Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Porker of the Month

Porker of the Month is a "dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers."

You can go to the "Porker of the Month Hall of Shame" and also nominate one of your own choice!

Citizens Against Government Waste knows that publicly shaming these politicians is the only way to get them to stop wasting taxpayers' money.

It IS a shame that the party of limited government (a very good thing) has turned into what is known as "Rockefeller Republicans" instead of what they should be which is "Reagan Republicans" (far closer to their platform). Democrats are historically the big spenders, though, don't forget that.

The problem started when people began expecting things--everything!--from the government. If you can't see where this eventually must lead, then you aren't thinking. But politicians have to get elected and re-elected so they are caught in the trap: they must start giving you things or they won't get elected. In order to "give" you things, they must take the money from all of us and redistribute it.

This goes against human nature and has always failed wherever it was tried...but this is the path we started on after the Great Depression.

And don't forget how much it costs just to move the money around (about 70 cents out of every dollar) not to mention the sheer bloated inefficiency of ANY bureaucracy!

Every time you give up your power to choose, you lose.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Hell is the Charity, Freedom and Diversity Party

The Netherlands is famous for allowing drugs, prostitution and gay marriage (the envy of the sixties generation) but now claims to be shocked about their newest political party the Charity, Freedom and Diversity Party (NVD).

Their "platform" is to lower the legal age for sex from 16 to 12, legalize sex with animals (which I consider to be animal cruelty), and make child pornography (the vilest form of slavery and abuse and betrayal) ok.

Most of us don't go to hell in an instant, it's usually a journey of incremental steps and I think the fire just might be getting a little bit hotter right now for them now.

We got it wrong in the sixties.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Freedom Isn't Free

I watched the flag pass by one day,
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
And then he stood at ease..

I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
With hair cut square and eyes alert
He'd stand out in any crowd.

I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil
How many mothers' tears?

How many pilots' planes shot down?
How many died at sea
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, freedom isn't free.

I heard the sound of Taps one night,
When everything was still,
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.

I wondered just how many times
That Taps had meant "Amen,"
When a flag had draped a coffin.
Of a brother or a friend.

I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn't free.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Judge Not

ILARIO PANTANO (Marine enlisted man who served in the Persian Gulf War and most recently as a platoon commander in Iraq) from Jacksonville, N.C. wrote the following letter to the editor of the Washington Post:

Mr. Murtha's Rush to Judgment Sunday, May 28, 2006; Page B06.

It makes clear what so many fear about so many Democrats: they are perfectly willing to undermine the men and women who fight and die for all of us if it advances their political agenda.

It's salt in the wound that Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) is a former career marine.

Not on this Memorial Day--or any other--should there have ever been such a stain of betrayal on the bodies of our soldiers.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Amnesty Republicans

"The Senate just passed it's Hagel-Martinez Amnesty bill -- what we call the "No Illegal Alien Left Behind Act" -- by a final vote of 62-36.

If you have been watching the debate then you know that this outrageous bill has gotten worse by the hour. Right down to the final minutes before the vote, Senators were adding language that further undermines our nation. For example, the bill calls for "consultation" with Mexican authorities before the agreed-upon fence is built!

+ + Roll Call Vote

Go here to see the Roll Call vote on the final bill:

+ + "Amnesty Republicans"

Here's your list of "Amnesty Republicans."
Remember -- without these Republicans there
would be no amnesty bill!

Robert Bennett (UT): (202) 224-5444
Sam Brownback (KS): (202) 224-6521
Lincoln Chafee (RI): (202) 224-2921
Norm Coleman (MN): (202) 224-5641
Susan Collins (ME) (202) 224-2523
Larry Craig (ID): (202) 224-2752
Mike DeWine (OH): (202) 224-2315
Pete Domenici (NM): (202) 224-6621
Bill Frist (TN): (202) 224-3344
Lindsay Graham (SC): (202) 224-5972
Judd Gregg (NH): (202) 224-3324
Chuck Hagel (NE): (202) 224-4224
Richard Lugar (IN): (202) 224-4814
Mel Martinez (FL): (202) 224-3041
John McCain (AZ): (202) 224-2235
Mitch McConnell (KY): (202) 224-2541
Lisa Murkowski (AK): (202) 224-6665
Gordon Smith (OR): (202) 224-3753
Olympia Snowe (ME): 202) 224-5344
Arlen Specter (PA): (202) 224-4254
Ted Stevens (AK): (202) 224-3004
George Voinovich (OH): (202) 224-3353
John Warner (VA): (202) 224-2023

+ + Don't Lose Hope -- Battle Just Begun!

The battle to secure our borders and save our nation from an amnesty flood is far from over. After the Senate's Memorial Day recess, the bill will go to House-Senate Conference Committee. Our team is already developing our strategy to embolden the House to oppose the Senate amnesty measure. We can defeat this, but it will take a rising tide of grassroots citizen outrage in the coming weeks.

For now, let me thank you personally for the work you have done to ensure that the voice of citizens is heard in this debate. Grassfire team members literally flooded the Senate with hundreds of thousands of letters, faxes, phone calls (well over 350,000 in all!). We are now nearing 500,000 petitions thanks to you. Our "Stop The Invasion" billboards are quickly expanding from coast-to-coast and we will soon be announcing plans to take this effort to hundreds of communities across the nation.

We can win this fight for the very soul of our nation -- to secure our borders and stop the amnesty flood that the Senate has pushed today. If you or your friends want to help, here are the two key links:

The Petition (If you have not already signed it):


Thank you again for the stand you are taking, and be watching
for very important updates from Grassfire in the coming days.

Steve Elliott, President Alliance"

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Rooting for Taylor

"Dear friends,

Somehow I got hooked on American Idol.  For a person who almost never watches television, here I was absolutely rescheduling my life around tonight's show.  I have been rooting for Taylor, of course, he's got heart. 

I'm not sure what to make of this but it seems important somehow.  It's clearly a cultural phenomenon when there are 60 million votes for a guy from Alabama and a girl from the Valley - that's only a few million short of what won the last presidential election.

Taylor sang, after he won, "Sing with me America, I'm living the American Dream!"  And he is, and they did.  How we want to hope.  We root for the underdog, we love the idea of someone from our-home-town, someone just like us, or our sister, or our uncle, rising to the top, getting chosen, making it.  It's a metaphor of the hero's journey. 

It reminds us of potential, and our potential, if we really try, if we put ourselves out there, if we love something so much, we can reach the greatest heights. 

This is so touching to me.

I had so many lofty things I wanted to write about tonight.  But this one kept feeling the truest.  I have an ethic when I write these little essays: no editing, no rewriting, keep it real, be authentic, tell the truth, if I don't have something to say, don't say anything.

There are other days for esoteric ideals and grand aspiration.  Some days the simplest act, like the way my mom kisses me five times on my cheeks, back and forth, back and forth, pretty much every time I see her, or today when my friend brought me a rosary from the Vatican, moves me, breathes me, reminds me.

Everything, everything is okay.

And that this little moment right now is sacred.

Diana Lang
©2006 by DIANA LANG

These letters are sent out as a gift and a service. If you feel so inspired, please feel free to pass them along, but do so without charge or alteration. If you wish to be added to or deleted from the mailing list, please let me know.

Diana Lang
from the City of Angels

"Everything you do right now ripples outward
and affects everyone." - David Deida"

Technorati Tags: ,

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Is he or isn't he?

""I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of thing Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." —C.S. Lewis"

Gas Calculator

None of us likes gas prices now...but how much would we pay if the Democrats have their way? Find out right now: Click Here for the gas calculator (plus a cool video).

Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity

An excerpt from the new book


Get Out the Shovel—

Why Everything You Know Is Wrong

by John Stossel

Published by Hyperion

and reprinted here with permission

ISBN: 1401302548

List Price: $24.95

LFB Price Only $14.95

You Save 40%!

Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity is the winner of the June 2006 Lysander Spooner Award for Advancing
the Literature of Liberty. For more information about the Lysander
Spooner Awards, CLICK HERE.

To go to our full review, or to go to purchase the book, CLICK HERE.

