Wednesday, May 31, 2006


To understand the principle of civil, human, individual, or medical rights, one must understand what a right is, and the difference between a right and a privilege. Our founding fathers used philosopher John Locke's vision of natural law as a guide for forging the foundation of our nation. Our Declaration of Independence expresses Locke's vision, declaring, "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."

Government is necessary only to protect our rights, but the only rights we can delegate to government are those we possess. For example, we all have a natural right to defend our property and ourselves. Since we possess this right, we can delegate authority to government to defend us. By contrast, we don't have a natural right to take the life or property of another person; therefore, we cannot legitimately delegate such authority to government.

A right is the sovereignty to act without the permission of others. Rights define what you may do without the permission of other men and it erects a moral and legal barrier across which they may not cross. It is your protection against those who attempt to forcibly take your life’s time, your money or property. The concept of a right carries with it an implicit, unstated footnote: you may exercise your rights as long as you do not violate the same rights of another—within this context, rights are an absolute. We use our collective might to punish and deter those who violate our rights. This is the only appropriate use of the law.

Rights are applied to all men, not just a few. There are no special "rights" unique to women or men, blacks or white, the elderly or the young, homosexuals or heterosexuals, the rich or the poor, doctors or patients or any other group. A special advantage or immunity or benefit not enjoyed by all or the “rights” reserved exclusively by particular persons or groups are called privileges.

Privileges are granted from the life, liberty, time, and property of one individual, group, or organization to another.

Government can also grant privileges, however, those privileges are the life, liberty, time, and property of an individual or group of individuals. When privileges are given that violate the rights of another, than an act of immorality, or rights violation has taken place.

Simply put; there is only one, fundamental right, the right to life—which is: the sovereignty to follow your own judgment, without anyone’s permission, about the actions in your life. All other rights are applications of this right to specific contexts, such as property, freedom of speech, and the freedom to medicate your own body. If you become ill, you need not seek the permission of the government to seek and obtain treatment.

The principle of a free society, the right to self-ownership; to deny this is to give praise to slavery. It is a perversion of nature to take away from human beings the means to alleviate the symptoms of debilitating diseases, or to use a medicine to prevent blindness. When the government uses its collective might to prevent an individual from improving, enriching, educating, or medicating their selves, it is essentially attacking it's own people by claiming a higher authority on the minds and bodies of it's own citizens.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Walls on the Border will Turn Our Nation into a Prison
Immigration is a hot button issue right now. Most Americans want the government to crack down on illegal immigration. According to a recent poll on 62% of Americans feel that illegal immigration is a serious problem, and they want congress to do something about it. I have personally heard ideas ranging from building a 20 foot wall with armed guard towers across the border, to arresting all business and charitable organizations that help “illegal” immigrants settle into the American way of life. The outcry to stifle immigration into this country is founded on bigotry and ignorance, and I am going to prove it.

Immigrants are stealing American jobs?
We’ve heard many people on their soapbox stating that immigrants are taking jobs away from Americans, and they believe that we have to cap immigration to secure jobs for Americans. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most Americans do not want the jobs that are filled by immigrants. Those are the lowest level jobs that pay little and require many hours of hard physical labor. If Americans would do those jobs, immigrants wouldn’t have the opportunity to fill them.

When immigrants are employed in low-level positions a market demand for more jobs is created. Once they are here they need food, clothing, and shelter. They need cars to drive back and forth to work. In fact according to the US Labor Department we have had a steady decrease in the jobless rate since the year 2003. This is conclusive evidence that immigrants are not ruining the job market. Immigrants may take jobs off the market in one industry, but they create a demand in other sectors. If you think that immigrants are retarding job growth, just wait until the government keeps businesses from hiring them.

In addition, there is no right to a job in America. If an employee desires to keep their job, they will have to work hard and be competitive. Employees should work hard to improve the skills that will make them more valuable to an employer. Next time you go to a fast food restaurant and get served by a snot-nosed little punk with a horrible attitude, think to yourself (so you don’t get your food spat on) how grateful you are that no one has a right to a job in America.

Immigrants cost us money by using our welfare and not paying taxes?
This statement enrages me. First of all, immigrants are less likely to be dependent on welfare or other socialist programs than Americans. Even if this is true, what right does our government have to take my money and redistribute it to another? I don’t care if the money goes to an immigrant or American, the forceful confiscation of wealth for a welfare system is unjust and immoral. Most illegal immigrants obtain fake documents to work. They pay taxes just like you and me. When they buy products, they pay taxes, just like you and me. Don’t blame immigrants for taking advantage of a corrupt and barbaric wealth distribution system; blame the system.

Can you imagine buying and apple, orange, or tomato that was picked by an American? They would cost about $5.00 a piece. By filling low-paying positions immigrants reduce the price of goods by billions of dollars a year. We all benefit financially by having immigrants in the workforce. Taxes cost everyone money. Don’t blame people for being smart enough to elude the IRS, blame the IRS for being so greedy that people feel no alternative other than avoiding them. Blame the government for forcefully taking so much of your hard earned money.

