Friday, December 24, 2010

Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus.

In the spirit of the season, I'm republishing a classic from the New York Sun editorial in 1897 titled, "Yes Virginia There is a Santa Claus." From the editorial staff at The Liberty Index, we wish everyone a Marry Christmas and a Happy New Years. This is "The Liberty Index" signing off for the Holidays.
"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

"VIRGINIA O'HANLON.
"115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET."

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Are we a Nation of Sheep?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Libertarian Party Press Release

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Government officials afraid of a full-body scan of their words should resign, says LP Chair


WASHINGTON - While Democratic and Republican politicians outdo each other with calls for the prosecution and even execution of Bradley Manning and Julian Assange for providing information to various news media, Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle says that free speech and freedom of the press must be supported unconditionally. Hinkle released the following statement today:

"In 1787, as the U.S. Constitution was being written, Thomas Jefferson wrote, 'Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.' His recognition of the critical need for a free press led him and others to demand a Bill of Rights, where freedom of speech and freedom of the press were listed in the very first amendment to the Constitution.

"In 2010, Democratic and Republican politicians alike are trying to destroy this precious liberty. The Obama Administration, which has already invoked the 'state secrets' claim in court more than any administration in history, has arrested Army Private Bradley Manning, alleging that he copied and leaked various documents, and is holding him in solitary confinement pending a military trial. Meanwhile, Republican presidential hopefuls are falling over themselves seeing who can sound the toughest. Mike Huckabee says that anything less than execution of the leaker is too kind. Newt Gingrich wants Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, declared an 'enemy combatant' so that he can be denied all due process. And Sarah Palin wants Assange hunted down like Osama bin Laden (perhaps missing the irony that bin Laden has not been caught).

"Even more ominously, companies which provided various services to WikiLeaks suddenly decided to end their relationship after receiving pressure from Washington. Amazon, PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard all suddenly felt that the activities of WikiLeaks, well-known to them for years, were illegal, absent any actual charges being filed for the violation of any law. When government officials start pressuring businesses in order to silence critics, tyranny isn't far off.
"Publishing documents provided by a government agent is not a crime. Embarrassing public officials is not a crime. Regardless of the degree to which the released documents are helpful or harmful, Assange and WikiLeaks are exercising their rights, and American politicians and government agents should stop threatening and harassing them.

"Freedom of the press is not a luxury, and the prospect of a government able to silence dissent and prevent the press from communicating unfavorable information about the behavior of government employees should frighten anyone who loves liberty. It is understandable that government officials who are lying to the public and covering up misdeeds want to keep their actions secret, just as a criminal doesn't want the police to find out about his crime. As Steven Greenhut of the Pacific Research Institute notes, 'If it weren't for anonymous sources and leaked information, the journalism business would serve as a press-release service for officialdom.'

"Private Manning deserves the presumption of innocence, due process, a speedy and fair trial, and decent treatment while in prison. If Manning revealed information which did not damage national security or result in harm to others, but instead revealed evidence of incompetence, corruption, or other illegal activities, then he should be able to raise that as a defense at any trial. Just as when Daniel Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers in 1971 and had his subsequent prosecution dismissed by the courts, an important principle is that information which is being kept secret to protect wrongdoing is not in fact legally and properly classified. A jury should be able to judge both the facts and the law, and to acquit Manning if the jury finds his actions to be justified.

"Two years ago, candidate Barack Obama praised the long tradition of information leaks by defending those who revealed Bush-era covert actions. 'We only know these crimes took place because insiders blew the whistle at great personal risk.... Government whistle-blowers are part of a healthy democracy and must be protected from reprisal.' Obama appears to have forgotten this statement, just as he has forgotten many other statements and promises he made while campaigning.

"Only a month ago, we were told by the Transportation Safety Administration that they should have the power to strip or grope us if we want to exercise our right of travel. In my view, any government official too embarrassed to handle a full-body scan of their words and actions should resign."

The Libertarian Party platform includes the following:

1.1 Expression and Communication. We support full freedom of expression and oppose government censorship, regulation or control of communications media and technology.

1.5 Crime and Justice. Government exists to protect the rights of every individual including life, liberty and property. Criminal laws should be limited to violation of the rights of others through force or fraud, or deliberate actions that place others involuntarily at significant risk of harm. Individuals retain the right to voluntarily assume risk of harm to them selves. We support restitution of the victim to the fullest degree possible at the expense of the criminal or the negligent wrongdoer. We oppose reduction of constitutional safeguards of the rights of the criminally accused. The rights of due process, a speedy trial, legal counsel, trial by jury, and the legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty, must not be denied. We assert the common-law right of juries to judge not only the facts but also the justice of the law.

