case that drew national attention.
Tesler had testified that he participated in the coverup of the illegal warrant because he feared for his safety from his partners and he feared being labeled a "rat" if he informed on them.
Tesler's two partners, Gregg Junnier and Jason R. Smith, who were charged with murder in the case, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. Tesler, stationed at the rear of the house, fired no shots. Smith and Junnier both fired their weapons.
Tesler, 42, has contended he did not know that Smith lied to a judge to get a no-knock search warrant for a house at 933 Neal Street. The detectives said they had been told a kilo of cocaine was hidden in the house.
Instead, Smith planted drugs in the house after the officers killed Johnston, according to testimony.
The 2006 killing shocked metro Atlanta and enraged many in the African-American community, who complained that shoddy or heavy-handed police work in the war on drugs was a source of repeated abuses.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Here is the press release from the Citizens' Council on Health Care:
Gov. Pawlenty Protects Genetic Privacy Rights
Vetoes "DNA Warehouse" Bill
CCHC calls on MN Department of Health to Immediately Comply with Genetic Privacy Law Consent Requirements
Minneapolis/Saint Paul – In a letter dated today, Governor Tim Pawlenty writes that he has vetoed S.F. 3138, the genetic information and DNA bill. S.F. 3138 would have eliminated current informed parent consent requirements for government storage, use, and dissemination of newborn citizen blood and DNA.
Twila Brase, president of Citizens' Council on Health Care (CCHC), the organization that led the opposition to this legislation, provides the following statements:
"Today is a good day for all citizens. Governor Pawlenty chose to protect the privacy rights, human rights, and DNA property rights of all individuals, starting at birth.
"By vetoing Senate File 3138, the Governor kept the strong legal protections of the state genetic privacy law in effect for all citizens, including the 780,000 children whose DNA has already been warehoused without legal authority or parent consent.
"We now call on the Minnesota Department of Health to take immediate steps to comply with the genetic privacy law's informed consent requirements that have been in law since 2006. The Department has already violated the law for two years. The Governor's veto makes it clear that they must comply with the law. No more children should have their DNA stored or used for genetic research projects without their parent's written informed consent. No more children should have their DNA and genetic code owned by the government without their parent's written informed consent.
"We wholeheartedly thank Governor Pawlenty for his decision to protect the genetic privacy rights and informed consent rights of all citizens."
Twila Brase is president of Citizens' Council on Health Care.
Read the veto letter here.
This week, as the American economy continued to suffer the effects of big government, the House attempted to pass two multibillion dollar "emergency" spending bills, one for continued spending on the war in Iraq , and one increasing spending on domestic and international welfare programs. The plan was to pass these two bills and then send them to the president as one package. Even though the House failed to pass the war spending bill, opponents of the war should not be fooled into believing this vote signals a long term change in policy. At the end of the day, those favoring continued military occupation of Iraq will receive every penny they are requesting and more as long as they agree to dramatically increase domestic and international welfare spending as well.
The continued War in Iraq and the constant state of emergency has allowed Congress to use these so-called "emergency" bills as a vehicle to dramatically increase spending across the board--including spending that does not meet even the most generous definition of emergency. For example, the spending proposals currently being considered by Congress provide $210 million to the Census Bureau and $4 million for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. $4.6 billion is requested for the closing of military bases, but not any of the more than 700 bases overseas – but bases here at home! Another $387 million would go to various international organizations and $850 million more just in international food aid - all this when food prices are skyrocketing here and American families are having a hard time making ends meet. Because this spending will be part of "emergency" measures, it will not count against debt ceilings, or any spending limits set by Congressional budget resolutions, and does not have to be offset in any way.
Explosive growth of government is just another tragedy of this war. The "bipartisan" compromises made in Washington are at the expense of the taxpayer, not in the interest of fiscal responsibility, or peace. The taxpayer loses and government grows.
The bottom line is that our dollar is falling, the economy is in rough shape, and government spending is wildly out of control. Congress argues over relatively minor details, instead of dramatically changing our flawed foreign policy. We need to bring our troops home, not only from Iraq and Afghanistan , but from South Korea , Germany , and the other 138 countries where we have troops stationed. Our foreign policy of interventionism is not only offensive to others, inviting further terrorist attacks, but it is ruining our economy as we tax, borrow and print the money to pay the bills of our empire. The economy and ultimately the American people suffer because Washington is refusing to adopt more sensible and constitutional policies.
