Freedom Updates: December 22, 2000

The Colorado Freedom Report:  A libertarian journal of politics and culture.

The Colorado Freedom

Freedom Updates: December 22, 2000

All Freedom Updates by Ari Armstrong unless otherwise noted.

Project Gestapo in Action

The NRA wants federal agents to "enforce the gun laws on the books." All 20-plus-thousand of them. As if the feds needed more encouragement to harass peaceable citizens. Two recent cases illustrate the moral bankruptcy of the NRA's position.

A December 21 Associated Press article published in the Rocky Mountain News states:

CHICAGO -- A gun shop owner was sentenced to 2.5 years in federal prison [December 20] in a crackdown on dealers who arm gangs. A sales clerk received 15 months behind bars.

Chicago police officers testified they bought 25 guns from the B&H gun shop in Oak Lawn while posing as gang members... The two men were found guilty of selling guns to straw purchasers...

In other words, the gun sellers were entrapped by the police for the "crime" of not being able to read minds. The problem is that people don't tend to walk around with a sign on their foreheads saying, "Straw purchaser." Instead, "straw purchasers" tend to claim they are buying a gun for their own use. It's disgusting that the feds would trump up charges against licensed gun dealers on these grounds. If straw purchasing is a crime, then isn't it common sense to go after the straw purchaser? But nothing's common sense about "Project Exile." Instead, the purpose of that program is to put innocent gun owners behind bars, disrupt honest businesses, and stigmatize gun ownership. Oh, and to increase the power and budgets of federal agencies.

The second case involves a man who sold a gun without filing the state-mandated paperwork. The gun was resold an unknown number of times over a period of years. The latest owner of the gun used it to murder a police officer. So the original owner is being charged with involuntary manslaughter. (See the page 2A article in the December 22 issue of the Rocky Mountain News, reprinted from the New York Times article by Dirk Johnson.)

So in supporting "Project Exile," the NRA supports the registration of guns and gun owners with the government. Both "criminal" cases demonstrate the police-state tactics now employed by our federal government.

What's really sad is that an organization that claims to support civil rights helps fund Project Gestapo.

The Meaning of Christmas

This holiday season, remember that Jesus had to spend his first night on earth in a manger, where filthy animals ate their grains, in a cold, smelly stable. Why is that? The political ruler of the day was conducting a census so that he could collect more tax revenues. At least Janet Reno wasn't around back then. All they did to Jesus was crucify him for starting a kooky religion and challenging the omnipotence of the state. Reno might have sent in the tanks to shoot, gas, and burn Jesus, his followers, and their entire families.

The Two Faces of Greenspan

A story from News Wire Services published December 20 in the Rocky Mountain News illustrates the inherent problems with the Federal Reserve.

The sharp [economic] deceleration has left Alan Greenspan, the Fed chairman, and his colleagues in exactly the position that central bankers have nightmares about: realizing that they may have raised rates too much, requiring them to do a quick about-face in hopes of averting a stall that would drive up unemployment, sink the stock market and set off finger-pointing about who is to blame.

That's the "new" Alan Greenspan. The "classic" Greenspan said in 1966: "[U]nder the gold standard, a free banking system stands as the protector of an economy's stability and balanced growth" (Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal). In his 1966 essay, Greenspan discusses the Federal reserve as a means to fund the welfare state through inflation. Under his watch, the reserve has not inflated the money supply to any great extent (though to what extent is difficult to measure). But, to paraphrase Michael Cloud, the main problem is not the abuse of power, it's the power to abuse. So long as our currency is socialized, it's only a matter of time before a future chairman of the Fed inflates away our wealth.

The Drug War in Colombia

"Dubya" Bush wants to increase the amount of American tax dollars spent to fight the drug war in Colombia from $1.3 billion to an even $2 billion (Rocky Mountain News, December 21, from Ken Guggenheim of the Associated Press). Why, you ask?

"Our aid will help the Colombian government protect its people, fight the drug trade, halt the momentum of guerrillas and bring about a sensible and peaceful resolution to this conflict," Bush said.

Bush's term "protect" is an interesting euphemism in this context. The United States military is spraying poison on innocent persons and on agricultural crops and slaughtering those who stand in the way.

Though the point is irrelevant to the drug warriors, some of us might note that the U.S. "aid" to Colombia has also expanded guerrilla warfare there and failed to reduce cocaine production. The following two web pages offer additional information.

ON A POSITIVE NOTE, a recent article states, "Popular support for the anti-drug campaign has eroded in recent years, and opinion polls show that a growing number of residents believe the effort has been ineffective"

New ACLU Spokesman?

Who would ever have thought that DOUG DEAN would be featured in an ACLU fundraising letter? It has happened! In a letter dated December 15, the state ACLU notes: "Religious Meetings on Private Residential Property (HB00-1176), sponsored by Representative Dean, was supported by the ACLU."

I suppose it would be too much to expect Dean to become a lobbyist for the ACLU upon his retirement from office. Joking aside, I view this as a positive development. Once civil libertarians of the right and left join forces, they will be unstoppable.

Norton for Attorney General?

Long-time Colorado activist Clarence Lovell has been pushing to put Gale Norton into the U.S. Attorney General's office. I'm all for it! Lovell writes,

Bush is selecting a diverse, highly competent and profession team -- fitting right in with this kind of team is former Colorado Attorney General Gale Norton -- Republican/Libertarian, brilliant, a lady [who] on her own initiative has upheld Bills of Rights.

Long Live Federalism

An anonymous writer recently sent me a two-page flyer outlining the case against the Seventeenth Amendment, which imposed a popular selection of Senators in place of the original system of selection by state legislatures.

It's clear those who wrote the Constitution feared democracy and wished to keep in constrained. They hoped the Senate would act as a check upon the popularly elected House. I agree the 1913 Amendment weakened American federalism, to the detriment of the nation.

I don't know what to think of the flyer's assertion that the Seventeenth Amendment is illegitimate because it was only ratified by 37 states, one shy of the 75 percent requirement. I'm skeptical of the claim. If any reader has more (well-substantiated) information on this point, let me know. Regardless of its technical legal standing, however, the Amendment is the law of the land, and that is indeed unfortunate. Hillary's claims to the contrary notwithstanding, we don't need less federalism and fewer separations of powers, we need more.

The Colorado Freedom