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, January 2010

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Friday, January 29, 2010

The Constitution Doesn’t Give Rights to Anyone, including Americans
by Jacob G. Hornberger

An interesting and revealing exchange regarding rights and the Constitution took place recently between defense attorney Bruce Fein, who spoke at FFF’s 2008 conference “Restoring the Republic: Foreign Policy and Civil Liberties,” and Guantanamo military prosecutor Edward White. Fein is representing a Yemeni citizen named Ali al-Bahul in a Gitmo military-tribunal proceeding in which the U.S. military is prosecuting al-Bahul for allegedly providing military support of terrorism by creating a video in support of al-Qaeda.

The exchange between the two attorneys took place in the context of legal arguments over whether the production of the videotape was protected by the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech. Fein argued that it was, while White argued to the contrary.

Whether the production of such a videotape constitutes a crime or an exercise of free speech is a legal issue that ultimately will have to be decided by the courts. That’s not a point I wish to address in this commentary.

What I found interesting and revealing was a comment by military prosecutor White. He stated that constitutional rights are reserved for U.S. citizens.

While such a sentiment is undoubtedly common within the U.S. military and, indeed, in conservative circles, it is both ridiculous and false.

What White fails to understand is that the Constitution doesn’t give anyone, including Americans, any rights, nor does it purport to. Instead, the purpose of the document is to prohibit the federal government, including the U.S. military, from infringing upon or interfering with people’s preexisting rights.

In other words, people’s rights don’t come from government or from documents that bring government into existence. They come from nature and God. They exist independently of government and the Constitution. That is, even if there were no federal government and no Constitution, people would still have their natural, God-given rights. Such rights preexist government.

So, an obvious question arises, especially in the context of White’s assertion to the court: Are only Americans born with natural or God-given rights? The answer was provided by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, a document that should be read in conjunction with the Constitution. He observed that all men were endowed with such rights. Not just Americans. Not just Chinese. Not just Englishmen. Every individual is endowed at birth with fundamental, inherent, natural, God-given rights.

Some of such rights are enumerated in the Bill of Rights, but the rights enumerated there aren’t exhaustive. That’s what the Ninth Amendment is all about — it points out that no one should assume that just because some important rights are listed in preceding eight amendments doesn’t mean that people don’t have many more natural, God-given rights.

But a point bears repeating here: Note carefully the specific language, for example, of the First and Second Amendments. Notice that the language does not give people the rights of free speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, or the right to keep and bear arms. Instead, the language prohibits the federal government from infringing upon or violating such preexisting, natural, God-given rights.

Thus, prosecutor White is wrong. Everyone, not just Americans, is born with fundamental rights, including those enumerated in the First and Second Amendments.

The question then arises: Does the Constitution authorize the federal government to infringe upon or violate the rights of foreigners. It does not. Since rights are universal in nature and adhere to all men, the Framers recognized that it would be illegitimate to grant the federal government the power to infringe upon or violate anyone’s rights.

Of course, it’s not surprising that military prosecutor White fails to appreciate these principles of freedom and constitutional government. After all, let’s not forget why the U.S. military set up its prison camp and alternative “judicial” system in Cuba rather than in the United States. It did so in the hope that its camp and system would be a Constitution-free zone, one in which the U.S. federal courts could operate free and clear of the Bill of Rights that U.S. military personnel take an oath to support and defend. Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court put the quietus to that hope.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Trust Freedom, Not Statism
by Jacob G. Hornberger

One of the things about statists that fascinate me is how they look to the federal government to solve problems facing society, especially when it’s the federal government that is the cause of the problems. Such a mindset might make sense if they were asking federal officials to eliminate what they’re doing that’s causing the problem, but that’s not what statists do. Placing the government in an exalted, even holy, position, they refuse to acknowledge that the government has caused the problems and instead look to government to enact new, similar programs and policies to fix the problems.

Then, when the new programs and policies inevitably make things worse, they absolutely refuse to acknowledge that the new programs and policies have caused the new problems and once again call for government to do the same thing.

That’s how we have reached the point of big spending, big debt, big taxation, and big government in this country.

The statist problem is a doubled-barreled one.

On the domestic side, you’ve got the socialists and the interventionists. Few of them acknowledge that these two philosophies are sending our nation into national bankruptcy, while destroying freedom and morality in the process. Instead, refusing to acknowledge that socialism and interventionism have caused the problems, they call on the government to enact new socialist and interventionist programs to fix the problems.

Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the Federal Reserve, minimum-wage laws, and the drug war are all good examples. These socialist and interventionist programs are all considered holy and sacrosanct by statists. Never does the statist consider for a moment that they are among the principle causes of America’s economic woes. Instead, the statist solution inevitably involves expanding these programs and enacting new ones based on the same socialist and interventionist principles.

It’s no different on the foreign side, where statists simply will not let go of their beloved overseas military empire and foreign policy of interventionism. The ever-increasing expenditures on the military and military-industrial complex to pay for the invasions, occupations, sanctions, foreign aid, assassinations, prison camps, and hundreds of overseas bases are heading our country into financial bankruptcy. Yet, the statists take the same position here as they do on the socialist domestic side: Don’t even think of dismantling the empire and interventionism. They are to be considered a given.

And here again, the statists refuse to acknowledge that the federal government is the cause of the problems our nation is facing in foreign affairs. In the mind of the statist, terrorism has nothing to do with the invasions, occupations, sanctions, support of brutal regimes, torture, kidnappings, assassinations, denial of due process, and so forth. The foreign-policy problems, say the statists, are rooted in the fact that Americans are “free” and “religious,” and foreigners hate us for that. Thus, according to the statists, even more imperialism and interventionism is the solution to America’s foreign-policy woes.

What is the true solution to America’s woes?

First and foremost, an honest acknowledgement that statism — socialism, imperialism, and interventionism — is the cause of our nation’s woes. That’s the necessary first step.

Second, the solution then becomes obvious: Don’t reform or try to improve what is causing the problem. Instead, uproot it. End the statist programs and policies. Repeal them. Abolish them. Get government out of the way and unleash the tremendous creativity and spiritualism of the American people!

Faith and trust in statism have failed the American people and have brought nothing but misery, disaster, and loss of liberty.

Faith and trust in freedom, free markets, ourselves, others, and God is the way to restore peace, prosperity, harmony, morality, and freedom to our land.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Value of Government Surveillance of Citizens
by Jacob G. Hornberger

It’s amusing to watch U.S. officials protest the Chinese government’s surveillance of its own citizens. After all, isn’t it the U.S. government that secretly and illegally conspired with private telecom companies to record telephone conversations of private American citizens? And isn’t it the U.S. government that secured both civil and criminal immunity for the telecoms’ decision to sell out the privacy of their customers to the feds?

One of the aspects of the federal government’s telecom surveillance scheme that is rarely mentioned by the mainstream press goes to the heart of why government surveillance of its citizens is so valuable — to provide a means to keep the citizenry subdued and subservient through an subtle form of blackmail.

Prior to the NSA-telecom scandal, Americans had a reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to their telephone conversations. They would feel free to talk about things with friends and relatives that they would never expect the authorities or the public to find out.

Some of the things discussed might be illegal in nature but other things might just be things that would be embarrassing if the public were to find out.

For example, conversations about the use or purchase of illicit drugs. Or married people having adulterous affairs. Or business people engaged in unethical conduct at work. Or hurtful gossip about friends and acquaintances.

The range of private communications that people would not want to be made public are endless — conversations that most everyone figured were private at the time they were taking place.

But little did everyone know, that wasn’t necessarily the case. As it turns out, the U.S. government, operating through the NSA in cooperation with U.S. telecoms, was secretly recording countless telephone conversations of countless Americans for an extended period of time. The recordings of those conversations are now in the permanent databases of the NSA and possibly other government agencies.

What better way to keep an entire populace subdued, subservient, and obedient? People who are now tempted to, say, join a Tea Party protest movement now have to factor in their deliberations the fact that the government potentially has some very incriminating or embarrassing information that it could use against them in retaliation.

How could the government use that type of information against someone? Simple — by simply leaking it to a favored journalist, who proceeds to share the gossip with others until it begins to percolate within society, in much the same way that U.S. officials ensured that people found out that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA.

Would U.S. officials do something that dastardly?

Well, sure they would. After all, don’t forget that when Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio refused to go along with the illegal telecom surveillance scheme, the feds retaliated with an insider-trading prosecution against him. Why wouldn’t they retaliate against someone who wasn’t playing ball by simply leaking embarrassing information about him?

Let’s not forget what the feds did to Martin Luther King when he began shaking up the establishment. They secretly recorded his telephone conversations and then attempted to blackmail him into ceasing his civil-rights activities by threatening to release information about extramarital affairs that he was purportedly having.

Why did they believe that King was having such affairs? Their secret recordings of his telephone conversations provided them that information.