Squabbling between those who favor increased welfare and those who favor increased warfare has giving the American people a temporary reprieve from having to bear the burden of yet another dramatic increase in government this week. However, as early as next week a compromise could be reached that expands both government warfare and welfare. As congressional approval ratings drop to 18% according to a recent Gallup poll, the American people are telegraphing that Congress is taking the country in the wrong direction. Our government must stop bankrupting the country so that we can get back on track to a peaceful, prosperous future.
Monday, May 19, 2008
How To Make Health Care Affordable
The Rising Cost of Health Care
In our lifetimes, we've seen incredible advances in the quality of health care and even more incredible increases in the cost of that care. From 1970 to 2004, health-care spending nearly doubled as a percentage of gross domestic product. Americans now spend about one of every six dollars they earn on health care.
The Dangers of Universal Health Care
Healthcare has now become unaffordable for the average American. Those who cannot afford health insurance are desperately seeking alternatives. Universal health care, more accurately called socialized medicine, has been touted as the solution. However, whenever government provides a service, its cost doubles. We pay that cost, either through taxes or inflation, when the government expands the money supply (prints more money) to cover it. Instead of being a solution, socialized medicine will only increase the cost of health care further.
Countries that have adopted socialized medicine are now turning to the marketplace for solutions. The only way that socialized medicine can keep from collapsing is to ration care, denying it to some and making the others wait in lines so long that people literally die before getting the care that they so desperately need.
In Britain, kidney dialysis is routinely denied to seniors on the grounds that the resources might serve society better by keeping them for the young. Canadians flood our northern states in order to get the cardiac bypasses and hip replacements that they need without having to suffer through a two-year queue. Of course, only the well to do have this option; the poor literally die waiting for the care they have been promised.
Clearly, socialized medicine is not the answer. What is?
The Root of the Problem
Most goods and services come down in price as they improve in quality. Why does the cost of medical care continue to increase even as it becomes cheaper to manufacture the drugs we take and the microchips that power our marvelous new diagnostic computers?
The answer is simple, but hidden from most of the American public. Only insiders, such as myself, are aware of what is really happening. Government has increased the cost of medical care through excessive regulations---regulations that harm rather than protect.
One example that stands out in the pharmaceutical industry is the 1962 Kefauver Harris amendments to the Food and Drug Act. These regulations were enacted to protect the American public, but have caused irreparable harm in terms of both money and lives.
The High Cost of Regulation
About 80% of the cost of new pharmaceuticals is due to these regulations (for details, see my paper "Deadly Secrets Behind Soaring Pharmaceutical Prices"). Because these regulations allow the FDA to continuously increase the requirements for new drug development, the time to take a product from the laboratory bench to the marketplace has tripled since 1962 from 4.5 years to 15 years. Almost 5 million people have died prematurely since 1962 because of the additional 10-year wait in getting lifesaving drugs onto the pharmacy shelves.
When I worked in AIDS research, my company discovered that by the time the FDA gave us permission to test our new drugs in people, every AIDS patient in the country who wanted to try them already had. Rather than die waiting, the AIDS community had hired black-market chemist to manufacture the potentially life-saving drugs and had distributed it to virtually every AIDS sufferer who wanted them. Neither the FDA nor the drug manufacturers chose to prosecute. Had they done so, the regulations would have been exposed for the cruel hoax that they are.
However, cancer victims sued the government, claiming it was the constitutional right of dying patients to buy new drugs prior to FDA approval. The courts denied their claim, and the Supreme Court refused to hear ">the case . Even if you are dying you need the FDA's permission to try to save your life! You no longer own or control your own life; bureaucrats decide whether you live or die.
At least 50% of innovative new drugs never even make it to the marketplace at all. The development costs are so high that very few drugs are still profitable. Since the pharmaceutical firms would perish if they couldn't recover their costs, drugs that might save lives are never developed. You and your loved ones may die prematurely from a disease that has a treatment, but which can't be marketed because the regulations make the cost prohibitive.
The delay in getting new drugs to market and the loss of innovation contributes greatly to the overall cost of health care. For example, before the anti-ulcer drug Tagamet® came to market, the treatment for ulcers was surgery at a cost of about $25,000 plus lost work and leisure time. Tagamet® was considered an expensive drug; the average patient spent about $2000 for two courses of treatment, but did not have to lose any work or leisure time. Health-care costs for ulcer disease were slashed over 90% by switching patients from surgical treatment to drug therapy. Can you imagine how inexpensive our health care would be today if we hadn't lost over 50% of our new innovations?
The Shift from Prevention to Treatment- based Medicine
As costly as the 1962 regulations are, both in money and in lives, by far the greatest damage that they have done is to switch us from a system of preventative care to treatment-based medicine. The old saying that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is almost certainly an understatement in the medical world.
