Hornberger's Blog

Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Hornberger’s Blog, June 2003

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Monday, June 30, 2003

Dear Friends and Supporters of FFF,

As everyone knows, these are challenging times for the advocates of liberty and limited government. Which means that we just have to work a little harder to achieve our goal of a free society! That’s exactly what we’re doing here at FFF — and, to be honest, we are tremendously enjoying the intellectual battle!

But we need your help in the process.

As you probably can tell, for the past several months we have redoubled our efforts to defend our rights and advance the cause of liberty, especially on the Internet. These include our daily FFF Email Update, the daily commentaries on our FFF Blog, the FFF Email Update Archives, our op-eds which are sent to newspapers all across the country, our FFF commentaries, and our regular Freedom Daily essays.

The results of our efforts to spread ideas on freedom are described in my letter to you in today’s FFF Email Update. I hope you’ll give this letter your careful consideration.

Thank you!

Yours for liberty,
Jacob G. Hornberger
President
The Future of Freedom Foundation

Saturday, June 28, 2003

The daily killing of U.S. soldiers in occupied Iraq has already become so hum-drum that the news is sometimes relegated to the middle pages of the newspaper. In an apparent attempt to assuage people’s concerns, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld pointed out that Baghdad experiences less murders than Washington, D.C., but of course it wasn’t exactly clear why that point was supposed to make people feel better, especially the families of the servicemen who are being killed.

There is a likelihood that the killings of U.S. soldiers will continue. As Jeffrey White, a former Defense Intelligence Agency expert on Arab military issues, put it,

There are a lot of worrisome aspects about the current situation. Resistance is spreading geographically, resistance groups seem to be proliferating in Sunni areas, resistance elements appear to be tactically adaptive, resistance elements appear to be drawn from multiple elements of Sunni society, our operations inevitably create animosity by inflicting civilian casualties, disrupting lives, humiliating people and damaging property.

Today, no one should be operating under the pretense that a person is “supporting the troops” by supporting the Pentagon’s occupation of Iraq. Our servicemen are not dying for freedom; they’re dying for nothing, just as they died for nothing in Vietnam and Somalia.

After all, as the Washington Post reports today in an article entitled “Occupation Forces Halt Elections Throughout Iraq,” the U.S. military rulers in Iraq are cancelling democratic elections all over the country and instead appointing as local mayors army generals and police colonels from the crooked, corrupt, brutal, tortuous, murderous, and immoral regime of … yes, that’s right … Saddam Hussein (!), the former friend of the U.S. government, to whom U.S. officials furnished weapons of mass destruction during the 1980s and the “Adolf Hitler” in 2003 who had to be “disarmed” because he had failed to account for all the WMD that U.S. officials had furnished him.

In fact, it would be interesting to know whether the relationship with Saddam’s army generals and police colonels who are now being appointed mayors by U.S. officials stretches back to the good old days when Saddam was as much a Washington “good old boy” as Pakistani Army General Pervez Musharraf is today.

There is one — and only one way — to genuinely support our troops: Leave Iraq to the Iraqis and demand that President Bush and the Pentagon immediately pull all our troops out of Iraq and bring them home. Or in the eloquent words of Pfc. Matthew C. O’Dell, “You call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building.”

Friday, June 27, 2003

With all the discussion and debate about tax cuts and about how rich people are getting richer and poor people getting poorer, one cannot help but think about how truly fortunate our Founders and ancestors were in not having to deal with all this nonsense.

Imagine: For more than 100 years, our American predecessors rejected the power of government to tax people’s income. In their mind, what a person earned in the marketplace or inherited from his family rightfully belonged to him, not to the government and not to “society.” For more than a century, Americans were free to accumulate unlimited amounts of wealth, not having to report income (or deductions) to anyone, and there was nothing the feds could do about it.

The result was the most economically prosperous society in history, not to mention the most charitable.

Moreover, most everyone understood that those at the bottom of the ladder benefited when those at the top of the ladder were getting wealthier. Why? Because the additional wealth meant more savings, which meant more capital, which meant better tools, which meant more productivity, which meant more income for the businesses, which meant higher wages for workers as a result of inter-business competition for labor.

Our ancestors also understand another principle that unfortunately today’s Americans don’t see: that with the advent of the 16th Amendment in 1913, the federal government effectively nationalized everyone’s income, thereby creating a system by which the federal government owned all the income and accorded an allowance to people equal to the amount of their income left untaxed. That phenomenon, needless to say, inverted the relationship that had previously existed between the individual and the federal government, making the government the political master and the citizen its dependent child-servant.

They also understood something else: that’s it is morally wrong to covet a neighbor’s goods and to institute a political system that enshrines envy and covetousness by enabling the state to equalize wealth or to take one person’s money in order to give it to another person.

Our ancestors understood another important point that present-day Americans often miss: Freedom and the income tax are inimical to each other. As long as government has the power to control how much a person is permitted to retain from his efforts, he cannot truly be considered free.

That’s why in order to achieve economic freedom and genuine economic prosperity, the tragic social-political experiment begun with the passage of the 16th Amendment in 1913 must be ended. See: Your Money or Your Life: Why We Must Abolish the Income Tax by Sheldon Richman.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Notice how the feds have reacted to the September 11 terrorist attacks: a massive reorganization of the federal government, a tremendous diversion of resources, international investigations, invasions and bombings of two countries resulting in the deaths and injuries of thousands of innocent people, tremendous trampling on our Constitution and the civil liberties it protects, assaults on immigrants, an avoid-the-Constitution prisoner camp in Cuba, and a willingness to antagonize the whole world in the process.

Wouldn’t you agree that federal officials have pulled out all the stops to discover and punish those who were involved in the September 11 attacks? No one can reasonably argue that the federal government’s reaction to those attacks has been timid.

Now, compare that response to the response by federal officials to the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. As soon as Lee Harvey Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby three days after the assassination of the president, the feds immediately concluded that Kennedy had been killed by a “lone gunman,” thereby eliminating the possibility that the assassination had been committed by a conspiracy of two or more people. One cannot help but get the feeling that subsequent federal “investigations” into the assassination, including that of the Warren Commission, were designed to confirm the “lone-gunman” conclusion rather than aggressively determine whether others were involved in the attack.

Why? Does such a tepid and timid response to the assassination of a president seem normal to you?

After all, don’t forget: Oswald never confessed to killing the president and actually denied it. Therefore, if his claim of innocence was true, then that meant that Oswald had been “set up” by others who had actually committed the killing. On the other hand, if his claim of innocence was false, there still existed the real possibility that Oswald had conspired with others to commit the murder.