Illegal immigrants do not respect our laws; my ancestors came here legally?
If a law is not respected by so many, then it must be a bad law. Many people have no idea as to what kinds of hoops immigrants have to jump through in order to come to this country legally.

First, an employer or legal US resident living in the US must sponsor you. You can avoid sponsorship if you invest at least $1million in a US based business, or ask for asylum (but you have to prove that it is life threatening for you to return to your country.

Second, you must prove that no American can do your job. Ever wonder why so many doctors come from another country?

Finally, file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residency or Adjust Status, or any other type of application for permanent residency; you must answer a series of questions about your health, finances and good moral character. You must also provide documentation to prove your admissibility. An ICE-approved doctor must examine you, and your family sponsor must complete an affidavit of support to show he or she is able to financially support you. You can get a list of forms here.

Of course I am simplifying these steps, and there is no guarantees that you can come legally. Many “illegal” immigrants come here because they need to feed their families now. They need to work now, and our government has prevented them from coming here to better their lives. The ideas of self-improvement through life, liberty, and property are the principles in which America was founded. Ours’ is a country founded on immigration, and we have no right to keep the many people worldwide who wish to better themselves, from coming here to do so.

When our ancestors came to America, there were fewer obstacles to deter them. They were placed in lines, checked for diseases, and sent on their way. People came here because they wanted to be free, and lift themselves out of poverty. Throughout the history of America there has always been loud groups of xenophobes speaking out against immigration. They want to prevent others from experiencing and taking advantage of the American way of life, in order to preserve their idea of what America should be. Just because there are lines on a map, doesn’t mean that we have the right to keep other human beings from traveling to our country. When walls are built to keep people out, this country will essentially be a locked down prison that keeps Americans in. That isn’t my idea of freedom. The ideology America was based on is said best in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Immigrants will bring diseases?
This is one of the more laughable reasons to keep immigrants from coming to America. Keep in mind that most anyone from around the country can come here at any time without being checked for diseases. They are tourists, and they are encouraged to come. On the flip side of that, we Americans can travel to almost anywhere in the country and return to America without completing a physical. If there was a threat of contracting diseases that couldn’t be cured, we are surely susceptible to catching them now. Good luck at preventing travelers and tourists from coming into America!

Terrorists could sneak into America?
Many politicians do a lot of chest thumping about terrorists. It seems that fear mongering does a lot to get votes. However, I am going to shatter your world right now. The terrorists are already here in America. They do not need to sneak across the borders. All of the terrorists that struck the World Trade Centers came here legally. Setting all of these obstacles to prevent immigration, or building walls to keep people out, will do nothing to prevent terrorist attacks. If you want to make America safe from terrorist attacks, vote out all of the Republicans and Democrats that have trampled through the world murdering millions of people. Apologize for the years of imperialism and intrusiveness that our government has implicated. Apologize for all of the innocent women and children that our government has murdered. Imprison every member of congress, and every living president who has voted in favor of interventionist wars. Then, maybe we will be safe. Our safety has everything to do with controlling our heavy-handed government, not preventing immigration.

Immigrants want to take over America?
I know many immigrants and none of them have wanted to take control of America. Many of them want to come to this country because it offers life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, something that their county does not ensure. I understand that there are a few immigrants who are racist. I refuse to condemn all immigrants for the racist ramblings of a few, just as I expect others not to condemn me for the words and actions of the KKK.

There is no excuse to prevent immigration that isn’t based in bigotry, xenophobia, misinformation, or fear mongering. However, the reasons to open borders are just, moral and based strictly on evidence.

As we have learned time and time again, prohibition of wanted services such as prostitution, gambling, alcohol, and drugs, will send those services into the black market where rules of society do not apply. Foreigners will desire to come to America, and will so as long as we offer a society that is better than their own. It works in the opposite as well; if you want to keep immigrants from coming here you have to make this country look less desirable than theirs. Do you really want to keep immigrants out bad enough to turn America into a third world country?
Until we open borders, the mafia and other black market profiteers will exploit immigrants to earn a quick dollar. This is called the “new slavery”, and it happens all over the world (2million world wide): “As many as 50,000 people are illicitly trafficked into the United States annually, according to a 1999 CIA study. Once here, they're forced to work as prostitutes, sweatshop laborers, farmhands, and servants in private homes. Victims-- mostly women-- are often desperate to escape poverty and abuse in countries wracked by economic turmoil.

Besides selling immigrants into slavery, the unnecessary regulations, forms, and rules, cost tax payers numerous amounts of tax money. I do not want to hinder immigration, is it justified to take my money to do so? I want to hire immigrants, and not allow anyone to take control of my business. If you want to keep away from immigrants, buy a huge lot of land and keep to yourself. I don’t want to give anyone a hand out, so stop taking my money and crying when it goes to an immigrant. If you want to keep immigrants from being hired, make sure that ideology stays with your business.

