Thursday, May 31, 2007

Population and Poverty

By Michael Miller, Acton Institute Director of Programs.

Amid the hoopla surrounding the resignation of World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, few noticed another battle going on within the World Bank on the question of population. According to press reports Bank Managing Director and former Finance Minister for El Salvador, Juan Jose Daboub, came under fire for a memo he sent allegedly directing that reproductive health measures be removed from a World Bank package to Madagascar. He was accused of imposing his religious beliefs on long standing policies of the bank involving reproductive health and family planning.

European delegates from Belgium, Norway, Germany, and France along with various non-governmental organizations including Planned Parenthood, CARE International UK, and Global Population Education also opposed U.S. attempts to limit abortion as part of health care. With the Wolfowitz affair absorbing most of its energy, the United States yielded to European pressure and reversed its opposition to World Bank funding of sexual and reproductive health programs that include abortion.

The real issue is: Why is the World Bank funding abortions in the first place? Supported by 185 member countries -- the United States is its largest donor -- the World Bank has supplied funds to developing countries for 60 years. According to a World Bank memo this includes over $2 billion within the last 10 years for “reproductive health” which includes abortion. What does this agenda have to do with its mission to “Create a World Free from Poverty”?

Of course the common perception is that population growth causes poverty, so reducing population should also reduce poverty. But the facts do not bear this out. Neither do basic economics.

The idea that population growth causes poverty comes from the ubiquitous zero-sum-game fallacy: the idea that the economy is a pie with only so much to go around. But the economy is not a pie -- economies can grow, and population growth can actually help development. A growing population means more labor, which along with land and capital are the main factors of production.

Behind much of the zero-sum thinking concerning population is the theory of Thomas Malthus, who in 1798 predicted the earth was heading for an impending food shortage because population was growing geometrically while the food supply was only increasing arithmetically. Thus, he predicted that the number of people would soon outstrip the food supply and lead to mass starvation by about 1850. Among his mistakes was the failure to account for technology -- a product of human creativity.

Not only did Malthus’ prediction not come true; today there exist food surpluses despite the fact that the earth’s current population is six times what it was in 1850. Famines today are not caused by lack of food, but by corruption, war, and bad economic policies. Despite evidence to the contrary, anti-population forces still hold fast to Malthusian predictions and continue to see people solely as consumers inhibiting economic growth. But people do more than consume; they also produce. They innovate and create wealth.

Statistics show no real correlation between population and poverty. If population were a determinant of poverty, it would be hard to explain places such as Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and the Netherlands. All have high population densities and yet are wealthy. The United Kingdom has about three times the population density of Ghana, and eighty-one times the per capita GDP. There are many causes of poverty, but population is not one of them.

Despite the evidence, the World Bank continues lavishing American tax dollars on population control when that money could be put to better use on such things as infrastructure, telecommunications, and fighting corruption. Perhaps the World Bank has become captive to ideologues more concerned with the eugenic visions of Planned Parenthood than with actually helping families climb out of poverty.

Literally billions of dollars have been spent to reduce populations in developing countries, but have yielded no real economic progress. We know the factors that create economic growth and development: consistent rule of law for all citizens, property rights, sensible regulation, and a culture that encourages and rewards entrepreneurial behavior. These traits have never existed perfectly anywhere on earth, but the degree to which they have been present reflects the degree to which prosperity has been achieved. Conversely, where they remain absent -- as in much of the developing world today -- poverty and misery are found in their stead.

Many of the same people who protest the “cultural imperialism” of multi-national corporations like McDonalds, Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart vigorously support forcing the Western, secular sexual morality of contraception and abortion on women in Latin America, Africa and Asia -- many of whom view them as moral evils and a violation of their dignity.

People can choose whether to eat a Big Mac or shop at Wal-Mart, but when foreign aid is made contingent on reproductive health policies that include abortion -- and there is no choice -- that is real cultural imperialism. It is ironic that Europe, the very continent facing an economic crisis because of population decline, is busily promoting its own disease as a panacea for what ails the developing world.

Cutting Budgets and Taxes

Thanks to Powerblog for this gem.

Both of our major political parties have missed what seems so obvious. One says that we need more tax cuts to strengthen the economy. This is correct. The problem is that they are not willing to also make serious budget cuts. That party has spent more than any previous administration. The other political party wants to expand federal government by spending more of our money by raising taxes. The first plan helps the economy in the short run but not in the long term. The second is an even worse disaster I think.

Look, budget deficits are not a good thing, at least not in my simplistic understanding of economics. What individual would decrease their revenue, at least for the short term, and then also increase spending, for the long term? I know, cutting tax rates generates more money in the long run and thus the government benefits. I agree with that proven principle. Ronald Reagan advanced it and to the astonishment of all his enemies it worked.

What I do not think is a proven fact is that you can keep raising government spending, so as to increase deficits, and not someday have to “pay the piper.” The late Milton Friedman, a hero of mine, continually noted that the burden of government is best measured by the level of our spending, not by the level of our tax rates. John Stossel pointed this out very clearly in his syndicated column that appeared in my paper today.