To his credit, King refused to succumb to the federal blackmail. But he paid a big price for it. The feds leaked the evidence they had acquired in their secret surveillance to some favored journalist stooges who then made the information public.

Would Americans who have had their private telephone conversations secretly and illegally recorded by the NSA respond like King did? Some would. But by the same token, there undoubtedly is a certain number of Americans who would say, “Not me. Count me out. I’m keeping my head down. I can’t afford to have my telephone conversations disclosed to my family, my company, or the public.”

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Conservative Love for Unlimited Government
by Jacob G. Hornberger

A good example of one of the things that is wrong with conservatives is provided by a conservative named Rich Lowry, who has an article today about the Detroit bomber case on nationalreviewonline.com, one of the premier websites in the conservative movement.

Lowry is upset that the suspect in the Detroit bomb base, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was treated as federal criminal suspect rather than an enemy combatant in the war on terrorism. He points out that when Abdulmutallab was taken into custody, he talked freely to the authorities and provided a significant amount of information … until he was read his Miranda warnings, at which point he clammed up.

Lowry thinks that Abdulmutallab should have been transferred to the U.S. military so that they could have forcibly extracted more information from him with waterboarding, the process that induces the feeling of forced drowning. Citing the case of Jose Padilla, Lowry says that after all pertinent information had been extracted from the man, the military could then have transferred him back to the federal court system to be prosecuted as a criminal defendant,

There are several important points about Lowry’s position, none of which, unfortunately, he addresses.

First of all, why bother with turning the guy over to the military rather than simply letting all federal law-enforcement officers engage in waterboarding and other forms of torture? After all, it is one government, even though it is divided into separate agencies, departments, and bureaucracies. Why not simply let the FBI, DEA, TSA, ICE, ATF, U.S. Customs, and all other federal law-enforcement officers waterboard terrorist suspects too? Why waste time and resources with all the paperwork and changing of prison facilities rather than simply unleashing all the forces of the federal government to forcibly extract information from terrorist suspects?

Second, why limit waterboarding to people accused of terrorism? Why not expand it to all crimes, federal, state, and local? What about suspected murderers, bank robbers, rapists, and drug dealers? When those people are caught in the process of planning or committing their crimes, isn’t it important to identify the other people who might be engaged in a conspiracy to commit the crime? And how else would we find out whether other people are involved without forcing the guy to talk?

Third, what about the presumption of innocence in criminal cases? Lowry obviously feels that it should be discarded, at least when it comes to terrorism cases. After all, surely Lowry wouldn’t favor waterboarding innocent people, would he? When he argues that the Detroit bomb suspect should be turned over to the military for waterboarding, Lowry is obviously assuming the man is guilty.

Yet, ordinarily, that is what a trial is all about — to determine whether a government’s accusation of guilt is meritorious or not. At the trial, the judge instructs the jury that the accused is to be presumed innocent and is to be found not guilty unless the government has satisfied the jury, beyond a reasonable doubt, with competent evidence, that he truly is guilty.

Fourth, while Lowry addresses his argument in a case involving a foreign citizen accused of terrorism, what he conveniently ignores is that the principle he calls for — the pre-trial torture of a person accused of a crime — applies to Americans as well. After all, as U.S. officials have often reminded us, in the so-called war on terrorism, the entire world is a battlefield, including the United States. Indeed, including Detroit! Moreover, American citizens are as fully capable of committing acts of terrorism as foreign citizens. In fact, while Lowry cites the case of Jose Padilla, he forgets to mention that he is an American.

Do you see the problem with conservatives? While purporting to stand for freedom and limited government, they’re willing to entrust the federal government with the omnipotent power to arrest and round up people, including Americans, label them as terrorists, presume their guilt, torture them, and then, sometime down the road, send them into the federal district court system for trial, one where a verdict of acquittal, by the way, is irrelevant because under Lowry’s system the military is vested with the power to retake an acquitted federal-court defendant into custody as a guilty enemy terrorist.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Another “Success” Story from U.S. Sanctions
by Jacob G. Hornberger

U.S. officials can claim another “success” with their sanctions against Iran. A Russian-made Tupolev airplane crash-landed in Iran, injuring 42 passengers.

Those passengers were much luckier than those traveling on an Iranian flight to Armenia last summer. All 168 passengers were killed. That plane was Russian-built too.

Also last summer, another Iranian Russian-built plane skidded off a runway and caught fire, killing 16 passengers and injuring 21 more.

In February 2006 another Russian-built Iranian plane crash-landed, killing 29 passengers.

What do all those plane crashes have to do with the brutal sanctions that the U.S. government has been enforcing for several years against Iran?

According to an article about the latest crash in the Washington Post: , “U.S. sanctions against Iran have prevented it from buying new aircraft or spare parts from the West, forcing it to add to its aging fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes with aircraft from Russia and other former Soviet Union states.”

An article published a couple of weeks ago on Wired, entitled “Sanctions Keep Vintage Aircraft Flying in Iran” by Keith Barry, addressed the heart of the problem:

“Blocked from purchasing modern Western aircraft by economic sanctions in place since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran’s domestic airlines rely on an aging fleet of planes that have largely disappeared from North American and European skies. As a result, what Havana is to old cars, Tehran is to old airplanes.”

The reference to Havana and old cars is to the 50-year U.S. sanctions/embargo against Cuba, which, operating in conjunction with Castro’s socialist economic system, has succeeded in squeezing the economic lifeblood out of the Cuban people.

The sanctions against Iran also bring to mind the 11 years of brutal sanctions against Iraq, which succeeded in contributing to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children. Part of the reason for this was the same problem that afflicts the Iranian airliner fleet: the Iraqi sanctions precluded Iranian officials from acquiring the necessary equipment and parts to repair the water-and-sewage treatment plants that the U.S. government intentionally destroyed during the Persian Gulf War, with full knowledge of what effect that would have on the spread of infectious illnesses.

I would be remiss if I failed to point out the official mindset of Washington regarding the “success” of the Iraq sanctions, as reflected by the immortal statement of U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright, who told “Sixty Minutes” that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children were “worth it.”

The purpose of the U.S. sanctions against Iran? It’s the same as the sanctions against Cuba and Iraq: regime change — that is, the ouster of regimes that oppose the U.S. Empire and their replacement with regimes that will do the Empire’s bidding.

What happens if an Iranian who has lost his parents, spouse, children, or countrymen on any of those flights retaliates out of anger and rage with a terrorist strike against the United States? The official response of U.S. officials will be the same as it was after the 1993 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the 9/11 terrorist attacks: “We’re innocent! We’re innocent! The U.S. government is innocent. We have done nothing wrong. We’ve just been minding our own business. The terrorists are lying when they say they’re angry over losing their loved ones as a result of the sanctions we have imposed against Iran. Everyone knows that terrorists hate America for our freedom and religious values.”

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Brown’s Election Is No Victory for Liberty
by Jacob G. Hornberger

Reaction to Scott Brown’s Senate win in Massachusetts has been glee for conservatives and depression for liberals. Conservatives have reason to be happy because Brown’s victory might spell the death knell for Obama’s socialist national health-care plan. Libertarians are celebrating Brown’s victory for the same reason.

But that’s about where the celebration ends for libertarians. For it’s obvious that Brown is just one more standard Big Government, statist Republican rather than a libertarian of the mold of Ron Paul.

In fact, those commentators who are suggesting that the Brown victory constitutes a wholesale rejection of socialism, Big Government, and Big Spending might just be guilty of a bit of wishful thinking. For while such commentators are emphasizing that Brown made his opposition to Obama’s health-care plan the central theme of his campaign, they are conveniently ignoring something just as important — Brown’s reason for opposing Obama’s health-care plan.

According to an article in the Washington Post entitled “Brown’s Victory Is Hardly a Repudiation of Health Reform,” Brown opposed Obama’s plan simply because he felt that it would unfairly cause Massachusetts citizens, who already have a socialistic state health-care plan, to subsidize health care for citizens in other states.

In fact, as a state legislator Brown actually voted in favor of Massachusetts’s socialistic health-care plan.

Now, at the risk of stating the obvious, Brown’s position is not exactly the libertarian, free-market position. Quite the contrary. The libertarian, free-market position would oppose socialist health-care plans at all levels of government, and it would call for the repeal, not reform, of such socialist health-care plans as Medicare and Medicaid, as well as other governmental health-care interventions, such as licensure and regulations, all of which constitute the root of America’s health-care crisis in the first place.

This is the big problem that the lovers of liberty face in this country. Election after election is nothing more than a choice between one statist and another. It’s statist Tweedledum vs. statist Tweedledee.

Take a look at this 30-second video of Brown after the election, where he states: “We’re past campaign mode. I think it’s important for everyone to get some form of health care. So to offer a basic plan for everybody I think is important…. There were some very good things, as you just pointed out, in the national plan that’s being proposed.”

