Monthly Archives: June 2010

A Post Worth Repeating – How to Eliminate Unemployment

Click below to view the post:

How to Eliminate Unemployment in 60 Seconds

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The Strange Origin of the Pledge of Allegiance

The author of the following article makes some excellent observations although he needs to read Lysander Spooner’s “No Treason VI:  The Constitution of No Authority” to see that any allegiance to the Constitution is equally absurd.

The Strange Origin of the Pledge of Allegiance
By John W. Baer, professor of economics, Anne Arundel Community College
Source

Every class day over 60 million public and parochial school teachers and students in the US recite the Pledge of Allegiance along with thousands of Americans at official meetings of the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Elks, Masons, American Legion, and others. During the televised bicentennial celebration of the US Constitution for the school children on September 17, 1987, the children as a group did not recite any part of the Constitution. However, President Reagan did lead the nation’s school children in reciting the Pledge. Yet probably not one of them knows the history or original meaning of the Pledge.

In the presidential campaign of 1988, George Bush successfully used the Pledge in his campaign against Mike Dukakis. Ironically, Bush did not seem to know the words of the Pledge until his campaign manager told him to memorize it. The teachers and students in the New England private schools he attended, Greenwich Country Day School and Phillips Andover Academy, did not recite the pledge. By contrast, Dukakis and his mother, a public school teacher, recited the Pledge in the public schools. Yet Bush criticized Dukakis for vetoing a bill in Massachusetts requiring public school teachers but not private school teachers to recite the Pledge. Dukakis vetoed the bill on grounds that it violated the constitutional right of free speech.

[[Actually, the case Dukakis cited (and was subsequently attacked by Bush for it) was a religious freedom case (!); see the file with the speech by ACLU director Ira Glasser which, like this article, contains a lot of information you don’t hear much about in the mainstream press. It also happens to be among the best speeches I’ve ever heard, and demonstrates devastatingly what many of us already knew; what a bad job Dukakis did responding to Bush’s attacks about being “liberal” and (God forbid) and being a member of the ACLU. — HB]]

How did this Pledge of Allegiance to a flag replace the US Constitution and Bill of Rights in the affections of many Americans? Among the nations in the world, only the USA and the Philippines, imitating the USA, have a pledge to their flag. Who institutionalized the Pledge as the cornerstone of American patriotic programs and indoctrination in the public and parochial schools?

In 1892, a socialist named Francis Bellamy created the Pledge of Allegiance for *Youth’s* *Companion*, a national family magazine for youth published in Boston. The magazine had the largest national circulation of its day with a circulation around 500 thousand. Two liberal businessmen, Daniel Ford and James Upham, his nephew, owned *Youth’s* *Companion*.

One hundred years ago the American flag was rarely seen in the classroom or in front of the school Upham changed that. In 1888, the magazine began a campaign to sell American flags to the public schools. By 1892, his magazine had sold American flags to about 26 thousands schools(1).

In 1891, Upham had the idea of using the celebration of the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America to promote the use of the flag in the public schools. The same year, the magazine hired Daniel Ford’s radical young friend, Baptist minister, Nationalist, and Christian Socialist leader, Francis Bellamy, to help Upham in his public relations work. Bellamy was the first cousin of the famous American socialist, Edward Bellamy. Edward Bellamy’s futuristic novel, *Looking* *Backward*, published in 1888, described a utopian Boston in the year 2000. The book spawned an elitist socialist movement in Boston known as “Nationalism,” whose members wanted the federal government to national most of the American economy. Francis Bellamy was a member of this movement and a vice president of its auxiliary group, the Society of Christian Socialists(2). He was a baptist minister and he lectured and preached on the virtues of socialism and the evils of capitalism. He gave a speech on “Jesus the Socialist” and a series of sermons on “The Socialism of the Primitive Church.” In 1891, he was forced to resign from his Boston church, the Bethany Baptist church, because of his socialist activities. He then joined the staff of the *Youth’s* *Companion*(3).

By February 1892, Francis Bellamy and Upham had lined up the National Education Association to support the *Youth’s* *Companion* as a sponsor of the national public schools’ observance of Columbus Day along with the use of the American flag. By June 29, Bellamy and Upham had arranged for Congress and President Benjamin Harrison to announce a national proclamation making the public school flag ceremony the center of the national Columbus Day celebrations for 1892(4).

Bellamy, under the supervision of Upham, wrote the program for this celebration, including its flag salute, the Pledge of Allegiance. His version was,

“I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the Republic for which it stands — one nation indivisible — with liberty and justice for all.”

