Letters to the Editor



2012 Letters


Title: Libertarians offer a choice for those seeking a change
Date: 11/5/2012
Article: Livingston Daily

I’m sick of the media controlling the election process. I’m sick of debate organizers deciding who gets in and who is left out. I’m sick of the politicians who feel it’s more important to preserve their party than lead this country and this state. I’m sick of the way we are told to believe that to vote for a third-party candidate is either a wasted vote or, worse yet, a vote for the “wrong side.”

This state is full of people who have been through a lot and have strong opinions. But at the end of the day, we all want the same thing, don’t we? A warm home, a good meal and the chance to live out our lives as we see fit. If so many of us want the same thing, how on earth can I believe that the left and the right are the only options?

Our common ground in this state is our work ethic, and our belief in creating a better life. We have long ago stopped looking to the government to “fix” things, knowing that the fixes often make the problem worse or prolong the agony in terms of higher taxes and growing debt.

The free market should be just that, free. Free to succeed, or fail, on its own hard work and merits, not at the whim of whatever government official is being lobbied the hardest by corporate interests.

In Michigan, if it snows, we shovel. If it rains, we put up the rag top. And when the sun comes out, we enjoy every moment of it. We don’t shy away from a struggle, or run to other states for help. We do it by hard work, innovation, and a realization that no one else is going to do it for us.

So, what do we need a government for? To keep our country safe from foreign threats, and to create an atmosphere in which we can live our lives, as we see fit, without interference from others. That’s about it.

Roads can be privatized; schools can and do excel under a privatization model; taxes can be slashed by eliminating the aggressive intrusion into our private lives and getting out of the way so we can do what needs to be done.

I’m sick of paying for a government that saddles me. That money could be far better spent building my business, putting a new roof over my head. Enough. Vote for change next week. Vote for James Lewis for state rep in the 42nd state House District.

Carol Pearson

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2010 Letters

Title: Burdensome debt, taxation
Author: Keith Edwards
Date: 12/23/2010
Article: Burdensome debt, taxation

From The Detroit News:

There are two current issues that highlight the attitude of the United States government toward the citizen that pays for it. One is the estate tax by which heirs are often not allowed to inherit the full amount of the estate that the parents intend for them to have. The other is the enormous national debt, which all individuals automatically inherit.

In the first case, the government is robbing the grave. In the second, it is robbing the cradle.

Keith P. Edwards, St. Clair Shores


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Title: Small businesses create most jobs (Macomb Daily)

Author: Terry W. Mulawa
Date: 12/2/2010
Article: Small businesses create most jobs


Macomb Daily

Letter writer Doug Starkey believes the rich don’t pay their fair share of taxes and he wants them to pay more. According to Investor’s Business Daily, the 5 percent of citizens making more than $155,000 a year pay 60 percent of all taxes. In a survey by IBD, only 12 percent of those surveyed believed that the rich paid as much as 40 percent of their income in taxes. Most taking the survey thought that the rich only paid 10 percent of their earnings in taxes. Democratic National Committee members believed that the rich should pay 25 percent in taxes, not realizing that they already pay much more. In fact, the rich pay more in taxes here in the United States than the rich pay in many of the social democracies in Europe.

Why should we envy how much the rich earn and keep after taxes? The majority of the rich have businesses that employ workers. When the rich keep their earnings, they use some of these resources to hire more employees, expand their business and open a new business if they believe they can make a profit. Or they may buy furniture, a new car or invest their money. All of these actions help keep people employed and create new jobs.

I believe that people will put their money to better use than the government could by taxing it away from those who earned it. During the last two years, the government spent close to $1 trillion on a stimulus package to create shovel-ready jobs. The pretense for this massive spending program was that money was required to keep unemployment at less than 8 percent. Just last month, President Obama admitted that there is no such thing as shovel ready jobs and unemployment has been hovering close to 10 percent. Much of the so-called stimulus money was used for social programs instead of job creation. Other wasteful stimulus spending included $60 million granted to the National Endowment for the Arts.

Many small businesses generate more than $250,000 in revenue. After making expenses and payroll, for many there is only a small profit remaining. If these small companies are taxed as rich, many of them will be forced to lay off employees or permanently close their doors. Most people are employed by small businesses. We don’t need even more Michigan residents in the unemployment line.

Michigan requires companies that create wealth by producing products. Such businesses spawn permanent jobs that employ Michigan workers. We need successful Michigan residents investing their resources in our state — not handing their money to a government that squanders much of it. Government doesn’t create any wealth; it only takes resources out of the hands of citizens and the economy.

In 1960, the federal government was only $266 billion in debt. Fifty years later, they have accumulated more than $13 trillion in debt. The problem isn’t that citizens aren’t taxed enough; government just spends too much. In just the last two years the federal government has spent the country into an additional $3 trillion in debt. Has your life improved from all that additional spending?

Terry W. Mulawa

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Title: More regulation will hurt economy
Author: James Miller
Date: 9/28/2010
Article: Macomb Daily


More regulation will hurt economy

In a wrong-headed diatribe about America’s addiction to oil, Sarah Terrien, in her Sept. 12 letter (“It’s time to end our addiction to oil”), misstates lobbyists’ attempts at blocking legislation on clean energy and climate change regulations.

I disagree with her about the need for more legislation to prevent pollution and diseases and America’s culpability in polluting the atmosphere.

The claim that air pollution may cause heart diseases, premature deaths or many asthmatic illnesses, ending in death is false.

There has been a decline in the top six air pollutants from 1970 until 2009. These improvements occurred simultaneously with a significant increase in the population, economic growth and increased travel by more citizens and are the result of the overall efficiency of industrial technologies. They are also the result of mindful observance of the clean air laws by big and small businesses.

Allowing the Environmental Protection Agency more power to regulate commerce will only hurt our economy, which hasn’t been this horrible since the Jimmy Carter administration.

The claim that America’s corporations don’t care is baseless. America is the cleanest and least polluting of all of the other industrialized nations. It leads the way in clean oil and coal technologies. Trying to move away from fossil-fuel powered electricity and gasoline-driven vehicles will only plunge America into a great depression. Green technologies destroy two jobs for every one they create.

China, India and Japan are behind the United States in reducing all major pollutants. The USA is a clean energy nation.

James Miller
Clinton Township

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Title: Rebooting the economy
Author: Ken Proctor
Date: 2/10/2010
Article: To the Lansing State Journal
Published: 2/10/2010

Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans “get it” when it comes to rebooting our economy and creating more jobs. Bailouts and Band-Aids are counterproductive and a waste of taxpayer money.

A more Libertarian solution is both simple and fair: “Permanently exempt the first $25,000 of personal and business income from federal income taxes.

Allowing Americans to keep more of their own money will stimulate the economy simply because they will have more money to spend and also to pay down their own personal debts.

What are the priorities of our leaders in Washington; wealthy special interests, or the interests of the average American?

Ken Proctor

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2009 Letters

Title: Out of control
Author: Greg Creswell
Date: 10/14/2009
Article: RE: Jack Lessenberry’s column “Merrily down the drain.” (Sept. 30) Metro Times

Sir, since you believe you “certainly should have to pay more state taxes than [you] do,” there is no one stopping you from writing a weekly check to the state. Also Jack, since you believe you “owe something to those … before you … and after [you],” all you have to do is stand on a street corner and give your money to everyone that passes by you. I always knew you were a jealous person, Jack, but, man, it really runs deep. To zero in on “kids with money” shows me that you have low self-esteem. The money they may get, however much it may be, belongs to them not you or a politician.

Now Jack, for all of the years I have read your column, you have condemned the use of force, except when it comes to taxes and socialized medicine. And yet you support a law mandating that everyone carry health insurance, by stating that we “don’t have the right to be without health insurance.” Can you spell f-a-s-c-i-s-t? Jack, I am glad that some citizens believe “that our state government is …. bloated …wastes … money…. [and] wants to cut government spending”… but not enough of them do. Because if they did, Granholm would not be governor. As for state parks, state health inspectors, etc., I say privatize them all except the state police, state prisons, the state national guards and the courts, that’s it. And lastly, Jack, you can quote Oliver W. Holmes all you want, but my favorite quote tops yours, “The power to tax means the power to control.”

—G. Creswell

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Title: What the Founders had in mind
Author: Ray Kozora
Date: 7/2/2009
Article: Once you understand why the Bill of Rights wasn’t in the original Constitution…….

Did you ever ask yourself why there is almost no mention of the rights of the people in the body of the Constitution, and they don’t show up until after it is ratified, in the form of the first ten amendments collectively known as ‘The Bill of Rights’?

Once you understand the history of why the Bill of Rights wasn’t in the original Constitution, you will, at last, have a great appreciation for the wisdom of the authors of that document in regards to protecting the liberty of future Americans from the natural progression toward the ever expanding and encroaching tendencies of fallible human politicians.

Did you think that the subject just slipped the minds of the delegates and no one thought to bring it up? Nope, that’s not what happened. When some of the delegates brought up the idea that some of the rights of the people should be enumerated, Roger Sherman argued vehemently against it. His contention was that since the purpose of the document was to transfer a limited and defined list of powers to the new federal government (Article 1 Sec. 8), the government would not possess the authority to violate the rights of the people. Also, since a complete list of the rights of the people would be of infinite length, it would be redundant and futile to attempt to enumerate them.

Put in today’s terms, it would be like going to Wall Mart with the intention of picking up a few items, and first making a list of everything they carry that you don’t intend to purchase.

It took him several days, but he finally convinced them of the logic of his argument.

Well, copies of the proposed document began to circulate, and there was a general uproar from the public. “Where is the list of rights”?

During the national debate, Hamilton urged for ratification in newspaper editorials that were later incorporated into ‘The Federalist Papers’. About inclusion of enumerated rights, he argued that inclusion would not only be redundant, it could be dangerous, since such a list would of necessity be incomplete, it could lead to the mischief of usurpers to soak up liberties that were not included. If the people would retain the knowledge of what powers the government had, rather than what rights the people had, the people would be better equipped to hold their representatives to task.

Hmmm, who was right? Put another way, if the Bill of Rights was never created, today we would probably have a much smaller federal government and less intrusion into our private lives.

Either way, almost all of those now in power, regularly legislate in direct opposition to the word and the intent of the Constitution and need to be voted out of office at the next opportunity.

Vote Libertarian, the founding fathers would! Attend TEA parties!

Ray J. Kozora II
Incidental Sounds Co.
2454 Hiller Rd.
West Bloomfield, MI 48324
Web: www.incidentalsounds.com
Phone: (248)360-8138
Cell: (248)885-2282
E-mail: rjkozora@yahoo.com

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Title: It’s hard to distinguish GOP from Democrats
Author: Mark Byrne
Date: 2/25/2009
Article: http://www.thetimesherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/200902250635/OPINION03/902250317

They may talk differently, but their actions make it hard to distinguish the Republican leadership from that of the Democrats.

At the Michigan Republican Party’s state convention, Saturday, rules allowed candidates for the state chairman to be on the ballot if they had the support of one county chairman. Several candidates ran to replace Saul Anuzis as state chairman. The party elite narrowed the list down to Ronald Weiser.

The county chairmen decided on Weiser despite there being candidates from different parts of the state who initially had regional support. Members attending the state convention no longer had a choice for state chairmanship.

None of that surprised me. Republicans’ actions when they were the majority in Washington showed me their leaders pay little to no attention to their members. They increased the size of government in Washington faster than the Democrats did under President Bill Clinton.
Now, their state leaders decided the only candidate suited to lead the Republican Party in Michigan is the person who donated $1,000 to a Democratic presidential candidate’s campaign on Sept. 30, 2007, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

I always am puzzled why the grass roots party members continue to support the Republican Party based on what they think it stands for instead of a party that actually stands for and will deliver less government if elected to the majority.
The lesser of two evils still is evil. It’s time to wake up and take our country back.

Libertarian Party of St. Clair and Sanilac counties
Port Huron, Feb. 24

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2008 Letters

Title: Libertarian Barr stands for us, not Wall Street
Author: Mark Byrne
Date: 10/16/2008
Article: Letter by Andrew Ybarra III followed by commentary by Mr. Byrne in the Port Huron area Times-Herald:


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Title: Oakland Press: Judge shouldn’t force his opinion on others
Author: Brian Wright
Date: 9/15/2008
Article: To the Oakland Press


In his remarkable letter (9/6/08: Marijuana deadens ethical awareness), Macomb County Circuit Judge Antonio Viviano gives us his judgment that use of marijuana, in any context, is not conducive to morally uplifting behavior. He is entitled to his (ludicrous) opinion. What he is not entitled to—either morally or Constitutionally—is to force others to accept his opinion under penalty of state coercion.

Suppose the judge held that believing in the supernatural Christian God were dangerous to our morals… and a horrible, mind-destructive concept to inflict on children. Would he claim the right to beat you with a club, throw you in jail, or subject you to compulsory atheist “treatment” just because you go to church and worship?

As a judge, Mr. Viviano has sworn to uphold the Constitution. The Bill of Rights is explicit: government may not legislate morality, i.e. it may not set up behavior it regards as “sinful” and prosecute those who sin. No one has the right to enforce his opinions on others.

So, Judge, I appeal to your expressed desire for moral enlightenment: Uphold your oath to defend Constitutional liberty. Quit pointing a gun at our heads and insisting we see things your way, or else. Help bring a prompt end to the exceptionally evil, stupid, and expensive War on Drugs. Recognize that substance abuse problems are best handled thru voluntary systems of family or faith—they are not the province of law enforcement.

Brian Wright
{Brian Wright is the current LPM Webmaster and writes a Web column: The Coffee Coaster (www.thecoffeecoaster.com)

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Title: Chucking the checkoff
Author: James Allison
Date: 2/28/2008
Article: Editor, Metro Times,

In “The real GOP,” Jack Lessenberry writes that supporting Right-to-Work would “mean all existing unions would be destroyed.”

I support the libertarian principle that individuals should have freedom of association, and not be forced to join associations against their will. I also find Lessenberry’s claim to be unfounded.

Workers would voluntarily join a union if the benefits received are equal to or better than the value of the union dues. This change would force unions to become more efficient and provide higher-quality benefits and services in order to retain and recruit members. The only unions that would be destroyed would be the ones whose dues are not worth the benefits provided — and I say good riddance to them if they cannot find a way to add value to the workers.

James Allison

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Title: Regarding Trade Embargo
Author: James Allison
Date: 2/27/2008
Article: Editor, Detroit News:

Thank you very much for Feb. 20th’s editorial titled “Castro’s exit welcome, end trade embargo.” The editorial correctly pointed out the benefits that trade could have at bringing democracy to Cuba , but it did not stress the economic impact. The United States , and especially Michigan , could definitely use another trading partner that would purchase our goods and services.