Oh, cheesh! Why aren’t Democrats cheering this guy?

Even worse, during the campaign Brown displayed that, like other standard Republicans, he is the master of the forked tongue, in that he endorses “enhanced interrogation techniques,” including waterboarding, while opposing “torture.” He even suggested that the Detroit bomb suspect should be removed from federal court jurisdiction, where he is under a federal criminal indictment for terrorism, and delivered to the military for treatment as an “enemy combatant.”

Alas, while conservatives have much to celebrate in the Brown victory, the supporters of liberty do not. While Brown’s victory might well prove to be the end of Obama’s socialist health-care plan, his election was certainly no victory for liberty.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Socialism and Death in Haiti
by Jacob G. Hornberger

As President Obama and his cohorts struggle over what to do now with their socialist health-care plan in response to the Democratic defeat in Massachusetts, now would be a good time to point out one of the biggest reasons for the enormous death toll in Haiti — socialism. Yes, I am referring to the economic philosophy of American liberals — the people who purport to love the poor but whose economic policies condemn the poor to destitution and even death.

As George Mason University economics professor Walter Williams points out in his excellent column “Haiti’s Avoidable Death Toll,” Haiti is an extremely poor country in terms of wealth. Thus, when the earthquake hit, the country’s dilapidated buildings quickly crumbled, and people lacked the necessary equipment, machinery, and medical services that could have saved many more lives.

Compare Haiti’s plight to the United States. By and large, buildings here are much more able to withstand earthquakes. Moreover, highly trained personnel with heavy equipment are able to quickly move into the affected area and save more people.

Why? Why is Haiti so poor while the United States is so rich? That’s a critically important question, one that liberals answer incorrectly. They say that people are poor because other people are wealthy. Thus, the key to ending poverty, they claim, is for the government to use its monopoly of force to take from the rich and give the money to the poor.

There is one big problem, however, with this socialist concept: It doesn’t work. Government intervention in economic affairs actually makes society poorer. In fact, it is the root cause of poverty, not the solution to poverty. It is this notion that has ensured that the masses of humanity have remained mired in poverty throughout most of history.

Consider my hometown of Laredo, Texas, compared to its sister city on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, Nuevo Laredo. In actuality, Laredo and Nuevo Laredo constitute one big city that has a river running through it, much like San Antonio or Austin, which have rivers running through them.

Yet, the standards of living of Laredo and Nuevo Laredo are dramatically different. As poor as Laredo is, the people living there have a remarkably higher standard of living than the people living in Nuevo Laredo.

How can this be, given that it’s one big metropolitan area?

The reason is that there has always been significantly more government involvement in economic affairs in Mexico than there has been in the United States. In other words, despite the massive taxation, welfare-statism, and regulation that have afflicted the United States during the past several decades, it is nothing compared to the Mexican government’s socialist, interventionist, and mercantilist economic policies that have afflicted Mexico during its entire existence.

And that’s the problem with Haiti. Like so many other Latin American countries, the government taxes, loots, plunders, and confiscates wealth and regulates and controls economic activity. In doing so, it prevents wealth from accumulating. It keeps people poor.

What is the key to the creation of a wealthy society? Capital. Capital enables people to be more productive. More productivity means higher profits and higher wages. How does capital come into existence? Through savings? When people save a portion of their incomes, they put the money into banks, when are then able to lend it out to businesses that are financing the purchase of equipment, which makes workers more productive. It is a process by which everyone’s interests coincide — those of the employer, the employee, and the consumer.

(See “The Keys to Economic Development: A Speech to the People of Brazil” by Jacob G. Hornberger.

Thus, the key to a wealthier society is precisely the opposite from that advocated by liberals. Socialism is not the solution to poverty, as liberals claim. Socialism destroys wealth and ensures that people will remain mired in poverty.

The creation of wealth depends on economic enterprise being freed from the dead hand of the state. People need to separate the economy and the state just as our American ancestors separated church and state. That’s what a genuine “free market” is all about. That’s the key to a wealthier — and safer — society.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Haiti: Shades of FDR and the Jews
by Jacob G. Hornberger

President Obama and other U.S. officials, who purport to be good and caring people through their delivery of U.S. taxpayer money to Haiti, have a message to the Haitian people. It’s the same message that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had toward Jews trying to escape Nazi Germany. The message is simple: No matter who much you are suffering, no matter how close to death you might be, don’t even think for a moment of escaping your conditions by coming to the United States.

Every day, a U.S. Air Force cargo plane spends 5 hours flying over Haiti broadcasting a recorded message, no doubt made at the urging of Washington officials, from Raymond Joseph, Haiti’s ambassador in Washington, stating: “Listen, don’t rush on boats to leave the country. If you do this, we’ll all have even worse problems. Because, I’ll be honest with you: If you think you will reach the U.S. and all the doors will be wide open to you, that’s not at all the case. And they will intercept you right on the water and send you back home where you came from.”

The sentiment is echoed by State Department spokesman Noel Clay, who, ostensibly expressly a concern for the safety of Haitians, stated, “We urge Haitians in Haiti not to put their lives at additional risk by embarking on a dangerous sea journey.”

Lest Haitians fail to get the message, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, said, “This is a very dangerous crossing. Lives are lost every time people try to make this crossing. Please do not have us divert our necessary rescue and relief efforts that are going into Haiti by trying to leave at this point.”

To underscore the official U.S. sentiment, U.S. Coast Guard Commander Chris O’Neil declared, “There is no new incentive for anyone to try to enter the United States illegally by sea. The goal is to interdict them at sea and repatriate them.”

Let’s be blunt. There are two reasons why Haitians will not be permitted to escape their horrific conditions through emigration to the United States: They’re black and they’re destitute. If white Anglo-Saxon Britons were suffering the same horrific conditions that Haitians are suffering, there is no question but that U.S. officials would be welcoming them with open arms.

What I don’t understand is why Obama won’t order his subordinates to unbolt Emma Lazarus’s poem off the Statute of Liberty and toss it into the Hudson Bay. You know, the poem that talks about how the doors to America are open to those types of people who can be described as the “wretched refuse of your teeming shores.” You know, the poem that states:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.
I lift my lamp besides the golden door!

Well, what better way to describe the Haitian people than that? But it’s precisely because they are the tired, the poor, the huddled masses, the homeless, the tempest-tost that U.S. officials, who are so compassionately delivering U.S. taxpayer money to Haiti, have taken the “bolt the door” attitude toward them.

What hypocrites! What hypocrisy!

Let’s not forget that President Roosevelt, who is portrayed in U.S. public-school textbooks as a great humanitarian and who is one of Obama’s icons, had the same attitude toward Jews that U.S. officials have toward Haitians. When Hitler offered to let German Jews emigrate in the 1930s, FDR bolted the door shut and refused to permit them to enter the United States.

The reason for Roosevelt’s attitude? Let’s be blunt. They were Jews. If English Protestants were trying to escape a Nazi occupation of their country, who can doubt that Roosevelt would have opened the doors in welcome to them?

The plans to interdict and repatriate Haitians trying to save their lives also brings to mind the infamous Voyage of the Damned, when Roosevelt and his people refused to permit German Jews from disembarking from a German vessel at Miami Harbor with full knowledge that that meant that they would have to return to Germany and Hitler’s clutches.

(As an aside, isn’t it ironic that those American Jews today who so eagerly pounce on critics of the Israeli government as being anti-Semitic hardly even issue a peep of condemnation of FDR’s important contribution to the Holocaust, no doubt because they don’t consider it politic to do so.)

Our American ancestors had it right. They declared: If you are suffering tyranny or disaster in your country, our government will not come to save or help you. Private Americans, who are free to keep everything they earn, might send you assistance or even come to your assistance. If you are able and willing to escape your country, you are free to come to America and you will not be repatriated.

Today’s America declares: If you are suffering tyranny or disaster, our government will show you how caring and compassion it is with its bombs, missiles, bullets, embargoes, sanctions, and military and financial aid, provided with the money that the IRS forcibly extracts from the American people. But don’t even think about polluting our shores with your stinking bodies because our government’s forces will immediately take you into custody and repatriate you to the tyranny and destitution from which you came

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Illegality of Federal Aid to Haiti
by Jacob G. Hornberger

In my blog last Friday (Jan. 15), I made the point that U.S. government compassion for Haiti wasn’t compassion at all, given that the money is taken by force by the IRS and distributed by federal politicians and bureaucrats who didn’t earn it. I pointed out that no one, including the president, the members of Congress, IRS agents, federal bureaucrats, the military, the taxpayers, or the citizenry could be considered caring or compassionate, in a moral or religious sense, given that the process involves the forcible taking and distribution of people’s money. The only thing that matters, in the eyes of God and in a moral sense, is when people help others on a purely voluntary basis. Finally, I observed that a truly free society is one in which people are free to do what they want with their own money, including saying no in response to a request for financial assistance from people in need.