This program and its pledge appeared in the September 8 issue of *Youth’s* *Companion*(5). He considered putting the words “fraternity” and “equality” in the Pledge but decided they were too radical and controversial for public schools(6).

(click on image)

The original Pledge was recited while giving a stiff, uplifted right hand salute, criticized and discontinued during WWII. The words “my flag” were changed to “the flag of the United States of America” because it was feared that the children of immigrants might confuse “my flag” for the flag of their homeland. The phrase, “Under God,” was added by Congress and President Eisenhower in 1954 at the urging of the Knights of Columbus(7).

The American Legion’s constitution includes the following goal: “To foster and perpetuate a one hundred percent Americanism.” One of its major standing committees was the “Americanism Commission” and its subsidiary, the “Counter Subversive Activities Committee.” To the fear of immigrants, it added the fear of communism(8).

Over the years the Legion has worked closely with the NEA and with the US Office of Education. The Legion insisted on “one hundred percent” Americanism in public school courses in American history, civics, geography and English. The Pledge was a part of this Americanism campaign(9) and, in 1950, the Legion adopted the Pledge as an official part of its own ritual(10).

In 1922, the Ku Klux Klan, which also had adopted the “one hundred percent Americanism” theme along with the flag ceremonies and the Pledge, became a political power in the state of Oregon and arranged for legislation to be passes requiring all Catholic children to attend public schools. The US Supreme Court later overturned this legislation(11).

Perhaps a team of social scientists and historians could explain why over the last century the Pledge of Allegiance has become a major centerpiece in American patriotism programs. A pledge or loyalty oath for children was not built around the Declaration of Independence — “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” Or the Gettysburg address — “a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal…”

Apparently, over the last century, Americans have been uncomfortable with the word “equality” as a patriotic theme. In 1992 the nation will begin its second century with the Pledge of Allegiance. Perhaps the time has come to see that this allegiance should be to the US constitution and not to a piece of cloth.

Notes: 1. Louise Harris. *The Flag Over the Schoolhouse,* C.A. Stephens Collection, Brown University, Providence, R.I., 1971, p. 69.
2. Margarette S. Miller, *Twenty-three Words,* Printcraft Press, Portsmouth, VA, 1976, pp 63-65.
3. Ibid, pp. 55-65.
4. Ibid, pp. 105-111.
5. Ibid, p. 123.
6. Ibid, p. 122.
7. Christopher J. Kaufmann, *Knights of Columbus*, Harper & Row, NY, 1982, pp. 385-386.
8. Raymond Moley, *The American Legion Story,* Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, NY, 1966, p. 7.
9. Ibid, p. 371.
10. Miller, p. 344.
11. *New Catholic Encyclopedia,* Washington, D.C., Catholic University of America, 1967, Vol. 10, p. 738-740.
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from Propaganda Review, Summer 89

Guns Save Lives – John Stossel

Guns Save Lives
Why the right to keep and bear arms is essential in a free society

John Stossel | June 24, 2010

You know what the mainstream media think about guns and our freedom to carry them.

Pierre Thomas of ABC: “When someone gets angry or when they snap, they are going to be able to have access to weapons.”

Chris Matthews of MSNBC: “I wonder if in a free society violence is always going to be a part of it if guns are available.”

Keith Olbermann, who usually can’t be topped for absurdity: “Organizations like the NRA … are trying to increase deaths by gun in this country.”

“Trying to?” Well, I admit that I bought that nonsense for years. Living in Manhattan, working at ABC, everyone agreed that guns are evil. And that the NRA is evil. (Now that the NRA has agreed to a sleazy deal with congressional Democrats on political speech censorship, maybe some of its leaders are evil, but that’s for another column.)

Now I know that I was totally wrong about guns. Now I know that more guns means—hold onto your seat—less crime.

How can that be, when guns kill almost 30,000 Americans a year? Because while we hear about the murders and accidents, we don’t often hear about the crimes stopped because would-be victims showed a gun and scared criminals away. Those thwarted crimes and lives saved usually aren’t reported to police (sometimes for fear the gun will be confiscated), and when they are reported, the media tend to ignore them. No bang, no news.

This state of affairs produces a distorted public impression of guns. If you only hear about the crimes and accidents, and never about lives saved, you might think gun ownership is folly.

But, hey, if guns save lives, it logically follows that gun laws cost lives.