Part of the 1962 regulations empowered the FDA to deny approval to drugs that didn't show substantial evidence of effectiveness. While this sounds reasonable on the surface, the "evidence" that the FDA now requires is so expensive to acquire that unpatented substances, like vitamins and minerals, can't be put through the process. Consequently, the manufacturers can't advertise their benefits easily.
As a result, when the B vitamin folic acid was found to prevent serious birth defects, women and their physicians, were unaware of this inexpensive way to prevent a very costly and devastating medical condition. Even when the Center for Disease Control (CDC), another government agency, started asking women of childbearing age to take folic acid as a preventative, the FDA refused to let folic acid manufacturers even refer to the CDC's recommendation. Consequently, this crucial information was not widely conveyed to the American public for over 10 years after it became available.
It's difficult to accurately estimate how many babies were aborted, or born and institutionalized, as a result of the FDA's edict, but it almost certainly was in excess of 25,000. The FDA itself can certainly not be considered safe and effective even though it demands excessive evidence that pharmaceuticals, nutrients, and minerals meet that standard.
This story is not unique. Many serious medical conditions, cancer and heart disease among them, can be improved if not completely prevented by proper nutrition. Yet, medical schools, whose curricula is determined by the licensing boards, rarely require even one full course of nutrition in their entire four-year program. Imagine how much lower health care costs would be if we were allowed to utilize all of our medical knowledge rather than limit ourselves to knowledge that is "politically correct."
Regulation of Health Care Providers
Progress, or loss of progress, in the pharmaceutical industry can be traced to fairly discrete changes in regulatory law. The medical profession, which determines the types of treatment can be practiced, are largely controlled by the American Medical Association's representatives on state licensing boards. However, regulations governing hospitals and some forms of medical practice are much more convoluted.
All regulations have one thing in common. They take freedom of choice away from the patient and put it into the hands of bureaucrats who suffer no ill consequences if their choices result in hundreds, thousands, or even millions of premature deaths.
Certification Instead of Regulation
Freedom of choice must be returned to the individual. The only way to do that is to replace regulations with certification. The electrical industry has already proven that certification increases quality and lowers costs. Most of the appliances in your home probably have a "UL-listed" symbol on them, certifying that they have been tested for safety by an independent laboratory that is funded by electrical manufacturers' liability insurance carriers. UL has a vested interest in making sure that our electrical product is safe because its certification will mean little if the products that carry the UL "Seal of Approval" turn out to be defective.
Before pharmaceuticals required FDA approval, certifying organizations like the American Medical Association and Consumers' Research provided physicians with an independent evaluation of each drug's side effects and benefits. Physicians and patients that wanted to "play it safe" waited until new pharmaceuticals were certified. However, in a life-threatening situation, or other compelling circumstances, these products were available to consumers, who did not need to wait for a bureaucrat to make a life and death decision for them (for more detail on how such a system might work, see my book, Healing Our World [2003 edition], Chapters 5 and 6). New drugs were affordable since manufacturers had fewer regulatory hoops to jump through.
Real Tort Reform Is Mandatory
With health care costs so high, more and more people feel entitled to compensation for any medical problem that arises, even if the healthcare provider is not directly responsible. A number of obstetrics and gynecology practitioners have dwindled rapidly as parents increasingly sue their physicians if their child is born with a medical problem, whether the doctor is responsible or not.
Libertarians believe that those who harm innocents need to compensate their victims. However, if the problem is an act of nature or of God, physicians and their insurers should not be held liable. Many people believe that going after a profitable insurance company is like winning the lottery. Settlements based not on culpability, but on the desire to put one's hand in "deep pockets," increase the cost of physician liability insurance. The physicians pass these costs on to other patients in the form of higher fees.
When damages are based on negligence and/or physician culpability, settlements will be more appropriate. Those who have been harmed by their health care provider will still be compensated. Physician liability insurance will remain reasonable rather than adding greatly to the costs of medical care today.
Getting Government Out of Insurance
Once government moved into the insurance business with Medicare, Medicaid, and special legislative protections for HMOs, the use of insurance begin to shift. When government provides medical insurance to the elderly or poor low with a fixed premium, those receiving it are going to make maximum use of it. They'll go to the emergency room for problems that really only call for doctor appointments. They'll want tests that they wouldn't have had if the cost came out of their own pockets. In other words, they will create extra demand for healthcare. When demand goes up, prices do too.