Libertarians have been stressing the importance of opening up trade to all nations for decades, and this change in leadership provides a great opportunity to follow their advice.

James Allison


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Title: Oakland Press: Prohibition is not the answer
Author: Brian Wright
Date: 2/1/2008

Article: To the letter writer [Marijuana use can lead to other addictions, Feb. 1] who is the leader of CARE and member of PREVCO (Prevention Coalition of SE Michigan) who objected to marijuana use for a number of reasons: from a public health and safety standpoint do you agree alcohol abuse is a far worse problem than marijuana abuse?

If your answer is Yes, then would you advocate alcohol prohibition?

If your answer is Yes to legal prohibition of alcohol, then you obviously know nothing of history. For the same reason alcohol needs to be legal (and appropriately regulated), drugs need to be legal. It’s none of the government’s business whether consenting adults use any particular substance: we’re adults, this is America, and we own our own bodies. If the lady wants to persuade folks to make different decisions, fine, they’ll listen to you better if you don’t point a gun at their heads.

Basically, most people use marijuana safely and responsibly just as most people use alcohol safely and responsibly. The difference is that armed men with badges terrorize the pot smoker and throw him in jail. In fact the greatest danger of using illegal drugs is the user has his life systematically crushed by the implacable state.

Four decades of the imbecilic Drug War have shown intelligent, compassionate people that drug choice is not the responsibility of law enforcement (rather families, counselors, churches, friends, and so on can reasonably influence voluntary individual behavior); by ending drug prohibition we will humanely solve the drug “problem” and save hundreds of billions of dollars to boot. Like the Iraq war, it’s time to leave where we don’t belong and make amends to the millions of victims of this gross, unconstitutional intervention.

Brian Wright
Letter to the Oakland Press

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Title: Oakland Press: All US Citizens need to fight for the Constitution
Author: Brian Wright
Date: 1/1/2008
Article: Letter to the Editor in the Oakland Press:

One of the most encouraging features of the Ron Paul campaign for President is his insistence on the United States Constitution. Remember that document? Basically, the Bill of Rights states: a) if a right of the people is not explicitly stated in the Constitution, the people are assumed to have that right (9th Amendment) and b) if a government power is not specified in the Constitution, the government does not have that power (10th Amendment).

A short article in your Thursday edition states that a Michigan statutory Domestic Cannabis Eradication and Suppression Program was unsuccessful in that the number of plants seized in 2007 was more than twice what was seized in 2006. This government operation is so maliciously silly as to defy words; how could any conscious, conscientious human individual take any part in it?

So what I’d like to know is how many law enforcement officers understand that forcing some people to obey other people’s preferences on drugs is a) a prima facie moral crime against humanity (masquerading as a well-meaning policy developed by morons) and b) violates the US Constitution, a sacred text they are sworn to uphold.

As a Ron Paul supporter, a patriot, and a human being, I urge my fellow Americans—including good cops and public-spirited government officials everywhere—to stand up for the Constitution: “just say no” to the $trillion war of aggression on Iraq and to the $multitrillion war of aggression on drug choice. Freedom was the original idea; think it, feel it, live it.

Brian Wright

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2007 Letters

Title: David Littmann Letter on Constitutional Lawsuit
Author: David Littmann
Date: 10/30/2007
Article: Lawsuit against state defends constitution

I am currently an economic consultant residing in Rose Towsnship. I retired from Comerica in 2005 as chief economist after 35 years of work in Detroit.

Recently I met with Taxpayers United Michigan Foundation and endorsed its effort to defend the Michigan Constitution from being systematically and routinely violated by state government.

I’ve agreed to do my part in defending the Michigan Constitution by supporting this suit against the state. The lawsuit appears the most effective way of confronting out-of-control statewide spending and taxation that further erode Michigan’s economic competitiveness and ability to generate jobs, now and prospectively.

Such a lawsuit will prove instrumental in educating Michigan citizens regarding their voting rights and recourse under the state constitution.

David Littmann
Economic consultant and former chief economist with Comerica Bank

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Title: Legalization brings unity
Author: James Allison
Date: 10/25/2007
Article: Editor, Detroit News

Thank you for Nolan Finley’s Oct. 21st column, “Child killings challenge the drug war.”

I agree that legalizing drugs would take the profits and violence out of the drug trade. In addition, by legalizing drugs, the $100 billion drug industry becomes taxable. This would bring much needed revenue to our cash-strapped government. Finally the civil liberties and privacy we sacrificed in the name of the War on Drugs would be restored. This change is something that libertarians, fiscal conservatives and social liberals could agree on.

James Allison

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Title: Oakland Press Letter on State Shutdown
Author: Brian Wright
Date: 9/17/2007
Article: Jails or Schools?

Opinion Page
The Daily Oakland Press
PO Box 436009
Pontiac, MI 48343

The headline on this morning’s paper is “State Shutdown Looms.” Most of us know people who do an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay under auspices of the State of Michigan; we also know people in the private sector who work conscientiously to make a living. And let’s face it, the public sector depends on the private sector to generate the wealth required to provide state services.

According to the accountants, the state of Michigan is falling short of paying for these state services by roughly $1.7 billion. In a previous letter I suggested we decriminalize drugs, especially marijuana, thereby eliminating roughly $1.2 billion in unnecessary costs immediately. Then by legalizing agricultural hemp (the natural strain of cannabis that does not get anyone high) you create a lot more revenue from thousands of new family farm operations.

Budget problem solved: not a single state worker or teacher or even policeman needs to be let go (though quite candidly, particularly at the higher administrative functions in government social services, law enforcement, and education there is a lot of dead weight that could be trimmed). So do we lay off teachers or prison guards? You make the call.

That’s the contextual Libertarian solution, and for the life of me I cannot understand why the Republicans and Democrats aren’t putting that on the table. I really think a few Republicans will cross over and Lansing will reach some kind of compromise tax hike or shift. Either way the state goes—tax hikes or cuts in service—my fear is the hikes or cuts won’t fall on the unproductive fat cats (private sector or public sector) but on the average worker trying to make an honest living.

Brian Wright

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Title: Economic reactions develop over time
Author: Keith Edwards
Date: 9/11/2007
Article: Editor, The Macomb Daily:

In his Sept. 2 column, “Corporate myths keep workers in the crosshairs,” Chad Selweski writes that he was daydreaming in fantasyland when he dreamed of the unemployment that should have been accompanied by Michigan’s minimum wage increase. He was indeed, but not in the “Mythology of the Minimum Wage.”

If Selweski thinks that clear economic indicators pop up within a year after an event, he does not study economics very closely. The actions that people take in the economy make take years to show an effect, such as when the Federal Reserve expands the money supply (inflation) and prices rise several years later.

Employers may not act immediately to extortion-type government actions such as this wage mandate, but they do eventually, especially when deciding where to locate a business. If they decide wages are too high in one state, they shun it and expand elsewhere. The loss of a future employer does not show up as a decrease in that state, but as an increase in another that might have been in the former. That is an unseen, but real unintended consequence. If employment rises in most of the country, but is flat in Michigan, leftish writers will not notice the cause-and-effect relationship.

He tosses in the casual comment about Wal-Mart’s “low wages and anti-union policies” being the pattern. Yet consumers flock there because of the resulting low prices and are served by workers who have voluntarily taken those jobs. There is a cause and effect that even Selweski could see if he stopped daydreaming. Economic choices are made by individuals acting in their self interest, not by columnists in fantasyland.

Keith Edwards

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Title: Reducing health care costs
Author: David Segesta
Date: 9/7/2007
Article: Editor, The Detroit News:

The basic problem with health care in America is that it’s too expensive. The in-store health clinics described in the News’ August 27 article, “In-store health clinics take off,” offer a way to reduce costs by having nurses or physicians’ assistants deal directly with the patients instead of doctors, at least for minor problems.

I think it’s a good idea.

It’s also something that was suggested by presidential candidate Ron Paul during one of his interviews.

David Segesta


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Title: Corridor Improvement Authority
Author: Erin Stahl
Date: 9/5/2007
Article: Editor, St. Clair Shores Sentinel:

Regarding the Corridor Improvement Authority (CIA), if St Clair Shores residents are to make an informed choice to support or oppose this project, they need to also know the following:

1. I believe putting the CIA on the council agenda was premature. The Blue Ribbon Study Committee (BRSC) has not completed their job. They were supposed to look at all options to improve Harper, not just funding mechanisms. My three requests to explore zero tax dollar options similar to what the 9/Mack business owners did, are still unanswered.

2. The BRSC has also not looked thoroughly at the city’s Master Plan and the Harper Revitalization report to give us an idea of what improvements are absolutely necessary and the approximate dollars needed for each.

3. The BRSC has also not looked at the impact of capping off the biggest source of revenue the city has (Harper businesses), in order to create the CIA. The automatic inflation increase (approximately 2.8%) to the city’s General Fund, pays for increasing costs for city services. When this 2.8% is no longer available and locked into the CIA on Harper, the city will have no choice but to raise taxes or create another millage.

4. Mr. Viviano’s questions of whether the CIA would be accountable to the business owners or if the CIA is very valid in today’s political and economic climate. With 70% of small businesses failing within 2 years, we need to be very careful about taking the decision making process out of their hands and into the hands of the CIA whose livelihood is not directly in jeopardy.

The homeowners abutting Harper should be very leery. The CIA has eminent domain-like powers to fix the parking scarcity issues. History has shown outcomes have not always been equitable for long-term homeowners.

Erin Stahl,
Mayor Pro Tem
St. Clair Shores

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Title: Labor monopoly skews cost
Author: James Allison
Date: 6/27/2007
Article: Editor, The Detroit News:

Thank you very much for the June 13 editorial titled “Repeal laws favoring unions over taxpayers.” These laws need to be repealed. While unions may provide some benefits to their members, unions essentially strive to become a monopoly in the labor market.

We learn in basic economics courses that monopolies tend to cause inefficiencies in the market by raising costs without the pressure of competition. These tough times are calling for a return to the libertarian principles of competitive markets to save taxpayer dollars and strengthen the auto industry.

James Allison

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Title: Food stamp sufficiency
Author: James Allison
Date: 6/17/2007
Article: Editor, The Detroit Free Press:

Thank you for the June 13 editorial “Update recipe for food stamp program.” It pointed out that the minimum allotment of the program is $10 a month, but that figure does not tell very much.

A better figure would be the average benefit received by those in need. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Web site, in 2006, the average benefit was $94.27 for the 26,672 people participating in the program. Those who receive less than average earn higher wages, and thus have less need.

To claim that it is out of the reach of Americans on this program to have “an apple a day” is very misleading. A healthy diet with fruits, vegetables and whole grains can be obtained with the current supplemental $100 per month.

James Allison

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Title: Rethink gun-free zones
Author: Scott Allen
Date: 4/18/2007
Article: Editor, The Detroit News:

Michigan, like Virginia, has a law that forbids those of us with concealed weapons permits from carrying on school grounds. Therefore, like the 32 victims at Virginia Tech, I am unable to carry the tools I need to defend myself and others while on a college campus. I wonder if they feel safe now at Virginia Tech knowing they have been relegated to the status of sheep to the slaughter by their state government. The Michigan Legislature should rethink this absurd law.

Scott Allen

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Title: Taxpayers must take a stand at the capitol
Author: Dan Flamand
Date: 4/15/2007
Article: Editor, The Macomb Daily:

April 18 will be the day when the voices of concerned Michigan taxpayers will be heard. At the steps of the State Capitol Building, the taxpayer tea bag protest will be held to let our elected officials know that tax increases are an unacceptable solution to the state’s budget crisis.

An increased fuel tax, a sales tax on services, and a new tax placed on utilities are just some of the ideas floating around the halls of the Capitol, while obvious cuts that would eliminate government waste are being ignored.

We are all struggling through this depressed economy and we cannot afford to have politicians pick our pockets empty. It is time for Michigan taxpayers to take a stand, and the April 18 protest is the perfect venue to send a strong message to our elected officials. Higher taxes are not the answer.

Daniel Flamand, Chairman
Libertarians of Macomb County

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Title: Invest with tax cuts
Author: Dan Flamand
Date: 3/21/2007
Article: Editor, The Detroit News:

Gov. Jennifer Granholm continues to justify her proposed tax increases as a way of “investing” in the citizens of Michigan. Instead of adding another tax burden on our shoulders, the governor should adopt the libertarian way of “investing” in Michigan and allow us to keep the money that we earn. This will yield a return far greater than that of any new government program.

Dan Flamand

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Title: Socialist agenda suggests fascism
Author: Keith Edwards
Date: 3/11/2007
Article: Editor, The Macomb Daily:

In his March 4 column, “Conspiracy theory: A plan for socialist Macomb?” Chad Selweski is correct in pointing out that the Democrats do seem to “have cozied up to” the wing group Democratic Socialists of America, and that it does resemble a conspiracy. He calls it “socialism lite” because they are not advocating government ownership of industry. True enough, but then he describes their agenda as “fairly tame: boosting the minimum wage, enacting local living wage ordinances, supporting national healthcare, and strengthening pro-worker labor and trade laws.”

Government dictation of minimum wage laws in addition to increasing unemployment is a direct attack in the freedom of the businessman to make his own decisions.

Living wage laws do the same and both force businesses to raise prices, and that is not free enterprise nor fair to the businessman, his customers or, in some cases, taxpayers.

Supporting national healthcare denies freedom of choice to medical practitioners, insurance companies and consumers, including patients.

Pro-worker labor and trade law dictation is just exactly what Mussolini imposed on Italy, and it was termed “fascism,” a system of private ownership of industry managed by government edict.

So, for once, I’ll agree with Chad. It’s not really socialism, but it is fascism of the Mussolini-Roosevelt-Nixon style. Remember how each tried to run the economy without actually owning it? So maybe the group should change its name to Democratic Fascists of America.

Keith Edwards

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Title: Warren Blight Court didn’t do a good job
Author: Jim McWilliams
Date: 3/4/2007
Article: Editor, The Macomb Daily:

Warren’s blight court should be abolished. It is an example of self-serving government intent on expanding its own sphere of control. It is nothing more than a failed money grab. So far, it has cost Warren taxpayers about $80,000.

The mayor claimed it would force negligent property owners to make improvements. The primary reason that property decays is lack of money. How do you expect to improve property by fining the offenders? More than two-thirds of the fines issued are for delinquent fines, and that speaks volumes about the root cause.

The mayor wanted another $135,000 to fund the operation through June. We would be better off giving the money to people who need to make the improvements rather than funding a board that will fine them for not being able to afford it in the first place.

The Warren City Council sees this for what it is – cronyism – and voted not to fund the court.