Ask yourself: Why would the feds be so overeager to conclude that Oswald was a “lone gunman”? Were they overeager to conclude that the September 11 hijackers were “lone hijackers”?

Why the difference? If someone assassinates a president of the United States, wouldn’t you expect federal officials — especially those within the Pentagon, CIA, and FBI — to pull out all the stops in an attempt to discover all the people who were involved in the assassination? Isn’t that what they did after President Lincoln was assassinated? Rather than automatically conclude that John Wilkes Booth was a “lone assassin,” they aggressively — some would say, overly aggressively — sought out everyone who had conspired with Booth to commit the murder.

Suppose that soon after the September 11 attacks, the president, Pentagon, CIA, and FBI had issued the following joint announcement: “We have concluded that those who hijacked the planes acted alone and are obviously now dead. Therefore there is no need for federal agencies to investigate further. However, we are going to establish a special blue-ribbon commission headed by Chief Justice Rehnquist to investigate the 9/11 hijackings and which will give us a full report within a year.”

Would you not at least raise your eyebrows at such an announcement?

What also makes no sense is this: If Oswald was truly just a “lone gunman,” then why have federal officials resisted so fiercely for 40 years the immediate opening of all government files relating to Kennedy’s assassination? What could possibly motivate them to oppose close examination of those files by private-sector investigators? Does anyone honestly believe the security of the entire nation would be at stake if Americans were permitted to examine government files relating to an assassination by a “lone gunman” four decades ago? Hasn’t the threat of a communist takeover of America, which used to be cited as a national-security reason for keeping the JFK files secret, subsided?

Americans are now calling for investigations into the deceptions and exaggerations — perhaps even obsessive fear and paranoia — that led to the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

I say, If we’re looking for truth, why stop there? What would be wrong with congressional enactment of a law requiring the CIA, the FBI, the Pentagon, and all other federal agencies to immediately open all files relating to the Kennedy assassination, on pain of a felony offense on the failure of any federal official to comply? Why wouldn’t that be a healthy development for our nation? Why would any federal official oppose the passage of such a law?

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

By permitting Pakistani Army General Pervez Musharraf to visit him at Camp David, President Bush accorded the soldier what Washington officials consider is one of the biggest honors our president can bestow on a fellow ruler. Musharraf, you’ll recall, is the soldier who rules Pakistan today by virtue of a military coup three years ago and who has continually refused to permit free and democratic elections in that country.

Did Bush use the meeting to threaten Musharraf with a military invasion for the purpose of freeing the Pakistani people from tyranny and establishing democracy in Pakistan, which has become one of the president’s purported justifications for invading Iraq?

On the contrary! Our president, who continues to hold that U.S. military rule in Iraq constitutes “freedom,” actually praised the general for his rule in Pakistan, not even bothering to comment on Gen. Musharraf’s threat to dissolve the Pakistani Parliament. Even better, the president is rewarding Musharraf and his military cohorts with a “$3 billion assistance package,” compliments of the deep pockets of the U.S. taxpayer.

Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but at about the same time that Musharraf was consulting with Bush, the president signed one of the most ominous military orders in the history of our country — an order that transferred an indicted criminal defendant from the jurisdiction of a civilian federal judge under our constitutional court system to the jurisdiction of the military authorities in the Pentagon.

The reason that such an order is so ominous is that if the Supreme Court ultimately upholds such a transfer or if the president and the Pentagon ultimately decide to ignore an adverse ruling by the Supreme Court, the president and U.S. military authorities will then have essentially the same omnipotent power over people in America that General Musharraf and his military regime have over the people of Pakistan. And contrary to what Bush or anyone else in his regime might think, including Army Gen. Colin Powell, who is currently serving as U.S. Secretary of State, that would not be a positive development with respect to the freedom and security of the American people.

There’s no word yet on whether our president also intends to accord red-carpet, Camp David treatment to the military junta that currently rules Burma and which, like other military regimes, refuses to permit free and democratic elections and seizes and punishes people without due process of law.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

From Sunday’s (June 22) New York Times:

In ‘Hitler’s Second Book: The Unpublished Sequel to Mein Kampf,’ to be published in English translation in October by Enigma Books, Hitler admires the ‘young, racially select’ American people and the nation’s restrictive immigration policies at the time.

You’ll recall that Roosevelt and the U.S. State Department knowingly used U.S. immigration laws to prevent German and East European Jews from escaping the Holocaust by coming to the United States.

Thus, is it any wonder that Hitler would praise America’s restrictive immigration policies?

And while we’re on the subject of praise, let’s not forget the embarrassing things that John Toland points out in his book Adolf Hitler:

(1) Hitler’s praise of Roosevelt: “I have sympathy for Mr. Roosevelt because he marches straight toward his objectives over Congress, lobbies and bureaucracy”;

(2) Mussolini’s compliment of Roosevelt for being a good “social fascist”;

(3) Churchill’s praise of Hitler: “I have always said that I hoped if Great Britain were beaten in a war we should find a Hitler who would lead us back to our rightful place among nations”; and

(4) Noted American economist John Kenneth Galbraith’s praise of Hitler’s economic policies;

Let also not forget the embarrassing praise of Mussolini’s fascist “new experiment in government” which “works most successfully” by Roosevelt’s ambassador to Italy, Breckenridge Long, as related by Srdja Trifkovic in an article entitled “FDR and Mussolini: A Tale of Two Fascists” in Chronicles:

You do remember your public schoolteachers teaching you about all that mutual praise, right?

Monday, June 23, 2003

In today’s FFF Email Update, we link to two articles concerning the federal income tax. In the first article, which details IRS efforts to require a major Dallas law firm to disclose its clients, in violation of the long-established attorney-client relationship of confidentiality, IRS commissioner Mark W. Everson is quoted as saying that “attorneys and accountants should be pillars of our system of voluntary compliance, not the architects of its circumvention.” (Emphasis added.)

Voluntary compliance”? What planet did this guy come from? Doesn’t Everson know that if a person doesn’t pay his taxes, federal agents forcibly take his property away and sell it, as they did to that church in Indiana? Doesn’t he know that if a person forcibly resists the enforcement of a court order, government officials will kill him, as they did with John Singer in Utah, Randy Weaver’s wife and son in Idaho, and the Branch Davidians at Waco?

If Everson’s claim of “voluntary compliance” is true, then why has the IRS secured a court order requiring that Dallas law firm to disclose its clients to the IRS? What exactly is “voluntary” about an order issued by a federal judge?