Over time we've come to expect to pay most or all of our medical bills. Unfortunately, processing small claims often costs more than the claim itself. In addition, medical insurance has risen not only because of increased medical costs, but because so many features of insurance are mandated by state governments. Instead of buying the insurance package that fits each of our individual needs, we are often forced to buy one that is much more comprehensive—and costly--- than we would like, simply because state regulations demand it.
The Bottom Line
Health care is unaffordable primarily due to mountains of regulatory red tape that do little to protect us and do much to harm us. Doing away with the root cause of soaring health care costs---government interference in medicine---is the only thing that will lower costs both in terms of lives and money. Anything else is simply putting Band-Aids on a gushing hemorrhage: ineffective at best and deadly at worst.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
The law enforcement claim: There is no support in the medical community for medical marijuana.
In their own words:
• “The people who know about this are the people in the medical community and they have determined there’s no medical value to the smoking of marijuana.” (Michael Campion, Minnesota Commissioner of Public Safety; Senate Judiciary Committee, 4/10/07)
• “None of the major associations -- whose goal is to protect the individuals that this is being promoted the most for -- have supported the use of this drug for medicine.” (James C. Backstrom, Dakota County Attorney, Burnsville Eagan Community Television proram “Access to Democracy,” 5/11/07)
The facts: At least 33 major medical associations support medical marijuana and have endorsed legal protections for medical marijuana patients, including four major medical associations in Minnesota.
The proof: Organizations that support access to medical marijuana for seriously ill patients include:
Minnesota organizations: Minnesota Nurses Association, Minnesota Public Health Association, Minnesota AIDS Project, and Minnesota Senior Federation.
National organizations: AIDS Action Council, American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVM), American College of Physicians, American Nurses Association, American Public Health Association, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Lymphoma Foundation of America, National Association of People With AIDS, and United Nurses and Allied Professionals.
State organizations: Alaska Nurses Association, California Medical Association, California Nurses Association, California Pharmacists Association, Colorado Nurses Association, Connecticut Nurses Association, Hawaii Nurses Association, Illinois Nurses
Association, Medical Society of the State of New York, Mississippi Nurses Association, New Mexico Medical Society, New Mexico Nurses Association, New York State Association of County Health Officials, New York State Hospice and Palliative Care Association, New York State Nurses Association, Rhode Island Medical Society, Rhode Island State Nurses Association, Texas Nurses Association, Wisconsin Nurses Association, and Wisconsin Public Health Association.
It never ceases to amaze me how people in positions of power can lie consistently and keep their jobs, while someone who makes a slip of the tongue is lambasted, forced to apologize and then loses their job.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Andrew Glover filed a notice with the city Thursday that he intends to pursue a federal civil rights lawsuit. He claims the officers inflicted severe injuries to his organs as he was recovering from intestinal surgery in February.
Glover's lawyer, Paul Spinella, said officers illegally entered his client's apartment twice, on Jan. 30 and Feb. 28, during a child pornography investigation that led to the arrest of Glover's neighbors. Spinella says Glover wasn't involved in those crimes, has not been charged and has no criminal record.
"The poor guy," Spinella said. "They ripped the catheter off his person. They assaulted the guy. He's got major problems as a result of this. He's a mess now."
Lt. James Wardwell, a police spokesman, said Friday that the department had not received the intent to sue notice. He said the department could not comment on the allegations, which were first reported Friday by the New Britain Herald, because of an ongoing criminal investigation of Glover. He declined to elaborate.
The notice says damage to Glover's urethra resulted in "substantial permanent physical disability.
Spinella said officers "tossed" Glover's apartment during a search on Jan. 30. In February, he said, Glover returned home from the hospital after his surgery to find officers searching his apartment again.
It was during the Feb. 28 incident, Spinella said, that the officers assaulted Glover and left him alone in the apartment without calling for an emergency medical response. The lawyer said the police didn't have search warrants in either alleged incident.
Ah yes the old toss off line that a "ongoing criminal investigation" is being conducted. I believe Atlanta police used that line about the entirely innocent Kathryn Johnson who was murdered by Atlanta police during a "no knock" raid on her home in the middle of the night.
Even assuming the worst possible about Mr. Glover, that he is somehow involved in a criminal activity (and I am NOT making that assumption) there are those pesky rules about due process, innocent until proven guilty and the right to be secure in your own home that police are suppose to follow in this country. Not to mention simple human decency in not ripping out some one's catheter.
Just another example of how this country is moving to a police state where individuals have no rights.
Full Newsday article here.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Once again Paul rules out a third party run.