Jim McWilliams


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Title: Board correct to delay executive vote
Author: Dan Flamand
Date: 2/22/2007
Article: Editor, The Macomb Daily:

Once again, the push to transform Macomb County into a county executive form of government has begun. In a rash move, a small band of county commissioners has tried to sneak this past the voters and place it on the ballot in may, when voter turnout is less than ten percent. With these types of political tactics, it is hard to see how the motivations of these commissioners are in line with the best interests of the county.

Many of these same commissioners have criticized the board as being too slow in making decisions. Although debate and compromise among 26 commissioners can be a grueling task, the decisions that emerge are more deliberate and inclusive of the entire county’s interests. With a county executive making unilateral policy decisions, the voice of the board members would be diminished, and some areas of the county may be overlooked as decisions are made.

With an added layer of government, increased costs will follow. Since a county executive will require a support staff, a new bureaucracy will need to be funded from the county treasury. At a time when budget deficits are looming, adding more overhead is not a wise idea. And in all likelihood, this type of government expansion will yield higher taxes for Macomb County residents.

We must realize that Macomb County is unique when compared with neighboring counties, and we should appreciate the results of our chosen form of government. We have one of the lowest county tax rates in the region, and the financial management of the county has yielded AAA bond ratings. If a majority of the Macomb County voters wish to change our form of government, then so be it. But such a decision should not be rushed by hiding it within a May school board election. Fortunately, a majority of the commissioners have rejected the idea of a May election, and this will give the voters time to realize that a county executive is not the answer for Macomb.

Dan Flamand

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Title: Warren gambling bust
Author: John C Bonnell
Date: 2/17/2007
Article: Editor, The Macomb Daily:

The article appearing February 15, 2007, entitled “Warren gambling bust results in nine arrested,” reminds me of a profound observation made, I believe, by Judge Oliver Wendell Holmes: “Bad laws make bad citizens.”

The law in this case is the exercise in hypocrisy that bans gambling by citizens in venues that they choose, using methods they prefer, causing physical harm to no one. These laws, of course, are generated by harebrained legislators who have nothing better to do, it seems, than to meddle in the lives of fellow Americans. As H. L. Mencken said three generations ago, “a true puritan is one who cannot stand the thought that someone else might be having a good time.”

Such meddlesomeness, of course, is what gives the lie to the pretense that this is a free country and that we are a free people. Americans will not evolve into a truly free society until its citizens give up their addiction to the Democrat and Republican Parties – both of whom despise a party to which they were not invited nor which they do not control. Our last, best hope may well be organizations such as the Libertarian Party, which understands what the limits of government ought to be.

John C. Bonnell

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Title: Taxpayers can’t afford a hike
Author: David Segesta
Date: 2/13/2007
Article: Editor, The Detroit News:

A state panel thinks Michigan should raise taxes. In case they haven’t noticed, the state’s economy is struggling. Many people have lost jobs due to layoffs or buyouts. The state’s population is declining and foreclosures are at a record high. So the panel wants to solve this problem by taking even more money from the people? I have a suggestion: if you want more money, get a metal detector and go to the beach.

David Segesta

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Title: Consumers get hurt
Author: James Allison
Date: 2/8/2007
Article: Editor, The Detroit News:

The sales tax on services will come out of the pockets of consumers. Insurance companies will have to raise their rates to offset any tax increases, again hurting consumers. Individuals are having a difficult time meeting their basic needs already with layoffs and pay cuts that are so common in Michigan, we do not need government programs adding to the pain.

James Allison

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Title: Granholm should cut costs
Author: David Segesta
Date: 1/15/2007
Article: Editor, The Detroit News:

The state is struggling financially. Why do the government leaders think they should be allowed to continue spending as usual? Governor, stop asking for more taxes and learn how to tighten the belt buckle.

David Segesta

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2006 Letters

Title: The Zoning Trap
Author: Albert McCallum
Date: 10/31/2006
Article: (From a presentation by Albert McCallum at the Sam Adams Liberty Festival, sponsored by the Washtenaw, County Libertarian Party April 17, 1999)

The zoning wars are raging in Parma Township of Jackson County, Michigan. The township’s annual budget is about $250,000. During the past two years it has spent over $25,000 on legal fees, mostly for zoning enforcement. So far the township has lost every case. This is but small consolation to the citizens who have born the anguish and expense of lengthy litigation.

The arrogance of the township board peaked when they filed a legal action to throw a disabled man over 60 years old out of his home on land he has owned for over 20 years. The “crimes” committed by this man are living in a trailer the township finds to be 10 feet too short on land 20 feet or so too narrow. This lawless citizen and his teenage son have to make do on the father’s disability pension of about $500 per month.

During the past few months the fed up citizens of Parma township have petitioned for referendums on two zoning amendments. Both amendments were defeated at the polls. The citizens are now circulating petitions to recall four of the five board members.

During 1998 two people died as casualties of the zoning wars in Ionia County. The enforcers drove one man over the edge through harassment over the size and shape of his house. He fought back when the zoners sought to have him arrested. He wounded two police officers. A couple of weeks later he died in a confrontation with police. His death was officially ruled a suicide.

In the other case, the zoners harassed a poor family about the old empty trailer in their yard. The family didn’t have the resources to dispose of the trailer in the two weeks (extended to four weeks) allotted by the zoners. Finally the woman called 911 and said she couldn’t take it anymore. She then killed herself.

In other communities the zoners have ridden out to protect the citizens against such evils as herb gardens, people sleeping in motor homes parked in driveways, covers over cars parked in drives, construction equipment parked out of doors, improperly trimmed bushes, bird houses constructed without permits, tree houses, and the like. There is no detail of your life so private or so insignificant as to not attract the attention of some busybody zoner.

Zoning controversies simmer and smoke all across the state and nation. What is there about zoning that breeds so much ill will and hostility? Is zoning so vital that we have no choice but to allow it to take its toll? Can zoning be reformed to avoid the excesses and abuses?

Before digging deeper into the zoning can of worms it may be worth while to consider the basic nature of property ownership. If a person had absolute ownership of a parcel of land that owner would have the right to do anything he chose on that land, no matter the consequences to other landowners. Likewise, all other people would have to refrain from doing anything which would in anyway affect the land of the absolute owner. There could be only one absolute owner on earth. He would be free to do whatever he chose — up to and including launching nuclear missiles.

The rights of landowners have always been limited. This is what the laws of trespass and nuisance are all about. The owner of land has many rights which he can exercise on his land. Others must refrain from doing many things that would affect the landowner’s land. These rights are so complex that it is most likely that no landowner ever knows the exact extent of his rights. The important thing is that whatever those rights are, no one can take them. If they can be taken they are not rights. If the “owner’s” interest in the land can be taken away at will, the “owner” had no rights. An “owner” without rights it not really an owner. He is a licensee using the land at someone else’s pleasure. Licensees have little incentive to improve the land to make it more useful.

For as long as I can remember it has been fashionable in certain circles to ridicule property rights as somehow inferior to human rights. This is an empty headed, thoughtless belief. First of all property rights are human rights. Property has no rights. Property rights are the rights of human beings to possess and use property. Next to personal safety, there is no right more important than property rights. In many respects safety depends on property rights. What right is more important than the rights to be safe and secure in your home? Or, the rights to possess, use and consume food, and clothing? Without those basic property rights we would never get the chance to speak, vote or practice religion. Property rights and secure ownership are the foundation of civilization. Without secure property rights people cannot prosper.

People will not be motivated to invest and build unless their investments are secure. When property rights are not secure much of the energy that could be used to produce goods and services for everyone is consumed fighting to protect property rights. The thousands of dollars and hundreds or thousands of hours wasted on the Parma Township zoning wars is but a small example of how insecure property rights make everyone poorer.

When a thief takes one apple from a basket, few would claim that this is not theft just because the thief took only one apple. Yet, the courts of our land have ruled that taking a few of an owner’s rights in his land is not theft, as long as the taker leaves something for the owner. Under today’s environmental laws that something left for the owner may be little more than the empty basket.

Anytime that law and government fail to protect the property rights of owners, civilization is weakened. Prosperity diminishes. When government joins in the plunder the very foundations of civilization crumble.

Part of the confusion over zoning arises from zoning being a combination of two things. Some aspects of zoning attempt to codify the law regarding trespass and nuisance. Some of the actions prohibited by zoning were already trespasses or prohibited nuisances. If zoning had stopped there it wouldn’t be creating the ill will, animosity and strife it does.

What is the other side of zoning? Zoning is might makes right. The group of people with power take whatever they choose from those too weak to prevent the taking. In zoning the strong always take from the weak. Those who seek to reform zoning dream the impossible dream. We might as well try to write rules to bring fairness to armed robbery. Zoning is armed robbery. Zoning is far worse than armed robbery by a street thug. Robbers with badges and uniforms are by far the most dreaded kind.

The evil of zoning isn’t that it limits land use. Limits on land use for all are essential to make worthwhile uses of land possible for everyone. The evil of zoning is that it forcibly changes the rules of ownership in midstream. It takes away rights that once belonged to the owners. The disabled Parma man clearly had the right to live in a 60 foot trailer on his 132 foot parcel when he bought it. If he no longer has those rights, someone has forcibly taken them from him. The takers didn’t get his consent. They didn’t pay him. They didn’t even say thank you.

Zoning mocks the Constitution which in the Fifth Amendment proclaims, “. . . nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” That private property could not be taken for private use was too well established to even need mention in the Constitution. Such takings were recognized as theft, and all but universally illegal. In our legal system as it was created, once a person became the owner of rights to use places or objects, those rights could not be taken from him, except for public use. Then, only with just compensation. Zoning and other legislative takings ride rough shod over the Fifth Amendment.

The zoners of Parma Township rant that the opposition doesn’t want any rules. That isn’t the problem. The zoners are the scofflaws. They change the rules of ownership at their whim, and for their convenience. They take property rights from some and give new rights to others. A rule that can be changed at the whim of the powerful is no rule at all. It is like playing a game where the powerful can at anytime change the rules to their advantage. If some people want to play such a game — let them. No one should be forced to participate in such a rigged game. Zoners eagerly put people in jail or otherwise harass and destroy them for refusing to accept the arbitrary “rules” adopted by the zoners for their own advantage. Zoners are thieves who become indignant, and often vicious, when anyone objects to the theft.

Some people insist that zoning with all its faults is justified because it is essential. They believe that zoning is essential to protect residential neighborhoods from junkyards and tanneries. Is zoning a necessary evil? The laws of trespass and nuisance developed in times different from our own. Shouldn’t we have the right to establish land use restrictions consistent with current conditions?

Of course we should. It should be obvious that we can establish such restrictions without taking from anyone. Restricted subdivisions arrived well ahead of zoning laws. Developers placed restrictions on the use of land in subdivisions. The developers sought to increase the value of their land by making it more desirable. People who didn’t like the restrictions could buy someplace else. Nothing was taken from anyone. Owners in an existing community are also free to establish mutually acceptable restrictions.

The protection afforded by zoning is far less than many like to believe. Zoning is established on the principle of might makes right. The restrictions only last until confronted by someone with greater might. When someone with enough power wants to bring a shopping center or factory to your neighborhood, move over, it’s on its way. When someone fails to set aside zoning restrictions to meet their whim, it only shows that the persons seeking the change was not powerful enough. Zoning works only as long as it is defended with force and power. Zoning is not based on any enduing or stable moral or legal principle.

When land use restrictions are established voluntarily, there are no losers. If over zealous developers place too may restrictions on too much land, the restrictions will diminish rather than increase the value of the land. This will motivate some to eliminate or modify the restrictions. The nature and extent of restricted communities will be tailored to meet the demand for such communities. This will assure a supply of unrestricted, or minimally restricted land, for those who want it. It eliminates the one size fits all approach of zoning. It allows those with different desires to develop communities suited to those desires. Only arrogant elitists who demand that everyone live in the same type of community could object to this approach. Of course there is no shortage of people insisting on running everybody’s lives.

Zoning is yet another example of how power corrupts. If some communities are not restricted, those seeking restricted locations may not be able to chose any location they want and still have the desired restrictions. Those with the power to zone seek to remedy that problem. Their answer is to impose their favorite restrictions everywhere. This broadens the range of choices for the powerful at the expense of the weak. Allowing the zoners to impose their restrictions without even paying their victims, further emboldens the zoners. The weak may end up with no place to go. People backed into corners are likely to fight. As the oppressed find fewer and fewer places to run to, the zoning wars can only become more viscous and violent. Should Yugoslavia bomb the U.S.A. to stop the zoning atrocities?

Many zoners also suffer from chronic arrogance. One of the Parma zoners wrote a letter to the editor lamenting the plight of the poor zoner. She complained of how much work was involved in zoning. She bemoaned the lack of appreciation. She allowed as how everyone would be better off if they would only realize how much zoning (to suit her taste of course) benefited everyone. Such people are incapable of even seeing another point of view — leave alone appreciating it or recognizing that a differing point of view has any value.

Zoning makes another contribution to strife, animosity and waste. Most zoning laws are so restrictive and intrusive that if the laws were totally enforced there would be mass rebellion. Zoning enforcement is always selective. Often enforcers goose step through the community enforcing their pet peeves, while ignoring everything else.

More commonly zoning enforcement is based on the squeaking wheel principle. The enforcers focus on citizen complaints. Supposedly zoning is to protect the health and safety of the citizens. Most zoning violations require gigantic flights into fantasy land to find any imaginable relationship to health and safety. As often as not the complainer is more concerned about the “violator” than about the “violation.” Zoning becomes a means for trouble makers to harass their neighbors with little or no expense. Zoner are life style police engaging in class warfare.

If trespass and nuisance were returned to the realm of private enforcement, the complainant would have to take the initiative and pay the cost of enforcement. He couldn’t get the taxpayers to fund his private war. This would go a long way toward toning down the strife. Unless the complainant had a real grievance he would be unlikely to turn it into a court battle. Even in the case of real problems, the parties would be far more likely to pursue negotiations before resorting to litigation. In the Parma Township trailer battle, apparently one of the main instigators is a neighbor who wants to buy the land on which the offending trailer is located. The complainer also lives in a trailer that looks little different than the one he wants to drive from the neighborhood.

The zoning beast can never be reformed. To suggest zoning reform is to give aid and comfort to those who wallow in illusion. As long as many people believe zoning is vital to their interests, they will support it — or, at least accept it. The first step to slaying the viscous and deadly beast must be to spread the word that there are other and better ways to accomplish the legitimate concerns that zoning pretends to address.

We should also emphasize that private, voluntary land use restrictions will greatly reduce strife and wasteful battles. Hopeful, many people will be swayed by the fairness of private land use restrictions. The private road is the only way to protect the weak against the overreaching hands, and fists, of the powerful. Zoning is based purely on might makes right. To the victor goes the spoils. Zoning has no place in a nation claiming to be governed by laws rather than by the whims of the rulers.