The excerpt, below, is the first section of Chapter 3 of the book, Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity. Enjoy!



Get Out the Shovel—

Why Everything You Know Is Wrong

by John Stossel



One reason I became a consumer reporter was that I assumed business was fraught with cheating and deceit. Many consumer reporters believe that. Legislators and lawyers believe it too. It's intuitive to despise business.

Even the rich hate business. When the steel industry stood up to President Kennedy's efforts to dictate its prices in 1962, the President—the wealthy son of one of the wealthiest men in America—exclaimed, "My father always told me that all businessmen were sons of bitches, but I never believed it till now."

MYTH: Businesses rip us off.

TRUTH: Most don't.

Okay, some do.

Enron, WorldCom, and Tyco became famous for it.

I won Emmy awards exposing cheaters, like milk producers who conspired to keep prices high, RJ Reynolds Tobacco when it handed out Camel cigarettes to kids, and vocational schools that promised jobs that did not exist.
But I eventually noticed that most cheating is pretty trivial, that the vast majority of businesses don't cheat, and that the cheaters rarely get away with it for long.

MYTH: Government must make rules to protect us from business.

TRUTH: Competition protects us, if the government gets out of the way.

It took me a long time to learn that regulations can't protect consumers better than open competition, and in fact, they often harm us. My learning curve was steep. After all, I worked in newsrooms where "consumer victimization" was a religion and government its messiah. But after fifteen years of watching government regulators make problems worse, I came to understand that we didn't need a battalion of bureaucrats and parasitic lawyers policing business. The competition of the market does that by itself. Word gets out. Angry customers complain to their family and friends; consumer reporters like me blow the whistle on inferior products and shoddy service. Companies with bad reputations lose customers. In a free society, cheaters don't thrive.

Once I learned more about economics, I saw how foolish I'd been. Government uses force to achieve its ends. If you choose not to do what government dictates, men with guns can put you in jail. Businesses, by contrast, cannot use force, no matter how big they are. So all business transactions are voluntary—no trade is made unless both parties think they benefit. In 1776, economist Adam Smith brilliantly realized that the businessman's self-centered motivation gets strangers to cooperate in producing a multitude of good things: "He intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention."

Few of us appreciate the power of that invisible hand. I don't give my pencil a second thought, and yet I could spend years trying to produce one without turning out anything as good as the worst pencil available today. Leonard Read of the Foundation for Economic Education opened my mind to this idea when I read his essay "I, Pencil." Here is a shortened version:

I, Pencil, simple though I appear to be, merit your wonder and awe... not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me.

My family tree begins with what in fact is a tree, a cedar of straight grain that grows in Northern California. Contemplate all the saws and trucks and rope and the countless other gear used in carting the cedar logs to the railroad siding. Think of all the persons and the numberless skills that went into their fabrication: the mining of ore, the making of steel and its refinement into saws, axes, motors; the growing of hemp and bringing it through all the stages to heavy and strong rope; the logging camps with their beds and mess halls, the cookery and the raising of all the foods. Why, untold thousands of persons had a hand in every cup of coffee the loggers drink!

The logs are shipped to a mill. Can you imagine the individuals who make flat cars and rails and railroad engines? These legions are among my antecedents.

My "lead" [is] graphite mined in Ceylon. Consider these miners and those who make their many tools and the makers of the paper sacks in which the graphite is shipped and those who make the string that ties the sacks and those who put them aboard ships and those who make the ships.

Millions of human beings have had a hand in my creation, no one of whom even knows more than a very few of the others.

Neither the worker in the oil field nor the chemist nor the digger of graphite or clay nor any who mans or makes the ships or trains or trucks nor the president of the company performs his singular task because he wants me. Indeed, there are some among this vast multitude who never saw a pencil nor would they know how to use one.

There is still a fact more astounding: the absence of a master mind, of anyone forcibly directing these countless actions which bring me into being. No trace of such a person can be found. Instead, we find the Invisible Hand at work.

I, Pencil, am a complex combination of miracles: a tree, zinc, copper, graphite. But to these miracles which manifest themselves in Nature an even more extraordinary miracle has been added: the configuration of creative human energies—millions of tiny know-hows configurating naturally and spontaneously.

People assume someone needs to be "in charge" to achieve those miracles, but no one is in charge. What philosopher Frederick Hayek called "spontaneous order" makes it happen.

Without any central authority or master planner, the invisible hand quietly flips the switches that turn markets on. Competition brings us good stuff that keeps getting better—better cars, phones, shoes, medicines. Yet we take this for granted and demand more. We complain if the supermarket's 30,000 items don't include a flavor we want.

In newsrooms where I've worked, it's trendy to sneer at people in business. "They're selfish, greedy, tacky. We are the artists, the thinkers, the people who care about others. We demand that government regulate business to keep the greedy bastards from ripping us off, hurting the poor, despoiling the earth..." In Hollywood, the villain is more likely to be a businessman than a terrorist. The media elite firmly believe: Business is bad.

To be fair, antipathy toward business existed before the media amplified it. There's something instinctive about resenting the people who trade for profit. Workers hate their employers, who pay them, but love the government, even though it takes 40 percent of their money and squanders it.

It's an idea as old as it is irrational. In feudal times, people hated the "bourgeoisie." It wasn't just because they envied their wealth, says economist Thomas Sowell. People revered royalty, no matter how absurdly rich they were, but resented middle-class merchants who sold them what they needed. Anger at the merchant's profit, suggests Sowell, is the grist for racial and ethnic hatred that has led to mass slaughters. Everywhere there is hatred of "middleman minorities": The Chinese in Southeast Asia, the Lebanese in the Middle East, the Jews in Eastern Europe, Indians and Pakistanis in Africa, and Koreans in America's Black ghettos. These groups improve their customers' lives in many ways, yet often their customers come to hate them for it.

Some folks simply loathe profit and commerce. They want to "fix" it by making it "kinder." One way they think they can do that is by insisting that authorities guarantee "fair" prices.

MYTH: Price controls protect consumers.

TRUTH: Price controls create shortages and terrible hardship.

Price controls make perfect sense to people who know little about economics: "Since business owners are greedy and quick to take advantage of their customers' ignorance or desperation to 'gouge' them, it would be fairer to limit what those selfish people can charge! The only losers would be those nasty capitalists who make 'excess' profit. Price controls would save everyone money! Why not impose them?"

Because price controls don't work.

They've been tried many, many times, but they've never worked, if by "worked" we mean made life better for consumers. Instead, price controls create shortages and cause all kinds of harm, from starvation in Communist countries to long gas lines in the United States. Yet this bad idea doesn't die.

Even after starving Russian mothers sent their children into the fields to kill mice for food, and even after the Soviet Union collapsed under the weight of central planning and price controls, many of our leaders still insist that their central planning and price controls will work.

I've covered their schemes, big and small. I'll start with the small:

My former senator, Alfonse D'Amato, was upset about your friendly neighborhood robot, the ATM. I put ATMs up there with microwave popcorn on the list of great inventions. How did I ever survive without cash machines?

I'm old enough to remember when getting cash meant standing in a long line and then convincing a teller that you were you. There was always a line. You could only withdraw money between nine a.m. and three p.m. at your own bank. Today I can wander out in my sweatpants at two a.m. and get cash on the corner. I like getting cash whenever I want it, and I'm willing to pay $1.50 for that convenience.

But if D'Amato and other self-appointed do-gooders had their way, I wouldn't have that choice. D'Amato proclaimed ATM fees "wrong" and "immoral." At the time, he was not just another congressional blowhard, but chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, and he planned to outlaw the fees. He branded them "absolutely unacceptable—a great scam."

D'Amato went on TV to denounce the "usury" of ATM fees. He claimed, "They cost the average consumer, some reports indicate, a hundred fifty dollars a year more."

"A hundred fifty dollars?" I asked him.

He stammered, "That's—well, begin to think of it. Think of how many transactions that would take."

His staff got the figure from a newspaper article. The real cost was a third of that. But the senator decided to "solve" this nonexistent problem anyway. He was eager to pander to constituents who didn't like the fees.