Here is the bad news. Your FICA and Social Security taxes currently exceed the expenditures of these programs. But by 2017 or 2018 this will all change when the baby boomers start to retire in massive numbers and begin to drain the system. Stossel gives President Bush some credit for the falling deficit because of his tax cuts. This plan has shrunk the deficit, at least to some extent. Cutting taxes and cutting deficits are not opposites. Both can and should be done. There is enough blame to go around in Washington. I want to decrease tax rates even further but I also want to seriously decrease federal spending.

John Stossel notes that the anti-Federalist writer Melancton Smith (1787) wrote: “All governments find a use for as much money as they can raise.” That is the real issue and few will admit it, whether Republicans or Democrats. One party generally does a better job with this issue than the other but the difference is more one of degree than of deep and true principle, or so it seems to this amateur. I am open to seeing this differently but I think the obvious is pretty obvious. We need to grow the economy, allow people to keep their own money so they can spend it and create new jobs, and limit the role of government in solving every social ill we face. I believe there are some pressing issues that demand federal solutions. I am not a libertarian Luddite. But I also believe that at some point we had better face this deficit issue and slow spending or we will soon face financial and social chaos like we have never imagined.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Untold Katrina Story

Stigmatize Planned Parenthood

From: Kathryn Jean Lopez

What's so bad about Planned Parenthood? It's a question Americans must wonder about as they see pro-lifers protesting or praying outside clinics. And it deserves an answer because it gets to the heart of some key and contentious questions we face as a society, one that is ever creeping toward a brave new world (in many respects already living in it) as biotechnological choices propagate.

Consider that Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood in her Senate runs. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican, has given money to them in the past. Ann Romney, wife of the former governor of Massachusetts, another Republican, who is a fairly recent pro-life convert, once gave money to Planned Parenthood too. Democrats' associations with Planned Parenthood are no real surprise. Close ties and the support of, and for, the nation's largest abortion provider is not really a shock. On the Republican side, it's a different story. The GOP's platform is pro-life, as the party's presidential nominees tend to be. While it's no secret that Giuliani is pro-choice and Mrs. Romney is not actually a candidate herself, the recent revelations about their donations do feed into a sense that Planned Parenthood is as American as apple pie.

So what's so bad about Planned Parenthood? What is it about the organization that makes pro-lifers go wild with outrage and concern? After all, Planned Parenthood does do things other than abortion. Along with providing abortion, they provide contraception. As Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani recently explained, he gave the group money "Because Planned Parenthood makes information available. It's consistent with my position."

To anyone who does not follow Planned Parenthood headlines, that makes some sense. The rest of his answer, though, begged for further interrogating: "I disagree with (abortion), I think it is wrong." He has also said that he hates abortion. But it's not believable that someone who truly hates abortion could ever have anything nice to say about Planned Parenthood.

Browse on over to their Web magazine for minors,, and you'll find, among the question-and-answer, a question from a teen who says she had an abortion "a little over a month ago," is pregnant again, and wondering if a second abortion is safe. Not only does the staff cavalierly tell the girl (who, I remind you, got pregnant again a month after her first abortion) that abortion is "very safe" the first or second time around, but that abortion "is much safer than giving birth." While they do throw in a line about preventing pregnancy by using birth control, there's no talk about adoption or other alternatives -- such as raising the child, and getting help to do so -- that a desperate girl could afford to hear.

Of course in an America where abortion is legal, that Planned Parenthood steers women who don't want their kids toward abortion, is not wholly unexpected. But what about kids who are wanted? In the wake of the Laci Peterson trial in which Scott Peterson was eventually convicted of killing his wife and unborn son (Connor), then-Planned Parenthood President Gloria Feldt argued against federal legislation that would protect the legal rights of both the mother and child in such a horrific double-homicide. Feldt insisted that there was but one victim in the Peterson case, Laci, the mother. So radical is Planned Parenthood that they cannot concede that a wanted unborn child is also a victim when his or her life is taken.

While it's questionable that donations that total less than $1,000 indicate enthusiastic support for the work of Planned Parenthood, as Mayor Giuliani's did, any honest executive at Planned Parenthood has got to be a bit excited by the prospect of Rudy Giuliani as the nominee of the Republican party. Here's a Republican guy who is essentially on their side. His willingness to buck them up as he aims for the White House is an opportunity to confront this front for a culture of death ironically hiding "Parenthood."

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Immigration Humor

Friday, May 25, 2007

Stop Dreaming, Restore the Republic

Think Before You Speak...

Here are six reasons why you should think before you speak -- These will certainly make you want to crawl in a hole to get away!

I walked into a hair salon with my husband and three kids in tow and asked loudly, "How much do you charge for a shampoo and a blow job?" I turned around and walked back out and never went back. My husband didn't say a word....he knew better.