Decades of land use restrictions enforced with force and violence have stunted the growth of private voluntary land use restrictions. To simply rip away zoning before private land use restrictions have the chance to grow healthy legs would create much uncertainty and fear. The problems would no doubt be far less than feared. Nevertheless, the fear of the unknown will make it unlikely that most people will warmly embrace the sudden end to zoning. There is a middle ground for transition. Simply ending the adoption of any new zoning restrictions would bring certainty back to property ownership.

We would still be saddled with many ridiculous, intrusive, unwanted restrictions. This problem is not insoluble. Allow affected landowners to end restrictions on their land by agreement. Make it clear that only owners with a substantial interest in the restriction could block its termination. If owners in one block want to modify restrictions about fence building, it should be no concern of those who live a block away. Restrictions on building steel mills would be of concern to owners a greater distance away. It would take some time to develop common sense rules as to when a particular owner had an interest in maintaining a restriction. New restrictions would apply only to the owners who agreed to the restrictions. Reluctant owners might insist on being compensated for agreeing to new restrictions. It is hardly a revolutionary concept that an owner is entitled to compensation for giving up some of his rights to his property.

In this new environment of secure property rights and freedom of choice, like minded people would migrate to the same neighborhoods rather than trying to impose their version of utopia on everyone. This in alone would make a major contribute to peace and harmony.

Send questions or comments to: admccallum@columnist.com

Copyright 1999

Albert D. McCallum, 18440 29 1/2 Mile Road, Springport, Michigan 49284

Permission is hereby granted for copying the above for free, non-commercial distribution, provided the copyright notice, and the author’s E-mail address are included.

Requests for permission for other use may be directed to the above E-mail address.

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Title: America First: A Critique of the United States’ Global Role
Author: Derek E Hollemans
Date: 1/1/2006
Article: by D. Evan Hollemans

As the people if the United States approach the twenty-first century, it is time for many serious decisions to be made. The direction in which this country will go is an important issue that all people must come to grips with. In an increasingly shrinking world, these decisions become increasingly necessary. There are several issues facing America today, and each of these issues could seriously effect the well being of it’s citizens. Among the most important of these issues is the position of the United States in the world today. Should the U. S. continue costly interventionist policies around the globe? Is it in this nation’s best interest to fund military expeditions in over 100 countries around the world? Or, could it possibly be time for the American military juggernaut to cut the cord with the many countries that are now more than capable of handling their own problems. Now is the proper moment for the United States to refrain from being the world’s police force. Although it would be a major change from current policies, it is more important now, than it has ever been, for the government to realize that it can’t possibly patrol the actions of every nation on Earth. Therefore, in the best interest of the American people, a strategic plan for global military disengagement must be adopted as soon as possible.

For the majority of the twentieth century, an international organization called the United Nations has increasingly gained influence over world politics. This organization has slowly gained its’ power, and now, with over 180 member nation-states worldwide, it is quickly becoming the principal governing body for the human race. At first glance, this would appear to be a very noble venture indeed, but the facts speak quite the contrary. Although there are a plethora of associated countries, the United States is forced to maintain over twenty percent of the United Nations’ entire operating budget. With this large funding, it would seen that the U. S. would have a large influence over the actions of the United Nations, but it is almost exactly the opposite. Americans are forced to compromise land (The UN “owns” approximately 43,000,000 acres of what once was U. S. Soil), rights, and military prowess for the advancement of the UN. With other such nations abusing their obligations to the UN, it is an unreasonable request to assume that the United States uphold such high standards, when other countries are so blatantly abusing and manipulating individuals on a global scale.

In the early 1990’s, the United Nations felt it prudent to intervene in the African nation of Somalia in a full scale “peacekeeping” mission. As all humanitarian missions do, this venture began “in the best interest” of the world, but as they always do, the United Nations quickly forced the situation into even more despair than it previously was. The entire situation in Somalia prompted the resignation of many top UN officials due to the travesties which were being perpetrated by the “peace keepers” wearing blue helmets. Military representatives of the United Nations would routinely torture civilian children, forcing them to do unspeakable things, such as eating worms and vomit. They would also routinely cage innocent children until they baked in the summer heat. What the American people need to ask themselves is, is this the kind of organization that they United States wishes to be associated with? After realizing what a failure Somalia was, the United Nations pulled out, and allowed the country to be overrun and carved up into petty fiefdoms by various warlords. Although this is merely one example, the United Nations, as an organization, is constantly sticking its’ fingers into regional conflicts, making things worse than they were to begin with, and then leaving. These atrocities, unfortunately, are unavoidable. Such intervention is not the answer, especially in domestic disputes, in which the U. S. has no reason to become involved. The best that the United States can do, as a nation, is make sure that such atrocities are avoided within its’ own borders. With a heavy interventionist policy, enemies are created abroad, and citizens can no longer travel safely around the world. Every American quickly becomes the target of terrorist activity. This is not a course of action in the best interest of the American public.

The United Nations, as an organization, is a direct threat to the sovereignty of the United States of America. The millions of men and women whose blood was spilled for what American currently have will be for naught, as the UN continues to gobble up U. S. sovereignty. Although it might seem absurd at first glance, when one looks at the facts, it is clear to see that the UN represents the ultimate “big brother”, advocating ideals ranging from how many children an individual can birth, and what parents can or cannot do with that child, to seizing all firearms of private citizens around the globe. Mere years ago, advocates of such a totalitarian philosophy would have been branded as tyrannical, yet today they are heralded as heroes. If the United States is to continue along the path of freedom and prosperity under which it was founded, organizations such as the United Nations must be stopped from pressing such an anti-individualist stance, which so many apathetic citizens openly digest on a daily basis. It is the responsibility of those who do wish to maintain a sovereign United States to educate those who would otherwise allow themselves to become assimilated into the UN mindset.

Another recent tragedy bestowed upon the international community has been under the direction of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Of course, the major international story that has been peppering the news lately is the crisis in Kosovo. In order to see what role NATO should take in this situation, the historical reasoning behind NATO is the first thing that must be closely examined. During the cold war, NATO was formed as an organization to protect the interests of a group of closely allied nations. In order to combat hostilities from the Soviet Union and it’s satellite countries, NATO was to be a defensive organization, in which each member would treat an attack on a fellow member as an attack on itself. It becomes numbingly clear that this organization was formed solely for defensive purposes against the Communist power of the Soviet Union.

With the Cold War over, and the new Russian democracy struggling to get off the ground, the necessity of NATO is in the balance. NATO was formed solely for Cold War defense, and now, it must resort to bombing sovereign nations in order to create an acceptable identity. Once again, this is clearly unacceptable, particularly when NATO is once again solely supported by the United States. The original “NATO” forces in the Balkans, if they are even deserving of that label, consisted of 9 U. S. Ships, 200 U. S. planes, and 1 British submarine. Apparently the other dozen countries of NATO simply forgot they had an obligation to be involved in this debacle. That is not the only disturbing part of this mission. NATO is bombing a sovereign country, which is a complete breach of all principles upon which NATO was founded. This is merely an example of how a situation can snowball if the people give the politicians an inch. How can the United States continue to support such an alliance when other nations are obviously freeloading at the expense of American money and American lives? Thus, the ultimate fate of NATO must be questioned. Now, former Warsaw Pact countries such as Hungary are being allowed to join this alliance which was formerly comprised of extremely tight knit allies. NATO is obviously a very outdated organization, which no longer has a role in the world, and therefore must come up with excuses to flex it’s military muscle.

Taking the Kosovo situation from the standpoint of the average American, one must ask what vital interest is at stake? As far as one can tell, the United States has no reason to be involved in such a foreign conflict, and the only thing being set is a horrible precedent of international intervention whenever a civil conflict erupts. As Ted Galen Carpenter said in his 1996 essay, “Toward Strategic Independence”, a vital interest is one that is essential to the continuation of the United States as a cohesive country, not simply something that may be convenient. The notion that Kosovo holds a vital American interest is a very disturbing one.

Although what is happening to ethnic Albanians certainly is a travesty, this is a regional dispute that could easily be settled by those directly involved. The European Union collectively has a gross national product of five trillion dollars a year, and over two million soldiers. This problem is in Europe’s backyard, and since Europe has been bailed out by the United States twice in this century, it is time for them to use the power they have to take care of their own regional disputes. It, however, the United States is content on intervening in this situation, it sets the stage for intervention in every petty foreign conflict around the globe. There are constant human rights abuses in China, and squabbling has gone on for years in Northern Ireland. The Palestinians and Israelis have been in conflict for decades. Where is the line drawn? When the U. S. shows a willingness to intervene in this situation, it opens the door for intervention in other small, regional conflicts in which there is absolutely no interest to the United States.

The interventionist policies of the United States can only have negative effects domestically, as well as abroad. Time after time, innocent American civilians are put at risk due to the policies of their government. Such international meddling invites fringe terrorist groups to target Americans. Although some might argue that this is the price the most powerful country on Earth must pay, it is avoidable, as well as unnecessary. With the U. S. military prancing around the globe, those who are stepped upon immediately target every American citizen when they choose to travel abroad. It is not right that the people of the most powerful nation on Earth should have to travel the world in fear of their own lives. What is even more absurd is the fact that they are exposed to danger solely because of faulty foreign policy.

Such interventionist policies not only expose citizens to unneeded danger, but they also stretch the thinning ranks of the U. S. military much farther than is safe and practical. With military force in over 100 nations around the globe, a serious problem arises in regards to defense of the U. S. borders. Therefore, the security of the United States is caught in a catch-22. The military is around the globe, meddling in other people’s business and creating enemies abroad. In the mean time, the security of our borders are compromised. With the military struggling to find recruits, it is not in the best interest of the U. S. to be maintaining such a policy. Feeding innocent American lives into a grizzly foreign war is no the wisest course of action for the government to pursue.

With the creation of such enemies abroad, the security of the United States is greatly compromised, and serious issues at home are ignored. Although there are many issues plaguing the United States, these issues seem to take a back seat when it comes to helping foreign countries. Although it may be viewed as somewhat selfish, most taxpayers believe their money should go towards the advancement of the United States, and not towards petty projects abroad. In 1997, the equivalent of 780,000 household’s taxes went to aid South Korea’s economy, even though their economy is the eleventh largest in the world. Chinese officials are allowed to infiltrate the highest levels of American security and walk off with the most treasured of secrets, receiving absolutely no punishment whatsoever. These are serious problems which need to be addressed immediately. It is unfortunate that the government feels it is more important to monitor disputed border regions in Ecuador than it is to protect the vital nuclear technology of the United States.

It is more important now, than it has ever been before, for the United States to end the policy of intervening in every foreign squabble, and begin concentrating on more pressing issues on the home front. There are several nations around the globe which are more than capable of handling their own problems, but an historic precedent has been set, in which everyone looks to the U. S. for assistance when someone cries wolf. Not only is this taxing on the American people, but it also prevents these countries from excelling, and progressing as they normally would otherwise. The statistics on Europe alone are staggering. When such a powerful political and military entity must seek aid from the United States, something is seriously wrong. There must be a very important reason that Europe did not intervene in the Balkans, when the problem was sprouting up around them. Instead, a demand is made to the United States to send a powerful war machine to take care of business, which is absurd.

Any level headed American will realize that a return to 18th Century, “isolationist” policies is impossible, and would be quite risky. However, this does not mean that the United States cannot accept a scaled down role in the realm of policing the globe. Building a “fortress America” is not eh goal, and neither is cutting all ties to the outside world. There does, however, come a time when a country should realize that it is abusing it’s power, and is becoming the nanny to every other nation on Earth. This is not the course of action that should be pursued. Putting young, able, American lives on the line in petty foreign disputes is horrendous. Killing innocent people, in a conflict which there is no clear U. S. interest is such a horrible thought, but it is increasingly becoming a reality as more and more situations arise, in which the U. S. is there to blow the self-righteous horn of freedom and democracy.

Economic relations and prosperous trade do not rely on a strained military. There is a large difference between an isolationist, and an anti-interventionist. An isolationist, obviously, wants to cut all ties with the foreign world, and build up a powerful, self-serving United States. An anti-interventionist, on the other hand, realizes the importance of trade and economic commerce with other countries. It is a very realistic thought that the United States should be able to adopt such a policy. American citizens are being bled dry by big government, and it is unfair to everyone. Continuing the current interventionist policy only hinders economic prosperity, as nations opposed to American intervention will quickly close all doors to what they have to offer.

In conclusion, the United States of America is the most powerful nation on the globe. Although many claim that such a title immediately empowers the beholder to certain responsibility, this is a false notion. The United States did not achieve such a status overnight. A rich history of anti-interventionist policy is what allowed Americans to prosper as individuals. There is no longer a Communist threat from the Soviet Union. Countries all over the globe are opening themselves up to democracy. It is time for the United States to realize that it has a lesser role in global politics. American citizens do not want to live in a world where their children are in danger of being killed overseas. Americans do not want to live in a world where they must fear for their lives when they travel abroad. The readopting of a “live and let live” libertarian philosophy is just what the doctor ordered. Creating a welfare state is not the answer to everyone’s problem.
Mr. Hollemans can be reached at executive@makethingsbetter.com

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Title: Bi-Lingual Education – A Public Problem With a Private Answer
Author: Derek E Hollemans
Date: 1/1/2006
Article: by D. Evan Hollemans

What should any level headed American be concerned with more than the education of our children? Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders, and it is necessary that all children receive a quality education, so that they might succeed later in life. However, differing versions of what a quality education consists of is what is heating the current debate in California. In one corner, there are proponents of a bi-lingual education system for students of Spanish-speaking heritage. This system would allow students to be educated in both Spanish and English, which would, in theory, allow them to function in society, but at the same time maintain their Mexican roots. On the other side, there are proponents of legislation that would only teach English in California’s public schools. Both sides can bring interesting points to support their cause, and the debate has reached fever pitch on the west coast. However, as is typical with any government legislation, the big picture is being completely ignored. The problem with bi-lingual education lies neither with English nor Spanish, but with the public school system itself.

Presently, public schools have no reason to excel. No matter what happens in the outside world, public schools will never go out of business, and therefore have no incentive to offer special programs to entice students to attend. Students are not paying for their education on an “as given” basis. The money that schools are receiving comes straight from the taxpayers, which means that parents of schoolchildren need not find a school where they will get the best value for their dollar. It is a no win situation for both the school, and the student. Now, of course there is always the argument of private schools. Sure there are respectable private schools that operate much more efficiently, and much more successfully than most public schools. However, there is a catch. Most people are unable to afford to pay taxes towards the public education system, and at the same time pay tuition for their children to attend a private school. This is a grand trap, which causes most students to be stuck in the system of public education whether they like it or not. This would not be so terrible, but the state governments are sending out blanket legislation which effects all public schools throughout the state, and in turn allows no choice for the student. Wherever the gavel falls, every student winds up paying the ultimate price.