But there’s another important factor that we should consider when it comes to the hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid that President Obama and his cohorts are promising to distribute to Haiti. That’s the factor of illegality. The giving of U.S. taxpayer money to foreigners is not authorized by the U.S. Constitution, which is the law that we the people have imposed on federal officials.

When the Framers called the government into existence, it was under the understanding that, unlike most foreign governments, this government would not have unlimited power to do whatever it wanted. Instead, this government’s powers would be limited to those enumerated in the Constitution.

Does the Constitution grant the power, either to the president or Congress, to send military and financial aid to the people of Haiti or any other nation that suffers a natural disaster?

It does not. One searches the Constitution in vain for a grant of such power.

This point was emphasized by President Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, who vetoed a bill passed by Congress that provided for federal aid to Texas farmers who were suffering from a severe drought. This is what Cleveland stated in his veto message:

“I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that, though the people support the government, the government should not support the people.

Cleveland also made an important point about the American private sector:

“The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow-citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood.”

This point regarding illegality was also made by Congressman Davy Crockett, who, in response to a congressional attempt to provide financial assistance to the widow of a distinguished naval officer, stated:

“I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money.”

How unfortunate that we now live in an era in which federal politicians and bureaucrats do whatever they want, including donating taxpayer money to their heart’s content, then congratulating themselves for how good and caring they are, and, of course, ignoring the very law that they purportedly swear to preserve, protect, and defend.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Monday, January 18, 2010

More Gun-Control Nonsense
by Jacob G. Hornberger

The New York Times has another silly editorial on gun control. The paper’s editorial board is calling for a renewal of the assault-weapons ban, which expired in 2004.

The paper’s justification? “A survey of more than 130 local police chiefs and officials found 37 percent reporting an increase in assault weapons in street crime,” along with other evidence indicating an increased criminal use of assault weapons.

Notice the implication: If the Congress reenacts the assault-weapons ban, those violent criminals will obey the law.

Now, if that’s not silly, what is? What the Times is suggesting is that if Congress makes it illegal to own an assault weapon, the violent criminal will say to himself: “Oh my gosh, it’s now illegal to own an assault weapon. I now need to figure out how I am going to commit my robbery or murder without violating the new gun-control law.”

That’s ridiculous. If a would-be murderer or robber doesn’t give a hoot for laws against murder or robbery, why in the world would he give a hoot about a law against owning a gun?

The Washington Post recently carried a news article that detailed a big sting operation in Washington, D.C., which is notorious for its gun-control laws. D.C. cops and federal officers set up a phony storefront in which they purchased guns from dozens of people, who were then arrested. The operation also netted $1.5 million of heroin, cocaine, and other illegal drugs.

Now, the reason those people were arrested and charged is because they were violating D.C.’s gun-control laws (and drug laws).

But wait a minute! If it’s illegal to own guns (and drugs) in D.C., then that should mean that there should be no guns (and drugs) in D.C., right? Isn’t that what the Times’ editorial board is suggesting with its call to renew the assault-weapons ban — that once it is renewed, violent criminals will have respect for the law and decline to violate it?

Moreover, what the Times’ editorial board is perhaps unaware of is that the 2004 assault-weapons ban didn’t really ban assault weapons. It simply banned certain modifications of them, such as extra-long magazines or bayonet holders. It was still possible to acquire the same semi-automatic assault rifles that one can acquire today.

So, what effect would a renewal of the assault-weapons ban have on the ability of violent criminals to get their hands on assault weapons? Alas, the Times’ editorial board doesn’t explain that one.

What is the actual impact of gun control? It disarms non-criminal people, those who don’t want to risk a felony conviction for illegally owning the weapon, thereby impeding their ability to defend themselves from criminal-types who have no reservations about violating the gun-control law.

While the Times referred to an increased use of assault weapons in “street crime,” the title of the Post’s article — “In the Market for Guns, Drugs and Arrests,” fills in the details: The increase in firepower among violent criminals is undoubtedly part of the infamous war on drugs.

Consider, Mexico, for example, where drug cartels have been employing assault weapons against the cops, the military, rival cartels, and innocent people. No doubt the Times would say, “Mexico should make it illegal to own an assault weapon, and that will cure the problem.”

Well, except for one thing: AK-47 assault weapons are illegal in Mexico and they are the favored weapon of Mexican drug cartels. In other words, the drug cartels, which have no respect for drug laws and murder laws, have had no respect for Mexico’s gun-control law. That must shock the New York Times.

The solution to the increase in violence in “street crime” is not gun control but rather drug legalization. Unfortunately, establishment newspapers such as the New York Times can’t bring themselves to embrace such an obvious libertarian solution. Instead, with hope springing eternal that the 35-year-old drug war can still be won, the Times embraces another status intervention, gun control.

Finally, the Times argues that Congress should enact more “realistic gun controls” because polls show the public wants them. I wonder if the Times would argue for more realistic “speech controls” if polls show the public wanted them. Unfortunately, the Times fails to recognize that fundamental rights are not subject to majority whims, a point that our ancestors understood when they enacted the Bill of Rights.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Friday, January 15, 2010

U.S. Government Compassion for Haitians
by Jacob G. Hornberger

With President Obama’s promise to help the Haitian people, Americans are once again confronted with a basic moral question: When the U.S. government gives money away to people in need, who are the good, compassionate, caring people in this process?

Is the president the caring person? After all, he’s the one issuing the order that assistance be given.

How about the people who work for the IRS? Without them, Obama wouldn’t have any money to send to the Haitians.

How about the members of Congress? They’re the ones who authorize the IRS to collect income taxes from people.

How about us, the taxpayers? Isn’t it our money that the IRS forcibly takes from us and puts at the disposal of the president?

How about the voters? Well, at the very least those who voted for President Obama?

How about all Americans, including babies and children who don’t yet pay taxes and vote? Shouldn’t everyone get some moral or religious credit for living in a country where the government takes money from one group of people and gives it to another group of people?

Actually, the money that the U.S. government sends to Haiti does not reflect any goodness, caring, or compassion on the part of anyone. If President Obama wants to help people out, he can send his own money. The same holds true for the members of Congress. And the employees of the IRS. And everyone else.

Suppose I walk into a big corporate convention with a gun. I hold everyone up, and the take is $100,000. I leave the meeting and immediately buy food, supplies, and medicine, which I then send to Haiti. I don’t keep any of the money for myself.

Aren’t I a good, caring, compassionate person? Haven’t I just helped out the people of Haiti? Don’t those convention people from whom I took the money fall into the same category? It’s their money, after all, that I’ve used to help others.

So, what’s the difference between what I have done and what President Obama is doing? The only difference is that his actions are legal (well, except that the Constitution doesn’t authorize him to send U.S. taxpayer money to Haiti or any other country) and mine are not. I will be arrested as common thief and he will be extolled as a fantastic humanitarian saint. But what we have done is no different in principle — we have both forcibly taken money that belongs to others and given it to people in need.

The truth is that charity means nothing in the eyes of God or in terms of moral and ethical principles when the money comes from the government. It only has meaning when it comes from the voluntary and willing heart of the individual. That’s why the only assistance that is genuine, in a moral and religious sense, is that which comes from the private sector — that is, assistance that comes from the voluntary choices of individuals deciding on what to do with their own money.

But what if people refuse to donate to people in need? That is their right. That is what freedom is all about. If people are not free to say no, then they cannot be considered free. By the way, that’s what free will is all about also. While the Lord exhorts us to love our neighbor, He also gives us the freedom to make that choice. He does not force us to do the right thing.

America’s Founding Fathers had it right: no income tax and no socialistic welfare state. Leave people free to keep everything they earn and then decide for themselves what to do with their own money — donate, invest, lend, save, hoard, or spend it. It is that philosophy of economic freedom that we need to restore to our nation. Not only would it produce the massive amounts of capital that raise people’s wealth and standard of living, it would also provide people with much more money by which to help others.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Freedom by Permission Is Not Freedom
by Jacob G. Hornberger

A statement by a Chinese woman in response to the Chinese government’s censorship of Google reveals the statist mindset perfectly, both in China and here in the United States. Here is what she said: “The government should give people the right to see what they want online.”

Do you see the problem with that woman’s mindset? She looks upon rights as grants from the government, things that can be given and taken away and, thus, controlled and regulated.

Consider the economic situation in China. Things are booming. Prosperity is soaring. The standard of living is skyrocketing. Lots of people are getting wealthy.

What’s the reason for all this economic vibrancy? The government has reduced the amount of controls it previously exercised on people’s economic activity. Less regulations. Lower taxes. Reduced import and export restrictions. More private ownership.

Does this mean that the Chinese people are now free, in the economic sense of that term? Of course not. After all, what the Chinese government gives, the Chinese government can take away.