We had no trouble finding voters who agreed with D'Amato. They told us they shouldn't have to pay to withdraw their own money. As one ATM user said, "There wasn't a service charge to put it in, so why should there be one to take it out?"

Why? Because ATM machines aren't free! We interviewed Barbara Stillman, a woman who started a cash-machine business. She owned one ATM and serviced four others. The machine she owned cost her fifteen thousand dollars (some cost fifty thousand). Her initial outlay of fifteen thousand dollars was just the beginning. She had to service the machines and put her own cash in them (the banks reimbursed her four days later). Stillman drove to some of her machines, but had to pay hundreds of dollars to fly to her busiest ATM; it was on Block Island, just off the coast of Rhode Island. Tourists there used her ATM, even though they hated paying Stillman's whopping fee of four dollars. One vacationer complained, "Four dollars is an excessive charge to get money. But we're on vacation, so we do it."

Four dollars was the highest fee we found, and her service charge would certainly have become illegal if Senator D'Amato had his way. That would have taught the greedy Stillman a lesson. Of course, it also would have hurt her customers because it would have put her out of business. Why should the Barbara Stillmans of this world take risks if they can't take profits?

Here's what she told us: "When I'm loading a machine, I could be robbed. If somebody stole the machine, that's a risk. I have no incentive at all to go over there and risk my life flying on an airplane, and why would I want to risk that for nothing?"

In fact, a few years later, she decided "the risk wasn't worth even four dollars per customer." She quit the business.

Most cash machines are owned by banks, but banks have costs too. Politicians can pretend that banks can afford to dispense cash for free, but it isn't so.

We don't need "consumer advocates" like Al D'Amato to keep businesses from charging too much. In a free society, competition holds prices down, and in the cash business, there's plenty of competition. If Stillman's four-dollar fee earns her too fat a profit, competitors will swarm in. They'll court her customers by offering cash for less. On Block Island, in fact, competition has driven the price down to about $2.50. That's how capitalism works. If Stillman charged an "unfair" fee, the free market would correct it without any help from the United States Congress.

When I confronted my senator about his plan, I didn't hide my exasperation.

STOSSEL It's freedom! People are willingly paying this surcharge, and we're getting more machines.

ALFONSE D'AMATO It's absolutely not freedom. They don't have a choice. What choice does a person have?

STOSSEL You make it sound like ATMs are like heroin, and—

ALFONSE D'AMATO That's true.

STOSSEL [Heroin!?] Aren't you pandering here?

ALFONSE D'AMATO No, I don't think so. Someone's got to stand up for the little guy.

Get out the shovel! D'Amato was hurting the little guy. And eventually, the little guys voted him out. Bye, Al.
D'Amato's proposal was the subject of my first "Give Me a Break" column for 20/20, and I hope I contributed to its defeat. Consumers don't need price controls.

Controlling prices has repeatedly robbed us of convenience and of new products and services. At least inconvenience usually isn't fatal, but it will be fatal if the economically illiterate succeed in imposing price controls on the product they are most eager to regulate: prescription drugs.

MYTH: Drug companies are evil price gougers.

TRUTH: The higher the price of the drugs, the more good drugs we get.

People hate drug companies. Seeing that Lipitor can cost fourteen hundred dollars a year, or that a medication for cancer patients costs four thousand dollars a month, people say that big drug companies are evil, and that "We need price controls!"

Politicians respond reflexively: Drug companies are "the robber-barons of the American health care system," shouted Senator David Pryor of Arkansas on the floor of Congress.

On the other side of the Capitol, Congressman Peter DeFazio of Oregon wagged a strident finger at his House colleagues. "You will be held to account at the next elections by the tens of millions of Americans who can't afford their pharmaceutical drugs!"

Grab the shovel. That's the nauseating sound of politicians pandering. Do they ever think about how we get these wonderful drugs?

Drugs don't just suddenly appear. Thousands of researchers work tirelessly to develop them. Most attempts fail. But the few successes repay the costs of the failures. Imagine what life was like before the polio vaccine: Thousands spent hours in iron lungs trying to breathe.

People complain about the high cost of vaccinations. But treating polio costs billions more than preventing it.

A lifetime vaccination against polio sets you back about twenty dollars. Compare that to the lifelong costs of iron lungs, medical care, and lost wages—to say nothing of the physical and emotional suffering.

The drug companies keep bringing us new miracles. Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong says he's alive only because of his chemotherapy drugs. "If I had this illness twenty years ago/' he said, "I wouldn't have lived six months."

Armstrong's testicular cancer treatment cost a lot—around fifteen thousand dollars. But it didn't just spring providentially from some laboratory beaker. It was the product of extensive, and very expensive, research by a pharmaceutical company—a kind of scientific crapshoot in which there are very few winners. Of every five thousand chemical compounds that researchers discover, only one reaches the pharmacist's shelf.

My older, smarter brother Tom knows this firsthand. He's an example of drug company failure. (I love calling Tom a failure because he got better grades in school and was Mom's favorite.) His work illustrates the risks drug companies take.

Tom is codirector of the Hematology Division at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital. For thirty years, he did basic research, some of which led to discoveries with practical applications. One was licensed to Biogen Idee, a biotech company, after he convinced them that it might help people with cystic fibrosis breathe more easily.

Biogen Idee financed a regimen of tests that cost twenty million dollars. Unfortunately Tom's discovery didn't work against cystic fibrosis. Biogen's twenty million dollars was a complete loss. Tom thinks the drug might help people with another disease, so there will be new tests and millions more in expenses. Odds are that Tom's discovery will fail those tests too.

Even if the drug does pass through the gamut of tests, it will cost his benefactor hundreds of millions more to get the drug to market. The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development says the average cost of developing a new drug is a staggering 802 million dollars. Then, even when a new drug is approved, odds are that it will never turn a profit. Less than a third of marketed drugs have enough commercial success to recover the cost of their research and development.

The hated pharmaceutical companies make big profits, but I want them to make big profits because they have to make huge investments, suffer lots of failures, and go through ten to fifteen years of testing before they can bring me the drugs that might save my life or alleviate my pain.

But if you talk to people waiting for their prescriptions at a pharmacy, you don't hear appreciation for all the dollars the drug companies invested; what you hear are complaints about prices. "It makes me mad," one lady told us, "doesn't it make you mad?"

Drug companies do some things that ought to make us mad. Some spend millions on "drug-detail" men, salesmen who lavish doctors with gifts and vacations in order to get them to prescribe that company's drug. ABCs Brian Ross used hidden cameras to videotape them giving away steaks, neckties, flower arrangements, and rooms at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Drug companies also spend a fortune on TV ads that over-promise. They pay their CEOs exorbitant salaries.

But that's capitalism! Like free speech, it brings good and bad. I forgive the bad because it's far outweighed by the good.

Pharmaceutical companies' critics jump all over them for spending about four billion dollars a year advertising to consumers. But that four billion dollars is dwarfed by the nearly fifty billion dollars that they spend developing new drugs.

But most people just want those big, bad drug companies punished. Sixty-five percent of people surveyed want government regulation of drug prices. It's the same old story: People see high prices, assume they're being gouged, and foolishly believe that government can save the day.

MYTH: The U.S., lacking price limits on drugs, cruelly harms the poor and sick.

TRUTH: Price controls harm the poor and sick.

It is true that the U.S. is the only industrialized country that does not impose price controls on drugs. But that is a good thing. If price controls were instituted for drugs in the U.S., far fewer drugs would be invented.

When price controls were introduced in Canada in the late 1960s, drug research there dropped by more than half. If the United States—which makes up 45 percent of the world's pharmaceutical market—suddenly decided to institute price controls, amazing drugs would be lost.

Do people consider that when they demand that the government set lower prices? Rarely. AIDS activist Mark Milano disrupted candidates' speeches during the 2000 political campaign by screaming about the cost of AIDS drugs. He said price controls were the only humane solution. So I invited him in to talk about it.

MARK MILANO [He's hopping mad here, smug in the moral superiority of his position] We're the only country that is paying these exorbitant prices.

STOSSEL [True, but it lets me bait the hook] What country has a good system?

MARK MILANO [His face goes blank for a moment, then brightens as he says] I would say New Zealand has a great system.