I was at the golf store comparing different kinds of golf balls. I was unhappy with the women's type I had been using. After browsing for several minutes, I was approached by one of the good-looking gentlemen who works at the store. He asked if he could help me. Without thinking, I looked at him and said, "I think I like playing with men’s balls"

My sister and I were at the mall and passed by a store that sold a
variety of candy and nuts. As we were looking at the display case, the boy behind the counter asked if we needed any help. I replied, "No, I'm just looking at your nuts." My sister started to laugh hysterically. The boy grinned, and I turned beet-red and walked away. To this day, my sister has never let me forget it.

While in line at the bank one afternoon, my toddler decided to release some pent-up energy and ran amok. I was finally able to grab hold of her after receiving looks of disgust and annoyance from other patrons. I told her that if she did not start behaving "right now" she would be punished. To my horror, she looked me in the eye and said in a voice just as threatening, "If you don't let me go right now, I will tell Grandma that I saw you kissing Daddy's pee-pee last night!" The silence was deafening after this enlightening exchange. Even the tellers stopped what they were doing. I mustered up the last of my dignity and walked out of the bank with my daughter in tow. The last thing I heard when the door closed behind me, were screams of laughter.

Have you ever asked your child a question one too many times? My three-year-old son had a lot of problems with potty training and I was on him constantly. One day we stopped at Taco Bell for a quick lunch, in between errands It was very busy, with a full dining room. While enjoying my taco, I smelled something funny, so of course I checked my seven-month-old daughter; she was clean. Then I realized that Danny had not asked to go potty in a while. I asked him if he needed to go, and he said "No". I kept thinking "Oh Lord, that child has had an accident, and I don't have any clothes with me." Then I said, "Danny, are you SURE you didn't have an accident?" "No," he replied. I just KNEW that he must have had an accident, because the smell was getting worse. So, I asked one more time, "Danny did you have an accident? This time he jumped up, yanked down his pants, bent over, spread his cheeks and yelled "SEE MOM, IT'S JUST FARTS!" While 30 people nearly choked to death on their tacos laughing, he calmly pulled up his pants and sat down. An old couple made me feel better, thanking me for the best laugh they'd ever had!

What happens when you predict snow but don't get any? We had a female news anchor that, the day after it was supposed to have snowed and didn't, turned to the weatherman and asked: "So Bob, where's that 8 inches you promised me last night?" Not only did he have to leave the set, but half the crew did too they were laughing so hard! Now, didn't that feel good?

It's funny how all of these come from women....possibly because they never stop talking?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Amnesty Fraud

By Thomas Sowell

Whose problem is the immigration bill in Congress supposed to solve? The country's problem with dangerously porous borders? The illegal immigrants' problem? Or politicians' problems?

It has been painfully clear for years that the country's problem with insecure borders and floods of foreigners who remain a foreign -- and growing -- part of the American population has the lowest priority of the three.

Virtually every step -- even token steps -- that Congress and the administration have taken toward securing the border has been backed into under pressure from the voters.

The National Guardsmen who were sent to the border but not assigned to guard the border, the 700-mile fence on paper that has become the two-mile fence in practice, and the existing "tough" penalties for the crime of crossing the border illegally that in practice mean turning the illegal border crossers loose so that they can try, try again -- such actions speak louder than words.

The new immigration bill that supposedly secures the borders first, before starting the process of legalizing the illegal immigrants, in fact does nothing of the sort.

It sets up various programs and procedures -- but does not wait to see if they in fact reduce the flow of illegal immigrants before taking the irrevocable step of making American citizenship available to 12 million people who came here illegally.

This solves the problem of those illegal immigrants who want to get citizenship. The steps that they have to go through allow politicians to say that this is not amnesty because these are "tough" requirements.

But, whether these requirements are "tough" or not, and regardless of how they are enforced or not, there is nothing to say that the 12 million people here illegally have to start the process of becoming citizens.

Those who do not choose to become citizens -- which may well be the majority of illegal immigrants -- face no more prospect of being punished for the crime of entering the country illegally than they do now.

With the focus now shifted to the process of getting citizenship, those illegal immigrants who just want to stay and make some money without being bothered to become part of American society can be forgotten, along with their crime.

This bill gets the issue off the table and out of the political spotlight. That solves the problem of politicians who want to mollify American voters in general without risking the loss of the Hispanic vote.

The Hispanic vote can be expected to become larger and larger as the new de facto amnesty can be expected to increase the number of illegal border crossers, just as the previous -- and honestly labeled -- amnesty bill of 1986 led to a quadrupling of the number of illegals.

The larger the Hispanic vote becomes, the less seriously are the restrictive features of the immigration bill likely to be enforced.

The growth of the illegal population is irreversible but the means of controlling the growth of illegals are quite reversible, both de facto through the watering down of the enforcement of "tough" requirements and de jure through later repeals of requirements deemed too "tough."

One of the remarkable aspects of the proposed immigration "reform" is its provisions for cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants. Employers are to be punished for not detecting and excluding illegal immigrants, when the government itself is derelict in doing so.