Kathryn Johnston, a 92 year old black woman, was shot 39 times as plainclothes Atlanta narcotics officers busted into her home using a "no-knock" warrant on Nov. 26, 2006. The warrant was obtained using false information and the officers involved planted evidence afterward to cover up their lies. For more go to previous posts here.
According to stories in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Tesler, who had been a narcotics detective for a short time, told the jury that his former partners Gregg Junnier and Jason "J.R." Smith planned the cover up of the wrongdoing that led to Johnston's death. He said they routinely took shortcuts around the law to get warrants in order to make arrest quotas.
Defense lawyer William McKenney argued that the real culprits were Tesler's more experienced partners, Junnier and Smith, who had faced murder charges and have pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter.
McKenney reminded jurors of testimony that described rampant lying for warrants in the narcotics unit, where drugs were planted in residences when raids didn't turn up any and on suspects to extort information. He noted that the entire culture of the police department encouraged the lying by setting near impossible quotas that officers had to meet for drugs or search warrants.
As I said in an earlier post maybe we should end the "War on Drugs" and treat drug addiction as a health problem and not a crime? Too many innocents like Kathryn Johnston are being killed in this insane war.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Quoting from the "Study":
According to recent national surveys, two million youths (8%) felt depressed at some point in the course of a year. Another survey of high school students shows that percentage even higher (29%).
There are indications that many teens are using Drugs to “self-medicate” (deal with problems of depression and anxiety by using Drugs to alleviate the symptoms). Many teens say they use Drugs to “make them feel good” or “feel better.”
However, research shows that using marijuana and other illicit Drugs puts a teen at even greater risk for more serious mental illnesses. A teen who has been depressed at some point in the past year is more than twice as likely to have used marijuana (25%) as teens who have not reported being depressed (12%). Similarly, 35 percent of depressed teens used an illicit Drug (including marijuana) during the year, compared to 18 percent of teens who did not report being depressed.
Depressed teens are more likely to engage in other risky behaviors, as well. They are more likely than non-depressed teens to report daily cigarette use (5% vs. 3% and heavy alcohol use (5% vs. 2%).
The cause and effect is OPPOSITE of what the press release states. Teens who are depressed are more likely to use marijuana than those who aren't. Marijuana use DOESN'T cause the depression.
But the brave Drug Warrior's feeding at the public trough have achieved what they wanted. 99% percent of the people will never read the "Study". The press will never use even one brain cell to analyze the "Study." So the public now has the idea that marijuana causes depression. It has now in effect become a fact as far the public is concerned.
It would be nice if the press actually did anything besides reprinting government press releases verbatim. Our government puts out lies again and again.The mainstream media is worthless in their duty to oversee the government and the lies go unchallenged.
The government is the last organization one should trust to tell the truth. As that government official Joseph Goebbels once said:
"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."
Its tough to decide which candidate will make the right decisions on what to do with your money, how to raise your kids and when to take away your privacy.
But the video also points out that Clinton and Obama view the Middle East threw the same distorted window as McCain, the belief in Islamo-Facism and a Islamic hatred of our freedoms.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
The House passed two bills attempting to rehabilitate the housing and mortgage market this week. There doesn't seem to be any shortage of criticism and blame for the bad decisions, and rightly so. Lenders and banks do share much of the blame for the overheated market. Lending standards were relaxed, or even abandoned altogether, creating an exaggerated pool of homebuyers that led to ballooning home prices that many, especially real estate investors, expected to continue forever. Now that the bubble has burst, the losses are staggering.
However, many in Washington fail to realize it was government intervention that brought on the current economic malaise in the first place. The Federal Reserve’s artificially low interest rates created the loose, easy credit that ignited a voracious appetite in the banks for borrowers. People made these lending and buying decisions based on market conditions that were wildly manipulated by government. But part of sound financial management should be recognizing untenable or falsified economic conditions and adjusting risk accordingly. Many banks failed to do that and are now looking to taxpayers to pick up the pieces. This is wrong-headed and unfair, but Congress is attempting to do it anyway.
These housing bills address the crisis in exactly the wrong way, by seeking to hide the problem with more disastrous government bail-outs and interventions. One measure, HR 5830 the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Housing Stabilization and Homeowner Retention Act would allow the FHA to guarantee as much as $300 billion worth of refinanced home loans for those facing threat of foreclosure. HR 5818 the Neighborhood Stabilization Act, would provide $15 billion in loans and grants to localities to purchase and renovate foreclosed homes with the object of then selling or renting out those homes. Thankfully, President Bush has vowed to veto both of these bills. It is neither morally right nor fiscally wise to socialize private losses in this way.