For more information, or to arrange an interview, call LP Executive Director Wes Benedict at 202-333-0008 ext. 222.

The LP is America's third-largest political party, founded in 1971. The Libertarian Party stands for free markets, civil liberties, and peace. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party at our website.

###

Sparks Vs The TSA

Warning Strong Language

This is a very funny video regarding the TSA enhanced pat downs and their Advanced Imaging Technology Machines (aka "porn scanners").

Monday, December 20, 2010

News Roundup, 12-20-2010

Here is a list of News Stories making the rounds in the last few days.
  • North Korea backs down on their threat to retaliate against South Korea for Military Drills. link
  • Obama delays his vacation in a last-minute effort to get the START treaty pass. link
  • In what will eventually become a historic vote, the Senate by a 65-31 margin, repeals the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that has been in place since the Clinton era. link
  • Bank of America is the latest bank/corporation to censor WikiLeaks. link


Video: "DADT Through the Scope of a Soldier" by Fox News

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Michael Badnarik Constittuion Class (Part 1 of 43)

The Abuse of the Commerce Clause.

Today, the general meaning of the "Commerce Clause" in our Constitution is nothing like what our founding fathers intended it to be. The clause has been expanded way beyond the original meaning and abused to the extent of no return.
[The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;
When our Founding Father's framed these words into Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3, of our Constitution they never meant or intended to give Congress a "blank check" on power. What they did intend, was to correct a injustice discovered in the "Articles of Confederation". Under these Articles, States would start trade wars and impose heavy and often times burdensome import duties/taxes. This is best described below.
"...New York attempted to break up the trade of Connecticut and New Jersey by imposing heavy duties on every vessel entering from those States. Delaware and New Jersey attempted to attract the foreign trade of Pennsylvania and New York by offering lower import duties. Massachusetts and Rhode Island placed prohibitive duties on imports via British ships while Connecticut admitted such imports free, seeking a monopoly of domestic trade in British products." - Frederalist Blog
So our Founding Father's wrote the Commerce Clause to protect and normalize trade betwen States and Foreign Nations. They also, certainly never meant for the Supreme Court to decide Wickard v. Filburn in the manner that they did. This is probably one of the worst decisions handed down by the Supreme Court in the last century.

Video: "How the Commerce Clause Made Congress All-Powerful" by Reason Tv.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Here's To You Mr. Jefferson!

This video was produced by Mike Church:

Ron Paul: US Government is more dangerous than Wikileaks.



I like it when the reporter rudely interrupted, Ron Paul and said "US Government has not claimed responsibility for that" referring to the fact that Amazon, Paypal, Visa/Mastercard, all has taken adverse actions against Wikileaks. Well, I think we all know that these actions were taken only after intense pressure from the United States Government. According to a UK website, The Guardian, Paypal even hinted at the fact that they suspended Wikileaks account only after the Government told Paypal that "Wikileaks was involved in illegal activities".
PayPal's vice-president of platform, Osama Bedier, told an internet conference the site had decided to freeze WikiLeaks' account on 4 December after government representatives said it was engaged in illegal activity. "On November 27th, the state department, the US government basically, wrote a letter saying that the WikiLeaks' activities were deemed illegal in the United States and as a result our policy group had to make the decision of suspending the account," Bedier said. He added: "We ... comply with regulations around the world, making sure that we protect our brand."
The link to the full article from The Guardian website.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Death to Obamacare?

Yesterday, Virginia Judge Henry Hudson dealt a major blow to the Health Care law. Judge Hudson, declared a critical aspect of the law, the "individual mandate", unconstitutional. Major portions of the funding was through the mandate, without this critical aspect, the law barely can stand on it's own two feet. This is the reason why the ruling is so vital, despite the fact, it's only one portion of the law. However, this is a minor victory in the fight against Obamacare, because the DOJ is going to appeal the ruling to the Appellate Court and then more appeals to the Supreme Court.

Judge Henry Hudson states in his ruling:
"The unchecked expansion of congressional powers to the limits suggested by the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision would invite unbridled excercise of federal police powers."

"On careful review, this Court must conclude that section 1501 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act---specifically the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision---exceeds the constitutional boundaries of congressional power."
Fox News article on the ruling

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Rep. Connie Mack and Ron Paul are Patriots!