Suzanna Hupp and her parents were having lunch at Luby’s cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, when a man began shooting diners with his handgun, even stopping to reload. Suzanna’s parents were two of the 23 people killed. (Twenty more were wounded.)

Suzanna owned a handgun, but because Texas law at the time did not permit her to carry it with her, she left it in her car. She’s confident that she could have stopped the shooting spree if she had her gun. (Texas has since changed its law.)

Today, 40 states issue permits to competent, law-abiding adults to carry concealed handguns (Vermont and Alaska have the most libertarian approach: no permit needed. Arizona is about to join that exclusive club.) Every time a carry law was debated, anti-gun activists predicted outbreaks of gun violence after fender-benders, card games, and domestic quarrels.

What happened?

John Lott, in More Guns, Less Crime, explains that crime fell by 10 percent in the year after the laws were passed. A reason for the drop in crime may have been that criminals suddenly worried that their next victim might be armed. Indeed, criminals in states with high civilian gun ownership were the most worried about encountering armed victims.

In Canada and Britain, both with tough gun-control laws, almost half of all burglaries occur when residents are home. But in the United States, where many households contain guns, only 13 percent of burglaries happen when someone is at home.

Two years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in the Heller case that Washington, D.C.’s ban on handgun ownership was unconstitutional. District politicians then loosened the law but still have so many restrictions that there are no gun shops in the city and just 800 people have received permits. Nevertheless, contrary to the mayor’s prediction, robbery and other violent crime are down.

Because Heller applied only to Washington, that case was not the big one. McDonald v. Chicago is the big one, and the Supreme Court is expected to rule on that next week. Otis McDonald is a 76-year-old man who lives in a dangerous neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. He wants to buy a handgun, but Chicago forbids it.

If the Supremes say McDonald has that right, then restrictive gun laws will fall throughout America.

Despite my earlier bias, I now understand that striking down those laws will probably save lives.

John Stossel is host of Stossel on the Fox Business Network. He’s the author of Give Me a Break and of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity. To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at johnstossel.com.

COPYRIGHT 2010 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS, INC.
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Bonus Reason.tv video: Lead attorney Alan Gura discusses the high stakes of the D.C. gun ban case:

The Myth of Political Consent

Mr. Ostrowski makes some great points to which I would add Lysander Spooner’s No Treason VI: The Constitution of No Authority to further understand how the Constitution is illegitimate.

The Myth of Political Consent

by James Ostrowski

This is an excerpt from Direct Citizen Action: How We Can Win the Second American Revolution Without Firing a Shot.

Permit me to digress into a discussion of the meaning of political consent and its withdrawal. I am not saying that the American people ever explicitly consented to be ruled by the regime on the Potomac, or that they are parties to some mysterious Social Contract that implies their consent. That is all utter nonsense and propaganda. I know I never consented to be ruled by a regime that I have strongly opposed since my teenage years. Nor have I ever signed a Social Contract allowing them to rule over me. I’d be a jackass if I had.

To the best of my knowledge, no living American ever signed a contract to be ruled by the creepy politicians in DC. There are people long dead who signed a proposed Constitution and there are 11791 people long dead who voted at state conventions to ratify the Constitution. However, no living American ever agreed to be bound by the consent to be governed apparently given by people long dead that they did not know.

Libertarian legal scholar Randy Barnett has brilliantly refuted all possible theories of how citizens can be found to have implicitly consented to be ruled when it is perfectly obvious that they have not explicitly consented. See, Restoring the Lost Constitution (2004), pp. 11 et seq.

Voting does not imply consent as we never get to vote on the legitimacy of the regime itself. And what if you vote against the regime as I have done in every election since I was allowed to vote? How in the world can that be construed as consent? Well, I played the game. Okay, so if I stop voting, I have withdrawn my consent? That’s a bargain! I will stop voting, withdraw my consent and the tax bills will cease. Hurray! Yeah, but you could have played the game, they will say. Barnett replies: “It is a queer kind of ‘consent’ where there is no way to refuse one’s consent.” (p. 16). Barnett goes on to demolish all the familiar rationalizations for why average citizens have “consented” to be governed by political thugs in DC:

1. Residency – this argument “presupposes that those who demand that you leave already have authority over you.” (p. 18) It’s a circular argument.

2. Acquiescence to the laws. “Does one really manifest a consent to obey the commands of someone much more powerful simply because one does not physically resist the threat of violence for noncompliance?” (p. 21)

3. Acceptance of the regime. This proves too much, according to Barnett. Even oppressive regimes have the passive acceptance of their people in the sense they do not actively revolt.