For this reason alone, we must look further than English vs. Spanish. California needs to understand that the entire public school system is what is really at fault. Imagine a state in which the entire education system was moved to the private sector. Ultimately, the choice of curriculum would lie with the individual school itself. What would this mean for the students? Competition. Schools would be competing for children, and would therefore begin offering programs which would entice students to attend their schools. As competition between schools increased, so would the quality of education that each individual received. This would give students a choice. History has proven that government is most efficient when operated at the smallest level possible. It is possible that this decision be diminished right down to the individual family, so why should this option be ignored? If a parent wished for his or her child to be educated in an all-English school, they would simply find a suitable school where they could get the best education for the best price, and send their child there. The same would be likewise for a student whose parents wanted him enrolled in a bi-lingual program. California is one of the largest states in our nation, and for the politicians to think for one second that one piece of legislation will solve every child’s problems is a joke. Privatizing education will create schools that are concerned about the welfare of their students. It would create efficient programs, in which parents would be able to choose the type of school they want their children to attend. The personal decisions would be given back to the parents, instead of sitting in the iron fist of the government.

There is always going to be the argument that this idea is either extreme, or not affordable, but one must look past the single issue, and examine the scene as a whole. In the end, every person’s pocketbook would prosper. Compare the legalized monopoly of the United States Postal service to the competition of internet based e-mail. Because the US Postal Service has no competition, every time a person wants to send a letter to grandma, they must pay thirty-two cents to the government. They pay this fee because there is no competition, and the taxpayer will either pay thirty-two cents, or leave the letter undelivered. When this is contrasted with the unregulated free market of internet e-mail, the answer is obvious One can literally send thousands of e-mail messages back and forth around the world with no more strain than the click of the button. The internet truly is the free market in it’s purest form. Consumers can perform such tasks because e-mail is unregulated, and different services can set their own agendas. Therefore, several services allow you to use e-mail for free. The only thing you must put up with is a handful of advertisements which fund the software. The wonderful thing is, if you do not like the policies of one web based e-mail service, you can move to another one with the click of a button. Hotmail, Yahoo, and Juno, are just a few of the web based e-mail programs that are constantly coming up with new, innovative programs to entice users to use their service. The only thing the public received from the postal service was a three cent hike in the cost of stamps. This whole analogy can be directly molded to the public education system, where there is slightly more competition than the US Postal Service, but not much. America’s public schools have been stagnant, and declining for years. As more and more taxpayer dollars are bled into the system, test scores are constantly going down. In the government’s eye, money is the ultimate solution to any problem, and why shouldn’t it be? They have an endless supply, and can force the taxpayer to “contribute” more at any time.

The public school system is the root of all problems with California’s bi-lingual debate. Choices are no longer left up to families and individuals. Every time one turns around, they see that the government has begun making more and more choices for them. The government decides whether or not people must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. The government decides what heinous legislation the public must fund whether or not they benefit from it. The government decides what substances it’s people can put into their bodies. The government decides which certain people are suitable for others to have an intimate relationship. Once again, the government has stepped in, and if it is not stopped, the state will soon decide whether the children of California receive a bi-lingual education or not. The public has become so naive and ignorant to the sheer power of the government that Washington politicians are slowly manifesting themselves in every facet of life. This is just another step for the government to take away an individual’s choice. It is time for America to wake up and move out from under the roof of it’s big brother.

Mr. Hollemans can be reached at executive@makethingsbetter.com

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Title: Breaking The Law
Author: James M. Vinoski
Date: 1/1/2006
Article: by James M. Vinoski

I spent the evening of this past July 4th breaking the law.
Of what heinous endeavor was I guilty, you wonder? Theft? Rape? Murder?

Alas, no. My crime was that of celebrating our country.s independence, along with millions of my countrymen, with things that fly and go .boom.. I used illegal fireworks.

Isn’t it ironic that annually, on the day this nation celebrates liberty from oppressive rule, thousands and thousands of Michigan residents become lawbreakers, openly flouting our state and local ordinances against firecrackers, bottle rockets and the like? For I was most certainly not the only lawbreaker in action on that night. All around me, explosions and streaks of light identified the locations of my fellow criminals.

Why is such lawbreaking tolerated? It.s patently obvious that the location of the perpetrators is readily apparent . where were the police? Why was there no crackdown?

Could it be, and I’m only speculating here, that 1) the police have far more important things to do with their time, and (even more important) 2) these laws are stupid, and not worth enforcing?

Point one above is obvious. For the thefts, the rapes, the murders, and all the other real crimes don.t stop on the Fourth of July. Our police have their hands full year-round. But point two is equally true.

Oh, I can hear the busybodies now. .12,000 Americans were treated for fireworks injuries last year!!. .Fireworks are a nuisance!!. .We.ve got to protect the children!!.

As to preventing injuries, anyone who wants illegal fireworks can get them. Our laws aren.t preventing any injuries. Nor should they be; in a nation founded on liberty, each of us should take responsibility for ourselves. If we hurt ourselves, we suffer the consequences . that.s the way liberty works. For liberty also means responsibility, and when we expect laws to protect us against our responsibilities, we also lose our liberty. And that just ain.t worth it. Ask the Soviets. Oh, and, by the way, 12,000 Americans means 0.0044% of us were injured by fireworks last year . that doesn.t make a crisis, now does it?
Nuisances? Well, two things: first, you live in a society, and you can.t always have things the way you want them. Sometimes your neighbors will do things to annoy you. But if such things get too bad, laws to address the situation existed long before we wrote the idiotic ones about fireworks: against disturbing the peace, against burning down your neighbor.s house, against anything fireworks might cause if used improperly. Adding more laws doesn.t make things better . see my previous paragraph.

And now, about .protecting the children.. This nation is about to lose its very soul to totalitarians in sheep.s clothing over this one. We have to make social drinking illegal .to protect the children.. We have to pay a new $500 billion in taxes for smoking .to protect the children.. We have to pay more for our cars to add airbags .to protect the children,. then we have to turn around and pay even more to be able to turn off the airbags .to protect the children.. Wake up, folks . this is one of the most evil phrases around today. Just listen to all the ideas for onerous new laws that constantly emanate from our statehouses, and you.ll notice every damned one of them is about .protecting the children.. Don.t buy it.

I have a proposal. The Fourth of July holiday for 1998 is come and gone, and lots of folks like me broke the law that day. How about if our legislators in Lansing start working now on a gift for all the residents of Michigan for July 4th, 1999 . a repeal of the onerous, oppressive laws against the fireworks people in so many other states of our fine Union have the liberty to use legally? What a way to celebrate our independence that would be!

Mr. Vinoski can be reached via e-mail at: vinoski@michweb.net

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Title: DARE Endangers Our Families
Author: Diane Barnes
Date: 1/1/2006
Article: by Diane Barnes

Everyone is rightly concerned about the dangers that drugs pose to our children. However, government officials are cynically using this concern to expand an already enormously expensive bureaucracy called Drug Abuse Resistance Education (or DARE) that is demonstrably ineffective and an ctual danger to our familles.

Study after study has proven what parents have known all along. DARE doesn’t work! Many hours are spent indoctrinating children — valuable time and resources that should be used for academics. Thanks to DARE and other useless ‘self-esteem’ and other so-called character building programs, American 12th graders now consistently fall below the average in math and science in international tests.

A professor at the University of Illinois, Dennis Rosenbaum, completed a six year study of 1,798 students and found that “suburban students who participated in DARE reported significantly higher rates of drug use…than suburban students who did not participate in the program.”

One of the most comprehensive studies from the University of Kentucky tracks over 1000 midwestern students for 10 years who participated in DARE i the 6th grade. (American Psychological Association Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology August, 1999.) The research showed that there is no difference between those who received the DARE training and those who did not in their use of cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana or other drugs. Ironically, the only demonstrable difference was that those who participated in the DARE program had lower levels of self-esteem.

The Research Triangle Institute (RTI) was hired by the Justice Department to do a statistical analysis of all DARE research. RTI analyzed eight studies involving 9,500 children. Their report says that DARE has a “limited to essentially nonexistent effect” on drug use.

The Justice Department refused to publish the report.

World renowned psychologists Bill Coulson, Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, who developed the theories upon which DARE was founded, have since admitted that their theories were ‘”off-base” and that the program is “rooted in trash psychology” (Dec 4,1998 Bould Weekly).

Official response to statistical evidence that their DARE program doesn’t work is to dismiss the scientific evidence, attack the evaluations and rely instead on anecdotes.

The program may be popular, but is that any measure of its efficacy?

The director of DARE America recommends that the solution is to spend even more money on it. Of course, how many directors have ever suggested that their programs and budgets (along with their own jobs) are not achieving the desired results and should be eliminated?

So, if the DARE program isn’t deterring kids from using drugs, what is it doing?

The one thing DARE is undeniably good at is in fact raising money.

News stories have reported that the federal government allocates about $2 billion every year to youth drug and violence prevention. The total cost — including all state, local and private funding — has been estimated at $8 billion.
With all of that money being spent it would be bad enough if this program were merely useless. However, national reports are much more ominous.

DARE is also teaching kids to spy on parents and friends and encouraging them to become government informants.

Children are asked to submit written questions to the DARE officer such is: “How come my dad smokes pot every night after I go to bed?”

If you have ever seen a DARE work book (which you probably haven’t since children are specifically told not to bring it home), you might be surprised at the lesson called “The Three R’s: Recognize, Resist, Report” which encourages children to become snitches and tell friends, teachers or the police if they find drugs at home.

DARE officials have denied that the program is set up to bust parents, but numerous incidents of this very kind have been documented in Georgia, Colorado, Oklahoma, Maryland and Maine.

If you ask the kids about DARE most of them will tell you it’s boring or an excuse to get out of class. One student is quoted as observing that, ironically, “All the pot-heads at school have DARE bumper stickers on their cars.”

Kids are not stupid. And any program that implies that they are is bound to have severe credibility problems.

The good news is school districts and police departments in California, Colorado, and Texas are dumping the program. We should do the same in Michigan. Parents must DARE their local district to reject the hype associated with this putative “drug education program.” We should DARE to replace it with math or science, or other academic classwork — the kind of education we expect our schools to provide. The kind of education they have so tragically neglected in their obsession with teaching “Good Citizenship.”

Leave teaching moral values to parents. No government program can replace parental influence and supervision. And both the attempt and the consequences are antithetical to our American system of personal freedom and responsibility.

Ms Barnes may be reached at dbarnes98@aol.com

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Title: We must know “why”
Author: Dan Todd
Date: 1/1/2006
Article: by Dan Todd

The following was published (almost verbatim) in the Sunday, September 10, 2000 edition of the Jackson Citizen Patriot under the Voice of the People. (Letters to the editor)

I agree with the recent Jackson Citizen Patriot editorial on the Biddle St. massacre. We must know “why”.

We have drug dealers on our playgrounds and in our schools. Why? Because the War on Drugs makes our children valuable as future “customers” and “distributors” of currently illegal drugs.

We read stories about parents selling their children for drugs or abusively neglecting their children for drugs. We have thieves breaking into our homes. Why? Because the War on Drugs has hyper inflated the black market price of drugs to well over 20 times what they would be in a free market.

We hear about people dying from overdoses or poisonings associated with drug use. Why? Because the War on Drugs removes any hope consumers have of using product liability laws to hold dealers accountable for what they sell.

We have crack houses where little boys find unattended guns and shoot little girls in school. Why? Because the War on Drugs makes it impossible to sell drugs under a controlled situation where people can go to the police if they are robbed.

We have shootings of the kind that occurred last year on Francis Street. Why? Because our failed War on Drugs makes illegal drugs and “turf” more valuable than a human life. Because the black market generates enough money to put guns in the hands of street gangs and motivates them to use those guns against their competitors.

Back in the 1920’s, America banned alcohol. While legal alcohol is damaging to society, we learned in the 1920’s that illegal alcohol gave rise to children drinking along side adults; parents that used the family milk money to buy booze; people dying or being crippled by contaminated liquor; and street gangs that shot at each other indiscriminately. During Prohibition, we had all of these things and government agents were only able to seize less than 1% of all illegal booze. Our modern drug warriors have done no better.

Since the end of Prohibition, we have learned to live with legal alcohol. While we will never be rid of the damage that legal alcohol does to society, we learned the hard lesson that illegal alcohol is surely much worse. The same lessons apply to our currently illegal drugs.

The St. Valentine’s Day massacre began America’s movement to re-legalize alcohol. Let the Biddle St. massacre be our wake up call to end our legally, historically and morally indefensible War on Drugs.

This fall, if you are ready to end this failed War, your only choice on the ballot is to vote Libertarian. Harry Browne for President. Michael Corliss for Senate. Robert F. Broda, Jr. for the House of Representatives.

Mr. Todd may be reached at nucleardann@modempool.com

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Title: Three Inhibitors to Recognize in Achieving Liberty
Author: Eric Wojciechowski
Date: 1/1/2006
Article: by Eric Wojciechowski

In January 1997, Cato Institute’s Executive Vice President, David Boaz, released an excellent book entitled, Libertarianism – A Primer. In the second chapter, he lays out the foundation and history of the Libertarian philosophies and points out that Libertarianism is not a new idea isolated to the United States. In fact, Boaz shows that we can trace this political movement as far back as classical western civilization and even into the era of circa 600 B.C. with the oriental philosopher Lao-Tzu. Boaz informs us that many great thinkers in history fought for this ideal which continues into present times which comparable activists and thinkers. It was with the coming of the United States that the first country in history attempted to live solely within the Libertarian framework and to respect the reason of individuals and not the power of governments. Boaz informs us that there have basically always been two political philosophies that have served under different names. Those basics are Liberty and Power. Boaz compares these by writing, “Either people should be free to live their lives as they see fit, as long as they respect the equal rights of others, or some people should be able to use force to make other people act in ways they wouldn’t choose.” (Boaz, p. 27).

Boaz notes that, “It’s no surprise, of course, that the philosophy of power has always been more appealing to those in power.” (Boaz, p. 27) With that said, we must wonder why it is that the power model has always won out when the majority of the people do not hold the power? I will attempt to show that the power model of government is enabled not only by those in power but even by those who do not hold any power. I will also attempt to show why that despite equal time in history (at least in concept but not in practice), the power model always seems to prevail over the Liberty model. And all this occurs with the people under the government grumbling in quiet but at the same time voting over and over for the same ruling fist. What is going on?

There are some questions we must ask and hopefully provide sufficient answers. Why is it that the Liberty model, with such a long history, has not carved a larger niche in the world? Specifically in regards to our country, since the United States was founded as a Libertarian society, how did we lose it and why have not the people voted to regain it? Why is it that we have yet to see the people of this country flock to the cause? If Libertarianism is the best way for a society to prosper, and if it is so obvious as we as Libertarians think, then why is it that the people are not knocking down our doors with membership dues? Why is it that if Libertarianism is such the ideal, and if it is thought that the majority of civilization craves such independence from oppression, we do not have it yet? And why, why, is it that most people claim to agree with the liberty model as the ideal but continue to support the power model?