The point is this: the Chinese government is permitting people to have greater economic “freedom.” But the operative word is “permitting.” When someone is permitting someone else to have “freedom,” then the person really isn’t free at all.

Assume, for example, that the owner of a slave in the Old South permitted his slave to live off the plantation and live his life the way he chose, but on the condition that the plantation owner could recall the slave to the plantation whenever he wanted. The slave moves away and for the next 10 years raises a family and owns and operates his own business.

Would the slave be free? Of course not. His “freedom” to live his life the way he chose wouldn’t be freedom at all. He would remain a slave, albeit one who would be permitted to live a less restrictive, less controlled life than before. His “freedom” could be revoked at any time.

What that Chinese woman misses — indeed, what American statists miss — is that rights are fundamental and inherent. They are endowed in people by God and nature. As such, they preexist government. Therefore, the notion that government can legitimately give and take away and control and regulate people’s rights is ludicrous on its face.

That begs the question: What rights are we talking about? There is one overarching, fundamental right that exist in all people, regardless of race, color, creed, nationality, or whatever: It is the right to live your life any way you choose, so long as your conduct is peaceful.

That encompasses, for example, the right to read whatever you want, without government restriction or control. That Chinese woman instinctively understands this but she goes astray in thinking that the government should “let” her exercise such a right.

Does it matter whether a government is an unelected dictatorship, such as in China, as compared to a representative democracy, such as here in the United States?

No. Since rights are fundamental and inherent and preexist government, even if 95 percent of people in a society, through their elected representatives, wish to control what people read, it would be an illegitimate act to do so. People have a right to read whatever they want, regardless of what everyone else thinks or what government officials, elected or not, think.

The principle is no different with respect to economic liberty. People have the fundamental right to sustain their life through labor. As part of that process, they have the right to enter into any occupation or profession without government permission, consent, control, or regulation. They have the right to enter into mutually beneficial exchanges with others, even those in totally different parts of the world. They have the right to accumulate unlimited amounts of wealth in these endeavors. They have the right to decide what to do with their own money.

Alas, this is where American statists go as awry as that Chinese woman. They look upon economic liberty as a “right” that the government gives to people. Therefore, they see nothing wrong with government officials’ deciding who enters into professions and occupations, controlling and regulating economic activity, deciding the extent to which people will be permitted to keep their own income, and determining how people’s money will be spent.

Sometimes a government is nicer and permits people to engage in economic activity with less control and lower taxes. But let us never mistake that for freedom. Genuine freedom entails living one’s life any way he wants, so long as his conduct is peaceful, with government wielding the power to do nothing more than protecting the exercise of such freedom.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cuba Is Obama’s End of the Road
by Jacob G. Hornberger

American liberals have long extolled Cuba as a model of their economic philosophy, which entails government control of economic activity, socialized health care, government-provided education, and equalization of wealth. While Cubans correctly call this socialism, to avoid the stigma associated with that word American liberals have long called it “progressivism.”

Opposed to the socialist/progressive economic philosophy is that of economic liberty, which libertarians favor. It holds that there should be a complete separation of economy and the state, just as we have a separation of church and state. That would mean the right of people to freely engage in any economic activity, the right to freely enter into trades with people all over the world, the right to accumulate unlimited amounts of wealth, and the right to decide what to do with one’s own money — all without the permission, control, regulation, or interference of the government.

The New York Times recently carried an article that shows what happens when socialist/progressive principles are carried to their logical conclusion. The article began by describing three people in Cuba: A mother of two who goes door-to-door selling ribbons; an old man sells cookies and candies to people who knock on his door; a grandmother sells cheap rum in used beer cans.

Now here’s the kicker: “Such entrepreneurship is outlawed.”

Yes, outlawed! It’s illegal to engage in such economic enterprise in Cuba.

In fact, the job of block captains for Cuban neighborhoods is to report transgressions to the authorities, who are expected to arrest, prosecute, and punish people for engaging in such heinous activity.

But as the article points out, the activity “thrives nonetheless.” It’s what people do in a desperate attempt to survive the near-starvation conditions in which they live.

Several years ago, I visited Cuba. A Cuban citizen told me that block captains know that if they rat on their neighbors for engaging in economic enterprise, the neighbors will deal with him severely. So, the block captains keep their mouths shut.

Such illegality is the logical outcome of the socialist/progressive vision, the vision that President Obama and his liberal cohorts wish to continue foisting on our nation. What Castro has done in Cuba is simply carry the liberal economic vision to its logical conclusion. Castro didn’t just nationalize a few automobile and insurance companies, as President Obama has done, he nationalized everything. The government became the sole employer, and everyone supposedly was made equal by becoming a salaried employee of the state. The government provides “free” health care to everyone and “free” education to everyone’s children.

There was no more capitalist “exploitation” of workers because there were no more privately owned businesses to hire people. Everyone worked for the government. No one was permitted to become too wealthy because everyone’s salary was controlled by the state, the sole employer.

Entering into economic exchanges had to be made illegal because the socialist mindset holds that in every trade, there is a winner and a loser. Permitting people to enter into trades would permit some people to become wealthier than others by taking advantage of those with whom they are trading.

The government became the sole provider of everything, from health care, to education, to food, to employment, to retirement.

Cradle to grave security — the liberal/socialist/progressive dream.

That’s where Obama and his fellow liberals are leading America. That’s the end of their road. Oh, sure, they have to play the game in which they ardently deny that they are socialists and explain how they’re just using government ownership and control to save America’s “free enterprise” system. But step by step, their programs, and resulting economic crises, are leading our nation toward the logical economic outcome, as manifested in Cuba.

And what has been the result of all this in Cuba? Poverty. Severe poverty, as in near-starvation conditions. Oh, sure, liberals blame it all on the cruel and brutal embargo that the U.S. Empire has enforced for decades against the Cuban people. But they’re only half right because the embargo is only half the vise under which the Cuban people have been squeezed. The other half of the vise is Cuba’s socialist economic system, which would squeeze the lifeblood out of any society.

When Fidel Castro finally dies, it would not surprise me if the Cuban people were to rise up and demand economic liberty. In my conversations with ordinary Cubans, they expressed deep respect and admiration for Castro for having opposed the U.S. Empire’s longtime aim of controlling and managing their country, but at the same time they know that Castro’s socialist experiment has been a disaster for them.

In fact, one of the most surprising parts of my visit to Cuba was my encountering ordinary Cuban citizens who were knowledgeable and committed advocates of economic liberty. One of them even took me to his home, where he showed me his extensive collection of books, which included works by Milton Friedman, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, and many other free-market economists.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if the Cuban people were to suddenly move toward economic liberty while the American people were continuing to move toward socialism?

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Movement in the Right Direction in Terrorism Cases
by Jacob G. Hornberger

We libertarians just might be winning the battle over whether terrorism cases belong exclusively in federal court, as compared to a dual system in which the feds can, at their option, prosecute suspected terrorists in the Pentagon’s “judicial” system at Guantanamo Bay.

Keep in mind that the debate is not whether the constitutional system should be discontinued in terrorism cases. Since 9/11 the feds have used the constitutional system to indict and prosecute many people accused of terrorism, and they continue to do so. Instead, the debate is whether U.S. officials should be able to use an alternative system — that is, the Pentagon system — as an optional alternative to the federal court system.

Long-time supporters of FFF know that ever since the inception of the Guantanamo system, we have steadfastly opposed this dual judicial system, arguing that under our system of government, like it or not, people accused of federal crimes must and should be prosecuted in U.S. District Court. The Pentagon’s alternative judicial system, we have argued, is nothing more than an end-around of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, ironically by people who take an express oath to support and defend these documents.

Moreover, we have long argued that this dual, optional system for prosecuting suspected terrorists violates the rule of law and the principle of equal treatment under law.

As a reflection that things might be moving in the right direction, consider this excellent article published yesterday in the Detroit Free Press by two former U.S. Attorneys, who argue that the federal courts are the only proper venue for terrorism cases and who reject calls to turn the alleged would-be Detroit airline bomber over to the military. They write:

“As former U.S. Attorneys for the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan, we are confident in the ability of the federal justice system to handle the trial of Abdulmutallab and any other terrorism suspect. During our time at the U.S. Department of Justice, we never felt the need to stray from our traditional justice system to prosecute those responsible for heinous crimes. There is no need to start now.”

“Using indefinite detention and military commissions constitutes a troubling departure from our constitutional principles. As U.S. Attorneys, we took an oath to support and defend the Constitution and to protect the core values of our society. Critics of using our federal justice system to try terrorism suspects propose to simply cast aside our values in exchange for the appearance, but not the reality, of safety.”