In stead of standing with the rest of the spineless Republicans, two brave souls decided to defend Wikileaks and protect the First Amendment. So I wanted to honor these brave souls and call them Patriots. They did the right and moral thing to do, defended our Constitution.

Rep. Connie Mack on Freedom Watch defending Wikileaks:



Rep. Ron Paul defends Wikileaks on the House Floor:

TSA and Kilt Wearing

In a symbolic move to protest the AIT scanners and the new "enhanced" pat downs, one man decided to stand up for freedom. SubliminalPanda, decided to a wear kilt to the airport, and no self-respecting kilt wearer would even dare to have boxer shorts underneath, right? So he went commando! Here is an excerpt from his blog 
Officer Gill met me at the patdown area—a glass-enclosed area to the left of the AIT. There were the usual chairs and mat with the paired footprints in the middle of them. I dutifully assumed the position as he introduced himself. I wondered if I was getting a corsage? Candy? Maybe just a little dirty talk first? Gill was a kid—he couldn’t have been more than twenty-three years old. He sheepishly and nervously admitted that he was new to the TSA and that I was his first patdown. Poor bastard, losing his virginity to a middle aged fat man in a kilt.

The enhanced patdown is very much like a consensual rape. The screener asks before touching each body part with the back of his hand. “I’m going to put my hand between your beltline and belly, is that okay?” Obviously, the only correct answer here was yes. I could have said no, but that meant that I’d be hitch hiking to Chicago…if I wasn’t arrested and charged with a fine. So Officer Gill starts with my backside, then chest and belly. After that, I stretched my arms out, and we finished the upper body. He then took a courageous breath and steeled his reserve, asking me to step forward with my left foot. This was it…

Gen X’ers, remember the old commercials for Milton Bradley’s Operation game? In the game, players take turns using metal tongs to remove plastic pieces from an electrified board with the shape of a man on it. If the tongs touch metal surrounding the piece’s cutout, the board makes a loud buzzing noise and the patient’s nose glows with a red light. “Don’t touch the sides!” warns one of the kids in the commercial. That’s the enhanced patdown, essentially.

With blue latex gloves on, the backside of Gill’s hand caressed my ankles and calf. The hand moved up my knee and vanished along my inner thigh, under the kilt...

Buddafingahs!

Had I a light bulb for a nose, it would have glowed.
I find this quite amusing! 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Liberty Index - Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
"First they went after the Communists, and I did not stand up, because I was not a Communist.
 

Then they went after the homosexuals and infirm, and I did not stand up because I was neither.
 

Then they went after the Jews, and I did not stand up, because I was not a Jew.
 

Then they went after the Catholics, and I did not stand up, because I was 
Protestant.
 

Finally, they went after me, and there was no one left to stand up for me. "
 
~Pastor Martin Neimoller, speaking of whom the Nazis targeted during World War Two

Newt Gingrich Supports Censorship.

Newt Gingrich on the Friday, December 3rd show of Freedom Watch with Judge Napolitano basically supported censorship. He states that Assange is, "an active enemy combatant, engaging in information warfare." Mr Gingrich also goes on to state that the leaked cables are "not in the Public Interest", and that the New York Times, who also published the same leaked cables should not be punished because "Wikileaks is a different kind of organization with a open and stated goal of undermining the United States." Interesting, I can't find that "Stated Goal" anywhere on the Wikileaks website? In fact, they stated the following as their goal.
"WikiLeaks is a not-for-profit media organization. Our goal is to bring important news and information to the public. We provide an innovative, secure and anonymous way for sources to leak information to our journalists (our electronic drop box). One of our most important activities is to publish original source material alongside our news stories so readers and historians alike can see evidence of the truth...."
In closing, Former Rep. Newt Gingrich said that the "The NSA should close down the site and keep it close down. Every time they opened it under a new name, they should close it down again." I'm sadden by the fact that so many people, even ones who swore to uphold the Constitution are so quick to judge Wikileaks and demand the site to be shut down, this is plain and simple Censorship. Here is the Video, so you can watch it yourself.



I leave you now with a quote from Thomas Paine, and I hope politicians around the country will take this to heart.
"He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." ~Thomas Paine

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

First Amendment Quotes

Since the whole Wikileaks Controversy has come about, it seems to me that people have either conveniently ignored or have totally forgotten the purpose of the First Amendment. So I have gather some quotes to help shed some light on it's original purpose and function. The quotes deals specifically with the Freedom of Speech and the Freedom of The Press clauses.