The solution is for government to stop micromanaging the economy and let the market adjust, as painful as that will be for some. We should not force taxpayers, including renters and more frugal homeowners, to switch places with the speculators and take on those same risks that bankrupted them. It is a terrible idea to spread the financial crisis any wider or deeper than it already is, and to prolong the agony years into the future. Socializing the losses now will only create more unintended consequences that will give new excuses for further government interventions in the future. This is how government grows - by claiming to correct the mistakes it earlier created, all the while constantly shaking down the taxpayer. The market needs a chance to correct itself, and Congress needs to avoid making the situation worse by pretending to ride to the rescue.
The law enforcement claim: You can overdose on marijuana.
In their own words:
• “How are the producers going to know what the THC level of the marijuana is, how are the people using it going to know the difference between 5%, 10%, and 20%? If it’s extraordinarily high, how are you going to prevent overdose?” (Bob Bushman, president, Minnesota Police Association, Minnesota Peace Officers Association, and Statewide Gang and Drug Coordinator; Senate Judiciary Committee, 4/10/07)
The facts: Concerns about “marijuana overdoses” are not based in fact, and the danger pales incomparison to the risk of overdose from both routinely prescribed and over-the-countermedications.
The proof: Unlike many prescription medications, and even many standard over-the-counter medications, no one has ever died from a medically documented marijuana overdose. In contrast, approximately 500 Americans die yearly from overdoses of acetaminophen (Tylenol).
Monday, May 12, 2008
In 2005 Republican Rep. Don Young of Alaska championed a $10 million earmark for a highway interchange. The earmark appeared in an 835-page transportation bill called SAFETEA-LU. Rep. Young was the man behind Alaska's infamous $233 million "Bridge to Nowhere," so this sounds like nothing unusual for him, except that . . .
The project wasn't in Alaska, but as far away as possible, in the Florida district of Republican Rep. Connie Mack.
Mack and other local Republicans opposed the project. There were environmental concerns and higher priorities.
But they were told that they had to accept the project or risk losing future federal funds.
Why? Because a local developer who owned 4,000 acres near the proposed interchange had raised $40,000 for Rep. Young's re-election campaign. The interchange would multiply the value of his land. When asked about it by a reporter for the New York Times Rep. Young responded with an obscene gesture.
But there's more:
This earmark wasn't even in the 835-page bill passed by the House and Senate.
The original earmark (#462) was for widening I-75, not for an interchange.
After the bill passed, but before President Bush signed it, someone changed it to an interchange project.
This was done during the "enrollment"process when punctuation and other technical corrections are made.
But this was clearly a substantive change, not a "technical correction."
Incredibly, no one noticed the change for two years! Finally . . .
In August, 2007, a former Department of Labor official, Darla Latourneau, reported that the interchange didn't appear in the original bill passed by the House and Senate.
The Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization voted to return the money, asking that it be used for its original purpose.
That change was included this year in H.R. 1195, which passed both the House and Senate.
H.R. 1195 also includes a provision for the Justice Department to investigate the alteration of the earmark.
Little investigation is actually needed. Don Young's staff has admitted that they made the change, but no member of the House has filed an ethics complaint. Without a complaint, the House ethics committee can't investigate.
Have other House members done something similar? Is it common practice? Could this be why no one has complained to the ethics committee?
How did this happen? As Darla Latourneau says, "If this had come to light right after the bill had passed, there would have been a very quick technical amendment. This should not have happened."
But how could it ever have come to light, given that Congress NEVER READS THE LAWS THEY PASS!
The Read the Bills Act (RTBA) would make frauds like this impossible.
If Rep. Mack had read SAFETEA-LU, as RTBA would require, he could have caught and corrected Young's change.
If SAFETEA-LU had been posted on the Internet seven days before passage, as RTBA requires, the Lee County government could have found which earmarks were for them, and asked for a correction immediately.
And if RTBA were the law its very unlikely we would have 835-page appropriations bills where things can get buried. Bills would be shorter, and probably fewer. Congress would have to prioritize. They would do less and spend less. There would be fewer earmarks. Perhaps only Florida taxpayers would determine which projects were best for them. And the Committee chairs in Congress would have less ability to buy and sell favors.
Demand that your Representative and your two Senators introduce the Read the Bills Act. Use your personal comments to mention the above example of why RTBA is needed. Also ask your Representative to file a complaint with the ethics committee, demanding an investigation of Rep. Young. You can send your message here.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
This story from Miami-Dade County Florida demonstrates the foolishness of these laws:
Miami-Dade County's Consumer Services Department has slapped Rosco O'Neil with $2,000 worth of fines, but O'Neil claims he is falsely accused.