Crime increases when we enforce a system that is anything less than open borders. Immigrants, who come here but can’t follow all of the red tape, cannot report a crime when it happens. Even wonder why people are afraid to talk to the police in a poor neighborhood? They aren’t afraid of the criminals as much as they are afraid that the police will send them back home.

Our red tape for immigrants prevents families from staying together. In the slim chance that a man gets a work Visa, his family will either have to come here illegally or stay in an oppressive, impoverished nation without their traditional male protector. In some instances part of the family may be able to immigrate, but inevitably some will be left behind. Our rules tear families apart, and if you have ever been unlucky enough to witness this, it is absolute heartbreak.

Finally, the idea that the government can fix the problems of immigration it has caused, shows the ignorance of the majority of Americans. You cannot fix the social problems caused by government rules and regulations by adding more rules and regulation. The Americans that want stronger immigration laws, or stricter enforcement of current immigration laws, are the same Americans who strongly feel Congress is corrupt and that Congress should do something about the corruption in Congress! I can no longer excuse the mindless ramblings of an America that knows more “American Idol” judges and “Simpsons” characters then the rights enshrined in the 1st Amendment. The only legitimate government is one that will protect your individual rights, without violating the rights of another. Neither the Constitution, nor the United States of America gives us our rights; we have them because we live. We cannot violate the rights of other human beings because we feel imaginary lines on a map and the location of our birth gives us some sort of power to prevent travel.

The American tradition calls for us to be a beacon of freedom for the world. We should open our arms to everyone who wants to come to our beautiful home. I’m as embarrassed as anyone at the mess Republicans and Democrats have made of our country, but I won't justify building a huge wall to hide it. Let’s revel in what is inscribed upon the statue of liberty: "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 beside the golden door.”

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The FDA Violates Medical Rights

This is an excerpt of the FDA’s mission statement, pulled from the FDA's website.
In a free society, why should the government have the power to forbid people to take medicine that could save their lives? In addition, why should the government have the power to forbid anything that doesn’t infringe on the rights of another human being? Forbidding a person’s right to make choices, even bad choices, isn’t the proper function of the government in a just and free society.

"Tiny Bubbles" crooner Don Ho could not undergo a procedure that used his own stem cells to strengthen his heart muscle in America; he had to travel to Thailand. The FDA has yet to approve the procedure, and Ho would have died before government bureaucrats could do so. This is a classic example of how the FDA’s red tape is counterproductive to their own mission statement; "The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs."

Whom does the FDA intend to protect, when they would prevent beneficial and cheap medicines from hitting the marketplace in America? How many people have to die while waiting for a drug to be approved? How many sick and dying people will loose their battles for life because they can’t afford the price of drugs that have to recoup the expense of FDA approval? Does the end justify the means? The FDA and supportive government officials say, "No, you'll just have to die. We won't let you take this stuff, because it could kill you."

Currently, the FDA is using its unchecked power to ban propellant-based inhalers, like Primatene Mist. This affects millions of asthma patients, who must now pay more money (and go through greater inconvenience) to get prescription inhalers. Doctors and large pharmaceutical companies, of course, love the extra business.

On April 20th of this year, under pressure from Drug War zealots like Indiana Representative Mark Souder, the FDA released an unfavorable view of marijuana for medical purposes, despite the contradicting data of dozens of credible medical organizations. The FDA must have forgot that they have already approved synthetic variations of cannabanoids (chemicals found naturally in marijuana) for medical use. These synthetic forms of cannabanoids are very expensive and have horrible potential side effects. They simply do not work as well for some people. When presented with this evidence one must question whom the FDA works for; is it the American citizens or the large pharmaceutical companies?

In a free society, it is morally reprehensible to prevent personal choice, especially when dealing with personal issues of medication. If we loose the right to manage the health of our own bodies, nothing else will matter. In response to that statement many individuals unwilling to take personal responsibility will say, "Without the FDA people will die, drugs will be dangerous, we can’t take the risk."

Today, we know that many will die while waiting for drugs still going through the FDA’s approval process. The consumption of medicines that can fight cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses is forbidden unless otherwise approved by the FDA. Thousands suffer from chronic pain and depression that can be suppressed, for little or no money, with use of the "miracle weed" known as marijuana. Health information, such as how tea can help prevent heart disease, is repressed as it awaits approval from the FDA. This isn’t in the interest of public health and safety!

Drugs such as Vioxx and Oxycontin have shown to be very dangerous and highly addictive despite review by the FDA. It’s great that the FDA saw that the benefits outweighed the harm, but there is still harm.

In a society without the FDA people will be able to make personal choices. Regulation will still exist, much as private organizations such as the Underwriters Laboratory regulate electronic devices. Most electronic manufacturers submit their merchandise to the UL (look for the symbol on your electronic devices). The UL doesn’t prevent merchandise from hitting the market, but they will not put their seal of approval on the device unless it passes their meticulous tests. Most electronic distributors will not sell a device without the UL seal of approval. This isn’t because of force; it is because they know that if their customers are purchasing unsafe products from their store, they may suffer some fiscal responsibility. The liability could come from lawsuits or loss of consumer base. The FDA does not have the same kind of liability the UL has. If the UL approves unsafe products, they will loose credibility and profits. On the other hand, if the FDA approves unsafe products, they will obtain more funding, with or without your consent, to rectify the problem. The only protections the FDA provides is protection to the pharmaceutical companies, and to the FDA’s own illegitimate existence. If anything is worth doing it will be done in the private sector with voluntary participants.