Employers not only lack expertise in law enforcement, they can be sued for "discrimination" by any of the armies of lawyers who make such lawsuits their lucrative specialty.

But no penalties are likely to be enforced against state and local politicians who openly declare "sanctuary" for illegal immigrants. Officials sworn to uphold the law instead forbid the police to report the illegal status of immigrants to federal officials when these illegals are arrested for other crimes.

This is perfectly consistent for a bill that seeks above all to solve politicians' problems, not the country's.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Lincoln’s Question for Rudy

By Frank Pastore

Slavery was once both legal and immoral, much as abortion is today. The Dred Scott decision was overturned because it was both bad jurisprudence and immoral—just like Roe v. Wade.

In supporting the Dred Scott decision, the candidate for president, Stephen Douglas, argued that he didn’t care whether slavery was voted up or voted down. He only cared for the right of the people to decide.

Essentially, that’s Rudy Giuliani’s argument with regard to abortion. He is personally opposed to it, but he supports a woman’s right to choose because it is the law of the land.

I wonder if Rudy worked to legalize abortion before Roe? If he was in favor of abortion rights before Roe, while even then being personally opposed to the act of abortion, then we have further light on his value system.

But, if he was against abortion before Roe, why?—and on what grounds did he oppose it then? And what changed when Roe v. Wade was handed down? This eliminates the “it’s legal therefore I must support it” maneuver.

Imagine a person saying, “I’m personally opposed to slavery, but if somebody else wants to own slaves, then I’ll support their right to do so.” Or, “I’m personally opposed to slavery, but if a state were to vote to legalize it, who am I to oppose their sovereign legal right to do so?”

This is essentially saying “that which is legal trumps that which is moral”—a statement that is itself immoral.

In the course of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates, Stephen Douglas stated, “We in Illinois … tried slavery, kept it up for 12 years, and finding that it was not profitable we abolished it for that reason.”

To which Lincoln replied, “[Judge Douglas] says he ‘don’t care’ whether [slavery] is voted up or voted down in the Territories…. Any man can say that who does not see anything wrong in slavery, but no man can logically say it who does see a wrong in it; because no man can logically say he don't care whether a wrong is voted up or voted down.”

Lincoln would be asking Rudy today, “If you are personally against abortion because it is wrong, then how can you say you don’t care whether it is upheld or overturned? No man can logically say he don't care whether a wrong is voted up or voted down.”

At the core of this debate is whether we believe there could ever be such a thing as an immoral law. The belief that there is no such thing as an immoral law is held by intellectually honest secularists who reject any notion of a transcendent moral law or natural law. Consistent secularists believe only in man-made “positive law”—law that is determined simply by the will of lawmakers (not grounded in anything transcendent). By definition, then, majorities are always morally right. Abortion today, like slavery once was, is moral simply because it is legal. Majorities create rights and determine morality by passing laws.

If you believe there can be immoral laws, then your moral faculties are functioning properly. You understand majorities have often passed immoral laws. You understand the legal and the moral are two different things. Perhaps you’re familiar with Plato’s Laws and the distinction between the good citizen and the good man—the former does that which is good in his own city, the latter does that which is good in every city. In fact, what makes a city good is if the good man can also be a good citizen, and if so, then the city has good laws.

America should strive to be a good city, composed of good men (and women), with good laws. Twenty-five centuries of Western thought have taught us that the right course of conduct in both public and private is for the moral to inform and shape the legal.

Lincoln, knew this. Douglas did not. Apparently, neither does Rudy.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

More Planned Parenthood Shenanigans

Jill Stanek has the complete story about their many cover-ups and illegality.

Presidential Debate Brohaha

I'm sure by now everyone is up to date on the events of the Republican Presidential debate last night and the confrontation between Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul. The media has been all over Paul for his supposed blaming of 9/11 on America. Now of course that is not what he said during the debate and only barely what was alluded to. In actuality what Paul referred to was the fact that America's interventionist foreign policy over the past 50 years has contributed to the ill will felt towards America that is held by so many nations and individuals abroad. The Ron Paul campaign today issued a press release on the issue.

Why Hasn’t Rudy Giuliani Read the 9-11 Commission Report?
May 16, 2007

ARLINGTON, VA – During the "First in the South" GOP debate in South Carolina last night, one thing was made clear: Rudy Giuliani does not understand how to keep America safe.

When Congressman Ron Paul, who has long served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, explained how 50 years of American interventionism in the Middle East has helped compromise our national security, Giuliani interrupted saying he had "never heard anything so absurd." This statement is particularly troubling coming from the former mayor who tries to cast himself as a security expert, since Dr. Paul's point comes directly from the bi-partisan 9-11 Commission Report.

"Rudy Giuliani has tip-toed around the issues of abortion, guns and marriage. The only issue he has left is security, and he doesn't even get that right," said campaign chairman Kent Snyder. "It is clear from his interruption that former Mayor Giuliani has not read the 9-11 Commission Report and has no clue on how to keep America safe."