"I ain't running nothing illegal," O’Neil said.
The 78-year-old said he was walking into a Winn-Dixie to get some groceries when he was approached by a woman who said she needed a ride.
"She asked me, 'Do I do a service?'" O'Neil said. "I told her no. She said, 'I need help getting home.'"
O'Neil told the woman if she was still there when he finished his shopping, he would give her a ride. She was, so he did.
As it turned out, the woman was an undercover employee with the consumer services department targeting people providing illegal taxi services.
"She said the reason she targeted him (is because) she saw him sitting in his car for a few minutes," said Ellen Novodeletsky, O'Neil's attorney.
After O'Neil dropped off the woman, police surrounded him, issued him two citations and impounded his minivan. On top of the fees, it cost O'Neil an additional $400 to retrieve his minivan from the impound lot.
There are no prior complaints that O'Neil was providing illegal transportation for a fee.
"It's not entrapment because she didn't expect him to provide her transportation," said Sonya Perez, a spokeswoman for the consumer services department.
O'Neil claims he was just being kind and providing a ride to a lady in need.
"There's all kinds of possibilities, but the fact of this particular case, what our enforcement officers witnessed -- because we had several on the scene, plus a Miami-Dade police officer -- and all the information came back the same, that this was a business transaction," Perez said.
O'Neil said he never even discussed money until the woman insisted upon it.
"She asked me, 'How much you charging?'" O'Neil said. "I said, 'Anything you give me.' She said, 'No, I need a price.'"
Even if O'Neil was providing taxi service, what harm did he cause? While it may be justifiable to license taxis in order to provide for certain standards, that is not what licensing is used for. Instead what taxi licensing is used for is to limit the number of taxis operating. If it just were for public safety there would be no limit on the number of licenses issued.
It is good to know that Miami-Dade has eliminated all the big crimes like rape and murder and can concentrate on busting people giving rides.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
I glad they make point about how absolutely totally absurd the claim constantly put forth by gun control advocates that the second amendment only applies to militias. How can any person believe that a group of people (the founders) who had just used their personal weapons to overthrow a tyrannical government would allow the government they set up to outlaw weapons?
The second is on Columbine.
For more information visit Minnesotans for Compassionate Care.
The smoker-friendly world is getting a little smaller, with a recommendation to ban smoking in a Woodbury city park and within 100 feet of all playgrounds and beaches.
Not everyone in Woodbury is happy with the proposed ban.
"Smoking outdoors is not going to hurt anyone, for God's sake," snapped Bob Halfpenny, a Woodbury resident and vice-president of Minnesotans Against Smoking Bans. "What a stupid thing this is."
The new city rules would match those of Washington County: no smoking within 100 feet of playgrounds, athletic fields or swimming areas.
The fine for smoking in affected areas would be $25.
Halfpenny said the rule would be a headache for police, who would have to determine such things as a smoker's distance from a playground and the precise boundaries of a swimming area.
"Don't they have other things to worry about other than smoking in a park?" he said. "It's a step in the wrong direction."
A report to the council said Woodbury joins 119 other Minnesota cities in banning smoking in some outdoor areas. Many — including Hastings, Eden Prairie, Maplewood and North St. Paul — ban smoking in all city parks. Gridley said they are not going that far.
Still, it's another step in an anti-smoking movement that annoys Kenn Rockler, director of the Tavern League of Minnesota, who argues that bars and restaurants are hurt by smoking bans.
"This has nothing to do with secondhand smoke," said Rockler. "They should just come out and say this is a war on smoking. It is the deception that drives me crazy.
"Do they actually think they can legislate to keep kids from smoking? Have they heard of the forbidden fruit
Full article here.
I think the only reason smoking has not already been outlawed is because government is so addicted to the revenue it receives from tobacco.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
May 5, 2007
Governor Tim Pawlenty
Office of the Governor
130 State Capitol
Saint Paul, MN 55155
Dear Governor Pawlenty,
Please pick up your veto pen. You have a critical decision to make.
The future of human rights, privacy rights, and the rights of human subjects in genetic research will be determined by your decision to sign or veto S.F. 3138.
S.F. 3138 eliminates current legal informed written parent consent protections for the Minnesota Department of Health’s genetic research program.
Today, parents must give their consent before the health department can store, use, or share their newborn baby’s DNA for the department’s genetic research program.
If you do not veto S.F. 3138, the bill will take away today’s informed consent requirements and make Minnesota citizens available for involuntary genetic research.