4.
Acceptance of benefits. This is the most common argument made by liberals these days. With respect to the alleged benefits of the state’s legal system, Barnett simply notes that there can be no consent since there is no way to opt out. The argument from receipt of tangible “benefits” also fails. These are paid for by compulsory taxes you never consented to. Only if such things as roads, schools, and fire protection were funded voluntarily, could you be said to have consented to the regime by using them. That never happened of course. Also, again, to consent, there must be a reasonable way not to consent. If I refuse to use the streets, I die of starvation. It’s a distorted view of consent that leads to the “argument”: join us or die!

Thus, we the living never consented to the current regime in the first place in any meaningful way. Thus, what I am proposing is this: we need to make explicit what is already implicit. We need to announce that we do not accept the legitimacy of the regime. This regime is blatantly, openly and proudly violating our natural rights. It is not legitimate within the clear understanding of our founding document, the Declaration of Independence. Thus, you have no moral obligation to support it. Withdrawing moral support for the regime is critical since public support is the very basis of the regime’s power. That is why government schools are so critical to the maintenance of the regime’s power. And that is why even totalitarian regimes have elaborate propaganda operations.

I emphasize again that I do not advocate civil disobedience. Why engage in risky and costly law-breaking when we can take America back through lawful and peaceful means?

If the regime begins to unambiguously violate its own constitution, then it becomes the practitioner of civil disobedience and the people will have a moral and legal right to resist as I explain further in Chapter 20.

Note

1. In 14 states including Vermont.

June 24, 2010

James Ostrowski is an attorney in Buffalo, New York and author of Government Schools Are Bad for Your Kids: What You Need to Know and Political Class Dismissed: Essays Against Politics, Including “What’s Wrong With Buffalo.” His latest book is Direct Citizen Action: How We Can Win the Second American Revolution Without Firing a Shot. See his website.

Copyright © 2010 James Ostrowski

When Drugs Are Legalized – A Case Study

End the Drug War – by John Stossel

End the Drug War
Government goes astray when it tries to protect us from ourselves.

John Stossel | June 17, 2010

I’m confused. When I walk around busy midtown Manhattan, I often smell marijuana. Despite the crowds, some people smoke weed in public. Usually the police leave them alone, and yet other times they act like a military force engaged in urban combat. This February, cops stormed a Columbia, Mo., home, killed the family dog and terrorized a 7-year-old boy—for what? A tiny quantity of marijuana.

Two years ago, in Prince George’s County, Md., cops raided Cheye Calvo’s home—all because a box of marijuana was randomly shipped to his wife as part of a smuggling operation. Only later did the police learn that Calvo was innocent—and the mayor of that town.

“When this first happened, I assumed it was just a terrible, terrible mistake,” Calvo said. “But the more I looked into it, the more I realized (it was) business as usual that brought the police through our front door. This is just what they do. We just don’t hear about it. The only reason people heard about my story is that I happened to be a clean-cut white mayor.”

Radley Balko of Reason magazine says more than a hundred police SWAT raids are conducted every day. Does the use of illicit drugs really justify the militarization of the police, the violent disregard for our civil liberties, and the overpopulation of our prisons? It seems hard to believe.

I understand that people on drugs can do terrible harm—wreck lives and hurt people. But that’s true for alcohol, too. But alcohol prohibition didn’t work. It created Al Capone and organized crime. Now drug prohibition funds nasty Mexican gangs and the Taliban. Is it worth it? I don’t think so.

Everything can be abused, but that doesn’t mean government can stop it, or should try to stop it. Government goes astray when it tries to protect us from ourselves.

Many people fear that if drugs were legal, there would be much more use and abuse. That’s possible, but there is little evidence to support that assumption. In the Netherlands, marijuana has been legal for years. Yet the Dutch are actually less likely to smoke than Americans. Thirty-eight percent of American adolescents have smoked pot, while only 20 percent of Dutch teens have. One Dutch official told me that “we’ve succeeded in making pot boring.”

By contrast, what good has the drug war done? It’s been 40 years since Richard Nixon declared war on drugs. Since then, government has spent billions and officials keep announcing their “successes.” They are always holding press conferences showing off big drug busts. So it’s not like authorities aren’t trying.

We’ve locked up 2.3 million people, a higher percentage than any other country. That allows China to criticize America’s human-rights record because our prisons are “packed with inmates.”

Yet drugs are still everywhere. The war on drugs wrecks far more lives than drugs do!