Humans are fallible, and will always make bad decisions especially in reference to medical choices. Medical expertise isn’t the underlying issue; it’s whether or not people in a free society have the right to choose, even if they make bad choices. I want to be safe, and I want everyone else to be safe. I can’t justify safety by taking away personal choices. If we loose our right to self-ownership, we loose the ability to be free. We become enslaved by our want to be safe. One may choose to enslave themselves, but should never choose to enslave another, especially in the name of public health and safety. It is an undeniable right to medicate yourself the way you feel is best. The government must protect this right, even for those who would exercise it irresponsibly.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Why the Libertarian Party is Failing

Traditionally, or so we have been told, third parties get sucked up by the two dominant parties. The Libertarian Party may be getting sucked up as we speak. I have heard time and time again, the LP doesn't do anything, and then people leave the party. I hear, the LP isn't staying principled, and then they leave the party. Why is this happening, and what's the big deal?

The biggest problem with people leaving the LP over inactivity and unprincipled propositions is that it places the blame on someone else. It is very unlibertarian to say, "That's not my fault,” because it always is. Let me tell you why; if you can get into the frame of mind that everything is your fault, it will make you take a look inside and say, "How can I make this better." That is the way that thought continues to evolve. When Thomas Edison was asked, "How does it make you feel that you failed so many times?” His reply was, "I never failed, I merely learned how not to do things." This type of thinking is critical to advancing the cause of liberty, the libertarian ideal, which I must say is an effective philosophy, but has been failing as a political party. Why? Why has the Libertarian Party when it is such an effective political philosophy? I hate to say it, but it is because of the members. I realize this, and I also realize that I am a member. I have to look inside.

So, let's break it all down. What is the ultimate purpose of the libertarian party? I know answers will vary, but I would say that it is to promote the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity. It is to show people that they can overcome incredible obstacles without forcing anyone else to help them. In fact, in many cases it is to show how using force almost always makes a problem worse. How can you do this with a political party? The obvious is to get Libertarians, who believe in those principles, elected. This is where the Libertarian party has mostly failed. Why is that?

You could say that it is hard to get libertarians elected because the two party system has made it almost impossible for a third party to compete with them. That may be true, but it looks on the outside for answers, not the inside. The truth is, the Libertarian party fails to carry through the three basic things its members need to do, to change the thought of people.

The first is, become active in your community. Have demonstrations and rallies. Pass out books and literature, and participate in jury nullifications. Spend some time informing people with the philosophy.

Second, become political. Groom candidates who are principled to run for office, and work like hell to get them elected. State legislatures can literally spend time shaking the hand of everyone in their district, but very few libertarians will do this. Why? I can only guess that it is because they assume voters will come to them. Again, you are looking on the outside, not the inside.
Many libertarians complain about the candidates that run for office, but they never groom themselves to take a public servant role.

Also, propose legislation and work with current political leaders to obtain passage. If you believe that drugs should be decriminalized, dedicate your time and money to getting a law passed. If you make sense, and work hard enough at it, you will succeed. Personally, I am working very hard to get medical marijuana laws passed in my state of Delaware. I won't stop there either, as soon as I get that done (because sick people need help right now), I will move onto drug decriminalization. Will I settle for drug legalization with taxation? Yes, but I will continue the fight for decriminalization.

Third, you have to have the courage to perform acts of civil disobedience. This is so important, because courage is infectious, and numbers can speak loudly. If you want to achieve liberty in your lifetime, you don't have to move across the country, you don't have to compromise your values, and you don't have to cry about it. You simply have to move to affect the thoughts of your fellow man, get active to affect the laws of your fellow man, and obtain strength and courage to be free from the oppressive laws of your fellow man.

If you are interested in how to achieve your goals by spreading the ideas of liberty, send me a message with your email address and I will send you a comprehensive list.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

How The Right to Die with Dignity Doesn't Exist

When I was a young boy, around 10, Christine Woodard hired my cousin Russell and myself to clean out a chicken coop for her. The name Christine was to formal for me, I called her Grandma. The deal she gave us was, "two dollars for every wheel barrel or chicken manure we drug out of the chicken coup." Needless to say, we were both excited that we could help our grandma and earn some spending cash. When we got about half way done, Russell and I realized that we didn't have as many wheel barrels as we would have liked. After all, the deal was two dollars per wheel barrel, if we unloaded more wheel barrels, we would inevitably get more money. We began to put less manure in the wheel barrels, and stopped packing it in tight. We had decided to "pull one over on grandma."