In short, if S.F. 3138 becomes law, current ethical standards, research standards, privacy standards, and human rights standards will be eliminated. If you do not veto S.F. 3138, your administration will usher in a standard supportive of involuntary research on human subjects.
Without consent, the blood and DNA of newborn citizens could be used to create genetic profiles on citizens, analyze blood for the presence of genetic defects, assess citizen for future disease potential, and conduct research, which may be objectionable to the subject of that research.
We believe that this is not the legacy you wish for the Pawlenty administration.
Please recall that an administrative law judge ruled in March 2007 that the 2006 Minnesota Genetic Privacy Law legally requires the Minnesota Department of Health to get informed parent consent before storage, use and dissemination to researchers of newborn citizen blood and DNA.
Rather than comply with the judge’s decision—or state law—the Commissioner of Health brought S.F. 3138 to the legislature to specifically exempt the health department’s DNA analysis and genetic research program from the informed consent requirements of the Minnesota Genetic Privacy Law.
What does this mean in real numbers? As I said in our press conference last Thursday (YouTube video available online on our website – www.itsmydna.org):
If this bill becomes law, it means that the 780,000 children whose DNA has already been claimed as state property (and illegally stored in what we call the Minnesota “DNA Warehouse”) will not be protected by the Minnesota genetic privacy law. Like the 42,210 children who have already been [involuntary] subjects of government genetic research, the DNA and genetic information of all 780,000 children can be used and given to researchers now and into the future without consent. It means that the 73,000 children born each year whose DNA is added to the warehouse will not be protected by the informed consent requirements of the genetic privacy law.
It means that the DNA and genetic code of our youngest citizens can be profiled, probed, analyzed and experimented on into adulthood without consent—unless the parent in the midst of labor, delivery and mind-numbing, post-delivery exhaustion understands the sweeping research authority of the State and takes steps to object.
But, let’s be clear, the right to object is not the right to be fully informed. And the right to object is nowhere close to the legal rights of opt-in consent, which we have in law today—and SF 3138 is about to eliminate.
Two years ago the Minnesota legislature looked into the future and rightly saw the critical need to protect citizens from having their DNA and genetic information collected, stored, used, and shared by government agencies and others. The 2006 legislature took action to protect the citizens of Minnesota from involuntary genetic research. They passed the 2006 Minnesota Genetic Privacy Law (Minn. Statutes 13.386), which requires informed consent for collection, storage, use and dissemination of the genetic information of individuals.
S.F. 3138 is about to undo that law…and the legal rights of parents, families and individuals.
If you do not veto S.F. 3138, the legal right of citizens to be fully informed, the legal right of informed consent, and the legal right of citizens to protect themselves and their families from the genetic research agendas of the Minnesota Department of Health and others will be eliminated.
In 2006, informed consent became a legal requirement and a guaranteed right of citizens.
In 2008, will citizens lose this right?
The decision rests on you. Your decision will define your administration’s legacy in protecting the rights of all Minnesota citizens. Will you veto S.F. 3138 to protect citizens, or make the bill law and leave citizens vulnerable to becoming involuntary subjects of government research?
The decision is yours alone.
We ask you to protect individuals and families by using the strong stroke of your veto pen.
Martin N. Kellogg
In the Minnesota Senate only three Senators stood for personal privacy and voted no on S.F. 3138. The three Senators are:
Sen. Michael Jungbauer (R-East Bethel)
Sen. Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove)
Sen. Ray Vandeveer (R-St. Anthony)
Who voted FOR the bill...and FOR eliminating current informed consent requirements for government DNA storage and genetic research?
Republicans who voted FOR the bill (supporting elimination of informed consent): Dille, Fischbach, Frederickson, Gerlach, Gimse, Hann (told CCHC he wishes he wouldn't have voted for it), Ingebrigtsen, Johnson, Koch, Koering, Michel, Pariseau, Robling, Senjem, Wergin
Democrats who voted FOR the bill (supporting elimination of informed consent): Bakk, Betzold, Bonoff, Carlson, Chaudhary, Clark, Dahle, Dibble, Erickson Ropes, Foley, Higgins, Kubly, Langseth, Larson, Latz, Lourey, Lynch, Marty, Metzen, Moua, Olseen, Mary Olson, Pappas, Pogemiller, Rummel, Saltzman, Saxhaug, Sheran, Sieben, Skogen, Stumpf, Torres Ray, Vickerman, Wiger.
To Contact Senators:
PHONE: Senate Info. Office: 651-296-0504