STOSSEL [Now I can reel him in] How many new drugs come out of New Zealand?

MARK MILANO [Another pause, and now he looks uncomfortable] It's true that most researchers focus here in America and in—in Europe. Japan does a tremendous amount of drug research.

STOSSEL Well, how many new drugs came out of Japan?

MARK MILANO [Now he looks very uncomfortable] It's hard to pin down exactly where a new drug comes—but some do come from Japan and—and other countries. There have been drugs that have...

STOSSEL But most come from America! Do you think that's an accident?

MARK MILANO I don't think it has to do with the fact that we have no price controls, no. Anyway, most of the new drugs coming out come from the federal government.

Again, Milano is talking nonsense. He's passionate about AIDS drugs, but of the fifty-six drugs that were available for AIDS when I interviewed Milano, the National Institutes of Health said it could take credit for only five. The vast majority of new drugs come from greedy private companies.

The critics and politicians want it both ways. They never acknowledge that the investor-owned drug companies drive medical progress, and that taking away financial incentives takes away new medicines.

If they succeed in protecting us by lowering drug prices, they'll "protect" us from the very innovation we need. Their ideas should be quarantined before they infect anyone else.

MYTH: Price "gouging" is evil.

TRUTH: "Gouging" saves lives.

Politicians trot out price controls, and their aliases, anti-gouging and anti-profiteering laws, again and again. Every time there's a hurricane, you know that once the winds die down, a politician will rant about "gouging." You can also bet the media will cheer him on.

After Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005, there were shortages of water, batteries, gasoline, chain saws, etc. Some merchants quickly raised their prices, and politicians and the media raged about that. They wanted "profiteers" punished.

If you're a politician trying to score points by cracking down on mean, greedy people, anti-gouging rules are good for your career. But if you're one of the consumers the law supposedly protects, you won't fare as well.

George Mason University economist Donald J. Boudreaux says that price increases "perform the vital task of economic triage." Consider this scenario: You return home after a cataclysmic storm to find the power is out. You desperately need batteries. You find a store that's open. The owner thinks it's immoral to take advantage of your distress; he wouldn't dream of charging you a dime more than he charged last week. Unfortunately, you can't buy a battery from this compassionate guy because he sold out three days ago. Panicked families grabbed extras to stock up, leaving none for you.

You continue on your quest and finally stumble across that dreaded monster, the price gouger. He now offers a pack of batteries that cost five dollars last week for the "outrageous" price of thirty dollars. You pay him in order to survive the disaster. You resent the gouger, but if he hadn't charged thirty dollars, he'd have been out of batteries too. His "exploitation" saved the day.

It works that way because people look out for their own interests. Before you got to that dealer, other customers did. At five dollars, they stocked up on batteries. They bought more than they needed—they got extras for themselves and a relative, until the store ran out. Raising the price puts the brakes on their buying and makes sure batteries and chain saws go to those who really need them. That was not the seller's intention, but it's certainly the result. In addition, raising the price makes new batteries appear. Word gets out: "Big profits to be made on batteries!" Suppliers rush batteries to the scene of the disaster, and the price quickly drops back to five dollars, or less.

Motives matter little. As Adam Smith wrote, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest."

Consider the store owner's perspective: If he won't make a big profit, why should he open his store at all? Staying in a disaster area is dangerous. It means leaving his family to wait on strangers. Without extra profit, why go to all that trouble and risk?

It's the price gougers who supply the batteries and water, ship the gasoline, fix the roof, and rebuild the cities. Gouging saves lives.

Right after Hurricane Katrina, I wrote a newspaper column about that simple truth. People got upset.

"You, sir, are scum. Plain and simple, you are scum. How dare you say that the price gougers are saving lives."

"...the single stupidest, most offensive thing I have ever read. I hope you lose your job over this, you soulless cretin."

E-mail after e-mail from people who hate the very mechanism that makes their lives better: capitalism.

After Hurricane Katrina, there was overwhelming demand for carpentry work. The area's own population of carpenters wasn't enough.

If this were a totalitarian country, the government might just order a bunch of tradesmen to go to New Orleans. But in a free society, tradesmen from other areas must be persuaded to leave their homes and families, their employers and customers, and drive from, say, Chicago to New Orleans. If they can't earn more money in Louisiana than Illinois, why make the trip?

Some carpenters may be motivated by a desire to be heroic, but we can't expect heroes to fill the need, week after week; most will travel there for the same reason most Americans go to work: to make money. Any tradesman who treks to a disaster area must get higher pay than he would get in his hometown, or he won't go. Limit him to what his New Orleans colleagues charged before the storm, and even a would-be hero may say, "The heck with it."

On the other hand, if he charges enough to justify his venture, he's likely to be condemned morally or legally by the very people he's trying to help. They just don't understand basic economics. If price controls forbid prices to rise, tradesmen will be content to stay at home, and New Orleans will take years longer to rebuild.

When Hurricane Andrew hit Florida in 1992, the state's attorney general, Bob Butterworth, was outraged by the "unconscionable" gouging. "I don't see any difference between the looters who go through the rubble in the trailer parks and the business people who cash in on this disaster by gouging customers," he said.

Florida passed laws that punish price gougers with fines of up to twenty-five thousand dollars and made it a third-degree felony for out-of-state contractors to work without a license. Florida law dictates that penalties be increased if those contractors work during a disaster, which of course is when hurricane victims need them most.

In 2004, Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne all hit Florida. The extensive damage required droves of tradesmen to do repairs, but because of all the consumer "protection" rules, Florida's recovery was slow and difficult.

Florida became known as the "Blue Roof State" because of the thousands of blue plastic tarps that covered damaged roofs for close to a year. The demand for roofers was so severe that some hurricane victims had to wait up to five weeks just to get an estimate for a roof job.

The recovery could have been much faster if only Florida had gotten rid of its ridiculous restrictions. Let the market work, and services that were in short supply become available.

Some regulators say that's not fair to the poor "because poor people can't afford those sudden price spikes that you free-marketers so cavalierly support!"

But such paternalism doesn't help the poor. Poor people need batteries too, and $30 batteries are better than no batteries at all. The poor may have to pool their resources and share the flashlight and radio with neighbors, but some supplies are always better than none.

If the free market is allowed to work its magic, the opportunity to profit will bring so many new suppliers to the disaster site that prices will quickly return to pre-disaster levels. Or even lower. Sometimes the new competitors invent even cheaper ways to do things.

Everyone benefits—the poor and the rich—when the politicians don't "protect" us with price controls.


To go to our full review, or to go to purchase the book, CLICK HERE.


Excerpted from MYTHS, LIES AND DOWNRIGHT STUPIDITY by John Stossel of 20/20. © 2006.
JFS Productions, Inc., and American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold.


Friday, May 19, 2006


"by John Ubaldi

May 20th the United States observes Armed Forces Day across the country, a tradition begun by President Truman to honor the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform.  This year, Armed Forces Day provides us an opportunity for great reflection as our treasured youth are again fighting in far-flung outposts of the world in defense of liberty.

This Armed Forces Day lets remember the sacrifices of the men and women serving the nation, fighting the perpetual struggle determining if civilization lives in peace or darkness.

President John Kennedy stated, "Our serviceman and women are serving throughout the world as guardians of peace-many of them away from their homes, their friends and their families.  They are visible evidence of our determination to meet any threat to the peace with measured strength and high resolve.  They are also evidence of a harsh but inescapable truth-that the survival of freedom requires great cost and commitment, and great personnel sacrifice."

Reminded of the inscription above the statue of Thomas Jefferson at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., reads "I have sworn upon the alter of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of men." The caption represents the fundamental beliefs of this nation and the values of many that serve on the front lines of freedom.

We are blessed to live in a land of unprecedented peace and prosperity, where our dreams and aspirations can be fulfilled.  Our armed forces provide us the tranquility and freedom, which this republic has enjoyed.  The ability to live in a free and democratic country that gives man the capacity to control his own destiny free from oppression and terror.   The armed forces of this nation are engaged in the monumental task of fighting terror in Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations where the forces of evil hide, ridding the world of the scourge of international terror.