My feelings on the matter are that what Paul said during the debate could have been worded differently but the crux of his philosophy is right on base, America needs to return to a non-interventionist foreign policy. Doing so would keep us out of foreign fiascoes of which there is no easy solution; reduce the federal deficit by saving billions of taxpayer dollars that are being spent on foreign aid and UN crap projects; and return America to a country that is respected by the rest of the world and not looked upon as an international policy force. Check out all these articles that Ron Paul has written over the years explaining his foreign policy position.

As far as the rest of the debate went, I though Mike Huckabee had a strong showing, Sam Brownback seemed the most sincere; Tom Tancredo made a few good points but is not as polished as Mitt Romney or Giuliani; Jim Gilmore and Duncan Hunter went on and on about what they've done without really answering the questions asked; John McCain was boring and Giuliani was all over the place with his answers. The only time he actually sounded good was when he rebuked Ron Paul, who had a great showing, other than the aforementioned comment. Mitt Romney was strong at the beginning but faded near the end, and Tommy Thompson sounded good on social issues and his record but just wasn't in the same class as some of the others.

The last issue brought up during the debate about presidential authority authorizing torture to prevent a nuclear attack on American soil seemed straight out of an episode of 24. The candidates' response was equally disturbing in that all who answered, with the exception of McCain, responded in the affirmative condoning the use of torture to extract information from a terrorist. Even with national security at stake, once you head down that road, it's all downhill from there. Torture could then be used in numerous other instances that might not be as severe or time sensitive. The use of torture should never be condoned, because then we are no better off then those perpetrating the crime which we are trying to prevent. One wrong turn does not deserve another and reducing ourselves to that level is the height of hypocrisy.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Recent Comments On Government

I recently responded to an article about the government's role and the best kind of government within a society. Here are some of those my comments.

America is not a democracy, we are a Constitutional Republic. Judeo-Christian principles based upon the natural law is the basis upon which the United States Constitution was founded, which is the supreme law of the land. The so-called separation of church & state which is spat about constantly states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." This was put in place to protect the church from the state, not vice versa.

A pure democracy does not work because it totally neglects those who are of the minority opinion and leads to totalitarianism or theocracy, i.e. Iran. Capitalism if left exclusively to market forces places value solely upon what the worker contributes to the company, and neglects the individual value and worth of each individual. Communism denies all freedom to individuals and creates mass terror, i.e. Nazi Germany. Socialism promotes the redistribution of wealth and does not respect an individual to better himself based upon his own individual efforts; all work and accomplishment is for the betterment of the state.

In a constitutional republic, citizens are not governed by the majority of the people but by the rule of law. Constitutional republics are a deliberate attempt to diminish the threat of mobocracy thereby protecting dissenting individuals and minority groups from the tyranny of the majority by placing checks on the power of the majority of the population.

There is no perfect form of government. Until Christ returns we will forever be arguing about what is the best way to rule and govern. However, no matter what form of government is adopted it must respect individual rights. The sum of the whole society is not greater than each individual member. The family is the basis upon which all societies are founded, therefore the familial unit must be respected and allowed to grow and flourish.

Check out The Acton Institute for info about Church teaching on economic policies and government’s role.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Excommunication Clarification


ROME, MAY 9, 2007 - The Vatican clarified that Benedict XVI has not excommunicated Mexican politicians who supported the legalization of abortion in the country's capital -- rather, they have excluded themselves from Communion.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, said this today in a statement he issued in wake of comments made by the Pope aboard his flight from Rome to São Paulo.

Reporters asked Benedict XVI if the Church had excommunicated the politicians of Mexico City who had voted to legalize abortion in the first trimester.

The Holy Father said that the excommunication for those promoting abortion is "nothing new, it's normal, it wasn't arbitrary. It is what is foreseen by the Church's doctrine."

The Pontiff also underlined that Christian politicians need to be consistent with their beliefs, and confirmed that the Church announces the Gospel of Life.

"The death of an innocent, of a newly born baby is inconceivable," the Pope added. "It is not something arbitrary and the Church expresses value for life and for the individual character of life from the moment of conception."

Father Lombardi, who was with Benedict XVI on the plane, clarified that neither the Pope nor the Mexican bishops had declared those politicians excommunicated.

The press office director explained that the Church teaches that the promotion of abortion is not compatible with the reception of Communion.

The journalists then asked the spokesman: "So, are they excommunicated"?

"No," Father Lombardi responded. "They excluded themselves from Communion."

Friday, May 11, 2007

Armed With The Truth

By Fred Thompson

If you care about Constitutional law, and everybody should, the big news is that it looks as if the Supreme Court is going to hear a Second Amendment case some time next year. The event that sparked this legal fuse was a case brought by six D.C. residents who simply wanted functional firearms in their homes for self-defense. In response, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down the District's 31-year-old gun ban -- one of the strictest in the nation.

Our individual right to keep and bear arms, as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, may finally be confirmed by the high court; but this means that we're going to see increasing pressure on the Supreme Court from anti-gun rights activists who want the Constitution reinterpreted to fit their prejudices. The New York Times has already fired the first broadside.