Need more proof? Fox News runs stories about Mexican cocaine cartels and marijuana gangs that smuggle drugs into Arizona. Few stop to think that legalization would end the violence. There are no Corona beer smugglers. Beer sellers don’t smuggle. They simply ship their product. Drug laws cause drug crime.

The drug trade moved to Mexico partly because our government funded narcotics police in Colombia and sprayed the growing fields with herbicides. We announced it was a success! We cut way back on the Colombian drug trade.

But so what? All we did was squeeze the balloon. The drug trade moved across the border to Peru, and now it’s moved to Mexico. So the new president of Mexico is squeezing the balloon. Now the trade and the violence are spilling over the border into the United States.

That’s what I call progress. It’s the kind of progress we don’t need.

Economist Ludwig von Mises wrote: “(O)nce the principle is admitted that it is the duty of the government to protect the individual against his own foolishness … (w)hy not prevent him from reading bad books and bad plays … ? The mischief done by bad ideologies is more pernicious … than that done by narcotic drugs.”

Right on, Ludwig!

John Stossel is host of Stossel on the Fox Business Network. He’s the author of Give Me a Break and of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity. To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at johnstossel.com.

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Free to Choose

Why did America prosper while most of the world remains poor?

| June 10, 2010

America’s current struggles notwithstanding, life here is pretty good. We have a standard of living that’s the envy of most of the world.

Why did that happen? Prosperity isn’t the norm. Throughout history and throughout the world, poverty has been the norm. Most of the world still lives in dire poverty. Of the 6 billion people on earth, perhaps 1 billion have something close to our standard of living. Why did America prosper when most of the people of the world are still poor?

Milton Friedman taught me the answer. More than any other American, Friedman, who won the Nobel Prize in economics in 1976, clearly warned the world about the unintended consequences of big government.

“We’ve become increasingly dependent on government,” said Friedman. “We’ve surrendered power to government; nobody has taken it from us. It’s our doing. The results—monumental government spending, much of it wasted, little of it going to the people whom we would like to see helped.”

That’s from Friedman’s PBS TV series Free to Choose, which aired 30 years ago and became the basis of his No. 1 bestseller by the same name.

The title says a lot. If we are free to make our own choices, we prosper. That was a new idea to many back then. At the time—when inflation and interest rates were in double digits and unemployment approached 10 percent—people thought a wise government could ensure economic growth, guarantee full employment, and eliminate poverty. Friedman explained that the opposite was true, that bigger government had brought us “burdensome taxes, high inflation, a welfare system under which neither those who receive help nor those who pay for it are satisfied. Trying to do good with other people’s money simply has not worked.”

No, it hasn’t. So why, 30 years later, is America doing so much more of it?

Because people still have not learned Friedman’s lesson.

Because of that, I give money to a charity that offers teachers free copies of some of my TV news videos that explain the benefits of free markets. The video most popular in high schools is one in which I ask students, “When so many nations remain poor, why did America become prosperous?” Many answer, “Because we have democracy.” Yet India has democracy, and India has been poor for years. “India is overpopulated,” they say. They don’t know that India has the same population density as New Jersey.

Other students suggest that America prospered because of our natural resources. But Hong Kong has no natural resources. It’s basically a rock. It is also more densely populated than India. Yet, in just 50 years, Hong Kong went from poverty to American levels of wealth.

How? In Free to Choose, Friedman explained that it was the free market. Overlooking the amazing Hong Kong skyline, he said: “This miracle hasn’t been achieved by government action—by someone sitting in one of those tall buildings and telling people what to do. It’s been achieved by allowing the market to work.”

Walking down a crowded street, he added, “They are free to buy from whom they want, to sell to whom they want, to work for whom they want. Sometimes it looks like chaos, and so it is, but underneath it’s highly organized by the impersonal forces of a free marketplace.”

At the time of his series, India was a symbol of enlightened central planning.

“India has tremendous economic and human potential,” Friedman commented. “The human tragedy is that in India that potential has been stifled by the straightjacket imposed by an all-wise and paternalistic government. Central planning has condemned India’s masses to poverty and misery.” What counted most for Friedman was that people should be free to try innovative ideas and succeed … or fail.

“The free market enables people … to trade with whomever they want; to buy in the cheapest market around the world; to sell in the dearest. … (B)ut most important of all: If they fail, they bear the cost.”

“Most important of all.” It’s clear what he would have thought of today’s government bailouts.

John Stossel is host of Stossel on the Fox Business Network. He’s the author of Give Me a Break and of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity. To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at johnstossel.com.

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DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM