Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ron Paul and the Empire, by Steven LaTulippe

Can Ron Paul really win? Does he have a snowball’s chance of becoming the next president, or are we all kidding ourselves?At the moment, Rep. Paul’s quixotic campaign seems to be picking up steam. His recent fundraising statistics reveal a blossoming, internet-based movement that is uniting libertarians and other concerned citizens from across the political spectrum. His performance in the media has been sharp, and his organization seems to be honing its message.While there are plenty of reasons for optimism, I think we need to be clear-eyed about the road ahead. If Rep. Paul somehow manages to remain a viable candidate and to seriously challenge his mainstream opponents, things will get extremely interesting. He faces a set of obstacles unlike any other candidate in my lifetime.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Health Care: Government vs. Private, By Walter E. Williams


Health Care: Government vs. Private

Sometimes the advocates of socialized medicine claim that health care is too important to be left to the market. That's why some politicians are calling for us to adopt health care systems such as those in Canada, the United Kingdom and other European nations. But the suggestion that we'd be better served with more government control doesn't even pass a simple smell test.

Do we want the government employees who run the troubled Walter Reed Army Medical Center to be in charge of our entire health care system? Or, would you like the people who deliver our mail to also deliver health care services? How would you like the people who run the motor vehicles department, the government education system, foreign intelligence and other government agencies to also run our health care system? After all, they are not motivated by the quest for profits, and that might mean they're truly wonderful, selfless, caring people.

As for me, I'd choose profit-driven people to provide my health care services, people with motives like those who deliver goods to my supermarket, deliver my overnight mail, produce my computer and software programs, assemble my car and produce a host of other goods and services that I use.

There's absolutely no mystery why our greatest complaints are in the arena of government-delivered services and the fewest in market-delivered services. In the market, there are the ruthless forces of profit, loss and bankruptcy that make producers accountable to us. In the arena of government-delivered services, there's no such accountability. For example, government schools can go for decades delivering low-quality services, and what's the result? The people who manage it earn higher pay. It's nearly impossible to fire the incompetents. And, taxpayers, who support the service, are given higher tax bills.

Our health care system is hampered by government intervention, and the solution is not more government intervention but less. The tax treatment of health insurance, where premiums are deducted from employees' pre-tax income, explains why so many of us rely on our employers to select and pay for health insurance. Since there is a third-party payer, we have little incentive to shop around and wisely use health services.

There are "guaranteed issue" laws that require insurance companies to sell health insurance to any person seeking it. So why not wait until you're sick before purchasing insurance? Guaranteed issue laws make about as much sense as if you left your house uninsured until you had a fire, and then purchased insurance to cover the damage. Guaranteed issue laws raise insurance premiums for all. Then there are government price controls, such as the reimbursement schemes for Medicaid. As a result, an increasing number of doctors are unwilling to treat Medicaid patients.

Before we buy into single-payer health care systems like Canada's and the United Kingdom's, we might want to do a bit of research. The Vancouver, British Columbia-based Fraser Institute annually publishes "Waiting Your Turn." Its 2006 edition gives waiting times, by treatments, from a person's referral by a general practitioner to treatment by a specialist. The shortest waiting time was for oncology (4.9 weeks). The longest waiting time was for orthopedic surgery (40.3 weeks), followed by plastic surgery (35.4 weeks) and neurosurgery (31.7 weeks).

As reported in the June 28 National Center for Policy Analysis' "Daily Policy Digest," Britain's Department of Health recently acknowledged that one in eight patients waits more than a year for surgery. France's failed health care system resulted in the deaths of 13,000 people, mostly of dehydration, during the heat spell of 2003. Hospitals stopped answering the phones, and ambulance attendants told people to fend for themselves.

I don't think most Americans would like more socialized medicine in our country. By the way, I have absolutely no problem with people wanting socialism. My problem is when they want to drag me into it.

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.


Monday, July 23, 2007

“How Foreign Warring Subverts Freedom at Home” by James Bovard

From FFF’s recent conference “Restoring the Republic: Foreign Policy and Civil Liberties”

Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hillary returns to #1 position on iTunes despite lower popularity

Here are screen shots of the iTunes Music Store on 7-20-2007. Hillary's podcast is listed first, despite Ron Paul's higher popularity. Perhaps Hillary's promise of a mandatory MacBook for every kindergartner, is paying off.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ron Paul most popular on iTunes (Sorry Hillary)

I guess it is no surprise that Ron Paul's weekly podcast leads the "Government and Organizations" category in popularity on the iTunes Music Store.

The revolution is in progress!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Libertarian Party ranks up 18% in '07

The Libertarian Party has had an 18 percent increase in membership since January, said Shane Cory, executive director of the Libertarian National Committee. More Americans are joining the Libertarian Party because they are "disillusioned with typical party politics and are looking for a change,"

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Why Germans Supported Hitler, Part 1

Why did some Germans support the Hitler regime while others opposed it? Each American should first ask himself what he would have done if he had been a German citizen during the Hitler regime. Would you have supported your government or would you have opposed it, not only during the 1930s but also after the outbreak of World War II?

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Monday, July 02, 2007

The Reason for bin Laden’s Jihad

Jacob Hornberger’s Commentary 7/2/2007

An interesting part of the Jose Padilla trial failed to garner much publicity, not surprisingly. Certainly U.S. officials, including President Bush and Vice President Cheney, ignored it. It involved a statement by Osama bin Laden that was contained in a videotape that was shown the Padilla jury. In the videotape, bin Laden tells the interviewer, Peter Arnett: “We declared a jihad, a holy war, against the United States government because it is unjust, criminal and tyrannical.”

Notice the operative word in that sentence — government, the U.S. government to be exact. That’s right — no talk about hating America because of its “freedom and values.” No talk against the First Amendment, rock and roll, or religious freedom. Bin Laden is directly his words against the U.S. government and its foreign policy.

Of course, this is what we have been saying here at FFF since the 1990s, that is long before the 9/11 attacks. The U.S. government went into the Middle East with its bombs, missiles, sanctions, embargoes, no-fly zones, invasions, occupations, and foreign aid to Israel and other Middle East regimes, including that of Saddam Hussein. All those things produced massive death and destruction, which produced the anger and rage, which produced the terrorist blowback.

As we have long pointed out, the reason that the president and vice president and their minions cited hatred for America’s “freedom and values” immediately after the 9/11 attacks is that they did not want Americans to question the pro-empire, pro-interventionist foreign policy that the U.S. government had been pursuing and intended to continue pursuing. If Americans figured out that the real reason for the 9/11 attacks, along with the previous terrorist attacks (i.e., the 1993 attack on the WTC in 1993, the 1998 attacks on the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the 2000 terrorist attack on the USS Cole) was U.S. foreign policy, then they might demand that such policy be changed, a terrifying prospect for imperial Washington, D.C.

As I was recently going through security at the airport, I reflected on this as I watched people take off their shoes and display their plastic bag containing their tiny containers of toothpaste, shaving cream, and deodorant. I thought to myself: Look at all of us going through this nonsensical, childish humiliation, not to mention loss of critical liberties, ahd all for the sake of maintaining the U.S. government’s pro-empire, pro-intervention foreign policy.

So, there you have it: a foreign policy that produces terrorist blowback that is then used to take away the liberties of the American people and subject them to ever-growing petty humiliations. It’s not surprising that federal officials, with their ever-growing thirst for more power, would favor such a policy. What’s disappointing is that the American people would choose such a policy, especially knowing the consequences.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.