When we finished up we went in the house to clean up. Grandma asked us how many barrels we had taken out. We proceeded to give her an outrageous number. I think it was around 20 barrels (and she knew we only had about 6 when we got half way done). Grandma knew right away that we were trying to pull one over on her, but she never said anything other than, "I'll pay you both in the morning; now sit down for supper." My grandma always cooked the best food (as many grandmas do).

The next morning Russell and I decided to collect our pay, and go buy penny candies from the local store. That was back when penny candies actually cost a penny. We asked Grandma if we could get the money she "owed" us. She handed us five dollars each, and we looked at her like she had just slapped us. We asked, "Where is the rest of our money?" She replied, "Well I had to deduct for your supper, and for the room you slept in last night." She never said another word; she just went back to her morning chores. It was one of the most valuable lessons I have ever learned. If someone treats you with enough kindness and respect to offer you a reward for your hard work, return the favor with honesty, kindness, respect, and give them you purest effort. Grandma was tuff when she needed to be, and gentle when she didn't. She was the strongest, most independent person I have ever known. She recently passed away at 75 years of age, on Saturday September 17, 2005.

I have thousand of memories like that of my grandma, and they are all great. She taught me so much, and I really loved her with all of my heart. I know it seems odd that I have found the need to put all of this personal information, especially on a blog that is designed to spread the ideas of personal responsibility and individual liberty, but it's important that you know how much I love and respect my grandma before you read on.

The last few months of my grandma's life was spent in extreme pain and anguish, both mentally and physically. She had broken her hip, and the state had placed her in a nursing home. She also had a disease called bronchiectasis, and had portions of her lungs removed earlier in her life. Depression set in after Grandma had been placed into the nursing home. Her state appointed doctor placed her on anti-depressants. The anti-depressants seemed to take away all of her will to get better, and all of her willingness to be active. She lay in bed without emotion; she became less of the woman I had known. As she lay in her bed in the state appointed nursing home, she developed a really nasty bedsore. Her state appointed doctor ordered her to take pain medication, and the state appointed nursing home ordered her to have a catheter inserted because they felt she asked too often for help to go to the bathroom. The pain medication constipated her, causing extreme pain in her stomach. The state appointed nursing home never thought to check for constipation, even though that is the most common side effect of painkillers. Eventually, the inability to remove the waste from her body where it normally does caused Grandma's body to remove the waste by vomiting. She couldn't eat anymore; still the state appointed nursing home didn't bother to check for constipation. After a few days of the toxins building up in her body, infection started to spread. She also received an infection by an unsanitary catheter. The bedsore she had started to develop started to get to the size of a quarter and went deep enough to reveal muscle tissue. Her state appointed doctor ordered her to a wound care specialist. At this point Grandma's children decided to take action. Her oldest daughter picked her up and took Grandma herself to the wound care specialist. The specialist took a look at my grandma and told her that she belonged in a hospital, not at the wound care center. At this point Grandma had not been able to eat for over a week.

When my grandma was checked into the hospital the family was told that she didn't have long to live. She had lost the ability to swallow, and was aspirating all of the food and drink that the nursing home tried to give her. She developed pneumonia because of the aspiration. I received a call from my mom, who was crying hysterically. She told me that Grandma didn't have long to live. I made arrangements to go to Indiana to see her one last time.

When I finally got to the hospital, I saw my grandma crying. She was begging to die. She was in excruciating pain due to her incredibly gruesome bedsore, the pneumonia, and the infections that were taking hold of her body. No amount of painkillers could ease the pain. Have you ever been unfortunate enough to have someone you love so much, look you in the eye and tell you that they wish God would end their life? It stirs up the worst feelings, and your emotions contradict themselves. On one hand you want to see your loved one’s pain end, but you know that would mean ending their life. Nobody should have to suffer through pain like Grandma was suffering, and nobody should have to witness a loved one suffer through pain like my grandma was feeling. My grandma's family doctor told all of the family that she may have a chance if a feeding tube was inserted. My grandma's living will strictly prohibited inserting a feeding tube. The doctor told the all of Grandma’s kids that if they all agreed, they could override my grandma's wishes. They all agreed, because they couldn't bear the fact of witnessing their mother starving to death. It was an easier choice for them to live with not my grandma. I tried very hard to prevent them from going against my grandma’s wishes, but in the end I lost my battle. The feeding tube was inserted. In the end Grandma did have the final say; her body rejected the feeding tube after the first few days.

As a family, we all watched as my grandma’s body started to break itself down. We cried with her as she begged God to end her suffering. We stood by helpless as she begged us for food and water. We sang songs to her, and we prayed for her. I’m not a religious person, but I know now the power of prayer and faith. It was the only thing that comforted my grandma in her final days. I left Indiana before Grandma passed away. Life goes on, and so mine did. I heard the news that Grandma would be allowed to go home, but only to die. I checked in daily and heard of how all of Grandma’s loved ones surrounded her bedside. Her minister came to hold a church service in her house. All of this was such a comfort, more than any pain pill. God did finally answer her prayers and took her to heaven. She died surrounded by love.