Moreover, consider the following “Beyond Guantanamo: A Bipartisan Declaration (pdf),” which is signed by dozens of prominent people, many of whom are former federal officials, and many of whom are lawyers, which declares in part:

“Prosecutions for terrorism offenses can and should be handled by traditional federal courts, which operate under statutes and procedures that provide the tools necessary to try such complex cases. Moreover, the War Crimes Act explicitly gives federal courts jurisdiction to try certain war crimes.”

“We believe it is unconstitutional to detain indefinitely terrorism suspects in the United States without charge, either for the purposes of interrogation and intelligence-gathering or solely on the basis of suspected dangerousness. There are limited times when preventive detention, subject to required procedural protections, is appropriate in the context of armed conflict. However, the continued detention without charge of the detainees remaining in Guantanamo is not appropriate and is contrary to American values.”

In the fear-laden climate following the 9/11 attacks, the Bush-Cheney regime induced many Americans to surrender the rights and guarantees in the Constitution and Bill of Rights by supporting an optional, Constitution-free military “judicial” system in Cuba. As our Founding Fathers understood so well and as Americans have now discovered, those who trade freedom for safety get neither freedom nor safety.

Fortunately, public opinion might now be trending in the opposite direction — one in which Americans demand restoration of their rights and freedoms in the Bill of Rights.

Best of all, of course, would be a movement toward ending the U.S. government’s wrongful actions overseas, which stir up so much anger for our country, which inevitably manifests itself in the form of terrorist attacks, which U.S. officials then use as an excuse for suspending our rights and freedoms and for expanding the ever-growing budgets of those operating in the military-industrial complex.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Two Critically Important Debates
by Jacob G. Hornberger

Two of the most important debates facing the American people involve two particular issues, one in domestic policy and one in foreign policy. Both debates are critically important because they entail diagnosing two major woes that are facing our country and arriving at correct solutions to resolve the problems.

The domestic debate, which I and many other libertarians have addressed several times in the past, involves the question of what has caused America’s economic woes.

One side — the statist side — claims that the problem lies in freedom and free enterprise.

The other side — the libertarian side — contends that our nation’s economic woes lies in the failure of the welfare-state, regulated-economy way of life that America has embraced since at least the 1930s.

The different diagnoses lead to two completely different solutions.

The statists say that since the problem is rooted in too much economic freedom and not enough regulation, the solution is to establish more government control over economic activity.

The libertarians say that since the problem is rooted in socialism and interventionism, the solution is to dismantle the welfare-state and regulatory programs (and the taxation funding them) and let genuine economic liberty reign.

The foreign policy debate involves the issue of what motivates people of Muslim faith to commit terrorist acts against the United States.

One side — the imperialist side — says that people of Muslim faith are motivated by hatred for America’s “freedom and values” and by religious principles in the Koran.

The other side — the libertarian side — holds that people of Muslim faith are motivated by anger over bad things that the U.S. government has done to Muslim people over the past several decades.

The imperialists say that since Muslims are set on killing Americans because of religious and cultural reasons, the U.S. government must send its military and paramilitary forces abroad to kill Islamic extremists before they make it to the United States and kill Americans.

The libertarians say that that’s crazy, not only because it is what fuels the anger and hatred in the first place, but also because it’s the sure-fire way to push ordinary Muslims into the arms of the extremists.

Over the weekend, there were two interesting videos posted on the Internet regarding motivation. One showed White House correspondent Helen Thomas asking a question at a White House briefing on the Detroit airline bomb incident. The other video showed the wife of the suicide bomber who killed several CIA agents in Afghanistan.

Thomas created significant discomfort within White House personnel by asking the question that no other White House correspondent dares ask: What is it that motivates the terrorists? When she pressed the question, you could almost sense the feeling of irritability in John Brennan, deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, as he delivered the stock answer of the imperialists — that it’s all because the terrorists are motivated by a warped interpretation of Islam and just want to wreak death and destruction on Americans..

In other words, according to Brennan, anger against the United States in the Middle East has nothing to do with all the imperialist and interventionist actions that the U.S. government has been taking in that part of the world, and in Afghanistan, for the past several decades — the coups, assassinations, sanctions, embargoes, torture, support of brutal and corrupt dictatorships, rendition, torture, kidnappings, U.S. troops on Muslim holy lands, military invasions, occupations, no-fly zones, official indifference to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children from the sanctions, unconditional military and financial support of the Israeli government, and so forth. Presumably, Brennan would argue, with a straight face, that all that death, maiming, harm, humiliation, and destruction could not possibly be a factor in how people in that part of the world feel about America.

Yet, the other videotape that surfaced over the weekend — that of the wife of the suicide bomber who killed those CIA agents in Afghanistan — contradicts Brennan’s claim about motive. She says, “He was very disturbed. For example he was outraged over news that our sisters were raped at Abu Ghraib. He was constantly expressing his anger about the invasion of Muslim lands…. I think the war against America must goes on. We must oppose it as he tries to put the entire world under its sovereignty.”

The woman’s sentiments are no different from those expressed by the suicide bomber’s father, who told the New York Times: “Fighting the arrogant, unjust, haughty and tyrant American who kills civilians and innocent people makes the whole Islamic world hate America.”

Indeed, the suicide bomber himself left a video in which he stated that his attack was carried out in revenge for the 2009 [CIA] killing of the Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud.

While we’re on the subject of motive, perhaps we should ask two questions: (1) What is that motivates U.S. statists to blame America’s economic woes on “freedom and free enterprise” rather than on America’s 70-year experiment with welfare-statism and regulation. And (2) what is it that motivates U.S. imperialists to blame America’s foreign-policy woes on Muslims’ hatred for America’s cultural and religious values rather than on U.S. foreign policy?

It seems to me that the answer to those two questions is the same: If enough Americans figure out that we libertarians are right, the days of socialism, interventionism, and imperialism in America might well be numbered.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Conservative Hatred for America
by Jacob G. Hornberger

The alleged attempt by that passenger to explode a bomb on that flight to Detroit confirms how much conservatives hate America. Oh, I’m not saying that conservatives don’t love their federal government. Of course they do. Everyone knows that. But that’s the problem. In the process of loving their government, they have a deeply seated antipathy against our country.

Think about angry conservatives get when anyone criticizes the federal government, especially in its operations overseas. Their reaction is always something along these lines: “I can’t understand why these critics hate their country. If they don’t like it here, why don’t they just leave it”? Since conservatives conflate the government and the country, they cannot fathom a mindset that not only separates the two but actually places the country over and above the government.

Or consider conservative outrage over flag-burning, which entails the fundamental right of people to do whatever they want to their own property (it’s their flag) and the fundamental right to protest. The reason that conservatives get outraged over such conduct is that they view the flag as emblematic of the federal government. After all, have you ever seen a conservative get angry or outraged over the burning of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights? Of course not, because conservatives think that burning things that express a distrust of government to be no big deal.

Now, a clarification is in order here. Actually, it’s not so much that conservatives love the entire federal government, it’s actually that they love the executive branch — that is, the ruler branch — the branch that dictates, orders, controls, invades, occupies, sanctions, embargoes, jails, tortures, fines, etc. — the branch that has the president, the military, the CIA, the DEA, the IRS, the bureaucrats, and the other people who employ force against others.

It’s in the executive branch of the federal government that conservatives place their faith and their trust. Thus, not surprisingly, they deeply resent not only criticism of the president, the troops, the CIA, and the other bureaucracies of the executive branch, but also criticism of restrictions on the power of such people.

It would be difficult to find a better example of conservative disdain for America and her founding documents — the Constitution and the Bill of Rights — than the Detroit bomb incident.

Under our system of justice, the man is presumed innocent of the crime that he is being accused of. What he is accused of is, in fact, a federal criminal offense, which is why a federal grand jury has already returned an indictment against him.

The presumption of innocence operates all the way until he is found guilty by a jury or judge in a trial.

And a trial is required before the man can be punished.

At that trial, he is entitled to an attorney to cross-examine witnesses, present witnesses, and make arguments on his behalf.

The judge at the trial is required to suppress or exclude illegally acquired evidence or incompetent evidence, even if that results in the freedom of the man.

Moreover, if the man is acquitted, the judge must release him, even if the prosecutors and everyone else is convinced that he really did commit the offense.

Like it or not, that’s our system of justice. That’s the system that our ancestors bequeathed to us in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Unfortunately, conservatives hate it, in large part because it serves as a restriction on the power of the president and the bureaucrats in the executive branch of government — the part of the government that they love. In their minds, the president, the prosecutors, the military, the CIA, and the bureaucracies should be given unfettered authority to do whatever they think is right for the country, and we should just place our faith in them. For conservatives, distrust of the president and his cohorts — the distrust implied in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights — is akin to heresy or even treason.

Consider why conservatives established their prison camp and military-tribunal system in Cuba rather than the United States. It wasn’t because they felt that terrorism wasn’t a federal criminal offense. That terrorism is a federal criminal offense is an undeniable fact. It is a federal criminal offense. That’s why people are indicted by federal grand juries for terrorism. It’s listed in the U.S. Code as a federal crime. No one can deny that.