These are questions that I believe have complex but, at the same time, simple answers. It has much to do with the lack of knowledge that the people have regarding politics and the foundations of civilizations. It also has a lot to do with a basic mistrust we hold against our neighbors. The solutions to the points that follow are even more difficult to come by. (As a note, the points made are geared toward the society of the United States but, without much effort, can be generalized to humanity as a whole).

1) Despite the historical base of the Liberty model, it is not seen as traditional.

Not traditional? After all, didn’t I just note how old the philosophy is? Yes, but that truth is only revealed to those who care to investigate it. I have many times discussed the topic with co-workers, friends, associates, etc., and remained amazed at how these conversations exposed that most people hold the belief that the Libertarian Party (and the philosophy in general) is new to the scene. Their belief is that it is the Republicans and Democrats who founded everything! It is clear, and not only in politics but in their everyday affairs, that people act in the manner of tradition and what is familiar. They will always work with what has always been done.

It is a comfortable feeling. It does not seem to matter if a better ideal or philosophy comes around. It seems that the Republicans and Democrats have been with us for so long, ruling our country as if it has always been, and we have become overly familiar with them like the old neighborhood we grew up in. Not many people are ready to demolish the old school yard.

I suspect that regardless of our Libertarian proposals and solutions, membership growth will not excel as we wish because the Liberty model is still viewed as being “new” and “uncharted”. It does not matter that this is not true. The population seems to believe it (from what I have observed) and that is what we must deal with. After all, how many people have even heard of the Libertarian Party? I have spoken to many that have not.

The power model has been acted upon civilizations for as far back as one may care to look. Although the liberty model has as long a history, it has existed more in the form of a philosophy and not as a practice. We are taught that most (if not all) historical societies operated as power models. It will be a great challenge to make the Liberty model as familiar as the alternative.

2) The misperception prevails that government protects and without it, the stronger will overpower the weak.

It remains an annoying belief among most people that I have spoken with that the natural state of humanity is evil and selfish and there would be those who would take advantage of you if government programs were not in place to protect you. I attempt to point out that this occurs regardless of government attempts at control but it remains true that society seems to believe that government, acting as the parent, is better to have than to have not. There is clearly a love-hate relationship going on with the power model. This ties in quite well with point #1 as noted above. We have had the parental form of government for so long that we do not remember or even know what it is like without it. The strange thing about this is that everyone who makes such claims about the nature of humanity fails to include himself or herself within that framework. This leads us directly into point #3.

3) All people believe themselves to be naturally good, but think that others are not.

This is the oddest claim of all one can make. We have all heard it. We hear the basic claim that people, in general, can not be trusted to do the right thing but the ones who say that always fail to include themselves within the group of “people”. It is believed that we need a form of control and force (government) to keep our neighbors in line. This may be the scariest of all the points I make. This basic mistrust of one’s neighbors is what I believe to be the main reason why we are a long way off from obtaining a Libertarian form of civilization and why the power model has been dominate throughout history. Today many of us are so afraid and mistrustful of others within our society, they believe that we must control those unlike us. And this “fear” projects us into adopting a power model of government in order to control those who do not do as we do. We are afraid that without government controls, the industries and corporations will pollute our air and water. We are afraid that without gun control laws, our neighbors will go on shooting rampages. We blame drugs and not people for poor actions some chose to partake in while under the influence and we create laws to prevent all people from using. Our government, with the blessings of the people, meddles in health and child care. Our government creates education agendas and policies. It meddles in every aspect of our lives and we clap during the State of the Union address. The basic break down is clear: FEAR of thy neighbor!

I believe that a Libertarian society will never be achieved as long as the people hold a basic mistrust and fear of those around them. This is why I believe the power model has always prevailed. The Liberty model can only come about when the majority of people begin to change their minds about human nature. Speaking as individuals, we believe that we will do what is right and, in the converse, we usually fear that our fellow man and woman will fail to follow suit.

We are so familiar with government taking on the paternal role that we have forgotten, or better yet, failed to learn and accept self-responsibility. Time and time again, I have spoken with many people who always fall back on the fear of others as the rational for maintaining the power model. I ask them Harry Browne’s famous question, “Would you give up your favorite government program if it meant you never had to pay income tax again?” Regrettably, the answer I get on many occasions is that they hate paying the taxes but believe the benefits are good. Their main reason for gladly paying taxes is to maintain the military and police forces. This explains it all in regards to point #2 and #3 despite my objections as I propose Libertarian alternatives to taxation. They just do not believe them plausible and this brings us to the familiarity issue in point #1. The point is that we are creatures of habit. We are also self-preserving animals. Unfortunately, we have had the parental form of government for so long, as well as continue to encourage it, we have failed to learn for ourselves that healthy and self-sustaining living can be achieved even better under the Liberty model.

So what are we, as Libertarians, to do to change all this? I suggest we continue along the path we are already on. We have to make our name as familiar as the Republicans and Democrats. We must make our political solutions just as familiar. This means that over and over and over again we must present the message to the public the best we can. We also have to work on changing society’s perceptions of human nature (which is a big and possibly unrealistic task). We have to try to convince people that most people do act in responsible ways without coercive action. We have to continue to point out that we as people continue to cooperate with one another on a daily basis and that the fears of thy neighbor, as they exist in such extremes, are unwarranted. With this said, and with the preconceived notions that exist today, it remains a clear fact that the Liberty model will not come about over night.

Boaz, David. (1997) Libertarianism – A Primer. New York: The Free Press.

Mr. Wojciechowski can be reached via e-mail at: ericwojo@earthlink.net

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Title: Second Tier Totalitarianism
Author: Mark Owen
Date: 1/1/2006
Article: by Mark Owen

Totalitarianism is a governmental form where control is theoretically total, both reactively and proactively. It has been with mankind for millenniums, but has been becoming increasingly insidious with the growth of social engineering. The state in general has historically lacked the capacity to apply its will on the people to the degree that the modern state now has because of the wealth and technology generated by modern capitalism. Information and resources now available to the state are unparalleled. Big Brother has the capacity to collect and peer into personal information that was not available even a generation ago.

In contrast, states that have totalitarian regimes are in the decline. The last existing form of complete totalitarianism, communism, crumbled with the Berlin Wall. From an economic standpoint, communism was a complete failure. It lacked the ability to rationally allocate resources and generate a price structure that reflected the true value of a good or service, or how much should be produced. States that still practice the more obnoxious forms of totalitarianism are facing more international pressure than ever before. While the more pure forms of the total state are in decline, a second insidious form of statism has emerged.

This new totalitarianism is subtler. While government allows basic rights and freedoms, it will control people on a secondary level for the “common good”. The state is viewed as the primary solver of problems, even when government is ill equipped to solve the problem and by implementing a solution, unintended consequences will result. Government control is not at the primary level, but rather on the secondary level. This is Second Tier Totalitarianism.

In Second Tier Totalitarianism, people have basic rights that do not exist in pure totalitarianism. While government acknowledges these rights to some degree, government attempts to control people’s actions through secondary laws. These laws are intended to control how people may exercise their basic rights according to the whim of their legislative bodies and governmental bureaucracies. The primary difference between First Tier Totalitarianism and Second Tier Totalitarianism is that in the former people are controlled at the base level with a relatively simple legal system; whereas in the latter people are controlled by a complex legal system which attempts to control them at a point just beyond their basic acknowledged rights. Examples of these acknowledged rights would be those in the Bill of Rights, at least those rights that are straight forward enough as to not be open to erosion by politicians. This is analogous to the difference between building one large dam on the main branch of a river versus building dams on all the tributaries. The net result is that the water is controlled in very similar ways, but in Second Tier Totalitarianism the main river is undisturbed. Nonetheless it is controlled. Examples can be found everywhere in the alleged “Free World”. The concept of private property has become blurred with proxy state ownership through government regulation. People must be protected from themselves by the omnipotent state through seat belt laws, drugs laws, etc., and by general dependence on the state for the solving of societal and/or economic problems. This is the philosophy of government in a Second Tier Totalitarian regime.

What constitutes property rights in this regulatory society? Property is still owned by the individual, but the state has the authority to control its use. The very elements that compose the concept of property are violated by the state. In essence, the state has the power to dictate the use of the property. The more interventionist the government, the more the right of property is violated. The property owner increasing becomes equal to a renter; as the state is increasingly landlord. Just as permission must be acquired from the landlord to change an apartment in any way, permission must be acquired from the state in order to put on a new deck or build an addition to a house or even have a tree removed. The state may dictate the terms or even reject the request for changes to the property. In nations such as Great Britain, where property such as private companies was at one time nationalized, the state has the ability to completely violate the concept of property and become the actual owner without the permission of the original owners.

Actual property rights intrusion will encroach to the point that societal pressure will allow. If a politician senses too great a public outcry and wanting to get re-elected, will quickly back off or force their bureaucratic cronies to back off. This tends to result in a distinction between so called publicly utilized private property (i.e. business) and private residential property and land holdings. It also tends to result in ever-creeping infringement of property rights over time, as societal pressures buckle under the weight of the Leviathan State from an ever more obedient people.

Private property that is considered within the public realm is subject to a larger degree of intrusion. A business owner must comply with a plethora of regulations that dictate how they run their business, additional facilities that they must obtain, paperwork that must be submitted and a variety of other intrusions. The state or an agent of the state has the power to arbitrarily shut down a business for a day or for good. They have the power to arbitrarily damage the reputation of a company without due compensation as in the case of libel. An entrepreneur must be willing to subject himself to the edicts of the state in order to conduct business.

Residential property and land holdings face a different set of criteria, which is not quite as intrusive as that of the business sector. Government acts somewhat differently regarding the regulation of residential or land property holdings. Its coercive approach is more indirect. Instead of forcing all homeowners to change a now illegal appliance in their house, they will simply not allow new ones to be sold. This is more efficient for the state since the resources needed to force all homeowners to comply would be extremely expensive and would create a great deal of resentment toward the state. The logical course for the state to hold sway over residential property is to control how the property is utilized before development begins and to control any changes after development by new product availability and permit requirements.

A Second Tier Totalitarian regime is inherently unstable in its policies. What was legal yesterday is illegal today, but may be legal again tomorrow depending on the will of the body politic. The only constant being the states’ attempt to direct its citizenry through legislative action depending on the perceived popular will or special interest group pressure at a given moment. This causes long term planning problems in the economy. It also creates deadweight economic loses through resources having to be constantly redirected through changing rules and resources expended on complying with regulatory edicts. Ofttimes, the citizenry will not be cognizant of many of the constantly changing laws under which they live, thus making large numbers of de facto criminals. Many citizens will also attempt to circumvent new rules and will lead to a diminished respect of governmental institutions. The only constants in a Second Tier Totalitarian state are control and an ever growing number of laws and regulations.

As the government begins to practice various forms of social engineering, state force begins to replace voluntary community cooperation for the solving of social ills. Dependence on the state replaces community interdependence. With this includes a decline in the social pressures against bad behavior. Having a child out of wedlock does not present large negative externalities socially speaking when the state will pick up the bill and responsibility versus when a family allocates resources toward the support of the new mother and child. The state will either guarantee support or will hunt down the father and force him to pay, which does not address the problem at its root cause the way societal pressures will when a family ends up supporting their unwed daughters child. The so-called social safety net is in reality a subsidy for bad behavior. Assurance of government largess leads to people using the assumption of government assistance into their economic planning. Thus, an individual or nuclear family does not fear unemployment since they will be able to count on the government for assistance. This results, ceterus paribus, in a lower rate of savings to prepare for possible unemployment. The government in essence acts as an inefficient forced savings instrument that has a rate of return that would make a private investor want to jump off a building for its negative rate of return. People begin to look to the government for the solution to problems that were formerly addressed through societal interaction. This creates a synergistic relationship with the concept of using force for the solving of societal problems.

It takes less effort to apply force to implement a solution to a problem than to create a voluntary organization to solve a problem. The differential in effort between creating a voluntary organization versus indenturing people to contribute toward a perceived problem gives a socialist, especially the lazy one, an incentive to choose force. Socialists also perceive it as more fair to force everyone to contribute something to problem resolution, even when there is no consensus on how a problem should be resolved or if one even exists. Those in power then define the problem and how it is to be addressed; “those who know better what is best for the individuals who comprise society than those individuals themselves.” With a majority of society looking to government for answers and with those in power arrogant and naive enough to believe they can problem solve by mandate, the growth of a citizenry living in a state where their every action is micro-managed can not be far behind.

The government solution, though, loses focus as politicians, special interest groups and bureaucrats compete out of rational self-interest. This competition politicizes the process of addressing perceived problems, while the people look to this clumsy process for effective answers that never come. Society settles into a bureaucratic malaise.

Thus Second Tier Totalitarianism is a system where peoples lives are managed by mandate. The actual rules under which people are managed are in a constant state of flux as a result of the varying forces affecting the legislative process. Bureaucracy continues to grow as the number of laws do, while few old ones disappear. This growing bureaucracy is used to enforce the ever-increasing quantity of laws on people, giving them less and less freedom “for the common good.” This clumsy attempt to enforce an ever more complex tangle of bureaucratic mandates leads to laws being enforced sporadically and drive many formally legitimate activities underground. Second Tier Totalitarianism grudgingly acknowledges base freedoms, but the end result is totalitarianism nonetheless.

Mr. Owen can be reached via e-mail at: mowen76@aol.com

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Title: School Uniforms Lead to Communism
Author: James Miller
Date: 1/1/2006
Article: by J. C. Miller

Thirty years ago, a student by the name of Tinker was suspended from a Des Moines high school for wearing a black “peace” armband in protest of the Vietnam War. He sued, and the case went all the way to the supreme court. In Tinker vs. Des Moines, the Supreme Court ruled that clothing was a constitutionally protected form of free speech and that students do not shed their constitutional rights when they enter a school. Born from this was the concept that government schools can’t regulate thought and expression. But in the age were sex depends on what your definition of “is” is, phrases like “congress shall pass no law” and “shall not be infringed” don’t mean very much to lawmakers. Federal officials are quietly encouraging state legislatures to conspire against America’s youth and implement mandatory school uniforms, all in the name of Columbine.

Sure, Brittany Spears wore a school uniform in her MTV video. Saying that she looked hot in that outfit is as big of an understatement as saying that Led Zeppelin sold a few records. I do not, however, think that most schools will allow sexy uniforms that aren’t buttoned all the way. If they do require girls to wear skirts, isn’t that sexism? Are we going to set America back fifty years because of a school shooting?