I do feel a bit odd myself sharing all of this personal information about my grandma and my family with you, but it is important for everyone to hear. I do blame the social worker and the state of Indiana for Grandma getting as sick as she did. I’m outraged that they decided to interfere with a personal matter, and made a poor choice. I am disappointed with my family and myself, because we didn’t do enough to stick up for her. We didn’t do enough to make sure that she was getting proper health care. Regardless of those facts, no one should be allowed to suffer as she did. When I saw my grandma in so much pain and listened as she cried while begging God to end her suffering, I could only think of ending her life and easing her pains. It really bothered me for many days that those thoughts wouldn’t leave my mind. When I finally left Indiana, my conscience wouldn’t ease up on the fact that I did not end her life. So what does this have to do with freedom? It’s simply this. Who has the right to your body? Is it you or the state? Who should get to make decisions regarding healthcare? Is it you or the state? Who should choose how you die? Is it you or the state? Right now the Supreme Court is hearing a case that involves the right to die. I want everyone to know, that this case is a basis for the most pure form of freedom. It is inhumane to allow people, who have no chance of recovery, to waste away and suffer with agonizing pain. Neither the state, nor anyone else should be able to tell a person that they have to live. It is the job of the individual to determine if their life is at the quality that they want it to be. It should be up to the individual to decide if they want to live or die, and it should be up to the doctor if they want to decide to end someone’s suffering. We have allowed the government so much control over our lives that we can no longer decide, as patient and doctor, to live or die. When we cannot make a decision to die with dignity, nothing else matters. Think about it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Katrina Shines a Light on Government Incompetence
The disappearance of freedom has had a personal effect on all of us. Personally, I was outraged when American citizens lost their property rights in the Kelo vs. New London Supreme Court decision, I felt the presence of Big Brother with the passing of the Real ID Act , and I have grieved for all of the lives lost for our “War on Terrorism” . Recently, our country has experienced the worst natural disaster in it’s history with the fury of hurricane Katrina, and I once again find myself grieving for lives lost due to lack of freedom and oversized government.

How did lack of freedom and oversized government contribute to the chaos and destruction we saw in the aftermath of Katrina? I can sum it up in one word. Dependency. We know that most of the people who were not able to evacuate the Gulf Coast region, were below the poverty line, and were dependent on government social programs. It is much easier for someone who is in poverty to take a check provided by a faceless organization than it is to tighten their belts and a take a financial blow in order to improve their own lives. Benjamin Franklin said it best, “I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer”. Anytime you take away a persons sense of self- preservation through socialist programs like welfare, Medicare, and social security, you also take away their sense of personal responsibility. When people no longer have the idea of personal responsibility they begin to become dependent on others for the basic necessities, such as food, water, medicine, and shelter, which are needed to sustain life. We all know now just how dangerous it is to depend on others for the basic necessities in life, and we SHOULD all know how reckless politicians have been by playing on our emotions to secure votes.

Imagine if we had a government that was limited only to ensuring that our individual liberties were protected. How could things have been different? First of all, more people would know how to take care of themselves. If they couldn’t afford to evacuate, or didn’t want to leave their homes, they would have at least had enough responsibility to gather rations of food and water before the hurricane hit. They would not have had the “someone will take care of me” mentality. Able bodied young men wouldn’t have stood outside the “Super Dome” doors shouting demands for help while watching old women and children die. Instead they would have reacted, trying to obtain food and water for themselves and their loved ones. They would have had enough intuition to hunt or try to purify enough water to sustain them. Second, the arrogant government agencies would not exist and could not turn away private charities, businesses, like Wal-Mart, and nearby citizens who reacted much quicker than the government. F.E.M.A. would not exist to pat themselves on the back while people were dying waiting for the relief that they had been promised. People would not fall victim to the empty promises that “help is on the way.” The local government would not have been able to squander tax dollars on a levee system that could never work, and wouldn’t make sense in a free market. Third, without the huge size and cost of our current government, more people would be able save or take care of themselves in a more appropriate manner. Maybe they could save the near 50% of their income that goes to pay for the government failures. After all, only 30% of all money taken in for the welfare program gets to the needy families. Without that ridiculous 70% operating cost, maybe they could have saved enough money and rented a bus to take them and their family members out of the area. Maybe they would have taken their lives into their own hands ensuring their own survival. Finally, without government provided protection for corporations, insurance companies would not be able to do more business than they can handle. You wouldn’t go to Home Depot and pay for a shovel that they didn’t have. Insurance companies should not be allowed to hide behind our government when they sell us “protection” that they can not provide, and our government shouldn’t step up to the plate and pay for the incompetence and mismanagement of insurance companies. Our tax dollars ensure that wealthy CEO’s and stockholders of insurance companies can file bankruptcy and keep money in their own pockets while the people they have done business with sit in financial ruin. If you pay for a shovel you should get a shovel, and if you pay for “protection” you should get “protection”. If we hadn’t allowed our government to get out of control, many of the people who lost their lives would have had a fighting chance. Less government is more freedom, more freedom means more responsibility, more responsibility is better response and more ability.