“The dominant purpose of the First Amendment was to prohibit the widespread practice of government suppression of embarrassing information.”
~William Orville Douglas quotes

“The First Amendment is often inconvenient. But that is besides the point. Inconvenience does not absolve the government of its obligation to tolerate speech.”
~Unkown

"People have a right to the Truth as they have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
~Frank Norris

"It just seems to be a human trait to want to protect the speech of people with whom we agree. For the First Amendment, that is not good enough. So it is really important that we protect First Amendment rights of people no matter what side of the line they are on."
~Floyd Abrams

“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.”
~Harry Truman

“If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”
~Noam Chomsky, speaking in a BBC television interview with John Pilger on The Late Show (1992)

"The free press is the mother of all our liberties and of our progress under liberty"
~ADLAI E. STEVENSON

"The Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have [to] bare the secrets of government and inform the people."
~HUGO BLACK

"Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost. "
~THOMAS JEFFERSON

"A free press was born when America was born. It was not handed down or inherited. The concept of press freedom was deliberately constructed by the framers of our Constitution to instill the spirit of independence as an absolute, crucial ingredient in the creation, existence and survival of a free society.
~JERRY W. FRIEDHEIM

"The press must be free; it has always been so and much evil has been corrected by it. If government finds itself annoyed by it, let it examine its own conduct, and it will find the cause."
~THOMAS ERSKINE

"Nothing could be more irrational than to give the people power, and to withhold from them information without which power is abused. A people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with power which knowledge gives. A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both.
~JAMES MADISON

Friday, December 3, 2010

New York Times v United States: Revisited

In the wake of the recent Wikileaks controversy, I thought we should revisit a Supreme Court case decided in 1971, that presented very similar issues.

In this case, the New York Times got a hold of leaked and classified documents, called the "Pentagon Papers". The Nixon administration sued to prevent the publication of said documents. However, the First Amendment prevailed in the end, when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a 6-3 verdict against the Government.

From the WikiPedia Article, the concurring opinions were as follows....
Justice Hugo Black wrote an opinion that elaborated on his view of the absolute superiority of the First Amendment. He was against any interference with freedom of expression and largely found the content and source of the documents to be immaterial. Justice William O. Douglas largely concurred with Black, arguing that the need for a free press as a check on government prevents any governmental restraint on the press.

Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. wrote separately to explain that the publication of the documents did not qualify as one of the three exceptions to the freedom of expression established in Near v. Minnesota (1931).

Justice Potter Stewart and Justice Byron R. White agreed that it is the responsibility of the Executive to ensure national security through the protection of its information. However, in areas of national defense and international affairs, the President of United States possesses great constitutional independence that is virtually unchecked by the Legislative and Judicial branch. "In absence of governmental checks and balances", per Justice Stewart, "the only effective restraint upon executive policy and power in [these two areas] may lie in an enlightened citizenry - in an informed and critical public opinion which alone can here protect the values of democratic government."

Justice Thurgood Marshall argued that the term "national security" was too broad to legitimize prior restraint, and also argued that it is not the Court’s job to create laws where the Congress had not spoken.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The First Amendment

Sadly, this seems to have been forgotten by our Government officials and a whole lot of other people too.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Maybe, Rep. Candice Miller, should read the Bill of Rights. It's an amazing document.

WikiLeaks a Terrorist Organization?

This is according to several people in the media and the government calling Wikileaks founder Juillan Assange a Terrorist and the website he runs a Terrorist Organization. Seriously, have we all gone mad??? If this was the New York Times publishing the leaked documents, would we have the "Candice Miller" types screaming from her podium "SHUT IT DOWN, SHUT IT DOWN, IT"S TIME TO SHUTDOWN THIS TERRORIST ORGANIZATION"? Hmm, an interesting question to ponder.

Let me state, that Wikileaks is no different than any other Newspaper or other Media organization and is protected by the First Amendment. I think Rep. Candice Miller must have been sick, the day they taught the "Bill of Rights" in school.

Miller, needs to resign her seat, if she does not want to uphold the Constitution, that she swore to protect.

Also, in yet another stunning example of Big Government abusing it's power, Amazon due to pressures of Sen. Joe Lieberman and other government officials ceased hosting the Wikileaks website.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Video: Candice Miller screaming on the House Floor "Shut It down, Shut It Down"



Here's a link to a Fox News article claiming that WikiLeaks is indeed a Terrorist Organization.