Honestly, lack of a dress code didn’t cause Columbine. Mental illness, societies short comings, and persecution caused Columbine. One of the principal arguments in favor of school uniforms claims that all the persecution in schools comes from the differences between students which is highlighted because some kids wear designer clothes and others wear cheap clothes. Once again, that didn’t cause Columbine. Both of the killers came from wealthy families. But let’s take a look at the idea that the differences between students causes strife and eventually violence.

Kids are very different–some are white, some are black, some are poor, some are rich, some are Democrats, some are smart. Kids dress differently, too. Sometimes they even try to impress each other. Uniforms would, supposedly, prevent the divisiveness that expensive clothes bring about. Janice Rocque, a government teacher from Hudsonville High School, says that “school is for education, not to impress everyone with your $200 Air Jordan shoes.”

The much hyped “trench coat Mafia” wore gothic clothes. Was it the fact that they wore these clothes that made their peers reject them, or did they wear these clothes because they were rejected? The fascists that support uniforms don’t really care. My State Senator, William Van Regenmorter, is one of them. He claims that because students are different they hate each other and the government needs to make them un-different.

Supposedly, uniforms will make everyone look alike, and that’s a good start. What?! This is America! We’re supposed to be a melting pot. This the country where we tolerate someone who looks different, acts different, and thinks different. Intolerant politicians who can’t leave us alone think they can make us students exactly alike. Well, they can’t. Uniforms don’t prevent violence – for every study that says they do, one says they have no impact. Uniforms are a fascist idea that breads fascism – Slobodan Milosevich had to wear a suit and tie to school when he was a kid.

Public school administrators hate the sad truth – private schools do better. Instead of addressing the problems and waste in their system, Janice Rocque says “the public system thinks it can copy [the school uniform policies] and make a huge difference.” The fact that private schools use uniforms is incidental. By ignoring the truth, the public schools doom themselves to failure. But the real question is, what’s gonna happen when uniforms fail?

The thing about government programs that don’t work is that they inherently create more programs in order to make them work. Brittany Spears looks hot in a uniform, some girls won’t. This will cause some girls to be jealous of others, what is a government to do? Get more involved! The classic science fiction work Harrison Burgeron tells of a future in which the government puts masks on pretty girls so they aren’t prettier than the average girl and makes strong men carry weights so their no stronger than the average man. It’s the only way the government can make people look alike.

What about thinking alike? The Columbine shooters were Nazis (a specific type of fascist), they obviously didn’t think like most people. So now the government needs to program everyone to think alike. Maybe they should control all churches so that everyone believes the same stuff too.

This may sound way out there, but it’s all a part of the logical progression to make people identical. Rather than surrendering to tyranny, we can prevent violence by tolerating people. Uniforms, and all the fascist rhetoric that comes along with it, are intolerant. It sickens me that a DH writer could write an article about uniforms without a call to arms. The mere mention of the word “uniform” should send students into the streets with picket signs, but it doesn’t. Bad things, like losing freedom, come in small steps. High school student Scott Gordon put it simply when he said, “School uniforms are a bunch of crap.” If we let them regulate our free expression, what’s next? One day you could wake up as just another brick in the wall.

“Those that would give up essential liberty for a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin.

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Title: Keep Government Hands Off Our Breasts
Author: Diane Barnes
Date: 1/1/2006
Article: by Diane Barnes

As a working woman I encountered first-hand the difficulties of balancing employment obligations with caring for a newborn. Three times , actually.

Being a conscientious mother, I wanted to follow the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics and breastfeed my babies through the first your. Breastfed babies are half as likely to have any illnesses during that first year compared to formula-fed babies and are 10 times less likely to be hospitalized for any bacterial infection.

The difficulties I experience in trying to provide the best for my babies while simultaneously making a living led me to realize that women needed help and support in these circumstances. I decided that I would provide the means to meet that need and started my own business called Maternal Expressions to do just that.

We help hundreds of women each year return to work while they continue to breastfeed. We have been instrumental in education women about the benefits of breastfeeding, not only for her infant but for employer as well. And my company is not the only one. The yellow pages lists others under the heading “breastfeeding information and pumps.”. Even some hospitals rent pumping equipment and provide back to work counseling.

I’m certain that it is this same concern that has prompted Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) to introduce the “New Mothers’ Breastfeeding Promotion and Protection Act”.

This bill would grant working moms unpaid breastfeeding breaks of up to an hour per day, give tax incentives for companies to set up lactation rooms, require the FDA to develop minimum standards for breast pumps, and expand support for breastfeeding promotion and education programs.

Though I obviously share Congresswoman Maloney’s concerns with regard to this issue, the fact is that the private sector has been providing back to work assistance for women who breastfeed for several years now.

A 1993 study by Best Start Kentucky concluded that it cost an employer an estimated $360 dollars each day a $15.00 an hour employee was off work caring for a sick child. Companies who value their employees know the working parent faces increased stress. This stress transfers to the workplace through employees who are absent or less productive because of having to care for a sick child.

Moms wishing to express milk at work need only point to those studies to convince employers that providing a lactation facility (a clean, private room equipped with a comfortable place to use a hospital-grade breast pump) is cost effective.

In the past 5 years I have assisted a number of women in diffucult work situations. I believe what is most needed is simply the will to make the effort. Postal workers, police officers waitresses even sales women working from their cars, have found ways to express breastmilk at work. Further, I have found that corporations and small businesses are already responding to the on-site needs of new moms without government incentives or addition laws.

“We know that men run most of the nation’s big corporations,” said Congresswomen Maloney in introducing the new legislation. I guess they’re uncomfortable with the notion of a woman doing something so intimate at work like expression milk,…..women are a large part of the work force, corporations just need to wake up to the facts.”

But mandates and legislation never change attitudes. a law that forces business to provide some specifically defined benefit, preempting personalized agreements with each employee, promotes an adversarial work environment where bare minimum legal mandates are met with resentment and hostility instead of cooperation and team work.

Breastfeeding is best left in the hands of health care providers, counselors and others in the private sector who are dedicated to educating and supporting nursing moms–not according to the dictates of government bureaucrats (also , incidentally, mostly men) who have no idea of the needs of women in this intimate area of their lives.

Ms Barnes may be reached at dbarnes98@aol.com

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2000 Letters

Title: Medical Privacy
Author: Sharon Bryant
Date: 1/22/2000
Article: by Sharon Bryant
Saturday, January 22, 2000

The true privacy of our medical records may soon be a thing of the past. The Clinton Administration has announced new rules to protect medical privacy and streamline data transfer of medical records. The President’s justification for creating these regulations is “administrative simplification of health care billing, research, national security and law enforcement”. These new rules are known as “Administrative Simplification” and are an amendment of the Health Insurance and Portability Act of 1996 and were published in the November 4, 1999 Federal Register. They can be read on the web at www.aspe.hhs.gov/adminsimp.

The proposed rules include giving every American a “Unique Health Identifier” which would be permanently attached to all medical records. A national database, using the Unique Health Identifier will then be created to aid in research, national security, and policy development. The anonymity of medical information will be lost, as data will be linked to our personal Identifier. Considering that the government once promised that Social Security Numbers would be used for tax purposes only, can we really believe that Unique Health Identifiers will be used for medical reasons only?

The regulations also allow private and government agencies-including banks, police departments, the FBI, OSHA, and the Environmental Protection Agency to view your medical records without your consent. In fact, you won’t even be notified when your medical records are shared.

These regulations create the illusion of protecting our privacy, when in fact they remove the safeguards for sharing medical records. For example, no warrant would be necessary for police to access your medical records and there would no longer a requirement for judicial review. Police would actually be able to retrieve large numbers of medical records to browse for blood type or DNA matches. Administrative Simplification allows the release of medical information for national security purposes, including categories such as “all those receiving mental health services’ at a given clinic, or all persons being treated for AIDS in a region.

The release of such broad categories of medical records to law enforcement, or to a government database will destroy any confidence patients have in their health care providers. The regulations themselves actually state that “government data are notoriously susceptible to expansion and abuse”. Some patients may choose to lie about their health practices, or avoid treatment.

Personal identifiers, national databases, and carte blanche access by public and private agencies are poor strategies for protecting patient records. Health information must remain confidential and accessible only to providers and payers-with the patient’s written consent. The law already allows police to access information with probable cause and a warrant. We now collect health data for research without identifiers. Call your legislators and let them know that Administrative Simplification is an unwarranted and dangerous invasion of our privacy.
Sharon Bryant can be reached at sbryant@freeway.net

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1999 Letters

Title: Open Letter to Senator William V. Roth, Jr. (R – Delaware)
Author: Eric Wojciechowski
Date: 4/13/1999
Article: by Eric Wojciechowski

April 13, 1999

Senator William V. Roth, Jr.
104 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510

Dear Senator Roth,

I recently finished reading your book, The Power to Destroy – How the IRS Became America’s Most Powerful Agency, How Congress is Taking Control, and What You Can Do to Protect Yourself Under the New Law. I would like to thank you for having the courage to go through with your investigation into the Internal Revenue Service as well as to continue working for tax relief. It gives me great pleasure to see people in government at least trying to make an effort to stand up for the little guy. However, despite your accomplishments so far, I do believe that we, the American people, remain in great danger. I am certain that despite your work, the congressional hearings and the supposed “IRS Reform”, the Internal Revenue Service and the pursuit of tax collecting will not change. There is a very good reason to remain convinced that the IRS will continue with business as usual.

With a federal government costing almost two trillion dollars a year, as well as the fact that few Americans would voluntarily send their money to Washington to keep paying for it, the only way to continue funding it is to have a ruthless, vicious and unjust tax collection agency. As long as the federal government remains as large as it is, the federal government will need it’s bully to shake us apart from our wallets.

In poll after poll the American people report that they believe the federal government is too big and intrusive. With disapproval ratings as high as they are, its no wonder taxpayers regret when it’s time to send their money off to Washington at the beginning of each year. Since the majority of Americans dislike the size of our federal government, it is no surprise to find that the only way to ensure compliance with the income tax is to be as ruthless as possible.

Every person I have talked to regarding the issue of taxes report that they would not mind paying their share of taxes if the money was going to good use. (Everyone, of course, has his or her own opinions on what qualifies as “good use”). But these people understand that they have no say in what happens to their money once it reaches Washington. They know that they will be forced to hand over now almost 50% of their income, at the ruthless hand of the Internal Revenue Service, whether or not they support government’s choices in spending.

The heart of the matter really comes down to who is entitled to the fruits of one’s labor. The person who worked and earned it or a government agency bent on wealth redistribution? Also, who is more qualified to spend that money responsibly, the earner or a government? I believe that only those who earn the wealth should decide how to spend it or give it away. This is not only my position but that of the Libertarian Party of which I am a proud member. Throughout your book, you maintain that people should not be forcefully separated from their earnings but you also look favorably on a non-Constitutional government with numerous special programs in education, travel, alcohol abuse, unwed mothers, etc. Senator Roth, we can not have it both ways. Either the people can have their earnings to spend or give away as only they see fit, or they can not.

Besides the cases of IRS abuse, what I found especially disturbing in your book was the last chapter entitled, “Protect Yourself”. Part of your advice on page 251 says that, in order to be on the safe side, you should keep your records neat, readily available (to the government) and conduct your financial affairs in such a way as to expect an audit. I must ask Senator, why should supposedly free people living in a free country have to organize their affairs for government ease of use? Free people in a free society should not only keep all the fruits of their labor but also keep them and their records in any manner or fashion they choose without worrying about prying government agencies.

I do not believe that any “IRS Reform” or otherwise will get us out of this mess. As I already said, the IRS must and will remain ruthless if it is to continue obtaining funds for the many federal projects underway. The federal government now has so many special programs, subsidies and other non-Constitutional functions that Congress is responsible for pushing the IRS to be “more aggressive” (as you also seem to agree based on your writing on page 209). Thus, there is only one way out of the problem. There is only one way to completely ensure that all Americans are protected. We must adopt the Libertarian Party’s position on the matter. Abolish the Income Tax, repeal the 16th Amendment to the Constitution and put an end to the Internal Revenue Service. Of course, this also means ending every federal program and project not authorized by the Constitution. Then and only then, will the American people truly be free from the abuse of the Internal Revenue Service and other government agencies that would take advantage of them. As you point out in the book’s chapter entitled, “Congressional Accountability”, it is Congress that has the power to tax. Thus, I say we must remember that Congress also has the power not to tax (or at least reduce taxes to a conscionable level). Inevitably Senator, it’s up to you and your colleagues.

Thank you for your time, Senator Roth, in addressing this letter. I encourage you to continue your work but I also ask that you take it the next step. I urge you and the rest of the Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches to end this ancient practice of taxation and to begin seriously considering the Libertarian perspective.

Yours in liberty,
Eric Wojciechowski

P.S. There are alternative ways to fund the federal government without taxation. Some Libertarian proposals have been as simple as holding a national lottery where the money earned would be obtained voluntarily. Another way is by selling off the non-Constitutional assets now in the possession of federal government, investing that money, and funding all the Constitutional functions of government on the interest alone. I believe the present tariffs and excise taxes could pay for a limited Constitutional government as well.

Mr. Wojciechowski can be reached via e-mail at: ericwojo@earthlink.net

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1998 Letters

Title: I Trust You
Author: David R. Hunt
Date: 12/18/1998
Article: by David R. Hunt

Originally written December 11, 1986

I trust you to be the most competent person to run your own life. I presume you can judge for yourself whether or not you should partake in recreational drugs, gamble with your paycheck, hire a prostitute, or engage in any other personal non-violent activity. If you find that any of these are manageable vacations for you, then no harm is done. If you find instead that it is becoming your entire lifestyle, then the most important advice that I, or anyone, can give you, is to point out that you, and you alone, are responsible for the consequences of your actions. Vice does not have volition. You do. If you wish to accept the aid of others, who voluntarily offer it, no one can criticize. If, instead, you continue to engage in self-destructive activities, until you forfeit your life, I will grieve for the lost opportunity of your life, while recognizing that you had to be free to make your own mistakes. To assume that the mere offer of temptation is the same as offering aggression implies that you can not be expected to behave responsibly in the face of such temptation. That may be your honest self-assessment, but it will never be my presumption about you. Would you want it to be?

