Monday, December 27, 2010

Privatize the FAA

Cato @ Liberty; "Privatize the FAA" - Chris Edwards, Dec. 27, 2010:

"Bloomberg is reporting more bad news for the nation’s air traffic control system, which is run by the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA is $500 million overbudget and six years behind schedule on a $2.1 billion technology upgrade project....

"There is a better way to run air traffic control — a private sector way, as Canada has been demonstrating. In 1996, Canada converted its government air traffic control system to a private nonprofit corporation. Nav Canada has been a smashing success, providing an excellent model for possible U.S. reforms.

" A December 24 story in the Financial Post describes how Nav Canada is a world leader in efficiency, safety, and technology under private management. 'A once troubled government asset, the country’s civil air traffic controller was privatized 14 years ago and is now a shining example of how to create a global technology leader out of a hulking government bureaucracy.' It really is an impressive story of pro-market reform."

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Grand Rapids Examiner calls for 'campaign to unseat' Justin Amash

What Now? Reassessing the Amash Win and Its Impact on Grand Rapids - Grand Rapids Political Buzz |, Dec. 11, 2010:

"Like most libertarians, Rep-elect Amash views almost every government action as an infringement on some personal liberty. In the mind of Mr. Amash, government is and always will be the problem. This mentality chooses to ignore the positive actions of past administrations and governments while obstructing the present government’s ability to enact necessary legislation....

"It is still December, the new year is not yet upon us, and Mr. Amash has not yet officially begun to serve. Nevertheless, it is in the best interests of the City of Grand Rapids to already begin the campaign to unseat him."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rand Paul win tops Kentucky's 2010 news

Paul victory tops Kentucky's 2010 news |
"A small town eye doctor's rise from relative obscurity to become one of the most recognized political faces in the country has been selected by The Associated Press as Kentucky's top news story of 2010.

"Republican Rand Paul was swept into the U.S. Senate by a conservative political tsunami, trouncing Republican and Democratic contenders in the primary and general elections. Voters, exhibiting disdain for business as usual in Washington, backed the tea party favorite in what devolved into one of the most contentious, bitter political campaigns in the country.

"Jerry Boggs, editor of the Appalachian News-Express in Pikeville, said Paul's 'roller coaster ride' to the Senate was the 'logical choice' for the state's top story."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Help for the Jaworski family

Finally some good news for the Jaworskis of Clarendon, Ontario, threatened with a crippling penalty for letting their son Peter host Canada's annual Liberty Summer Seminar on their rural property. They face a $50,000 fine if convicted. Read the details here:

On Dec. 16, the Canadian Constitutional Foundation (CCF) announced that it will be providing pro bono legal counsel to the family. The CCF also served notice on the Canadian and Ontario attorneys-general that it intends to argue that the municipal bylaw under which the Jaworskis were charged, and its enabling provincial legislation, both violate the freedom of peaceful assembly guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Says CCF Executive Director Chris Schafer: “The Jaworskis escaped Poland in 1984 fearing persecution by the government for distributing pro-freedom literature. It’s ironic that they are now facing charges in Canada for allowing their son to host an event in support of freedom on their property."

Read the full release here:

You can donate to the Jaworski family's legal defence fund via CCF here:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Senator Tea Party

The American Conservative » Senator Tea Party - by Jack Hunter - Dec. 13, 2010:

"Rand points out that Democrats always want to cut the military but never the welfare queen, and Republicans are always for reducing the welfare queen but never the military — yet to overcome the debt we would have to look at paring down everything. This was never a shocking message to Tea Party ears, however unsettling it might have been for the big-government hawks who had long controlled the Republican Party’s foreign policy.

"This is a large part of what makes Rand unique not only among Republicans but even among Tea Party paladins. Many outsider candidates give voice to voter discontent with the status quo, but Rand does so while offering a deeper philosophy that ventures beyond mere populism: a substantive conservative politics. The continuing mixture of Rand’s ideas and the Tea Party could produce a more comprehensively conservative grassroots movement, just as the Tea Party has already produced a more politically successful Paul. Achieving this cross-pollination will require addressing the contradictions within the Tea Party — particularly its willingness to tolerate big government under the Department of Defense banner."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bill of Rights Day | Naples Daily News

Guest commentary: Honoring Bill of Rights Day — and Responsibility » Naples Daily News, Dec. 13, 2010, by Mark W. Hendrickson, :
"Wednesday, Dec. 15, is Bill of Rights Day, and we are in the midst of Bill of Rights Week....
      "To the founders, government’s sole legitimate purpose is to protect our rights. The Declaration of Independence specifies two essential points we need to understand about our rights: 1) They are God-given; 2) they are inalienable.
      "Divine authority is a stumbling block for some Americans, but it is the second point that is the immediate issue. That our basic rights are inalienable means, simply and unequivocally: No person or group of persons, including government, is justified (or authorized: see the Fifth Amendment) in trespassing upon anyone’s rights—that is, in taking life, liberty or property from another — except via due process of law as a penalty for having harmed or violated someone else’s life, liberty, or property. One person’s rights end where another person’s rights begin. Nobody’s rights trump anyone else’s.
      "The clear understanding of our fundamental rights has eroded over the decades. The property right has suffered the greatest damage. Under the influence of progressive/socialist ideas, the traditional American negative right to NOT have somebody take one’s property has been corrupted and inverted into a positive premise. Now, people often claim a 'right' to have certain things."...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Struggle for the Soul of the Tea Party

