Freedom Updates: February 25, 2004
All Freedom Updates by Ari Armstrong unless otherwise noted.
The Political Lobby
A February 12 article in the Denver Post reports, "Jefferson County commissioners decided Wednesday to hire a federal lobbying firm, joining most metro-area counties in using hired guns to help bring home more taxpayer dollars." But, hey, the cap for this spending is a mere $120,000.
Let's go through this just one more time. First, federal politicians force you to give them money. If you don't give them money, they will threaten you with force, and if you still don't comply, they will send forth armed agents do drag you away to prison. Next, local politicians also force you to give them money. Finally, the local politicians spend some of the money they took from you to hire a lobbyist to persuade the federal politicians to give some of the money they took from you to the local politicians. And this is for your own benefit, of course.
"Do you ever wonder why there are so few free-thinking independent adults in our society? The answer decided by Hannelore (Lorie) Bugby was that the children of rational thinkers received the values Libertarians and other free-thinking organizations teach, only in their homes.
"Lorie's experience as a mother, and now a grandmother, enforced the idea that children want to fit into their limited social groups. To combat the ideas expressed by their friends and spread by the media, the government and private schools, Lorie decided to have children exposed to the necessity of thinking for themselves at a very early age and with a method of teaching that would be fun to learn.
"She took action to bring her idea to fruition the result of that action is Camp Indecon. Now in its sixth year, Camp Indecon teaches children between the ages of 9 and 17, the need to think logically and the consequences of failing to do so through a Montessori-style method of teaching.
"Two hours per day of curriculum is combined with the usual camp activities such as high and low-ropes courses, campfires, sports, crafts, and indoor and outdoor games. Details of the topics covered in the curriculum can be found at www.campindecon.org.
"A bonus for the campers is that they have created a peer group of friends who share their values and they stay in contact throughout the year by phone and e-mail conversations."
Free State Links
Flex Your Rights
"Narrated by retired ACLU executive director Ira Glasser, BUSTED realistically depicts the pressure and confusion of common police encounters. In an entertaining and revealing manner, BUSTED illustrates the right and wrong ways to handle different police encounters, and pays special attention to demonstrating how you, the viewer, can courteously and confidently refuse police searches."
Check out the group's web page to buy the video, host a viewing party, or use the video as a fundraiser for your group.
Recent Harms of the Drug War
The same day, Brian D. Crecente wrote for the paper, "A Denver police officer was charged Thursday for allegedly taking a $10,000 bribe from a drug dealer to destroy evidence. Officer Damon D. Finley, 31, was charged with bribery, conspiracy to commit tampering with physical evidence, conspiracy to commit theft, and theft. He also faces a federal charge of making a false statement to an FBI agent."
Drug Prohibition also contributes to social violence. For example, Sean Kelly and Marilyn Robinson write for the February 23 Denver Post, "Sixteen-year-old Shawn Cerniglia and 18-year-old Carrie Heiden disappeared one year ago. The Highlands Ranch teenagers had been missing three months when they were found in May. Murder charges in the case were filed this month. Although court documents in the case are sealed and authorities say they cannot talk, the teenagers appear to have been potential witnesses executed to keep them quiet. When they disappeared, Cerniglia was wanted by authorities for questioning as a witness in a Sept. 21, 2002, shooting involving retaliation in a drug-theft case." Such violence is a common and predictable result of drug prohibition laws.
The war on (some) drugs also funds terrorists. The Christian Science Monitor reported February 18, "Amid growing evidence that Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are profiting from narcotics, the US military plans to more aggressively help track and target Afghanistan's vast drug business, focusing on high-level traffickers linked to terrorists as well as production labs uncovered during military operations. The stepped-up military efforts come as US officials warn that Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and Hizb-i Islami militants are financing terrorist attacks with profits reaped from Afghanistan's estimated $2 billion annual drug trade." Quite obviously, the black-market profits associated with the drug trade would not exist absent prohibitionist laws.
So if you are willing to tolerate police corruption, murder, and terrorism, then you should support the war on drugs. If, however, you would like to see integrity restored to our police departments, a dramatic decrease in the U.S. murder rate, and a significant source of funding for terrorists cut off, then you should support the repeal of drug prohibition.