And if the income tax system is based on “voluntary compliance,” as Commissioner Everson claims, perhaps he wouldn’t mind explaining the 27-count indictment that the IRS recently secured in Ft. Worth against Richard Michael Simkanin for refusal to pay income taxes based on the misguided belief that the payment of such taxes are — yes, you guessed it — “voluntary.” Perhaps he can also explain why the U.S. attorney in Dallas, Jane J. Boyle, made the following statement in support of that indictment: “Compliance with our nation’s tax laws is not a volunteer program.”

(The Simkanin case is the subject of the second Income Tax article that we’ve linked to in today’s FFF Email Update.)

Assuming that the Sixth Amendment will still be operational when his trial comes up, perhaps Simkanin will subpoena Everson to testify on his behalf as an expert witness. Better yet, maybe the Ft. Worth grand jury that indicted Simkanin should consider indicting Everson for falsely and fraudulently representing to the American people that the federal income tax is based on “voluntary compliance.” At the very least, shouldn’t the feds go after him for violating “truth in advertising” laws?

Saturday, June 21, 2003

Referring to the Burmese military government’s incarceration of pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, British foreign minister Mike O’Brien said,

“This is the most draconian of the Burmese military regime’s laws, which allows for detention without access to family or lawyers for 180 days at a time up to a total of 5 years, with no prospect of appeal.”

That’s nothing! Here in the United States, under the regime of George W. Bush and the military authorities in the Pentagon, people can be held in a military brig or concentration camp for the rest of their lives (or until all the terrorists in the world are killed, whichever comes first), and without ever being permitted to communicate with family, friends, or lawyers. Even worse, people can be whisked away to Cuba in the dead of night on a U.S. military transport plane, where they can then be executed in a gas chamber or on a gurney, after a secret proceeding by military tribunal with no right of appeal.

Do you ever wonder whether all these government officials, military and nonmilitary alike, attend the same seminars?

Friday, June 20, 2003

Whenever a problem arises in the marketplace, people who have been raised within a paternalistic welfare-state system are tempted to immediately run to our daddy — the government — in the hope that it will pass a law that will fix the problem. Never mind that the economic intervention always ends up creating a host of new problems, which then require new calls for our daddy to fix them. All that matters is that daddy “do something.”

We are now witnessing this phenomenon with respect to the Internet. People’s mailboxes are besieged with spam and, not surprisingly, the rush is on for daddy to pass a law to fix the problem.

Ironically, people never seem to complain that their snail-mail boxes are filled with junk mail addressed to “resident.” The reason? Since the U.S. Postal Service is a government monopoly (that is, a creature of our daddy), it’s generally considered in poor taste to question its monopoly nature or the adverse consequences that come with monopoly.

The market, of course, isn’t perfect but since it’s in the best interest of businesses to have satisfied consumers, the tendency is for suppliers and producers to constantly look for ways to keep consumers happy by eliminating sources of dissatisfaction.

For example, I recently noticed that the parking lot of CVS Pharmacy has a slot reserved for expectant mothers. No law requires CVS to do that. The pharmacy has decided that that’s a good way to keep customers happy. Does every retail business do that? Of course not, but that’s the essence of private property and economic liberty: It leaves those types of decisions within the hands of each business. That’s why it would be wrong for people to rush to government to seek a law requiring all businesses to do what CVS is doing.

Does the marketplace respond with respect to the Internet? Perhaps better than anywhere else! For example, most everyone (I think) hates those darned pop-up windows when they visit websites. Well, the latest version of the (free) Alexa.com toolbar gives people the option of blocking pop-up windows. It works and it’s great!

Will someone also figure out a way to block spam? Maybe and maybe not. But the last thing we should be doing is running to our welfare-state daddy to fix the problem. We’d be much better off getting our daddy to repeal the postal monopoly (because monopolies are immoral and harmful to consumers) and finally bring the free-market to that sector of our lives as well. For that matter, we’d be much better off eliminating the government’s role as daddy.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Last March, prior to the president’s invasion of Iraq, I wrote an article entitled “The Rot at the Center of the Empire,” which began with the following three paragraphs (which I updated in June, after the invasion):

The announcement that the U.S. government had relied on fake and false evidence in the attempt to secure approval of its invasion of Iraq was, by and large, met by a collective yawn from the American people, especially the members of Congress. It’s just one more example of the depths of moral depravity to which our nation has fallen.

Think about it: After months of enumerating a long laundry list of alternating justifications for invading Iraq and killing lots of people and after looking for every conceivable technical violation of UN resolutions to justify an invasion, it turned out that the federal government had cited and relied on fake and false evidence to persuade the American people and the UN Security Council that an invasion was necessary — an invasion that killed thousands of Iraqis, including both ordinary soldiers and civilians.

Of course, federal officials are playing the innocent. One U.S. official said, “We fell for it.” Yeah, sure! The most advanced intelligence service in the history of the world fell for what UN inspectors were able to ascertain were faked and forged documents.

The issue of the forged documents has now re-arisen and is even being cited as a possible cause for impeaching the president. It turns out that the CIA expressed doubts about the authenticity of the forged documents prior to the president’s citing of the report in his State of the Union address. Thus, the contention is being made that if the president knew that the documents were fake at the time he used them to generate support for his invasion, such deception would constitute a “high crime or misdemeanor” for which the president could be impeached under our Constitution.

Of course, there are those people who are claiming that if the president was lying, it would be no big deal because the end (ousting Saddam Hussein from power) justifies the means (lying to garner support for the president’s unprovoked attack on Iraq).

Meanwhile, the president’s minions in the Justice Department are trying their best to put Martha Stewart away for years in a federal penitentiary for allegedly lying to the feds about a stock trade that harmed no one.

So, there you have it: In America, it’s no big deal for government officials to lie to the people to generate support for a war of aggression that brings death and injuries to thousands of innocent people. But it is a big deal when one of the most successful entrepreneurs in history supposedly lies to government officials (and not even under oath) about a stock deal that doesn’t end up killing, maiming, or hurting anyone.

How’s that for hypocrisy, double standards, unequal treatment, and injustice?