Only a government body would look mother nature in the eye pound it’s chest and laugh in her face, and only a government body would look at the devastation caused by such defiance and decide to hold a meeting and a press conference to decide what to do, only a government body would turn away the people who decided to act, while the meetings and press conferences were taking place, and only the government would say “Go home we can handle this”, and only a government body would sit around and point fingers at everyone but themselves when their arrogance failed so many. This is exactly what happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and it is time to send the oversized government beast back to where it came, before we loose more precious lives, more property, and more liberty. However, it seems that our government will never recognize it’s own failures. Our public servants are already starting to say that F.E.M.A. and Homeland Security needed more money and more power to “protect” us. Our government has always worked this way, feeding itself by failing. Already 62 billion dollars has been promised to rebuild New Orleans and the president is trying to get 200 billion dollars more of our money to throw at the problems in New Orleans and other areas affected. That money could pay every citizen of New Orleans over $412,000, this is not to mention all of the money raised by private charities, and the money paid out by insurance companies. Your bill for this is $671 directly plus interest, since we already have an 80 billion dollar deficit we can expect to pay on the interest alone for generations to come. Write a note to your great-great-great-great grandchildren and thank them for paying our bills for incompetent power hungry bureaucrats. When will this insanity end? When will the American people wake up and realize that we are killing ourselves, and disabling generations to come? When will we go back to a system where private charities, families, churches, and communities step up to help each other out, not by force but by true love and real compassion? The “give me” mentality has to stop, and it has to start with slashing our government quickly and permanently now!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Government and Terrorism

ter · ror · ism ( P ) (tr-rzm) n.
The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.

Notice the above definition to the word "terrorism". Now imagine this; our country is invaded, bombed, and occupied. The militants topple our government, give us a curfew, search our homes and bodies regularly, detain our loved ones without reason, shoot and kill any "suspicious" citizens including children, and inappropriately touch women during unwarranted searches. How enraged would you become? Would you be willing to fight these oppressors with violence? Would you be willing to give YOUR life to protect your way of life, and the lives of your loved ones? Would you consider these invaders...terrorists? Now, picture that you live in the Middle East.

The U.S. involvement in the Middle East has led to unconscionable actions for decades. Many innocent people have lost their lives, the lives of their loved ones, their property, and culture due to our countries meddling. Is there really any surprise that America and its allies are experiencing terrorist acts perpetrated by Middle Easterners and Islamic extremists? Our public servants and policy makers always seem to explain to us that terrorists from the Middle East hate us for being us, but any person with half a brain and general knowledge of history can figure out for themselves this kind of lip service is nothing more than lies and propaganda. Government officials never seem to say that terrorists perceive themselves to be rational human beings. Rational? How can that be? Well, in their own minds they have a rational justification for their actions; and that the justification is usually retaliation for various American actions. The unrelenting bombing of innocent Iraqi citizens; the unwavering support of Israel and the double standard applied to Israeli terrorism (such as the massacre of 106 Lebanese at the UN base at Qana in 1996); the unnerving military presence in one of the holiest of holy lands for Islam, Saudi Arabia; the never ending persecution of Libya; the shooting down of an Iranian passenger plane ... these actions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to terrorists acts perpetrated by the American government on the peoples of the Middle East. These are the actions that can turn an Arab or a Muslim into an extremist, and in their eyes, a "counter terrorist."

Most Americans believe that on September 11, 2001 we were attacked without reason, after all, that's what our government told us. Below are just a few of the things that our government has done, without remorse, in the Middle East before September 11, 2001:

In 1998 the United States bombed a militant training camp in Afghanistan that was originally set up by the CIA in the 1980s to train the Afghan "freedom fighters"

Many of the 10 million mines left in Afghanistan today were made in the US, and were part of the US support to fundamentalist groups in the 80s

US support for the Moujahedeen fundamentalists began six months before the Soviet invasion in 1979, and was one of the key reasons for it

Egypt is the second largest recipient of US military aid, surpassed only by Israel

Between 1997 and March 2000, the USA exported electro-shock batons, stun guns and optical sighting devices to Egypt

In 1997, the US exported arms for $1.2 billion to Egypt

Torture in police stations are widespread - several people died in custody in the year 2000, and there are reports of systematic torture of political suspects (we fund this brutality with our tax dollars)

In 1953, Iran's elected prime minister Mossadeq - who tried to nationalize the oil industry - was overthrown in a CIA-organized coup

In 1976, Amnesty International concluded that the Shah's security force, SAVAK, had the worst human rights record on the planet, and that the number and variety of torture techniques the CIA had taught SAVAK were "beyond belief"

American corporations exported a number of toxic biological materials to Iraq in the 80s, identical to those the United Nations inspectors later found and removed from the Iraqi biological warfare program

At least 125,000 innocent civilian Iraqis were killed in the Gulf war

In 1998, when Madelaine Albright was asked whether the reported death of 500,000 Iraqi children as a result of sanctions was justified, she answered 'I think this is a very hard choice, but the price - we think the price is worth it

After the Gulf War, an international War Crimes Tribunal was held where the US was found guilty of 19 different crimes

93.6% of the tonnage dropped in the Gulf war were traditional unguided bombs

According to Unicef, the United Nations Children’s Fund, 4,000 children under five are dying every month in Iraq because of the sanctions imposed since the Gulf war

Even after the cease-fire went into effect at the end of the Gulf War, US troops attacked both civilians and retreating Iraqi soldiers

The U.S. government intentionally used sanctions against Iraq to degrade the country's water supply after the Gulf War.