Unfortunately the rights of man are not enjoyed by all mankind, many across the globe face terror and oppression, denied the basic tenets of liberty.  So long as freedom is threatened, we can't take our freedom for granted.  Freedom cannot survive without protection.  In protecting freedom of all mankind, we honor the men and women of our armed forces serving all across the globe in the preservation of that basic right.    

America, as stated by President Lincoln, gave humanity a "new birth of freedom."  Again, the nation's armed forces have been summoned to rescue humanity from individuals who wish to enslave and terrorize.

It's humbling to know that many brave men & women are serving in the army, navy, air force, marines, and coast guard of this great nation realizing that freedom isn't free, following in the illustrious tradition of previous generations who sacrificed everything serving in Americas Armed Forces.

The Declaration of Independence states, "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, that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, derived their just powers from the consent of the governed."

In a speech President Kennedy was to give in Dallas he states,  "We in this country, in this generation, are-by destiny rather then choice- the watchman on the walls of world freedom.  We ask, therefore that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient wisdom of "Peace on Earth, and good will toward men" That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underline our strength.  For as was written long ago;  "except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."

This Armed Forces Day, lets take the time and remember all those who serve in the armed forces of this great nation, but also those who have served the cause of freedom, but have never come home that lay in the battlefields across the globe.  In the last century their lives have ended in places called Belleau Wood, the Argonne, Omaha Beach, Salerno, and half way around the world on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Iwo Jima, Pork Chop Hill, The Chosin Reservoir, and hundreds of rice paddies and jungles in Vietnam.

In our lifetime they fell in the Persian Gulf, Somalia, the mountains of Afghanistan, Fallujah, Nasiriyah, Ramadi, and on the streets of Baghdad.

Let us not forget the words of George Washington's First Inaugural Address in April 1789:  "No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more then the people of the United States.  Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency."

This Armed Forces Day, let us remember we are again in a great conflict that will determine whether our children live in freedom or face a world void of liberty.  Lets remember those who are serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the globe preserving the freedoms that we enjoy.  

Freedom is too precious a gift not to remember the gallant warriors serving in the Armed Forces of the United States.  Lets honor all who serve, it's the least we can do!

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Support our troops and the fight against terrorism.  Log on to and join the nation's largest grassroots pro-troop organization."

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Grief and Awe

"Dear friends,

What a time of change this has been.  The energy is strong right now, it's like a dragon; you can get on its back and fly to the top of the sky or be burned to ash by the fire.  Personally, I am in the ash state, at the moment.  I am still reeling from the deaths of two people I loved so very much and am trying to find my balance again.  I wander from grief to self-pity, to missing, missing, missing them.  Crying myself to sleep to my pillow, weeping in surrealistic, in-between moments when I least expect it with great pangs of wrenching loss - I miss him, I miss her so much.  I feel like the dust and ash that is left after the bomb hits . . . but before the phoenix rises.

In these last days as I have teetered between grief and routine, I have come to a surprising understanding.  While I was brought to my knees with loss - not this one, not this one, too - confused and adrift, trying to make sense out of the mystery, knowing that you can't make sense of the mystery, because it is one, I find myself asking 'why' about everything, 'why' in my meditations, 'why' in my wandering thoughts throughout the day, and through it all I keep being met with the same vision, smiles and heart, gentle smiles and heart.  There is no sadness, no loss on their part, just mine. 

And though the burn leaves a scar on my heart that feels like a brand, these so very loved ones that have so powerfully touched my life are not gone from my life, they are more a part of me now, an indelible part of me, like my breath, and part of the fabric of my heart and mind, and infused in this writing now.  This is part of the awe.

But the insight that has come out of this that surprises me in its magnitude and its rarity, is awe.  I don't know why awe is the word, but it is.  In all of my questioning of God and the universe during these last weeks and really my entire life, awe is the answer that grows out of my questions.  A bring-me-to-my-knees kind of awe, just as I was on my knees in despair, it has been transformed into a different kind of being on my knees – awe.

But it's more than that.  It's a realization of the mystery and the beauty of life, that our lives are beautiful, that your life is beautiful, that we are worthy.  

I have a growing, spiraling, deepening affection and compassion for us.  As one of my dearest hearts that just passed said to me so often, we are all doing the best that we can.  And all I know is how touched I am by us when I remember this.  How noble we are.  How brave we are.  How we aspire.

We are all doing the best we can. Our little walking through this wild, crazy, tumultuous, glorious, mysterious world is a privilege.  Our walk is a privilege.  Every step of it.  And if I could go to every single person I ever have known, family, friend and stranger, I would bloom my heart to them in awe, in appreciation, in humility in the understanding of the magnitude of a single life and of our collective life.  It is humbling beyond words.

~in the mystery and the soaring,
Diana Lang
©2006 by DIANA LANG

These letters are sent out as a gift and a service. If you feel so inspired, please feel free to pass them along, but do so without charge or alteration. If you wish to be added to or deleted from the mailing list, please let me know.

Diana Lang
from the City of Angels

"Everything you do right now ripples outward
and affects everyone." - David Deida"

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Monday, May 15, 2006

New Preamble to the Constitution

We the sensible people of the United States, in an attempt to help everyone get along, restore some semblance of justice, avoid more riots, keep our nation safe, promote positive behavior, and secure the blessings of debt-free liberty to ourselves and our great-great-great-grandchildren, hereby try one more time to ordain and establish some common sense guidelines for the terminally whiny, guilt ridden, delusional, and other liberal bed-wetters. We hold these truths to be self evident: that a whole lot of people are confused by the Bill of Rights and are so dim they require a Bill of NON-Rights.

ARTICLE I: You do not have the right to a new car, big screen TV, or any other form of wealth. More power to you if you can legally acquire them, but no one is guaranteeing anything.

ARTICLE II: You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone -- not just you! You may leave the room, turn the channel, express a different opinion, etc.; but the world is full of idiots, and probably always will be.

ARTICLE III: You do not have the right to be free from harm. If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful, do not expect the tool manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy.

ARTICLE IV: You do not have the right to free food and housing. Americans are the most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in need, but we are quickly growing weary of subsidizing generation after generation of professional couch potatoes who achieve nothing more than the creation of another generation of professional couch potatoes. (This one is my pet peeve. Go to work. Don't expect
everyone else to take care of you!)

ARTICLE V: You do not have the right to free health care. That would be nice, but from the looks of public housing, we're just not interested in public health care.

ARTICLE VI: You do not have the right to physically harm other people. If you kidnap, rape, intentionally maim, or kill someone, don't be surprised if the rest of us want to see you fry in the electric chair.

ARTICLE VII: You do not have the right to the possessions of others. If you rob, cheat, or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don't be surprised if the rest of us get together and lock you away in a place where you still won't have the right to a big screen color TV or a life of leisure.

ARTICLE VIII: You do have the right to a job. All of us sure want you to have a job, and will gladly help you along in hard times, but we expect you to take advantage of the opportunities of education and vocational training laid before you to make yourself useful. (AMEN!)

ARTICLE IX: You do not have the right to happiness. Being an American means that you have the right to PURSUE happiness, which by the way, is a lot easier if you are unencumbered by an over abundance of idiotic laws created by those of you who were confused by the Bill of Rights.

ARTICLE X: This is an English speaking country. We don't care where you are from, English is our language. Learn it or go back to wherever you came from! (lastly....)

ARTICLE XI: You do not have the right to change our country's history or heritage. You are given the freedom to believe in any religion, any faith, or no faith at all; with no fear of persecution.

If you agree, share this with a friend. No, you don't have to, and nothing tragic will befall you if you don't. I just think it's about time common sense is allowed to flourish. Sensible people of the United States please speak out...because if you do not, who will?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Nothing beats the original Hollywood Squares

If you remember the Original Hollywood Squares and its comics, this may bring a tear to your eyes. Peter Marshall was the host asking the questions...

Q. If you're going to make a parachute jump, at least how high should you be?
A. Charley Weaver: Three days of steady drinking should do it.