Here are recent editorials and articles regarding the forged documents that the president used to frighten the American people into supporting his invasion of Iraq:

The Vanishing Uranium” (Editorial, New York Times)

High Crimes and Misdemeanors ” by Robert Scheer (Los Angeles Times)

Forged Evidence” (Letter from Rep. Henry Waxman to Condoleezza Rice)

CIA Expose New Lie in Blair’s Iraq Dossier” by Mark Ellis (Globe and Mail)

CIA Says It Made Iraq Doubts Clear to White House” (Associated Press)

CIA Rejects Blame for Bush’s Iraq Uranium Claim” by Jim Wolf (Reuters)

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

If there is an upside to what the U.S. government is doing in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay, it’s that the American people are able to clearly see how federal officials behave in the absence of any constitutional restraints. Thank goodness for our Founding Fathers and ancestors, who had the wisdom and foresight to enact the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to protect us from these types of people. As bad as things are with the government’s assaults on civil liberties (i.e., the perversely named “Patriot Act”), imagine what our lives would be like if federal officials had the same unlimited, general powers in America that they do in Iraq and Cuba.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Here are three news stories detailing the release of the Tulia, Texas, victims of the federal government’s most racist program in existence today — the infamous, 30-year-long, immoral, failed war on drugs:

Prisoners’ Release Is Met with Joy
Texas Frees 12 on Bond after Drug Sweep Inquiry
For Tulia 12, ‘It Feels So Good’

The Tulia case is a horrible nightmare for advocates of the drug war because it highlights the dark little secret that they would prefer remain undercover — how drug laws are used not only to harass African-Americans but also to remove them from American society into the tightly controlled environment of prison life.

After slavery was ended, racists developed ways to use the power of the state to keep blacks “in their place” because they knew that in an unhampered market economy, blacks were doing very well competing against whites. One of the most effective political devices was occupational licensure laws, which required (expensive) educational prerequisites for engaging in certain occupations. Another device was permit requirements, which enabled only those people who had permits to operate a business in certain locations. While not quite as satisfactory as slavery, these types of “Jim Crow” laws served as an adequate secondary substitute for racists.

Then there were segregation laws, which required the separation of blacks and whites in society. Even though such laws were effective in keeping blacks “in their place,” however, the “downside” to them was that racists still had to encounter blacks on the street, in the workplace, and elsewhere in the community. The situation was obviously aggravated, from the standpoint of racists, with the end of segregation and the advent of forced integration laws.

That meant that racists had to discover a new way to resolve their “problem.” What better way than to use the federal government’s decades-long war on drugs? After all, who would question a conviction as part of the war on drugs? And who would believe a black man accused of a drug violation over a white police officer charged with protecting society from the scourge of drugs?

In fact, from the standpoint of the racist, the war on drugs is 100 times better and more effective than segregation. Why? Because while segregation laws kept African-Americans in society, drug laws enable them to be removed from society and into a prison camp, where community racists would not have to encounter them on a daily basis. Moreover, while “do-gooders” could question segregation laws from a moral standpoint, who in the world would question a drug law from a moral standpoint?

Think about how easy it was to remove Kizzie White, Joe Moore, Freddie Brookins Jr, and other African-Americans from Texas society. At their trial, all the state did was present the testimony of a man named Tom Coleman, who as a celebrated Texas “Lawman of the Year,” had participated in the Texas “Panhandle Regional Narcotics Task Force.” It was Coleman’s testimony that led to the arrest of some 46 people in Tulia, most of whom were black.

Coleman’s testimony was all the state relied on to do the dirty deed. All they did was present his testimony at trial. That’s all it took to destroy those people’s lives. No drugs. No independent corroboration. No confessions. No videotapes. No witnesses. Just the testimony of a Texas “Lawman of the Year” — one who sometimes referred to African-Americans by the “N word” and who today faces perjury charges arising from another drug case.

Yes, that is all it takes to remove African-Americans from society and into prison camps in America — for periods extending as long as 90 years. That’s the power and glory of the federal government’s wonderful war on drugs.

If that’s not reason enough to bring an end to the war on drugs, I don’t know what is. The drug warriors, of course, would respond: “Well, we just need to get better people into public office to enforce the war on drugs.” But wait a minute: Tom Coleman was a Texas “Lawman of the Year.” In the minds of many people, Tom Coleman is one of those “better people” in public office — in fact, in the minds of some people, he’s among the best you’d ever want to have.

After 30 years of drug warfare, no one — not even the most ardent drug warrior — can deny that the war on drugs has failed. After all, if it had succeeded, we could end it. But by their own admission of failure, the drug warriors continue to cry, “Please, give us another decade to win the war on drugs.”

They want ten more years to wreak more misery, destruction, heartache, bribes, payoffs, corruption, and death, not to mention more pensions for more federal drug agents. Why must we suffer the evils and ills of one of the most immoral, deadly, destructive, and racist wars in history for even one more day?

Monday, June 16, 2003

There’s some good news I’d like to share with you about our efforts here at FFF and about liberty in America.

In today’s FFF Email Update, we link to an article by William Raspberry in today’s Washington Post announcing the release of 13 African-Americans from Tulia, Texas, pending a review of their convictions by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. They had been wrongfully convicted of drug-war violations and given inordinately long jail sentences.

As subscribers to our FFF Email Update know, we have been bringing you articles on “Race and the Drug War” for the past several months, and among these have been articles describing and condemning what the drug warriors did to the African-Americans in Tulia. So, even though the Tulia defendants are not out of the woods yet (the Texas appellate court has the final say), it is good to see that things are moving in a positive direction.

The drug war is the most immoral and destructive domestic war in our country’s history. That’s reason enough to bring it to halt. The fact that it is a racist war as well, given that its consequences fall disproportionately on African-Americans and Hispanics, is even more reason to end the war now and to treat drug addiction the way we treat other addictions — through therapy and rehabilitation.

Second, last January we initiated our FFF Immigration Project, which brings to people’s attention news and commentaries on the subject of immigration. As I wrote in my introductory letter to that section of our website:

“There is one group of people here in the United States who lack adequate means by which to resist the growing oppression that is sweeping across our land. They are the foreigners — the immigrants living in America, who have become the direct targets of federal power. Round-ups. Incarcerations. Secret detentions and secret judicial proceedings. Fingerprinting. Files. Mandatory appearances at government offices.”

Thus, we experienced a tremendous sense of satisfaction when the Inspector General’s highly critical reporton the Justice Department’s post-9/11 treatment of immigrants was recently released. (With the exception of Zacarias Moussaoui, none of the immigrants who were detained and abused was charged with terrorism.)

Equally important, since the release of the report, there have been op-eds in newspapers all over the country criticizing John Ashcroft and the Justice Department for their wrongful and unconstitutional behavior. Although Ashcroft announced that he had no apologies to make, either to the victims or to the American people, the Justice Department has recently announced that it is reexamining its detention policies, which shows that even the U.S. government can be pushed into doing the right thing.

As most everyone knows, we have also taken a leading role in the defense of civil liberties, especially with respect to military tribunals and the cases against Padilla, Hamdi, and Moussaoui. The idea is that if we permit the government to run roughshod over unpopular defendants (or speech, for example), then no one (and no speech) is ultimately safe from government assault. The true test of a free society is not whether popular defendants (or ideas) are protected but instead whether the most despicable defendants (or ideas) are protected.

Well, an increasing number of critical op-eds are being published on both the military tribunals and the Padilla, Hamdi, and Moussaoui cases, which is a very positive development for our freedom, security, and well-being:

Why else should the advocates of a free society be optimistic during these troublesome times? There are three reasons.

One, there is an unbelievably large number of op-eds all across the nation questioning the reasons for the president’s war on Iraq and expressing doubt as to whether the government has been totally forthright and truthful. Equally important, there are more Americans than ever before thinking about and reflecting on the subject of foreign policy. As long as people are thinking, then we have a chance to persuade them to help us move our nation away from the direction of empire and toward the vision of a republic that our ancestors favored for America.

Two, there is also an unbelievably large number of op-eds all across the nation that are fighting to preserve our civil liberties. Some are even calling for the repeal of the so-called Patriot Act, which is one of the gravest threats to our civil liberties in our lifetime.

Three, there is the power of the Internet to bring all these positive developments to ever-growing numbers of people. In the pre-Internet days, the only way someone could read an op-ed from a faraway newspaper was to wait for it to be delivered to his local library or bookstore several days after publication. Today, most everyone can read perspectives all over the world on the day they’re published.

Tulia and the drug war. Immigrants and the Constitution. Foreign policy and a republic. Civil liberties and jury trials. Things are percolating in America. And they’re percolating in a positive way!

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Given the failure of U.S. forces to find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, a troubling question arises: Did the U.S. and British invasion violate the charter of the organization whose resolutions they were purporting to enforce?

That is, by essentially incorporating the “war of aggression” principles that were applied to Nazi Germany by the Nuremberg Tribunal, the UN charter prohibits member countries from resorting to force against another country except in self-defense against an actual or imminent armed attack, which obviously was not the case with the Bush-Blair attack on Iraq.

In what might be a related and somewhat embarrassing matter, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has now added Belgium to the list of countries that have been blackmailed, threatened, bribed, or extorted by the U.S. government. (Freedom waffles, anyone?)

Rumsfeld said that the U.S. government would terminate its funding of the new NATO headquarters in Belgium unless that country repeals a law that grants Belgian courts the power to consider war-crimes complaints against Bush, Rumsfeld, and other U.S. leaders.

The obvious question immediately pops up: If they have done nothing wrong, what are they scared of?

Or, to put it another way, did you ever think you’d live in a country whose rulers are scared to travel to Western European countries for fear of being indicted, taken into custody, and put on trial for war crimes?

Perhaps some good will come from this, however. We can always hope that the new NATO headquarters building won’t be built or, even better, that NATO itself will finally be abolished. What could be more fitting, given that NATO’s mission expired with the fall of the Soviet Union more than a decade ago?

Friday, June 13, 2003

According to a June 3 New York Times article entitled Search for Guns in Iraq and Surprise Under a Robe, U.S. military authorities in Baghdad recently began enforcing their new gun-control decree for the Iraqi people. One operation, which was conducted by 300 U.S. paratroopers from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m., involved surprise searches of more than 2,000 homes and seizures of their weapons.

Iraqi Nejim Abdullah, 26, asked a pointed question: “What right do they have to get into the house? If some people have some weapons, does that give them the right to see every house in the city?”

Nevertheless, the commanding officer in charge of the gun sweep, U.S. Lt. Col. David Haight, said that “the level of cooperation from Iraqis impressed him. ‘Can you imagine doing this in Utah or Colorado?’ he asked.”

No, Col. Haight, I really can’t imagine your doing that in Utah or Colorado or Texas or Virginia or, for that matter, anywhere in the United States, well, except possibly Washington, D.C., and New York City.

But at the risk of giving you some unsolicited advice, if you ever do get an order to that effect from your superiors, I’d highly advise you to not only disobey it but also to switch sides and help the American people oppose such tyranny.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Carlos Manuel, one of Cuba’s leading pop stars, is a lucky man, in two respects: one, because he’s Cuban and, two, because he illegally entered the United States at Brownsville, Texas, instead of Miami Harbor.

Under U.S. immigration law, if Manuel had been Mexican or Pakistani, for example, he would have been incarcerated indefinitely, abused, mistreated, and ultimately deported, which is the standard treatment for illegal immigrants by the U.S. government. The fact that Manuel is Cuban enabled him to be immediately released by U.S. immigration officials. It’s just the way U.S. immigration policy is set up.

If Manuel had been intercepted trying to enter the United States by sea, instead of at Brownsville, U.S. officials would have taken him into custody, radioed the Cuban communist coastguard, rendezvoused at sea, and forcibly repatriated Manuel into Cuban communist tyranny. It’s just the way that U.S. immigration policy is set up.

It would seem that the American people are lucky too — at least those who enjoy Caribbean-style music. The New York Times reports,

Mr. Manuel is known for combining provocative lyrics with classical Cuban percussionist music and touches of Caribbean zouk and reggae. He had performed outside of Cuba on several occasions, including shows in the United States last year. In Mexico City last week, he opened for Ricardo Montaner, a Venezuelan balladeer. One of Mr. Manuel’s most successful songs, “Malo Cantidad,” involves word play on the cliché of women falling for consistently unfaithful men. In reviewing his career, Granma, the Cuban newspaper, once called Mr. Manuel “the good bad boy.”

Meanwhile, Americans who enjoy ballroom dancing are lucky also. According to another article in the New York Times, Russian immigrants are

spurring something of a revival of cheek-to-cheek dancing…. Immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe have become the luminaries of professional and amateur competition in the United States and have elevated its quality, executing their rumbas and waltzes with a grace, flourish and precision rarely seen here since Astaire’s heyday. They have dressed up their moves with Fosse-like angling of the hips and shoulders, giving dance more of a postmodern edge.

Salsa or fox trot, anyone?

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Justice Department officials are ecstatic over the 7-year jail sentence given to ImClone’s co-founder Samuel D. Waksal. Undoubtedly, the communist Chinese would be just as excited, given that economic crimes are a core element of their system too.

U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley rejected pleas for a reduced sentence, saying that the damage done by Waksal was “incalculable.”

What a ludicrous statement.

The core crime for which Waksal was convicted was the infamous economic crime of “insider trading,” a crime enacted during the presidential regime of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

What so many Americans unfortunately refuse to recognize is that Roosevelt, in the false and deceptive name of “saving free enterprise,” embraced the collectivist and regulatory schemes that characterized socialist and fascist countries during the 1930s. Those schemes included his infamous National Industrial Recovery Act (NRA), the Blue Eagle, Social Security, the Agricultural Adjustment Act, a federal minimum-wage law, nationalization and confiscation of gold, repudiation of gold clauses in both government and private contracts, insider-trading crimes, and many, many more such programs that both socialist and fascist countries were adopting in the 1930s.

At first the U.S. Supreme Court was declaring much of this socialist and fascist nonsense in violation of our Constitution — and rightfully so. But then came Roosevelt’s infamous court-packing scheme, in which he tried to tamper with our constitutional system, and the infamous “switch-in-time that saved nine,” in which a Supreme Court justice changed his vote in the wake of that court-packing scheme, and ever since we’ve had federal justices and judges who continue to pretend that economic crimes are part and parcel of our constitutional order, a free society, and a unhampered market economy rather that a core element of communist and fascist economic systems.

Waksal’s “crime”? He received information that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was going to reject one of his products and he relayed that information to his relatives so that they could sell their stock before the information hit the street.

Whoop dee doo! Big deal and so what?

If stockholders haven’t permitted Waksal to capitalize on company opportunities, then it’s their responsibility to sue. If they’ve authorized him to do so, that’s their business. No one has the right to expect Uncle Sam to be their daddy.

In the minds of the statists, Waksal’s real crime was that he didn’t make his family equalize its wealth (and financial losses) with “society,” just like people are expected to do in socialist paradises such as Cuba.

Getting information quickly and acting on it is one of the hallmarks of a free society and an unhampered market economy. And so is capitalizing on it. It’s only in mercantilist, communist, and fascist countries that such economic activity is considered “profiteering” or “speculation,” horrific economic crimes that necessitate confession, repentance, reeducation, and, of course, punishment.

Waksal undoubted pleased both his prosecutors and his sentencing judge when he pled for mercy: “I am deeply distressed and so very sorry for my actions. I want to apologize to all the people who may have had confidence in me and whose confidence I betrayed.”

It’s the type of statement that some people wanted the Dixie Chicks to make. It’s also the type of statement that would have pleased those running the North Vietnamese reeducation camps after the communist takeover of South Vietnam.

If only Waksal had known that the judge intended to throw the book at him regardless of what he said, he could have instead told the truth:

“Judge Pauley, I’m just a regular American who established a company that benefited my family, consumers, and me. I’m proud of that. My company has made money, which means that we have served the consumer well. I’m also proud of all that I have accomplished for cancer patients and all that I’ve done to advance charity with the money I’ve made. Unfortunately, my company has to deal with such tyrannical and destructive federal agencies as the FDA, whose parasitic bureaucrats have destroyed so many lives through their delays and rejections of so many beneficial health products. As part of that process, I have had to keep track of all the bad things that the FDA is doing to my company. And when they do one of those bad things, I’m going to do my best to protect my family, my company, and myself from financial harm. Everyone else is free to do the same thing. That’s what economic liberty and a free market are all about. I’m not sorry for what I have done. I’m proud of it and I would do it again. It’s the federal government’s stupid and ridiculous socialistic and fascist economic crimes that are the true travesty. You should do the right thing and dismiss the case that these people have brought against me, and these Justice Department prosecutors ought to apologize to the American people for wasting their time and money.”

What better evidence of the wrongful direction our country has taken than to have real-life heroes such as Michael Milken, Martha Stewart, and Sam Waksal, who have done so much good for our society and for mankind, being persecuted and prosecuted and sent to jail for “economic crimes” while politicians and bureaucrats who deceive the people into supporting the killing of thousands of innocent people are treated as conquering heroes?

Of course, there’s still hope that Waksal’s sentence will be reduced. The feds have a longtime policy of rewarding anyone who becomes a rat fink by helping them to get someone else on an economic crime. Thus, if Waksal decides to become a federal canary by singing against Martha Stewart, he’ll most likely be released after just a couple of years. On the other hand, as Gordon Liddy discovered during Watergate, if he instead refuses to become federal canary-rat, he’ll have to spend the next 7 years of his life in jail for his economic crime. It’s just the way the system works.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

President Bush says that Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction are so well hidden that people just need to have patience as U.S. forces continue to search for them.

That’s ironic because how can we forget all the insults, ridicule, and abuse that Bush, Powell, and Rumsfeld heaped on those poor, hapless UN inspectors who (as you’ll recall) also pleaded for patience as they searched for Saddam’s WMD before the invasion?

Have we so soon forgotten how horribly frightened American men and women were that Saddam Hussein was about to explode a nuclear bomb in America or fire chemical missiles at us?

Wasn’t that the reason that we needed to throw those UN inspectors out of Iraq and wage an immediate “preemptive strike” on the Iraqi people?

(By the way, have you ever wondered why Bush, Powell, and Rumsfeld rejected Saddam’s offer to let CIA officers into the country and look for WMD anywhere they wanted?)

Where did that horrific (and irrational) fear came from, if not from Bush, Powell, and Rumsfeld? As I wrote in my pre-invasion essay, “Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Saddam? (March 17, 2003):

Why are so many Americans terrified of Saddam Hussein? There is one — and only one — reason: U.S. government propaganda. Day after day, U.S. officials, from the president on down, have pounded a deep and abiding fear of Saddam into the minds of the American people.

Thus, regardless of all the postwar backtracking that Bush, Powell, and Rumsfeld are now doing with respect to their prewar claims regarding Saddam’s “weapons of mass destruction,” the fact is that all three of them specifically intended to frighten the American people into blindly supporting their invasion. And they were successful in that endeavor by exaggerating (or lying about) the likelihood of an imminent attack on America by Saddam Hussein with his so-called weapons of mass destruction.

Do you remember when the Pope suggested before the invasion that this would constitute an unjust war and that those who waged it would ultimately have to answer to God? What was it that caused so many people to reject that suggestion, abandon individual reason and conscience, and blindly support the president? Was it not fear and blind trust, evidenced by the following mindset: “We’ve got to support the president in this because he’s privy to a lot of secret information that we’re not privy to”?