So, conservatives established their prison camp and new-fangled military judicial system in Cuba not because they felt that terrorism was an act of war rather than a crime, it’s because they didn’t want federal officials to have to jack with the rights and guarantees in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights when going after people they were convinced were guilty of the crime of terrorism.

After all, don’t forget that the Pentagon isn’t treating its inmates at Guantanamo as warriors. It is, in fact, prosecuting them for the crime of terrorism. That’s what the military tribunals are all about. Their purpose is to provide a forum where accused terrorists can be brought to trial, albeit in a different manner than those indicted in the federal courts. The difference is that it’s the military doing the prosecuting before military tribunals rather than U.S. Attorneys doing so in U.S. District Courts.

Why Cuba? Because conservatives were sure that their camp and judicial system at Guantanamo Bay would be a Constitution-free zone, one in which the military could run a judicial system that punished terrorists without having to concern itself with what conservatives consider are the technical inanities in the Bill of Rights.

What better proof of conservative hatred for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights — and for America — than that?

The conservative dream at Guantanamo was omnipotent government, one in which there would be no restrictions whatsoever on the president, the military, and the CIA, to punish people who were accused of the federal crime of terrorism. It is a dream that conservatives have longed for here in the United States, especially in their decades-long war on drugs, where they have succeeded in carving out countless exceptions to the rights and guarantees in the Bill of Rights.

Look at how conservatives have responded to the grand-jury indictment of the Detroit suspect. They think it’s outrageous. After all, he’s obviously guilty, right? Everyone knows that he had explosive liquids on him, right? He tried to ignite the bomb, right? He confessed, or did he, and who cares anyway?

Who needs a stinking trial? String him up and hang him now.

But there’s just one big problem: Like it or not, that’s not our system of justice. That’s the system of justice in Burma, Cuba, or China. Here, no matter how convinced people are of the guilt of an accused, the government must nonetheless still go through the process of formally charging the person, prosecuting him, and securing a conviction with competent evidence that convinces a jury or judge beyond a reasonable doubt that the person truly has committed the offense. And that includes, by the way, bringing a chemist to trial to testify under oath that the liquid on the man was, in fact, an explosive material rather than water.

But conservatives don’t like it. They, in fact, hate it. “Turn him over to the military! Torture him into talking! Put him before a military tribunal and then execute him!” Just like they used to do in the Soviet Union.

Have you ever noticed how much conservatives resent libertarians? It’s partly because of the following fundamental differences that separate us:

Conservatives love the government and place their faith in it, causing them to hate restrictions on the government, such as those in the Bill of Rights, and to condemn people who criticize the government.

Libertarians, on other hand, love liberty and distrust the government, which causes them to support and defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and oftentimes induces them to defend the country against the government.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Conservatives Are Wrong on Guantánamo
by Jacob G. Hornberger

Conservatives are using the Detroit terrorist incident to demand that President Obama stop releasing prisoners from Guantánamo, especially those set to be released in Yemen. They’re also pointing to the fact that some of the prisoners the Pentagon has released in Yemen have joined the ranks of anti-American terrorists.

Eight years ago, the Pentagon began taking into custody people around the world it suspected of being terrorists and transporting them to its prison camp at Guantánamo, where they have been incarcerated without trial and tortured and abused.

Why Cuba? Because the Pentagon felt that by setting up its prison camp and judicial system in Cuba, rather than the United States, it would be free of any constraints of the Constitution and any interference by U.S. federal courts. (Yes, that is the same Constitution that Pentagon officials purportedly promise to support and defend.)

But the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately held that the Pentagon’s Cuba camp was not a Constitution-free zone after all and that U.S. federal courts had jurisdiction over its operations. It allowed the Pentagon’s prisoners to file habeas corpus proceedings, whereby the Pentagon would be required to show cause why it is holding the prisoner.

At this point, the Pentagon had three options:

(1) It could charge and prosecute the prisoner for terrorism in its kangaroo military-tribunal system.

(2) It could transfer the prisoner to the United States for trial in U.S. district court.

(3) It could release the prisoner.

It is important to note here that no one has forced the Pentagon to employ Option 3. If it had wanted, it could have employed Options (1) or (2).

But the Pentagon, on its own volition, chose to exercise Option 3 on a number of the prisoners it had arrested, incarcerated, tortured, and abused for some 8 years.

Why would it do that? Why wouldn’t the Pentagon have at least chosen Option 1, where it would have been fairly easy to secure a criminal conviction in the Pentagon’s kangaroo-court system?

There can be only one possible answer: The Pentagon had no evidence whatsoever that the released prisoners were guilty of terrorism. All the Pentagon had was its hunches and suspicions or evidence so ludicrous that it wouldn’t even convince a kangaroo military tribunal.

That suggests that some of the prisoners at Guantánamo have been entirely innocent of any terrorism whatsoever — innocent people swept up in a vicious, evil system, one in which there are no legitimate trials by which guilt or innocence can be established.

Consider, after all, what the purpose of a trial is: to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to support a finding, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a person really is guilty of the offense that he’s accused of.

Does the government wrongfully accuse people of crimes? Of course. No one can deny that. Every month, there are verdicts of acquittal in federal criminal prosecutions. By their verdict of acquittal, the jury is either saying that the person accused of the crime is innocent or that the government failed to produce enough evidence to support a finding of guilt.

When conservatives point to the fact that released Gitmo prisoners are joining the terrorists, they automatically assume that the released prisoners were, in fact, guilty of terrorism. What they miss in all this is that the Gitmo experience itself would be enough to drive innocent people to join the ranks of those who wish to retaliate against the United States.

In fact, it’s that possibility that is now motivating conservatives to demand that no more prisoners be released from Guantánamo, including any innocent ones. The idea is this: “Sure, they’re innocent. But they’re so angry now over what we’ve done to them that we can’t afford to release them because they’ll come back and retaliate against us for what we did to them.”

But conservatives are wrong. Anyone accused of terrorism or any other federal crime deserves to be charged and prosecuted in U.S. district court or released. If he’s acquitted, he deserves to be released, no matter how convinced prosecutors are that the jury was wrong. That’s what America’s constitutional judicial system is all about. That’s the system bequeathed to us by the Framers. It is a system in which we should take great pride.

As we have argued here at FFF from the inception, the Pentagon’s Guantánamo prison camp and kangaroo-justice system should never have been established and should be shut down immediately. The Pentagon has caused enough damage to Americans, to foreigners, and to our system of constitutional justice. And continuing to hold innocent people without trial out of fear that they might strike back out of anger and revenge for what has been done to them is inconsistent with basic principles of morality and justice.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Dual System of Justice Violates the Rule of Law
by Jacob G. Hornberger

Conservatives are once again on the rampage, this time with respect to the alleged Detroit bomber. They’re saying that he should be treated as an enemy combatant rather than prosecuted as a criminal defendant. Ironically, as they criticize President Obama’s decision to treat the alleged bomber as a criminal defendant, they block out their minds that conservative icons George W. Bush and Dick Cheney treated Zacharias Moussaoui, Jose Padilla, John Walker Lindh, and many other accused terrorists as criminal defendants.

More ironic, however, is the fact that conservatives purport to be ardent and enthusiastic defenders of the concept known as the “rule of law.” Go to any conservative conference in the country. Listen to the speeches. You will inevitably hear, at least once, some conservative expressing devotion to “the rule of law.”

Why is that ironic? Because it would be difficult to find a better example of a violation of the rule of law than the dual system of justice for prosecuting suspected terrorists than that which was adopted by the Bush administration and now embraced by the Obama administration.

What is meant by the term “the rule of law”? Some people think that it means that people should obey the law. Not so. What it means is that people in a society should have to answer to a well-defined law rather than to the arbitrary, ad hoc edicts of government officials.

Suppose, for example, there is a natural disaster and ice producers begin charging people $100 for a bag of ice, when the going rate before the disaster was $10 a bag. Local officials fine the seller for price-gouging, notwithstanding the fact that there was no law prohibiting him from selling at whatever price he wanted, natural disaster or not.

That would constitute a violation of the rule of law. Why? The man is having to answer to an arbitrary, ad hoc decision of a government official, rather than to a well-defined law, for his conduct.

Now, suppose the law states: “No person shall charge more for his product during a natural disaster than he was charging before the disaster.”

That would comply with the rule of law because now people can look to the law for guidance on what is legal and illegal. They don’t have to worry about whether they’re going to be fined or punished for engaging in conduct that doesn’t violate the law.

It should be clear that while the rule of law is an essential prerequisite for a free society, it is not a sufficient prerequisite. For example, in our natural disaster example, a price-control law would meet the standard of the rule of law but would nonetheless violate the principles of economic liberty.