Q. True or False, a pea can last as long as 5,000 years.
A. George Gobel: Boy, it sure seems that way sometimes.

Q. You've been having trouble going to sleep. Are you probably a man or a woman?
A. Don Knotts: That's what's been keeping me awake.

Q. According to Cosmopolitain, if you meet a stranger at a party and you think that he is attractive, is it okay to come out and ask him if he's married?
A. Rose Marie: No; wait until morning.

Q. Which of your five senses tends to diminish as you get older?
A. Charley Weaver: My sense of decency.

Q. Do female frogs croak?
A. Paul Lynde: If you hold their little heads under water long enough.

Q. In Hawaiian, does it take more than three words to say "I Love You"?
A. Vincent Price: No, you can say it with a pineapple and a twenty.

Q. What are "Do It," "I Can Help," and "I Can't Get Enough"?
A. George Gobel: I don't know, but it's coming from the next apartment.

Q. As you grow older, do you tend to gesture more or less with your hands while talking?
A. Rose Marie: You ask me one more growing old question Peter, and I'll give you a gesture you'll never forget.

Q. Paul, why do Hell's Angels wear leather?
A. Paul Lynde: Because chiffon wrinkles too easily.

Q. Charley, you've just decided to grow strawberries. Are you going to get any during the first year?
A. Charley Weaver: Of course not, I'm too busy growing strawberries.

Q. In bowling, what's a perfect score?
A. Rose Marie: Ralph, the pin boy.

Q. It is considered in bad taste to discuss two subjects at nudist camps. One is politics, what is the other?
A. Paul Lynde: Tape measures.

Q. During a tornado, are you safer in the bedroom or in the closet?
A. Rose Marie: Unfortunately Peter, I'm always safe in the bedroom.

Q. Can boys join the Camp Fire Girls?
A. Marty Allen: Only after lights out.

Q. When you pat a dog on its head he will wag his tail. What will a goose do?
A. Paul Lynde: Make him bark?

Q. If you were pregnant for two years, what would you give birth to?
A. Paul Lynde: Whatever it is, it would never be afraid of the dark.

Q. According to Ann Landers, is there anything wrong with getting into the habit of kissing a lot of people?
A. Charley Weaver: It got me out of the army.

Q. It is the most abused and neglected part of your body, what is it?
A. Paul Lynde: Mine may be abused, but it certainly isn't neglected.

Q. Back in the old days, when Great Grandpa put horseradish on his head, what was he trying to do?
A. George Gobel: Get it in his mouth.

Q. Who stays pregnant for a longer period of time, your wife or your elephant?
A. Paul Lynde: Who told you about my elephant?

Q. When a couple have a baby, who is responsible for its sex?
A. Charley Weaver: I'll lend him the car, the rest is up to him.

Q. Jackie Gleason recently revealed that he firmly believes in them and has actually seen them on at least two occasions. What are they?
A. Charley Weaver: His feet.

Q. According to Ann Landers, what are two things you should never do in bed?
A. Paul Lynde: Point and laugh!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

George Will Assails McCain on Constitution Remarks

NEWSMAX.COM - "Respected columnist George F. Will has attacked Sen. John McCain over his statements seemingly dismissing the First Amendment’s unassailable guarantee of freedom of speech."

Read more Click Here

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Saturday, May 06, 2006

What's the Worst Government Expenditure in the Last 21 Years?


Citizens Against Government Waste

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Nanny State of the Union

""Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition." --Thomas Jefferson

Ever wonder how dependent the American people have become on the federal government compared to, say, a generation ago? Now, thanks to The Heritage Foundation's new study, "The 2005 Index of Dependency," we can answer that question -- but be forewarned; the data doesn't paint a pretty picture.

This informative study explores the degree, nature and effects of our dependence on government, examining five broad categories of socio-economic federal intervention: housing assistance, healthcare and welfare assistance, retirement income, post-secondary education subsidies and rural and agricultural services. With a benchmark dependence score of 100 for the year 1980, American citizens' dependence on federal government assistance has mushroomed to a score of 212 on the Heritage index, more than twice that of a generation ago.

The fact that such burgeoning government interventionism in state, community and private affairs is beyond the constitutional pale goes without saying. For the Founders, dependence on government in private and public life was to be avoided at all costs -- such dependence, as they rightly saw it, being the root of bondage. "Dependence," said Thomas Jefferson, no doubt reminiscent of the abuses of the British Crown, "begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition." Independence, then, was the key to private liberty and public virtue.

By the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, however, "independence" was redefined to mean economic security -- and government was its guarantor. "Necessitous men are not free," Roosevelt told Congress, so their freedom must be guaranteed by the all-encompassing state. Eventually, the New Deal would give way to the Great Society, with Lyndon Johnson declaring that the purpose of government was no longer merely to guarantee rights -- government was to provide "not just equality as a right and a theory, but equality as a fact and equality as a result."

So much for Jefferson's admonition.

All the same, perhaps that admonition is worth reconsidering. The real question emerging from Jefferson's warning is, does the growth of dependency fundamentally change the nature of our democracy? That's the question the Index of Dependency answers with such lucidity. (The answer, in case you're wondering, is a resounding yes.)

How, exactly, does our democracy change?" read more Click Here

Mark M. Alexander Executive Editor and Publisher of The Patriot Post (PatriotPost.US)

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Amazing email from Mexico

Subject: When our men went to the United States
Date: Thu, 4 May 2006 14:41:35 +0000
From: Eva Albavera Viveros
Reply-to: Eva Albavera Viveros

Hello receive greetings from Guerrero México!

When our men went to the United States they were young and adventurous;
They have had their adventure, now we want them to come home to us
and to their families and to their home country. Close the border
so that the ones who are here do not leave. We have work now
and the men can help us to sand-down and polish the jewelry.

Our group is of women from the village of Tecalpulco
The tradition of our village is handcrafted fashion jewelry
since the men have left, we women have organized a good
business of fashion jewelry production in cottage industry,
The men can help us, they don’t have any excuse to stay.

Thank you very much
from the hearts of the women
of Artesanas Campesinas

Rosalinda Mejia Baron

click on this link to find out more

Best wishes, friends, from Mexico!

Contact: Eva Albavera Viveros

001 762 62 73481
001 762 62 22758

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Constitution In Exile

An excerpt from the new book


How the Federal Government Has Seized Power by Rewriting the Supreme Law of the Land

by Andrew P. Napolitano

Published by Nelson Current, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc.

and reprinted here with permission

ISBN: 1595550305

List Price: $25.99

LFB Price Only $15.95

You Save 39%!

The Constitution in Exile is the winner of the May 2006 Lysander Spooner Award for Advancing
the Literature of Liberty. For more information about the Lysander
Spooner Awards, CLICK HERE.

To go to our full review, or to go to purchase the book, CLICK HERE.

The excerpt, below, is the introduction to the book, The Constitution in Exile. Enjoy!



How the Federal Government Has Seized Power by Rewriting the Supreme Law of the Land

by Andrew P. Napolitano



What Rosa Parks Knew That We Forget

To understand the Constitution and where it came from, we must look at its counterpart, the Declaration of Independence, and we must understand the Natural Law that grounds both documents.

Whether they realize it or not, most contemporary legal scholars and politicians in the Western world stand behind two competing theories about the origins of law and liberty: Natural Law and Positivism. The Natural Law school of thought argues that freedom comes by virtue of being created human, from our very nature, and holds that laws created by kings or legislatures are always secondary to the Natural Law. It is the royal flush against which any other law is merely a pair of deuces.

This is not a new concept. The Greek writer Sophocles "recognizes the reality that human laws are subject to a higher law," according to my professor of constitutional law and jurisprudence at Notre Dame Law School, Charles E. Rice. Similarly, Aristotle observed that "one part of what is politically just is natural, and the other part is legal." Cicero described it as "the highest reason, implanted in Nature, which commands what ought to be done and forbids the opposite." Writes Cicero, "Right is based, not upon men's opinion [from popular legislatures], but upon Nature."