Recall that our Founding Fathers always warned us against blind trust in our political rulers. It’s also why religious leaders throughout the centuries have warned us against blind trust in Caesar and why God gave us reason and a conscience.

Obviously, we can’t do anything to reverse the Iraq war, but we can use it as an opportunity to begin discussing a new direction for our nation — a direction that rejects empires and blind support of political rulers — a direction that instead restores the concept of a republic for our country and embraces the use of reason and conscience for ourselves.

Such a discussion is the least we owe those who have been killed and maimed in the most recent foreign adventure. It’s the least we owe ourselves.

Monday, June 9, 2003

Get this: The Justice Department has Martha Stewart indicted, not for insider trading, but instead for falsely denying to the cops and to the public that she was guilty of insider trading.

Imagine that a cop stops you for suspicion of speeding, and asks you, “Were you speeding?” And you reply, “No, officer, I wasn’t.” He gives you a ticket, not for speeding, but for falsely denying that you were speeding.

Is that ludicrous or what? Well, I guess Martha Stewart should be counting her lucky stars. At least they haven’t indicted her for pleading “Not Guilty” in open court.

Meanwhile, the leaders of the Republican-controlled Congress, who (as you’ll recall) eagerly impeached Bill Clinton for lying about sex, are begging Americans to again “trust the president.”

You’ll recall that that’s exactly what the members of Congress said before they unconstitutionally (and blindly) entrusted the power to declare war on Iraq to the president last fall.

What damage did Stewart’s alleged deception cause? Well, there might be some federal cops who have their feelings hurt at being lied to. And there might be some stockholders in Stewart’s company who might be disappointed that their stock didn’t drop when Stewart had the audacity to claim publicly that she was innocent instead of falling down on her knees, admitting guilt, seeking punishment, and begging the feds for forgiveness. (I wonder if we’re now going to have to boycott both the Dixie Chicks and Martha Stewart.)

But compare that to the war on Iraq, which was blindly supported by millions of Americans as a direct consequence of the horrible fear of Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” that the president’s deception (excuse me, “exaggeration”) engendered within them — a war that so far has killed or maimed thousands of innocent people, including more than 100 American GIs (or only 100 or so American GIs, as some people put it).

Moreover, we’re hearing the same bromides that we heard after Pearl Harbor, the JFK assassination, Vietnam, Watergate, Iran-Contra, Ruby Ridge, and Waco: “It’s over and done with. Let’s just put it behind us and move on. We’ve got to continue trusting our public officials, not our reason and conscience, because our officials are privy to secret information that we’re not privy to. You don’t need to worry, the Pope is wrong — God will hold them morally accountable, not us.”

My prediction? They’ll offer to let Stewart off with a slap on the wrist if only she’ll turn over a large portion of her fortune to them. After all, with both the tax cut and all the millions in U.S. taxpayer cash that was recently paid to foreign officials in return for their support of the president’s war on Iraq, replenishing the coffers, especially during election season, is undoubtedly the order of the day.

Saturday, June 7, 2003

Have you ever noticed….

That people who call for a flag-burning amendment to our Constitution never call for a Constitution-burning amendment?

That the pledge of allegiance, which public schoolchildren are required to recite for 12 years, was authored by a died-in-the wool socialist?

That the socialist who crafted the pledge of allegiance apparently forgot to include any reference to God in the original pledge?

That the pledge of allegiance dictates loyalty to the flag, not the Constitution?

That most U.S. public-school students and graduates become upset when the flag is desecrated but not when the Constitution is desecrated?

That our Founding Fathers and 19th-century American ancestors never required their children to pledge allegiance to the flag despite the fact that the European countries from which they had fled required loyalty oaths to their government?

That the pledge of allegiance says “to the republic for which it stands” even though most everyone now concedes that the United States is no longer a republic but instead an empire?

That the pledge of allegiance says “with liberty and justice for all” even though everyone knows that people in America are being incarcerated indefinitely without due process of law and denied trial by jury and habeas corpus?

Don’t people who make a pledge have a moral duty to fulfill the pledge they have made, especially if they’ve repeated the pledge tens of thousands of times? Isn’t that what making a pledge is all about?

Friday, June 6, 2003

In an April 16 op-ed in the Los Angeles Times entitled “The IRS Isn’t the Enemy — You Tax Cheats Are,” columnist John Balzar declared, “The IRS thus became an easy target for those who hammered wedges between citizens and their country, as if government was a ‘they’ and not an ‘us.’”

I suppose that means that when the IRS harasses and abuses people, it’s not “them” doing it to “us,” but rather us harassing and abusing ourselves.

And I suppose it also means that when people die at the hands of government officials, such as those at Waco and Ruby Ridge or, more recently, 57-year-old African American Alberta Spruill, it’s not “them” doing it to “us” but rather “us” committing suicide.

Indeed, if government is “us” rather than “they,” perhaps Balzar wouldn’t mind explaining why it is that the Constitution of the United States protects “us” from “them.”

Finally, as Sheldon Richman has pointed out with respect to Balzar’s lament about those American taxpayers who are cheating the IRS of its share of their hard-earned money, if the government is “us,” as Balzar claims, then doesn’t that mean that when people retain their own money, it’s the same as the government getting it? Then, what’s he complaining about?

Thursday, June 5, 2003

As American conservatives continue to remind us during the U.S. government’s so-called war on terrorism, “People have to be willing to sacrifice some freedom during times of crisis.” Unfortunately, it’s a lesson that foreign conservatives are learning only too well.

Acording to an article from the BBC, Iranian women who have recently been violating the Iranian regime’s dress code by wearing “shorter, paler coats that end at the knee and hug the body” must now comply with the code by wearing “shapeless black coats and head coverings.”

The article reports that Iranian conservatives have seized upon the current crisis with the United States as an opportunity to crack down on this type of immoral and aberrant freedom. “Street patrols by the morals police have also been noticeably stepped up, and shops and restaurants have been told to bar women not deemed to be respecting the dress code.”

While Iranian conservatives are learning valuable lessons from their American counterparts, let’s just hope that our conservatives don’t return the favor. Otherwise, we might have morals police patrolling our streets … I mean, in addition to the DEA and vice squads, of course.

Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Yesterday’s jury verdict in the federal terrorism trial in Detroit reflects the dangers of relinquishing omnipotent power to the president to arbitrarily punish those whom he deems to be a “terrorist.”