Two operational nuclear reactors and several chemical plants were consciously bombed during the Gulf war

The Potsdam Conference was held in July of 1945. Soon after the meeting a reporter asked President Truman if the creation of a Jewish state was ever discussed. He confirmed that it was and the U.S. supported the mass immigration of Jews into Palestine. The British government believed the U.S. wanted to participate in the policy process regarding Palestine and a Jewish state, but did not want to take responsibility for any negative results that might occur once the policy was in place.

Those in favor of the Jewish state sought to persuade the U.S. government that Israel would be of more use to the U.S. than friendly relations with the Arab states

The birth of Israel occurred on May 14, 1948. On the same day the U.S. recognized the new Israeli government, despite not knowing exactly what type of government they would implement. This is important because it gave birth to decades of wars between Arab nations and Israel (even before Israel became an official nation).

Israel has never ratified the Nonproliferation Treaty and the 1972 biological and toxic weapons convention, as opposed to for example Iran and Libya

Israel got a green light from the US before their invasion of Lebanon in 1982

The Israeli government states openly that extra judicial executions form part of a government policy Palestinian detainees under interrogation are frequently held incommunicado for up to 20 days, and some for as long as 90 days.

Amnesty claims that the great majority of Israeli killings of Palestinians were unlawful, "a result of the excessive use of lethal force when no lives were in danger", and that there is a "culture of impunity" within the Israeli security forces (our government funds these kinds of brutality and considers this barbaric nation an ally, providing it with arms and tax dollars)

Israel is the largest recipient of US military aid

In 1997, The U.S. exported arms to Saudi Arabia worth $4.7 billion

Suspected political or religious activists suffer arbitrary arrest and detention, and face judicial procedures where they are denied the most basic rights, such as the right to be defended by a lawyer

Since 1984 the US Department of Commerce has authorized at least a dozen shipments for the transfer of electro-shock weapons to Saudi Arabia

US taxpayers spend $50 billion annually to maintain 20,000 U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia

Turkey, the fourth largest recipient of U.S. military and police assistance, refuses to recognize the Kurdish community. In fact, publicly referring to "the Kurdish people" can lead to a prison sentence.

Since 1984, the Turkish military has bombed and depopulated more than 3,000 Kurdish villages, two million Kurdish refugees have been driven out of their homes and 30,000 people have died

The U.S. exports high-voltage electro-shock weapons to Turkey, where they are used for torture

You may now see, however wrong it is, how most terrorists see themselves as protecting their own freedom and lives, which have been taken away by U.S. and western intervention. If you would like to read a specific accounts of the centuries of American intervention in the Middle East
click here.

Does a violent retaliation justify violence? Yes, in some cases. If someone breaks into your home, you are justified if you act violently to defend yourself, your loved ones, and your property. However, the people who are getting killed in these nonsense wars are thousands of miles apart. No one who died in the World Trade Centers was directly responsible for destroying lives in the Middle East. It was our government, plain and simple. Do I sympathize with Middle Eastern extremists? No, but I have a need to understand them. Why? So, I can ensure my safety, the safety of my loved ones, and my property. If not, we will never be safe, no matter how much airport security, unreasonable bag checks, racial profiling, unlawful detaining of citizens, unconstitutional searches, wire taps, surveillance cameras, or other losses of freedom we have to endure. We have to stop bullying the rest of the world to ensure SAFETY AND FREEDOM in our own country, not bag checks. We have to bring our troops home from the Middle East, and the rest of the world, and reestablish TRUE free trade with them, not secretly spy on innocent citizens. We have to SHRINK and RESTRAIN our government now, to ensure that our hands will no longer be stained with the blood of innocent men, women, and children again.

September 11, 2001 will always remain a solemn day in my heart, and the hearts of all Americans. Almost 4 years later, we still remember what we were doing when we heard that two planes had flown into the World Trade Centers in New York City, one plane had crashed into the Pentagon, and a final aircraft had gone down in rural Pennsylvania, in the end nearly 3,000 people were dead. This is something we should always remember, but remembering is not enough. If we do not learn from this tragedy we disgrace the memories of the victims who lost their lives and at the same time keep ourselves open to future attacks. Please, let's put all of our political differences aside. Let's end the terrorism acted out by our own government to ensure that we will end future acts of terrorism by other governments and it's peoples.