"The Soul of the Tea Party" - Newsweek - by Colin Woodard, Dec. 1, 2010:

"And so, the fight is on for the soul of the Tea Party. On one side: libertarian-minded grassroots activists. On the other: the leaders of the wealthy, powerful, and better-established Christian right, who’ve dominated conservative populism in the United States for decades. Roughly half the people who say they support the Tea Party also say they are part of the religious right. Christian conservative leaders have long espoused limiting government intrusion in the economy — Jerry Falwell regularly condemned social programs and praised Milton Friedman — making the Tea Party attractive to their followers. But many of them also want government to enforce moral standards — banning abortion and gay marriage, for instance — a notion that’s anathema to libertarians who want government off their backs."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Health-care plan ruled unconstitutional

Obama health-care plan unconstitutional, judge rules - National Post, Dec. 13, 2010:

"In a 42-page decision, Judge Henry Hudson of Virginia’s eastern district found the federal government does not have the authority to impose an “individual mandate” forcing Americans to purchase health-care insurance....

"Under the law, most Americans would be required to purchase health-care insurance by 2014 or face a $695 annual fine. The bill also provides subsidies, on a sliding scale, to families earning up to $88,000 a year to make purchasing insurance more affordable.

"The individual mandate is considered vital to the legislation’s goal of providing coverage to 32 million Americans who currently do not have health insurance. It creates a much larger pool of customers for private health insurance companies that, starting in 2014, will be legally banned from refusing coverage to Americans with pre-existing medical conditions.

"Without healthier, low-risk customers purchasing health care, insurance companies had argued they would not be able to afford payouts to others in greater need of coverage."

Read more:

Saturday, December 11, 2010

New pic for Amash article

I've found another picture, this one on Flickr, for my November article on Justin Amash: his supporters marching in the Hollyhock Parade, July 3, 2010, with what looks like Rep. Amash on the extreme right.  As it's licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY, I should add that it was taken by Steven Depolo.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ron Paul Claims Chairmanship of Monetary Policy Subcommittee ... | FavStocks

Ron Paul Claims Chairmanship of Monetary Policy Subcommittee, Prepared to Subpoena Fed | FavStocks, Dec. 8, 2010:

"Proving that on occasion the little guy can occasionally win, Ron Paul announced tonight that he will be named Chairman of the Monetary Policy Subcommittee.

"When asked if he would take over chairmanship of the subcommittee, Paul replied 'The chairman of the financial services subcommittee, Spencer Bachus, has told me today verbally that I will be the chairman of that subcommittee. He was the one who appointed me as the ranking member and he is sticking to his guns and that I will have responsibility of that committee.'

"When asked about subpoenas and 'audit the Fed', Paul went on to say that he can issue subpoenas but would need agreement from the chairman as well as speaker" (ie, from both Bachus and John Boehner).

Update, Dec. 10 - I learned today that Paul's announcement had been made on Andrew Napolitano's FBN show, Freedom Watch -- another coup for the Judge and his show.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Will The Tea Parties Fight For Ron Paul?

Will The Tea Parties Fight For Ron Paul?: by Walt Thiessen (libertarian)
Nolan Chart, Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"With the Republicans taking control of the House of Representatives in January, many opponents of the Federal Reserve thought that Ron Paul as chairman of the  House Subcommittee for Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology would be a slam dunk. After all, he has, by far, the most seniority of any Republican on the committee. Yet, already there are reports that incoming speaker John Boehner is trying to find a way to keep it from happening....

"Rep. Boehner's house office phone number in Washington, DC is (202) 225-6205. I suggest that those people who want to see Ron Paul get the chairmanship of that committee should call his office Wednesday and make their wishes clear in a civil, responsible manner."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ron Paul-like anti-TSA bills in NJ Senate

EXCLUSIVE: Ron Paul-like anti-TSA bills in NJ Senate - Newark Essex County Conservative | "Senator Doherty's bills actually amend New Jersey's current statutes specifically to bring the actions of individual Transportation Security Administration agents under those statutes, and also create a brand-new statute. Specifically:
  • Bill TSA-1 provides that touching the genitals or the breasts (the 'junk') during a body search is a third-degree sexual assault unless the subject of the search is under arrest or in prison, or the actor has a lawful warrant....
  • Bill TSA-2 is a brand-new statute that directly forbids the TSA to use any sort of body-image scanner, including the terahertz ('millimeter-wave') scanner(s) in use at Newark Liberty International, to screen any passenger, flight officer, or flight attendant.... The fine for operating such a scanner would be $1000 each instance.
  • Bill TSA-3 provides that creating or viewing a body-scan image that includes the "junk" will be a pornography offense, unless the person involved is under arrest, or an inmate, or the TSA has a warrant, or the subject (or the parent or guardian if the subject is a minor) has provided written permission....
"Andrew L. Schlafly, a local attorney who has lately argued several constitutional cases, told this Examiner very briefly that these statutes could precipitate a constitutional crisis on the basis of federal supremacy."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ron Paul: Wikileaks should not be stopped

Rep. Ron Paul: Wikileaks should not be stopped | The State Column:

"Representative Ron Paul said Friday that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange should not face prosecution for his distribution of nearly 250,000 classified and Top Secret documents.