You’ll recall that the president has incarcerated two American citizens indefinitely without trial and without being permitted to see their families, their friends, or even an attorney for as long as the feds decide to wage their so-called war on terrorism, which could be forever. Those two Americans are lucky though, given that the president has also killed an American terrorist suspect overseas by authorizing U.S. forces to fire a missile at him.

Yesterday, while convicting two defendants of terrorism-related charges, a federal jury in Detroit, which was composed of ordinary American citizens, also acquitted two other people of terrorism who the president and the Justice Department were convinced were “terrorists.”

Those two acquitted men should be counting their lucky stars because one can only imagine where they would be if the president had instead ordered them delivered to the custody of the Pentagon for trial by military tribunal in Cuba or, even worse, ordered them punished without any trial whatsoever.

Do you see why U.S. officials prefer military tribunals to jury trials? Why the feds prefer military-tribunal justice in Cuba to Due Process justice in the United States? Why the doctrine of Due Process of Law has been such an important part of our freedom since at least the time of Magna Carta? Why our ancestors saw the need to enact a Bill of Rights to protect us from these types of people? Why they included a guarantee of jury trials within that Bill of Rights? Why the Sixth Amendment protects not just Americans who are accused of a crime but foreigners as well? And why it’s so important that we continue fighting to preserve our Constitution and the principles for which it stands?

Tuesday, June 3, 2003

The ostensible purpose of the 13 years of economic sanctions against Iraq was to “squeeze” the Iraqi people economically until they ousted Saddam Hussein from power. U.S. officials often linked the sanctions to Saddam’s so-called weapons of mass destruction, proclaiming that if Saddam would only “disarm,” the sanctions against the Iraqi people would be lifted. But many people viewed that proclamation as a sham, believing instead that the message was: Once Saddam is ousted from power and replaced with a ruler that will do our bidding, we will lift the sanctions and relieve the suffering of the Iraqi people.

U.S. officials, however, faced three major public-relations problems. Over time, it became clear that Saddam placed a higher value on retaining political power than he did on the lives of his people. Second, multitudes of Iraqi newborns and children began dying as a result of the squalid conditions that the sanctions were producing. Third, high UN officials began resigning their positions because, they announced, they could not in good conscience participate in what was developing into a genocidal policy.

Therefore, the United States finally acceded to the infamous oil-for-food program, in which the Iraqi regime would be permitted to sell oil in return for receiving food and distributing it to the Iraqi people.

One of the perverse consequences of the oil-for-food program was that it placed the distribution of food into the hands of the government rather than in the free market. By making the Iraqi people dependent on Saddam for survival, the oil-for-food program actually strengthened his control over the Iraqi people.

As an article in Monday’s (June 2) Washington Post pointed out, “Hussein and his government operated a highly regimented food-distribution system in which 44,000 grocer-agents nationwide allotted necessities to each of Iraq’s 24 million people.”

Kadem Wreij, who handled a major part of Saddam’s food-distribution program, explained the perverse consequence of the U.S.-backed program: “Saddam was very organized. He was clever; he used the food wisely, and told the people it was a gift from their president.” He added the obvious — that the Iraqi people were totally dependent on Saddam’s largess.

As a Washington Post pre-invasion (Feb. 2) article entitled “Stockpiling Popularity with Food” by Rajiv Chandrasekaran put it,

It has also become what is perhaps Hussein’s most strategic tool to maintain popular support over the last decade. The United States and other Western nations had hoped the sanctions, which devastated Iraq’s once-prosperous economy, would lead Iraqis to rebel against their leader or, at the least, compel him to fully cooperate with U.N. inspectors hunting for weapons of mass destruction. But Hussein has held firm in large part by using food to stem discontent with the pain of sanctions, employing a massive network of trucks, computers, warehouses and neighborhood distributors to provide basic sustenance for every Iraqi.

A few days ago, a man from Basra said, “Life was good during the days of Saddam Hussein. We had security and food. We all want Saddam.” While he obviously was not expressing the sentiments of all Iraqis, the point is that the U.S.-backed oil-for-food program produced the perverse consequence of causing people to be grateful to their brutal dictator for their survival.

U.S. officials have learned a lesson from all this but unfortunately it’s a wrong one. Monday’s Washington Post announced that “the national food-rationing program introduced by Saddam Hussein because of international sanctions was reestablished today by occupation authorities who concluded that Iraqis need the rice, cooking oil and chickpeas to stave off hunger in a paralyzed economy. Officials with the U.N. World Food Program, which is providing the rations under the authority of the U.S.-led occupation forces, say the approximately $2 billion food-distribution effort is the largest they have ever undertaken. The cost will be reimbursed by Iraq after it resumes oil exports.”

By retaining the distribution of food under government control rather than turning it over to the free market, U.S. officials know exactly what Saddam knew — that the people will be grateful … and dependent, this time on U.S. officials.

Should we be surprised that U.S. officials have chosen to embrace Saddam Hussein’s socialistic central-government planning for the distribution of food rather than the free market? No more so than we should be surprised that they are imposing gun control, establishing curfews, prohibiting democracy, ruling by decree, conducting warrantless searches of homes, and summarily punishing people without trials. It’s what these people honestly believe is “freedom” — that is, “benign and benevolent” government control over people’s lives and economic activity so long as the control is by U.S. officials or foreign officials who will do the bidding of U.S. officials. Why is such a perverted and distorted concept of “freedom” important to us Americans? Because make no mistake about it: If the Pentagon people and their statist friends in Washington ever got the chance, they would impose their concept of “freedom” on us. That’s why we must continue rejecting their concept of “freedom” and continue fighting for our Constitution and the true vision of freedom of our Founding Fathers.

Monday, June 2, 2003

President Bush has apparently decided to make up with France’s ruler Jacques Chirac at the G-8 summit in Switzerland, which leaves those Americans who have been calling for boycotts and sanctions against the French people in the lurch.

At the same time, President Bush is now pointing the federal hate-o-meter and fear-o-meter at Iran and North Korea (after briefly pointing them, as you will recall, at Syria).

My prediction is that those Americans who have submerged their will to that of the president will pick up the cue, cease advocating punishing the French people for their ruler’s refusal to support Bush’s decision to “disarm” Saddam, and begin focusing on the need to “disarm” Iran and North Korea and free their people from tyranny.

This submergence phenomenon, which people rationalize under the dual concepts of “patriotism” and “good citizenship” and which negates the dual concepts of conscience and reason, could be termed a fascinating variation of Mr. Spock’s Vulcan mind meld.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.