Drug Policy Reforms
The February 18 Las Vegas Review-Journal reported, "An initiative petition seeking to legalize possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana will be filed with the secretary of state's office today despite a similar measure's sound defeat on the ballot in 2002." The previous effort set the limit at three ounces.
Schwartz Defends Market Education
Schwartz continued, "Government has turned non-profit organizations into predatory special-interest groups. Compulsory philanthropy laws create a perverse incentive: plunder or be plundered." However, "We don't need government to make us do the right thing. Let's stop the government-charity racket; it's a front for lining the pockets of bureaucrats at the expense of truly worthwhile charities."
Joss Whedon created Buffy and then Angel. I am enjoying both those series on DVD. But my true love is Whedon's Firefly, a 14-episode show (cut short) about a free-wheeling space captain and his crew who take work (legal or not) transporting goods and passengers across the galaxy.
The characters are outstanding. The gun-slinging Captain Reynolds is an occasionally bone-headed, insensitive war veteran, but when the going gets tough he always shows his character. Just wait till a spy takes a member of his crew hostage. Reynolds fought in the war against the Alliance; now that the Alliance has won, Reynolds is doing the best he can to earn a living and steer clear of the authorities.
Reynolds and his boat, Serenity, a Firefly craft, pick up a fugitive and her brother, a doctor who rescued his sister from the sinister men in blue rubber gloves. The girl is a genius, and whatever the government wanted her for, it was not for her own benefit.
Firefly is a throw-back to the American Western, pitting good versus evil in a harsh environment. The show's sense of justice and independence is endearing. Once you get past the slang and sometimes hokey frontier trappings, you'll be hooked. The series is available on DVD.
On February 23, Al Kolwicz relayed in an e-mail, "The people lost. The Local Government committee amended HB 1296 to remove the Schultheis amendment (Schultheis required full-ballot-text paper ballots) by a 6/5 vote. The bill was then killed by a 9/2 vote. The Secretary of State and various election officials spoke to disallow voters from verifying their own votes, and block recounts from counting real ballots. Who are elections for, anyway -- the officials or the people? We are disappointed, but all is not lost. The SOS has imposed an emergency order to block purchase of any DRE equipment until EAC has issued rules. For the upcoming elections we shall have to believe whatever officials tell since there will be no way to verify anything."
A February 17 Colorado Daily article reported, "State Rep. Alice Madden, D-Boulder, recently introduced HB (House Bill) 04-1296, which would require each voting system statewide to produce a 'permanent paper record of each vote'."
It would be preferable for the money simply to revert to the companies that earned it, rather than be funneled into another welfare program. If this is not possible, I wish the legislature would go ahead and send it to the voters.
Fair Market Value
The councilor actually means "average market value" or "expected market value." There can be only one definition of "fair" market value, and that is an exchange agreed upon, voluntarily and without threat of coercion, by both parties. If one of the parties does not like the deal but is nevertheless forced into it, then the result is theft, and no amount of bureau-babble can change that.
The improper response is to run to the legislature to pass a new law. Yet State Senator Deanna Hanna introduced bill 88 "concerning the encouragement of breastfeeding." After a couple pages of text describing the benefits of breast feeding -- and I do not doubt that it's a good idea for infants -- the bill finally gets to the point: "A mother may breastfeed in any place she has a right to be." Okay, great. In other words, SB-088 is a bill that does nothing. At most, it will suggest to police officers that they are not to take complaints against nursing mothers seriously. But do they take such complaints seriously now? Do we really need to add yet more pages of fluff to the many volumes of Colorado statutes -- which no actual person can hope to read or understand?
Here's the ridiculous part: the bill invokes the emergency clause, which takes up more text than the substance of the bill: "Section 2. Safety clause. The general assembly hereby finds, determines, and declares that this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety." This is a mockery of the Colorado Constitution.
Now, breast-feeding is a good idea, but this spectacle of Colorado adults lining up to suckle at the tit of the Nanny State is obscene.