A few days ago, the Gray Lady published a fascinating account of the case -- fascinating but fundamentally flawed. In it, the central argument about the Second Amendment is pretty accurately described. Specifically, it is between those who see it as an individual right versus those who see it as a collective states' right having more to do with the National Guard than the people.

Unfortunately, the article falsely portrays the individual right argument as some new interpretation held only by a few fringe theorists. The truth is very different, as civil rights attorney and gun law expert Don Kates has pointed out recently.

From the enactment of the Bill of Rights in 1791 until the 20th Century, no one seriously argued that the Second Amendment dealt with anything but an individual right -- along with all other nine original amendments. Kates writes that not one court or commentator denied it was a right of individual gun owners until the last century. Judges and commentators in the 18th and 19th century routinely described the Second Amendment as a right of individuals. And they expressly compared it to the other rights such as speech, religion, and jury trial.

The Times has simply replayed theories invented by the 20th century gun control movement. Their painting of the individual right interpretation as a minority view is equally fanciful.

Kates writes that, "Over 120 law review articles have addressed the Second Amendment since 1980. The overwhelming majority affirm that it guarantees a right of individual gun owners. That is why the individual right view is called the 'standard model' view by supporters and opponents alike. With virtually no exceptions, the few articles to the contrary have been written by gun control advocates, mostly by people in the pay of the anti-gun lobby."

Kates goes further, writing that "a very substantial proportion" of the articles supporting individual gun rights are by scholars who would have been happy to find evidence that guns could be banned. When guns were outlawed in D.C., crime and murder rates skyrocketed. Still, the sentiment exists and must be countered with facts. All of this highlights why it is so important to appoint judges who understand that their job is to interpret the law, as enacted by will of the people, rather than make it up as they go along.

View original.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Automatic Excommunication?

The internet is abuzz with talk about the Pope's statement regarding excommunication and abortion. (Read more here, here, and here.) The reports do seem a little preemptive and almost shot from the hip. Cannon lawyer Dr. Edward Peters lays out the difference between Excommunication and Denial of the Eucharist on his blog. Be careful of anything the MSM reports when it comes to the Roman Catholic Church, or Christianity period!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Unconstitutional Legislation Threatens Freedoms

One more reason to vote for the "taxpayers' best friend".

Last week, the House of Representatives acted with disdain for the Constitution and individual liberty by passing HR 1592, a bill creating new federal programs to combat so-called “hate crimes.” The legislation defines a hate crime as an act of violence committed against an individual because of the victim’s race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. Federal hate crime laws violate the Tenth Amendment’s limitations on federal power. Hate crime laws may also violate the First Amendment guaranteed freedom of speech and religion by criminalizing speech federal bureaucrats define as “hateful.”

There is no evidence that local governments are failing to apprehend and prosecute criminals motivated by prejudice, in comparison to the apprehension and conviction rates of other crimes. Therefore, new hate crime laws will not significantly reduce crime. Instead of increasing the effectiveness of law enforcement, hate crime laws undermine equal justice under the law by requiring law enforcement and judicial system officers to give priority to investigating and prosecuting hate crimes. Of course, all decent people should condemn criminal acts motivated by prejudice. But why should an assault victim be treated by the legal system as a second-class citizen because his assailant was motivated by greed instead of hate?

HR 1592, like all hate crime laws, imposes a longer sentence on a criminal motivated by hate than on someone who commits the same crime with a different motivation. Increasing sentences because of motivation goes beyond criminalizing acts; it makes it a crime to think certain thoughts. Criminalizing even the vilest hateful thoughts--as opposed to willful criminal acts--is inconsistent with a free society.

HR 1592 could lead to federal censorship of religious or political speech on the grounds that the speech incites hate. Hate crime laws have been used to silence free speech and even the free exercise of religion. For example, a Pennsylvania hate crime law has been used to prosecute peaceful religious demonstrators on the grounds that their public Bible readings could incite violence. One of HR 1592’s supporters admitted that this legislation could allow the government to silence a preacher if one of the preacher’s parishioners commits a hate crime. More evidence that hate crime laws lead to censorship came recently when one member of Congress suggested that the Federal Communications Commission ban hate speech from the airwaves.

Hate crime laws not only violate the First Amendment, they also violate the Tenth Amendment. Under the United States Constitution, there are only three federal crimes: piracy, treason, and counterfeiting. All other criminal matters are left to the individual states. Any federal legislation dealing with criminal matters not related to these three issues usurps state authority over criminal law and takes a step toward turning the states into mere administrative units of the federal government.

Because federal hate crime laws criminalize thoughts, they are incompatible with a free society. Fortunately, President Bush has pledged to veto HR 1592. Of course, I would vote to uphold the president’s veto.
View Ron Paul's original article here.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

The Cost Of War

In actual dollars. Scary.