Everyone concedes that terrorism is a federal criminal offense. It’s listed on the federal statute books as a crime. The government indicts and prosecutes people for terrorism. They’re tried in federal district court. When they’re convicted, a federal judge sends them to jail.

The problem is that after 9/11, the government set up a competing judicial system for handling people it accused of terrorism. This system was established by the Pentagon and was designed to compete against the federal-court system.

The difference between these two competing judicial systems is white and black.

The federal-court system — the one that the Constitution set up for trying accused criminals — has all the protections of the Bill of Rights. Its purpose is to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to convict a person of terrorism and, if so, to punish him for his crime. In the event of an acquittal, this system requires the person to be released from custody, no matter how convinced people are that he really did commit the crime.

The Pentagon’s system is the opposite. Its principles involve such things as a presumption of guilt, torture of the accused, kangaroo military tribunals, indefinite incarceration, no protection against self-incrimination, secret evidence, and the use of hearsay. The Pentagon’s system is designed for one purpose: punishment of whoever the government accuses of terrorism.

Does the person accused of terrorism get to choose which system he’ll be prosecuted under? No. That life-changing decision is left entirely to the government. And it is entirely discretionary and arbitrary. How can such a dual system, based entirely on the discretionary, arbitrary, ad hoc decisions of government officials be reconciled with the principle known as the rule of law? It can’t be.

To put the matter more starkly, suppose, for example, that there were two people on the Detroit flight working in concert to blow up the plane. Under the current post-9/11 system, U.S. officials could treat one of them as a federal-court defendant and the other as a Pentagon defendant, notwithstanding the fact that they are accused of the exact same crime and notwithstanding the fact that the two processes, and thus the results, are so different.

With the Constitution, the Framers established the finest judicial system in history, one that is subject to the Bill of Rights, whose principles stretch back through centuries of American and English history. The competing system established by the Pentagon after 9/11 is a travesty and a shame. Not only does it violate the rule of law, it also violates fundamental principles of justice and liberty and centuries of English and American jurisprudence.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Trade Wars and U.S. Foreign Policy
by Jacob G. Hornberger

For those who think that the U.S. Empire is good, holy, sacrosanct, and above reproach when dealing with foreigners, here is a little bit of reality for you.

Last September the Obama administration suddenly imposed an enormous 35 percent import fee on tires imported from China. The fee was apparently a sop that President Obama was paying to U.S. labor unions in payment for their help in the presidential election.

Among the people who pay the price for this post-election payoff are American consumers. They are now denied the opportunity of purchasing low-priced tires from China.

Equally obvious, however, is the adverse effect on Chinese tire-makers, who face a tremendous falloff in sales as result of the political increase in the price that Americans must now pay for Chinese tires.

Not surprisingly, the Chinese government didn’t take the matter lying down. Two days after Obama’s action, China threatened retaliation against “predatory dumping” of U.S. chicken products and auto parts. In October, China hit the United States with duties reaching 36 percent on certain nylon products.

Obama’s people then retaliated against the Chinese retaliation by imposing anti-dumping duties on Chinese steel pipe, and threatened duties on other Chinese imports.

One day later, the Chinese threatened import duties on the American automobile industry, the pride and joy of Obama’s socialist bailout scheme. China also imposed tariffs ranging from 5 to 35 percent on industrial acid used to produce nylons and medicine.

Who started this trade war?

Well, any ordinary person would say that the U.S. government started it with President Obama’s apparent payoff to U.S. labor unions in the form of steep import duties on Chinese tires.

But there’s an obvious problem with that conclusion, at least from the standpoint of U.S. officials: it involves blaming the U.S. government for doing something bad to foreigners. And that’s a super no-no in the eyes of officials of the U.S. Empire.

You see, in the minds of Empire officials, the Chinese government bears all the blame for the trade war. Why? Because when the U.S. government imposed the import duty on Chinese tires, the Chinese government should simply have meekly submitted and not retaliated. In the minds of Empire officials, that’s what foreigners are supposed to do. Empires dictate and rule, and subjects are supposed to fall into line.

(Of course, the best thing China could have done economically, especially for its own citizens, was not to retaliate with protective tariffs, but let’s leave that point aside.)

The trade dispute with China is also the way the Empire works in other areas of foreign policy, including its assassinations, coups, sanctions, embargoes, orders, edicts, invasions, occupations, torture, and so forth. When the Empire does these types of things to foreigners, they are expected to meekly accept what has been done to them and move on. They are not expected to retaliate and if they do retaliate, they are hit with severe and overwhelming retaliation at the hands of U.S. officials. And as the retaliations increase on both sides, Empire officials exhort the American citizenry to support their government in its efforts to extinguish the “bad guys,” i.e., those who had the temerity to object to the bad things the Empire did to them in the first place.

Traditionally, the Empire issues its dictates and edicts against weaker countries, that is, those that lack the means to retaliate effectively against the Empire. Despite China’s growing economy, the probability is that the trade war between the U.S. and China will hurt the latter much more than the former. However, that ignores one crucial element: the Chinese government is now the U.S. government’s largest foreign creditor, having been one of the principal funders of the Empire’s invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s never wise to antagonize someone you owe lots of money to.

If the Chinese decide to play rough, they might well decide to simply take their lumps and suddenly dump all their holdings of U.S. debt instruments onto the market, an event whose adverse consequences for America would be impossible to calculate. In fact, immediately after the tire-import fee that Obama imposed, Chinese citizens on the Internet were calling on their government to start dumping its enormous holdings of U.S. Treasury bonds.

When will the American people finally come to realize what the Framers realized: that the major threat to their freedom and well-being lies with their very own federal government, not only with its socialist and interventionist policies at home but also its imperial and interventionist policies abroad?

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Tyranny and Gun Control
by Jacob G. Hornberger

Over the years, I’ve had conversations with Europeans about gun control. Not surprisingly, they have been very critical of America’s “gun culture” — that is, the widespread ownership of guns among the American people. They have extolled the situation in Europe, where gun-control laws preclude people from freely owning guns, arguing that such laws make for a more peaceful society.

My response to such Europeans has included the following: The big advantage we have over you is what happens if a tyrannical regime ever takes power. Except for Switzerland, where most families are well-armed with assault rifles and handguns, Europeans have but one choice when faced with the rise of a tyrannical regime: submit and obey or be killed. Americans, at least, have one final choice — resist with guns.

Let’s assume, for example, that a regime assumes power in a European country that will not permit elections, abolishes civil liberties, takes command and control over the economy, and begins rounding up and incarcerating, torturing, raping, and killing dissidents and critics without a trial. Given that the troops who are enforcing the regime’s orders will be the only ones in society who have guns, the citizenry will inevitably shut their mouths or, even worse, become ardent and enthusiastic supporters of the regime.

A good example, of course, was Nazi Germany, where German Jews lacked the means to resist their round-ups and incarceration with force and where ordinary Germans, also lacking the means to resist what was going on, kept silent or became government supporters.

We’re seeing a good example of a modern-day tyrannical regime in Iran. There, the elections are crooked and the government is using its troops and police to arrest dissidents, protestors, and critics. After taking such “enemies of society” into custody, some of the troops are then raping and torturing some of the prisoners. The troops and police are sometimes shooting protestors in cold blood on the streets or executing them in custody. No legitimate trials are being accorded the suspects and any such trials would be of a kangaroo nature anyway.

The Iranian people have an interesting choice — submit and obey, or resist and be raped, tortured, or killed. Because there is no widespread ownership of guns, they are precluded from shooting back at the troops and police when they’re fired upon or when the troops or police come to cart them away for indefinite incarceration, torture, rape, or execution.

Of course, there are many American gun-control types who say, “Well, that sort of thing could happen in Iran or Europe or elsewhere, but it could never happen here in the United States.”

That position, needless to say, is the height of naïveté. Anything is possible. Human nature is human nature. There’s nothing special about American human beings as compared to other human beings. There will always be those in every society, including the United States, who thirst for power over the lives of other human beings and who are all-too-ready to convince themselves that the assumption of omnipotent, tyrannical power is necessary to save the nation. And there will always be those who are ready and willing to loyally obey orders, especially when their superiors tell them that what they’re doing is saving the nation.

Likely? Of course not. America’s long tradition of democracy and due process makes the likelihood of a tyrannical regime assuming power, say in a coup, extremely unlikely.

But not impossible.

And that’s where the right to keep and bear arms comes into play. It’s the insurance policy that Americans have in the unlikely event that would-be American tyrants were ever to assume power in our country, prohibiting elections, rounding up dissidents and critics, torturing and raping them, and executing them without due process of law.

In fact, the right to keep and bears arms actually serves as more than an insurance policy, it also serves as a deterrent. For when would-be tyrants know that the citizenry is well-armed, they think twice about imposing tyranny.

In the case of Silveira v. Lockyer, Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski summed up the importance of the right to keep and bear arms:

The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed — where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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.