"Mr. Paul came to the defense of Mr. Assange after Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department was studying whether to charge Assange with a crime for releasing thousands of leaked government documents.

"Mr. Paul told [Andrew Napolitano, on "Freedom Watch" on] Fox [Business] News that the notion of prosecuting Mr. Assange for the release of information is disturbing and it should not be pursued.

'In a free society we’re supposed to know the truth,' Mr. Paul said. 'In a society where truth becomes treason, then we’re in big trouble. And now, people who are revealing the truth are getting into trouble for it.'" (Beltway Confidential reports that Dr. Paul also tweeted that quotation.) 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

North Korea: The invisible gulag

The Invisible Gulag | World Security Network - by Jonathan Kay, National Post:

December 10, 2010 - "The world remains pock-marked by countries that still insist on calling themselves 'communist.' But in reality, Joseph Stalin's totalitarian dream of exterminating the individual human spirit survives in only one tiny corner of the world: North Korea....

"North Korea is a giant prison. Worse than a prison, in fact, because prisoners in normal countries don't have to forage for wild grass, or catch rats, to stay alive. For most Westerners, who aren't permitted to see this real-life Mordor with their own eyes, the country's horrors are so vast that they lie in a surreal place beyond our political imaginations. North Korea seems less an actual country than a sort of sovereign theme park dedicated to the glorification of evil....

"Norbert Vollertsen, a blond middle-aged German doctor, first travelled to North Korea in 1999, as part of his charity work with an international NGO. Taking shifts in a Pyongyang emergency room, he was horrified by the scenes he witnessed. Even patients with treatable diseases such as diabetes and tuberculosis lay dying on gurneys. Meanwhile, the medication that had been sent from Germany to save their lives was on sale for American dollars at a special Pyongyang store reserved for foreign diplomats.

"One day, Vollertsen saw a line-up in front of his hospital. He learned that a tractor-factory worker had been severely burned by molten metal, and that the people queuing up were donating pieces of their own skin so that the man could be saved.... Vollertsen made the fateful decision to join the line-up....

 "A week later, Vollertsen was asked to make another skin donation. But this time, when he showed up at the hospital, North Korean TV cameras filmed the whole thing. The event was broadcast on the country's (only) newscast, and Vollertsen was celebrated as a national hero.... The regime even awarded him the "North Korean Friendship medal" and -- more importantly -- a driver's licence that permitted him to roam the North Korean countryside unimpeded. No Western journalist has ever had such access....

"Nothing Vollertsen had seen in Pyongyang prepared him for the even more piteous scenes he witnessed in the rural provinces.

"All around were desolate landscapes -- the forests having been chopped down for firewood. Starvation was rampant: Most peasants survived on bags of donated rice from the West (which the North Korean government claimed to be a form of 'tribute' delivered from fearful Western powers)....

"The patients Vollertsen treated in children's clinics were scarcely more animated than corpses. He recalled to me one particularly haunting specimen -- an emaciated 12-year-old whose striped pajamas, reminiscent of a Nazi concentration camp prisoner, struck a grim historical chord with Vollertsen. 'He looked straight into my eyes,' the German doctor remembers, 'so full of sorrow and despair. No future. No hope. Nothing. It reminded me of the photos of the people you see at the Washington Holocaust museum.'"

Read more:

Friday, December 3, 2010

Weigel : "ALEC: The Libertarian Powerhouse that No One Covers"

ALEC: The Libertarian Powerhouse that No One Covers:
"'I've learned a few things,' said Daniel Knodl, a second-term assemblyman from Wisconsin. 'For example, I hadn't heard about this idea of forming interstate compacts to opt out before.' He was referring to a fairly new spin on the compact idea, being pushed first by libertarian think-tankers in Texas, that would have states declaring a federal government intervention illegal, forming a compact with another state that was taking the same approach, and forcing a legal showdown with the government."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Picture added to Dance Wikipedia article

I'm pleased to report that the above picture, from my Libertarian Party days, has been added to the "George Dance (politician)" article at Wikipedia. The photo, "George Dance in June 1987," is by Maureen Dance, and is licenced under a Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 3.0 licence.

On a related note, The Political Animal's Metaweb widget is now working properly: clicking either the "more" or "Wikipedia" links takes one to the current Wikipedia page, so current that it already contains the above picture.