Why U.S. Jobs Move Overseas

By Phyllis Schlafly

Why do U.S. companies relocate their plants overseas, thereby abolishing U.S. jobs? (a) they can hire workers at very low wages (such as 30 cents an hour in China), (b) the companies don’t have to pay any employee benefits, (c) they don’t have to comply with safety and environmental regulations, (d) they don’t have to pay foreign taxes when they export their products back to us. The correct answer is all of the above. The U.S. cannot require foreign governments to impose a minimum wage or safety regulations, or pay employee benefits. But the U.S. can and should do something about (d), the huge tax-rebate racket that lures U.S. companies to lay off American workers and set up shop in foreign countries.

Corporations located in the United States pay big U.S. corporate income and property taxes. It does a lot for their bottom line when they move to a foreign tax-free utopia.

Foreign governments do tax corporations, but if the company exports its products to the U.S. (or other countries), the foreign government rebates (forgives) the tax. That creates an irresistible magnet to attract U.S. companies to transfer their plants to a land where they can avoid most of both countries’ taxes.

It’s no wonder that Daimler-Chrysler will soon start building cars in China to ship back and sell in the U.S. under Chrysler names such as Dodge and Jeep. This decision means that 11,000 manufacturing jobs and 2,000 white-collar jobs will be eliminated over the next 24 months.

The SUV assembly plant in Newark, Delaware will be closed. The Warren, Michigan truck plant and the St. Louis County, Missouri assembly plants will each lose one of two shifts.

The combination of avoiding U.S. corporate taxes and having Chinese taxes rebated (forgiven) will help Daimler-Chrysler to sell new cars in the United States much cheaper than any it can manufacture in Detroit.

This racket should be prohibited because it is a huge subsidy, but world trade agreements have peculiarly defined subsidy to exclude tax rebates to exporters by calling it a rebate of the Value Added Tax (VAT). They get by with this subterfuge because that term is not understood by most Americans.

One of the many ways the United States is different from nearly all other countries is the system of taxation. The U.S. imposes taxes on our income (we pay taxes on what we earn), whereas 157 other countries impose taxes on consumption (they pay taxes on what they buy) and call that tax a VAT.

The VAT system not only operates as a bribe to induce U.S. plants to move overseas, but it is also a scheme to prevent U.S. products from being competitively sold in foreign countries. Here is how the racket works.

When a U.S. product, such as an automobile, arrives at another country’s port, the foreign government slaps on a VAT import tax that is a percentage of the price of the U.S. product, the transportation cost to get it to the foreign country, and the tariff that the foreign country charges.

For 40 years, the U.S. has been signing trade agreements that were supposed to reduce or eliminate tariffs and thereby promote free trade. European countries sanctimoniously proclaim that they are reducing their tariffs, but in fact they replaced their tariffs with a steadily increasing VAT.

In 1968, the average tariff rate collected by European Union countries was 10.4%, and the average VAT rate was 13.44%, making a trade barrier against U.S. goods of 23.84%. By 2006, the average tariff rate declined to 4.4%, but the average VAT rate climbed to 19.36%, making the trade barrier against U.S. products 23.76%.

Foreign countries simply substituted high VAT rates for high tariff rates, thereby maintaining their border barriers against competition from U.S. goods. The result is that most foreign countries still have de facto tariffs against us that are as high or higher than their tariffs of 40 years ago.

Of course, this racket is flagrantly contrary to the announced goal of free-trade agreements. But don’t look for any relief from the World Trade Organization because the WTO consistently rules against us.

Foreign governments’ use of the VAT has inflicted U.S. industry with monumental costs, increasing every year, and reaching $327 billion in 2006. That’s the sum of the VAT rebates paid to companies that ship foreign-made products to the U.S., plus the VAT taxes paid by U.S. companies for the privilege of selling their products in foreign countries.

The current system is not the result of the free market or free trade, but the failure of our government to expose and counter the dishonest practices of our trading competitors. After 40 years of tolerating this ripoff, we want to hear from national leaders who will demand a new strategy and a level playing field.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Picture Of The Day

Left Lane Drivers Unite

One of my biggest personal pet peeves while driving is when someone in front of me is traveling at an immensely slower speed in the left-hand passing-lane. My usual response is to tailgate the person or if that doesn't work, flash my high beams at them. On rare occasion I've even angrily honked the horn while doing both of the above. If there is still no response I'll resort to passing in the right-hand "slow-lane", which in many states is considered illegal.

In order to help combat this annoyance, a new organization has recently been formed. Their website gives the following information about the group:

Left Lane Drivers of America is a diverse, very loosely affiliated group of drivers who share the common objective of reducing the Left Lane congestion on our freeways and multi-lane highways by politely encouraging slow drivers to move over.

The Left Lane is supposed to be the passing lane and in many states slow Left Lane drivers can be cited for obstructing traffic. Those who stake out permanent positions for themselves in the Left Lane may in fact become slow moving safety hazards.