I believe you can choose what charities are worthy of support by your own moral standards. If one person would aid an unwed mother by offering her a subsidized abortion, while another would offer to adopt her child, who has the right to insist that only one or the other is acceptable – that support for the one standard of compassion will be compelled upon everyone, while the other is criminalized. You, and you alone, know how much you can afford to share with others after seeing to your own needs, and the needs of your family. Further, you, and you alone, know best how you can help. Do you really believe that love can be scaled up in size by coercive charities? Is the value of charity in the wealth that is given, or in the thought with which the wealth is given? Are you only concerned with the food in a man’s belly without a second thought about his soul? Can you only offer the poor the affection and esteem one would give farm animals? Does coercive love beget genuine compassion, or its antithesis, apathy and guilt? Do you really believe that institutionalizing government in the role of Robin Hood is a good idea? Robin Hood was a thief! But, at least, he was a thief because he had to be. There was no private property in King Richard’s England because ALL property was owned in the King’s name alone! And remember, Robin Hood’s enemy was the Sheriff of Nottingham,. THE GOVERNMENT! You and I would have been called serfs back then. Why, in the name of love, would anyone want to bring that life back? Do you regard others as only fit to live as serfs? Is that all you want out of life for yourself and your family? Is the only measure of charity you care to be tested upon to be your willingness to vote yourself (and everyone else) higher taxes? What are you saying you believe about yourself?

Why shouldn’t everyone be free to accept any job offer at whatever wage is mutually agreeable between employee and employer? Should you not be presumed competent to decide for yourself what wage is fair? Is it exploitation to be offered a low wage, or is it exploitation to be compelled to accept no wage rather than a low one? Is the need for pride in gainful employment something only known by adults between the ages of eighteen and sixty five, or is productive activity something sought by us all, regardless of age, sex, disability, or the paternalistic good intentions of strangers?

I trust that you know best what is a fair business risk for you to assume. I certainly trust your economic rationality when looking out for your own self-interest more than I would trust that of an anonymous government bureaucrat. Am I wrong for placing such trust in you?

Should others tell you what standard of morality you will hold? Should strangers forcibly take your children and teach them what the strangers choose to teach? Not what you choose, but what strangers choose? Strangers do, you know. Should others tell you how many children you may have? Why not? Why do you object to one and not the other? What inalienable right do you invoke in one instance that does not apply in all instances?

I trust you to be willing to fight to defend yourself and whatever else you value as much as you value your life. I trust you not to fight in unjust causes. When someone resists the draft in America and another in Russia, is one a coward and the other brave?

The greatest distrust that all reasonable people seem to have is the distrust of using force themselves. This is a natural and wholesome thing. But self-defense is also necessary. I am not stupid or willfully na?. I am not suggesting that we all become Pollyannas and not defend ourselves from evil people. So long as people have free will, there will always be evil. No generation of men will be without it, ever. But how to administer the force necessary for self-defense? Vigilantism? Voluntary committees of citizens organized to suppress and punish crime when the processes of law appear inadequate? And without government, there can be no law, right? Government is law, isn’t it? What happens when mistakes are made? Doesn’t vigilantism mean lynch mobs in practice, inevitably bringing with it constant fear and mutual suspicion for everybody as a consequence?

So then, in honest self-doubt, reasonable men said, “Let us put force in one place, and then guard it by keeping it in one place. Let us call this place, Government.” But are we really safer for creating a monopoly and institutionalizing force? Could any mob be as dangerous as a society in which people say, I am not responsible, the government is!?

As bad as the abuse of force can be, what is far worse is the abdication of self-responsibility. Any time that force is used, these principles must be invoked to weigh the justice of the action:

Force may only be used in response to force. Need, compassion, utopia, or fine dreams are not sufficient reasons.
Force may only be used against an aggressor and not innocent bystanders. It is not enough for society to claim that it needs to regard everyone as guilty until proven innocent (which is precisely the premise of all regulatory government). It is not enough to be fair by leveling everyone with equal injustice (which is the method of all compassionate socialism).
Force should only be used to gain restitution and not vengeance from aggressors. How can the world be other than impoverished when it tries to reduce criminals to the same sorry state as their forgotten victims? How long can criminals continue their self-denial of responsibility if they are required to repair the damage they are responsible for inflicting?
We must always remember that it is not the pomp and ceremony of government that make it just. Justice does not lay in government, nor in law, but in principle alone. Force is not (nor can it ever be) a creative power. Force is impotent to make anything. Force, at best, can only protect creative processes. It can never be a substitute for the source of all productivity, the sovereign individual mind.
In all argument concerning the integrity of ourselves and others, trust is an axiom, and it’s mine. But ultimately, trust is not something that I can prove for you. Trusting in yourself first, and then in others, is something that only you can do. I can not do it for you. Neither can the government, or your parents, or even God. Do you hesitate because you want an omnipotent guarantee of your continued existence? If you are trying to insure your survival by chaining my life to your welfare, are you not saying, in effect, that you trust me to keep you alive because you do not trust yourself? What does this do to enhance your celebration of life? What does this do for me? What does this teach our children? Do you hesitate to trust because you believe that justice requires that no innocent individuals suffer through no fault of their own? Then there will be no end to your mistrust and suspicions because reality is indifferent to your beliefs about justice. There will always be misfortune and pain in the world. Utopia is not an option. It never was, and it never will be. Is it not probable that the maximum expression of good must always become evil, and that the minimum expression of evil is our best attainable good?

The reason the Soviet state continues in power is that the Soviet citizen is sincerely frightened of others having more liberty. They know that their government is brutal, but they also know (that is, believe) it is better than their best expected alternatives. Be very careful when you consider what you know. The German people, for centuries, had been among the most tolerant of the Jews, but even they could be loyal and obedient when told that all virtue is synonymous with obedience to authority. When people act only within the moral alternatives that others give them, they then make horror inevitable! The state is not our parent. Whether one is talking about Mother Russia, or the German Fatherland, or Uncle Sam, one is talking nonsense. Grow up, and be responsible for your own life, and for your own chosen values. You must not remain a child forever while leaving your own children with the debt of your folly.

I trust you to be the most competent person to run your own life. I am trusting my life on that fact. I am trusting your life to that fact. What other basis for social intercourse would you substitute? Why would you want to prove me wrong? When you believe that your fellow man is only fit for human society when living under the constant threat of initiatory force, aren’t you necessarily implying that he is just a stupid, incompetent, irresponsible, nigger slave, who is kept within bounds only by his fear of the whip and chain! Or is it that you are a willing slave whose real ambition is not freedom, but to own slaves of your own?

I am sorry, if I offend you. But the most powerful way to elicit responsible and productive effort in you is to let you know that that is the only way I ever intend to deal with you. I know you are capable of living up to my expectations. Why do you doubt yourself? I trust you. Rather than considering myself a Pollyanna, I believe that only by such trust can there be any sound hope for a better world and a brighter future. Trust is not something that large anonymous institutions can give to you by fiat. At first meeting, it is a premise between two individuals. Later, trust is usually recognized as deserved. When trust of someone is not deserved, act accordingly. But putting everyone in prison, gilded or otherwise, is not a way to build trust, either in yourself, in others, or in reality. I think you deserve better. I know I do. And most important of all, what kind of world do we want our children to inherit?

Yours in Liberty,

David R. Hunt

Mr. Hunt can be reached via e-mail at: davrhunt@bellsouth.net

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Title: Interpreting the United Stated Constitution
Author: Eric Wojciechowski
Date: 12/18/1998
Article: by Eric Wojciechowski

It is argued that the United States Constitution is open to interpretation, thus implying that the words on the paper are not an end in themselves. This suggests that the Constitution is flexible and not concrete and indirectly suggests that it needs supporting documentation in order to explain itself. That supporting documentation would be made up of well-defined comments regarding each of the various points and rights laid out in the Constitution. Without such defining tools to consult, we may end up interpreting away our very liberties that the Constitution guaranties. In order prevent such measures, we must examine how we should go about interpreting the Constitution.

At this point, a brief look at interpretation is necessary. There are basically two ways to go about interpreting something. Either you can do it by seeking the truth about what it was originally intended to mean, as created; or, you may go looking for an explanation that fits your viewpoint, in other words, the one that makes you feel best about the subject in question.

First and foremost, interpretation is only necessary when the piece in question has not been explained by those who created it. In other words, if the creator of the piece in question told us exactly what it meant, then there would be no need to engage in the art of interpretation. If that author is kind enough to tell you exactly what it means, then there is nothing to discuss after that. But if the creator is unreachable, and did not leave any supporting documentation behind, then interpretation becomes a requirement for understanding.

When you are reviewing a poem or piece of music, or even a painting on the wall, you will most likely never know what the author intended unless you ask him or her directly. With art forms, there is rarely a time when misinterpretation leads to something tragic. Therefore, it does not matter in the case of art whether or not you ever get the chance to question the designer. In fact, part of the enjoyment of art is to come to your own conclusion regarding the piece in question and no harm is done when your wrong.

This liberty is unacceptable when considering more important matters such as the Constitution. If we want to understand it, we would be in error to read it with modern eyes and modern thoughts. If we want to know exactly what the founding fathers intended, then it is required that we read the Federalist Papers and other supporting documents prepared by those who constructed the Constitution. We would be poor scholars not to consult their commentary on the document they helped create. Only by reading their own words can we know exactly what they were saying when they wrote things like “A well regulated Militia…” and “…regulate commerce with foreign nations…” Therefore, documents like the Federalist Papers are as important as the Constitution itself. These secondary documents act like a glossary for the Constitution and must be consulted along side it. Luckily for our understanding of the United States Constitution, we do not have to engage in intellectual jousting to find meaning in it. The founding fathers were kind enough to leave papers and speeches to explain exactly what the words in the Constitution meant.

In order to have unity in the federal government, as well as to ensure the liberties provided by the Constitution, we can not approach the Constitution in the same manner we approach art. We must consult the writings of those that prepared the Constitution and observe their explanations. Only then will we know exactly what they expected of the United States Federal Government. In a letter to William Johnson, Thomas Jefferson remarked, “On every question of construction let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning can be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one that was passed.” (1)

Let us take a look at what happens when the supplemental documentation is not consulted. The Second Amendment states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. Modern day gun control advocates claim that this amendment applies only to the modern day National Guard and that it does not apply to individuals when it comes to owning firearms. But when we examine the writings and speeches that were taking place during the debates on the Constitution, we find that this amendment refers to every American citizen who owns personal firearms. It does not apply to a standing army of any kind. It refers to people as individuals. Space does not permit me to quote every possible source but one from Alexander Hamilton says everything necessary. He remarks, “Little more can reasonably be aimed at with respect to the people at large than to have them properly armed and equipped;.This will not only lessen the call for military establishments; but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights and those of their fellow citizens.” (2) Here, Hamilton is clearly calling for the right of each individual citizen to own firearms in case their government attempts to suppress them. But why then did they refer to the Militia and not “the people”? Les Adams, who has examined the documents relating to the issue, informs us that the Militia was the term used to represent all the people, or at least all full citizens of the community. (3) Adams quotes George Mason, a Virginian who refused to sign the Constitution because, at that time, it lacked a Bill of Rights. Mason observed, “Who is the Militia? They consist now of the whole people”. (4) The reason the founders did not say “the people” and said “Militia” is because the people were the Militia, and everyone understood that so no explanation was necessary at the time. This has become confused in modern times because many critics have failed to heed the words of Thomas Jefferson when he said, “.let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted.”

Some may disagree with Jefferson’s argument and complain that if we are always required to go back to the time when the Constitution was created, then this means that the Constitution, along with the United States Government, is unchangeable. They may argue that we will never “move ahead” and they may say that Jefferson’s argument is an egotistical remark concluding that the Constitution is next to godliness in design. Usually, an argument like this comes from those wishing to rewrite or revise government to suit their own needs and desires. The Constitution was created with great care to respect the individual liberties of the people and to restrict the power of government. This must be preserved at all costs and I believe that this was Jefferson’s intention when he said what he did. The Constitution, along with the supporting documentation like the Federalist Papers and other writings by the founding fathers, does not need to be changed. These documents secure our rights and liberties perfect without need for reinterpretation. If we heed and implement their words, we will maintain our liberties and fear not an obtrusive government. Therefore, despite objections, I believe that Jefferson was right when he said what he did about the matter.

Now a time may come, as it did in the past, when the Constitution does need to be revised. Clearly, when the Constitution was created, the horror of slavery was not prohibited. However, in keeping with the spirit of individual liberty, the Constitution was eventually modified.

It may also happen that an entirely new event or situation, which was unforeseeable by the founding fathers, will arise whereby the Constitution and it’s supplemental documents fail to help solve. During the process of reviewing the Constitution and it’s complementary documents, if it is found that the writer’s were in error or mistaken on an issue, or a matter need be added or deleted, then those parts must be re-written through the process of amendment. Although the Constitution is indeed flexible in the sense that it can be changed, it should not be flexible to the point where no one is right and no one is wrong, like in the case of art criticism. By this I mean to say that if there are many interpretations offered to explain a new situation, it is best kept in mind that the best interpretations, will always be those that keep closest to the spirit of the Constitution, to preserve the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

1. Thomas Jefferson cited in: Les Adams, The Second Amendment Primer, P. 71: Palladium Press
2. Alexander Hamilton cited in: Les Adams, The Second Amendment Primer, P. 101: Palladium Press
3. Les Adams, The Second Amendment Primer, P. 200: Palladium Press
4. George Mason cited in: Les Adams, The Second Amendment Primer, P. 200: Palladium Press

Mr. Wojciechowski can be reached via e-mail at: ericwojo@earthlink.net

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Title: “Letter for liberty”, sent to Sen. Joe Young originally
Author: Gregory L. Scotland
Date: 7/30/1998
Article: by Gregory L. Scotland
Gregory L.Scotland
357 Eastlawn
Detroit, MI. 48215
July 30, 1998

Dear Mr.Young:
I am sending you this letter, because I am a very concern individual over the attempt by the Federal Government to establish a National I.D. Card. Starting October 1, 2000, all of the states within the union, are to adhere to a set of requirements put forth by the Department of Transportation. These rules and regulations are part of the Immigration Reform Act of 1996,and fall under section 656(b), which is entitled State-Issued Driver’s Licenses and Comparable Identification Documents; Docket No.NHTSA-98-3945; RIN 2127-AG-91.You can obtain a copy of the basic outline from the Federal Register@www.access.gpo.gov; dated June 17,1998.

As an elected official of Michigan, I am sure that you would be very concern over any attempt by the National Government to circumvent our system of Federalism. These requirements would essentially bound up the states and their citizens into a bureaucratic quagmire. It could easily impose economic hardship on legitimate Americans, in the fact that the freedom of movement will surely be curtailed. The States will definitely become hostage to Washington, because the threat of withholding funds will be dangled overhead(of course it is the taxpayer’s money anyway). The key point of contention, is the affect on the Bill Of Rights, particularly the impact on the 9th and 10th Amendments.

I am sure that you do not want to become a “rubber stamp official” for the Federal Government. I have already contacted my congressmen and Governor Engler, and I have let them know of my displeasure with this Act. I hope that will let them know of your concern, as well as letting Washington hear from you. Inform all concern parties that some of the residents of Michigan do not agree with the notion of a National I.D.Card.


Gregory L. Scotland

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