In more recent times, Justice Clarence Thomas, writing about the "higher law political philosophy" of the Founding Fathers, stated, "Natural rights and higher law arguments are the best defense of liberty and of limited government. Moreover, without recourse to higher law, we abandon our best defense of judicial review-a judiciary active in defending the Constitution. Rather than being a justification for the worst type of judicial activism, higher law is [the] only alternative to the willfulness of both run-amok majorities [in Congress] and run-amok judges [in federal courts]."1

Natural Law theory teaches that the law extends from human nature, which is created by God. The Natural Law theory states that because all human beings desire freedom from artificial restraint and because all human beings yearn to be free, our freedoms must stem from our very humanity-and ultimately from the Creator of humanity.

Perhaps no one can answer the question of "What is the Natural Law?" more clearly than Professor Rice: "Natural law will seem mysterious if we forget that everything has a law built into its nature.... If you eat a barbed-wired sandwich, it will not be good for you. If you want your body to function well, you ought not to treat it as if it were a trash compactor. Natural law is easy to understand when we are talking about physical nature. But it applies as well to the moral sphere."

Think of your human experience as derived from God, as Rice has suggested, like a car that is derived from its manufacturer. God (or the Universal Spirit if you are not religious) is the manufacturer of your life. God created you and sent along a manual, much like the vehicle manufacturer includes in the glove compartment of your car (does anyone actually keep gloves in them?). The manufacturer wants you to drive your car successfully so that you and your friends will buy more cars, so it gives you tips on how to maintain the car and how to get out of trouble should it break down. Likewise, according to the Natural Law, God has equipped you with a manual-some say it is the Bible, others the Tanakh, others the Koran, others a rational mind. No matter what you believe, the Natural Law of the world can be seen running throughout any of the time-tested documents of Western Civilization. "It would be a strange motorist who would resent the existence of that manual and refuse to look at it," says Rice.2

Strange indeed when you think of the important, real-world implications and consequences of Natural Law. Take the case of Rosa Parks.

Parks's famous refusal to give up her seat on a bus in 1955 in Alabama was a demonstration of "a proper reading of the Natural Law," according to Rice, because she refused to obey an unjust law. She played the royal flush and trumped the segregationists, who relied on the prejudiced opinion of popular majorities, not higher law.

Said Martin Luther King Jr., "A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God.... An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of Saint Thomas Aquinas, 'unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.'"

These concepts about law and liberty played an important role in the American experience from the very start.


The language of the Declaration of Independence refers specifically to God-given rights, those received by virtue of our humanity. The very first sentence claims a God-given right to be separate and equal beings-existing apart from a political power. The Declaration says that it is possible and even sometimes necessary-like Parks's refusal writ large-for "one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume... the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them...." God grants "certain unalienable rights." Government is supposed to secure them.

If the text of the Declaration is not sufficient evidence of the role of Natural Law in the formation of our country as an independent state, Thomas Jefferson's studies and writings reveal a strong adherence to Natural Law principles. Jefferson was heavily influenced by the writings of John Locke and Thomas Paine. He borrowed considerably from the language and philosophies of both men in drafting the Declaration. For example, both Locke and Paine used the word "unalienable" to describe human rights.

Locke, in his Second Treatise on Government, wrote, "Reason... teaches all Mankind... that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his Life, Health, Liberty, or Possessions." That immunity from harm includes harm caused by government-language and thoughts clearly echoed in the Declaration and its understanding of natural rights.

In The Rights of Man, Paine wrote that these natural rights include "all the intellectual rights, or rights of the mind, and also all those rights of acting as an individual for his own comfort and happiness, which are not injurious to the natural rights of others." The government, Jefferson and Paine argued, is necessary to secure those rights in the civil context.3

Jefferson's own writings, prior to and after the Declaration, also display his belief in Natural Law. In a legal argument written in 1770, Jefferson wrote that "Under the law of nature, all men are born free, every one comes into the world with a right to his own person, which includes the liberty of moving and using it at his own will. This is what is called personal liberty, and is given him by the Author of nature, because necessary for his own sustenance." Note that Jefferson chose to capitalize the A in Author-a reference to God that would have been crystal-clear to his contemporaries. Jefferson could be more explicit when he needed to be. "The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time," he declared in July 1774.4

It is clear from the text of the Declaration, and the influences and writings of its principal drafter, that Natural Law principles establish the rights referenced in the Declaration of Independence. And that is precisely how constitutional originalists such as Justice Clarence Thomas interpret it.

The significance of the Declaration for constitutional scholars is that it is believed to contain the philosophical underpinnings of the Constitution. In other words, an understanding of Natural Law, its conferral of rights upon men and women, and the relationship between those rights and the role of government is fundamental to properly understand and interpret the Constitution.


That freedom comes not from government, not from the consent of the governed, not from the community, but from God and is inherent to our humanity has profound effects on modern jurisprudence. It means that our basic freedoms-such as freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, freedom to travel, and freedom from arbitrary restraints-cannot be taken away by the government unless we are convicted of violating Natural Law, and the government can only convict us if it follows what is called "procedural due process."

Due process means that we know in advance of the violations of Natural Law that the government will prosecute, that we are fully notified by the government of the charges against us, that we have a fair trial with counsel before a truly neutral judge and jury, that we can confront and challenge the government's evidence against us, that we can summon persons and evidence on our own behalf, that the government must prove our misdeeds beyond a reasonable doubt, and that we have the right to appeal the outcome of that trial to another neutral judge.

Under the Natural Law, the only way that any of our natural rights can be taken away is by conviction by a jury. Our rights cannot be legislated away, no matter how universally accepted the legislation, and they cannot be commanded away, no matter how beloved, benign, or correct the commander may be.

Because free speech is a natural right and can only be taken away after due process, it cannot be taken away simply because a legislature says so. Thus, Natural Law protects minority rights from incursion by the majority. Neither Congress nor any state legislatures can declare that freedom of speech no longer exists, or take any words-which are only expressions of ideas-and make them illegal.

Under Natural Law, if Congress made it unlawful to speak out against abortion, or if a state governor issued a decree that ordered Christians and Jews to cease worshiping, judges would surely invalidate those acts even if there were no First Amendment protecting freedom of speech and religion because the right to speak and worship as we wish comes from our humanity, not from the government or from the First Amendment. Because of that, judges can enforce those rights-regardless of the misguided will of Congress or a state governor.

In this same way, Natural Law also prevents the majority from having its way all of the time. For example, voters cannot directly (through a referendum) or indirectly (through a legislature) take property that properly belongs to A and give that property to B. Why not? Because under Natural Law, that legislation would exceed the power of any government by violating the right of A to the use and enjoyment of his own property. Property owners have the right to use and enjoy what is theirs whether or not the positive (i.e., written down) law protects those rights or not.

The Founders certainly saw things this way. Constitutional limits on government, as Alexander Hamilton once said, "serve to protect the security of Property... against the majority's will." Soon after the states ratified the Bill of Rights, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase wrote, "An act of the Legislature (for I cannot call it a law) contrary to the great first principles of the social compact, [i.e., the Natural Law] cannot be considered a rightful exercise of legislative authority...."

Under Natural Law, legislatures have unwritten limitations imposed upon them, and those limitations prevent a legislature, no matter how one-sided the vote and no matter how popular the legislation, from enacting a law which interferes with a natural right. Congress could take a lesson from Rice's theory that "The Natural Law provides a guide through which we can safely and rightly choose to love God by acting in accord with our nature and by helping others to do the same. We can know the requirements of Natural Law through reason unaided by explicit revelation."5 Natural Law declares that when the people created state legislatures, and when the states created the Congress, they never gave these bodies the authority to interfere with natural rights. They did not do so because they could not do so. As we observed earlier, no one can take away another's natural rights except a jury, following due process.

Natural Law also commands certain prohibitions. For example, since enslaving a person or taking an innocent life is always wrong, Natural Law commands that slavery and murder are unlawful, whether the legislature declares them so or not.

Natural Law does, however, recognize that not all rights are natural, and some rights do come from the state. For example, the right to drive a motor vehicle on a government-owned roadway is a right that comes from the state; hence, the government can lawfully regulate it (e.g., by requiring a driver's license, limiting speed, etc.) and lawfully take it away (e.g., from habitual drunk drivers).