In order to actually help slower drivers move right, offers copyrighted windshield decals which boldly and prominently display their unified sentiment in the offending driver’s rearview mirror. The decal, which reads “MOVE OVER” when viewed through a rearview mirror also has a large arrow showing the slower driver where to go.

Bottom Line: Moving over is a matter of courtesy. It is a matter of safety. It is a matter of doing one's part to help traffic flow smoothly. And it is the law in many states: “Stay to the right except to pass”. Left Lane Drivers of America is doing something positive to help improve traffic flow on today’s overcrowded, pressure-packed freeways. The “MOVE OVER” message has the potential of helping reduce instances of road rage, hazardous driving and untimely, often deadly accidents.
I'm considering purchasing one of these decals. Maybe it'll help soccer mom on the cell-phone or grandpa in his 1985 Cadillac to get out of the passing-lane while going five miles under the speed limit!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Why You Should Care - Parker v. DC

By: Sandy Froman via Townhall.

There is a case working its way to the Supreme Court that might settle one of the biggest unanswered questions in constitutional law: Does the Second Amendment guarantee an individual right to own a gun? Whether or not you own a gun, this is a case you should care about.

I’m not just saying that because I’m the immediate past president of the National Rifle Association. (Last month I completed my two-year term as president and nine years as an officer of the NRA.) I’m also saying it as an attorney who’s been arguing cases in federal court for more than 30 years, and who understands how a clear precedent on a constitutional question can determine the outcome of a case.

There is a case moving towards the High Court that will likely give us such a precedent on your right to own a gun – a precedent that is either good or bad, depending on your point of view. That case is Parker v. District of Columbia.

I often get asked why there is such a passionate debate on whether the right to own a firearm is a civil right. Everyone agrees that the Constitution speaks about firearms. The Second Amendment speaks of, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”

The disagreement is over what those words mean. Most people believe what is called the individual rights view of the Second Amendment, meaning that all law-abiding, peaceable citizens have the individual right to own firearms. The opposing interpretation is called the collective rights view, meaning that the Second Amendment is only a right of state governments to arm their National Guard units.

Polls show that more than 70% of Americans (correctly) believe that they have a civil right under the Constitution to own a gun. But in America we don’t decide constitutional controversies by taking a poll.

Only federal courts—and ultimately the Supreme Court—have the power to interpret the Constitution in a binding way. The Supreme Court has never spoken definitively on the scope or meaning of the Second Amendment. And the Court’s silence has allowed cities and states to enact broad, sweeping laws hostile to gun ownership.

The worst of these laws is the District of Columbia gun ban. If you live in our nation’s capital, you cannot have a handgun or a readily-usable rifle or shotgun in your own home for self-defense. No ifs, ands or buts. It is a near-blanket prohibition on firearms and self-defense.

That brings us to the Parker case. The named plaintiff, Shelly Parker, lives in the high crime area of DC and has been threatened by thugs and drug dealers. She wants to be able to protect herself and she sued the city government over the gun ban. It’s shocking to realize that in one of the most violent cities in America, a woman is denied the tool that might save her life.

But it’s the law in the District, so she took the District to court.

On March 9, in a landmark ruling the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down the DC gun ban as unconstitutional in a 2-1 decision. The DC Circuit Court held that the Second Amendment protects a citizen’s civil right to own firearms, adopting the individual rights view, and invalidated the DC law.

As you would expect, the DC government is appealing the ruling. Earlier this month DC petitioned for what is called an en banc rehearing. That means that all eleven eligible judges on the DC Circuit would hear the case, instead of the usual three-judge panel. As you read this we are waiting to see if the circuit court grants or denies that petition.

Regardless of whether the full DC Circuit Court hears the case en banc, the losing party will certainly appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. And without going into all the legal rules and reasons that help determine whether the Court takes a given case, let me just say the odds are good that the Court will take this one.

This case is monumental. Already the DC Circuit Court opinion—if left untouched—will totally change gun ownership rights in the District of Columbia. And the DC Circuit is one of the most respected and well-credentialed courts in America. Its opinions and rulings have a major impact on courts and lawmakers all over the country.

But as important as the DC Circuit is, it pales in comparison to the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court takes this case, it could have a huge impact all across our land.

There’s so much more to be said regarding this case. In the meantime, this is a case you want to be watching. There’s a lot at stake, not just for gun owners but for all who believe in upholding the Constitution and enforcing our civil rights.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Joke Of The Day

Somebody forwarded this to me, it's priceless!

The other day I went downtown and went into a shop. I was only in there for about 5 minutes. When I came out there was a cop writing out a parking ticket. I went up to him and said, "Come on, man, how about giving a retired person a break"?

He ignored me and continued writing the ticket. I called him a "Nazi." He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having worn tires. So I called him a "doughnut eating Gestapo." He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first. Then he started writing a third ticket. This went on for about 20 minutes. The more I abused him, the more tickets he wrote. Personally, I didn't care. I came downtown on the bus. The car that he was putting the tickets on had a bumper sticker that said "Hillary in '08." I try to have a little fun each day now that I'm retired. It's important to my health.