Positivist theory is more or less the opposite of Natural Law theory. Under Positivism, the law is whatever those in power say it is, whether that decision is democratic or dictatorial in nature. Positivism demands that all laws be written down, and requires that there are no theoretical or artificial restraints (such as Natural Law) on the ability of the government to enact whatever laws it wishes. No higher law exists; deuces beat a royal f lush if enough people in power say so.

In this theory the majority always rules and always gets its way, since there are no minority rights to be protected-except whatever rights the majority might condescend to grant.

To follow our earlier example, if, under a Positivist system, a state legislature or the Congress were to enact legislation prohibiting public criticism of abortion, or a state governor ordered Christians and Jews to cease worshiping, so long as the legislature was legally elected and it followed its own rules in enacting the legislation, and so long as the legislation proscribed criticism of abortion or authorized the governor's behavior, the prohibition on speech and the interference with the free exercise of religion would be the law of the land, and no court could interfere with it.

In the Positivist scheme, rights come from government, and government can always repeal what it grants. Critics of Positivism have argued that it leads to the tyranny of the majority. These critics remind us that Hitler and the Nazis were popularly elected. Once in power, under a Positivist legal theory, they passed all sorts of horrific laws, all of which were "lawfully" enacted. The Nazis rejected Natural Law, which protects the minority, and we all know what happened to the minority in Hitler's Germany.

In America, the Declaration of Independence is traditionally referred to as the sheet anchor of our liberties. It does not grant liberties; it publicly pronounces and secures them, just as an anchor secures a boat. Similarly, the Constitution of the United States also does not grant rights, but rather recognizes their existence, guarantees their exercise, and requires the government to protect them. Just look at the First Amendment to the Constitution: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech...." This clearly reveals that the authors of the amendment-the Founders-recognized that freedom of religious worship and freedom of speech preexisted, and thus come from some source other than the Constitution. Properly understood then, the First Amendment is not a grant of rights to the people, but a restriction on government that prevents it from infringing on the rights the people already have. It also implies that not only may Congress not interfere with freedom of speech or the free exercise of religion, but Congress must prevent all who act in the name of the government from interfering with them as well.


Throughout this book I will be discussing rights and liberties. As I will use the terms, rights are specific freedoms specifically guaranteed by the Constitution, such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right to bear arms; liberties are more general freedoms, like the right to travel, the right to think whatever you please, and the right to be left alone, with which the government may not interfere without due process.

As the reader can no doubt safely guess by now, I am a strong and fervent believer in Natural Law. The only valid laws are those grounded in a pursuit of goodness. Anything else-like taking property from A and giving it to B, like silencing an unpopular minority, like interfering with freedom of worship-is an unjust law and, theoretically, need not be obeyed, just like the law that told Rosa Parks to find her seat in the rear of the bus. No government may enact laws interfering with our natural freedoms, no matter how popular the enactment.

The Positivist would say that since the majority in a free society gives freedom, the majority can take it away. Natural Law says only God gives freedom, and the government can only take it away as a punishment for violating Natural Law, and then only through due process.

To a Positivist, the government's goal is to bring about the greatest benefit to the greatest number of people.

Under Natural Law, the only legitimate goal of government is to secure liberty, which is the freedom to obey one's own free will and conscience, rather than the free wills or consciences of others, no matter whether those others are in the streets, in City Hall, in the state legislatures, on Capitol Hill, or in the White House.

The problem today in America-the greatest and gravest threat to personal freedom in this country-is that the Positivists are carrying the day. Under their sway, the government violates the law while busily passing more legislation to abridge our liberties. The government recognizes no constraints on its power and enacts whatever laws it wishes.

If we wish to survive the near future with our rights intact, we need to understand the size and scope of the threat. We must also understand its true identity: a government that claims it can give you rights can also take them away.

Throughout the coming pages, we will explore the gravity and disaster inherent in that simple fact. First we'll look at the nature of the Constitution-what it says and what it means. Then, chapter by chapter, we'll explore how politicians and judges have slowly driven the Constitution and its restraints on the government into exile.


1 Charles Rice, "50 Questions on the Natural Law" (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995), pp. 21-22, quoting Clarence Thomas, "The Higher Law Background of
the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment," 12 Harv.
J.L. & Pub. Policy 63, 63-64 (1989).

For those wishing to examine a solid, easy-to-read introduction to the
natural law, Professor Rice has produced one here. This well-footnoted
and highly regarded summary of the Natural Law will be valuable to beginners
and those looking for a refresher course as well. Professor Rice's
research into original sources is so extensive that even those well schooled
in the Natural Law will find his footnotes and bibliography quite helpful.

2 Rice, "50 Questions on the Natural Law," pp. 27-28.

3 Thomas Paine's Rights of Man,
A longer excerpt from this classic work reads, "Natural rights are those which
appertain to man in right of his existence. Of this kind are all the intellectual
rights, or rights of the mind, and also all those rights of acting as an individual
for his own comfort and happiness, which are not injurious to the
natural rights of others. Civil rights are those, which appertain to man in
right of his being a member of society. Every civil right has for its foundation
some natural right pre-existing in the individual, but to the enjoyment
of which his individual power is not, in all cases, sufficiently competent."

4 Thomas Jefferson, "A Summary View of the Rights of British America," B.1.135.
Given these and other references to God in Jefferson's writings, it should
be noted that his position on Natural Law was not a function of religion
or religiosity, nor are these references clear endorsements of Christianity.
While he acknowledged a Supreme Being eloquently and frequently,
Jefferson did not seem to believe in the God of Christianity. Though he
quoted Him often, he rejected the idea of Christ's divinity.

5 Rice, "50 Questions on the Natural Law," p. 28.


To go to our full review, or to go to purchase the book, CLICK HERE.


Reprinted with permission from the publisher of The Constitution in Exile by Andrew P. Napolitano,
Nelson Current, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee, © 2006.


Bright Light

"Dear friends,

We have lost a bright light today.

I say goodbye to her in a thousand voices
from every particle of me, every atom of me
I sing her goodbye, I pray her goodbye.
I let her merge and blend in the depths of my soul forever
as part of me
as a part of everything
but a part of me.

Through my breath, my voice, with my life
I honor her courage and her heart
her enthusiasm, her candor, her trust.
I bow.

To all those that we have loved and lost
I say this prayer for all of us.

In the name of that love in which all things work and move,
~Diana Lang
©2006 by DIANA LANG

These letters are sent out as a gift and a service. If you feel so inspired, please feel free to pass them along, but do so without charge or alteration. If you wish to be added to or deleted from the mailing list, please let me know.

Diana Lang
from the City of Angels

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Monday, May 01, 2006

Immigration "MAY DAY"

Millions of illegal aliens, primarily Mexican nationalists in the U.S., are protesting against immigration reform today. It is no coincidence that this "May Day" protest falls on the Communist Party's International Workers' Day.

The communist ANSWER coalition is the primary organizer of today's protest! --The Patriot Post (PatriotPost.US)

Some info from The Los Angeles Times:

1. 40% of all workers in L.A. County (L.A. County has 10 million people) are working for cash and not paying taxes. This was because they are predominantly illegal immigrants, working without a green card.

2. 95% of warrants for murder in Los Angeles are for illegal aliens.

3. 75% of people on the most wanted list in Los Angeles are illegal aliens.

4. Over 2/3's of all births in Los Angeles County are to illegal alien Mexicans on Medi-Cal whose births were paid for by taxpayers.

5. Nearly 25% of all inmates in California detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally.

6. Over 300,000 illegal aliens in Los Angeles County are living in garages.

7. The FBI reports half of all gang members in Los Angeles are most likely illegal aliens from south of the border.

8. Nearly 60% of all occupants of HUD properties are illegal.

9. 21 radio stations in L.A. are Spanish speaking.

10. In L.A.County 5.1 million people speak English. 3.9 million speak Spanish (10.2 million people in L.A.County).

(All 10 from the Los Angeles Times)

Less than 2% of illegal aliens are picking our crops but 29% are on welfare.

American philosopher Charlie Daniels says that it's "a huge public relations mistake ... when the fist thing you do when you set foot on American soil is illegal, it is flat-out wrong."