Good News, Bad News, Unbelievable News
by James W. Harris
Federal Government: Do As We Say, Not As We Do
Yes, that's the same federal government whose own mega-debt is just about to surpass the national statutory limit of $12.104 trillion.
Poll: Solid Majority in U.S. Favor Legal Marijuana
As we've reported recently, public support for re-legalizing marijuana is growing at lightning speed.
A new poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion, conducted December 3 and 4, finds that fully 53% of Americans now favor re-legalization. Only 43 per cent are opposed. Four percent were not sure.
Marijuana was outlawed by the federal government in 1937, after a lurid campaign of outright lies and unscientific nonsense. Ironically, this was just a few years after the repeal of the disastrous experiment of alcohol Prohibition. (Government never seems to learn.)
Why is legalizing marijuana so important to the cause of liberty? Few people realize that marijuana is today the major focus of the War on Drugs. A 2005 study by the Sentencing Project, a liberal Washington-based think tank, found that almost half of Drug War arrests were for marijuana, and most of those arrested were just casual users. A huge percentage of Drug War activity and spending goes towards marijuana prohibition.
The War on Drugs, in turn, has been responsible for a massive erosion of fundamental Bill of Rights liberties. As retired judge and Drug War critic James P. Gray has said: "Drug Prohibition has resulted in a greater loss of civil liberties than anything else in the history of our country."
Legalizing marijuana will end much of the Drug War. And that is good news for liberty.
USA TODAY: Gov't Salaries Skyrocketing During Recession
If you work for the federal government, you might be excused for asking that question, according to USA TODAY.
Federal workers are enjoying a boom time -- in pay and hiring -- during a recession that has destroyed 7.3 million jobs in the private sector.
The number of federal employees making salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14 percent to 19 percent during the first 18 months of the recession.
And that's not even counting overtime pay and bonuses.
* The number of Defense Department civilian employees earning $150,000 or more has jumped dramatically -- from 1,868 in December 2007 to 10,100 in June 2009.
* The number of Transportation Department employees earning $170,000 or above jumped in 18 months from just *one* to... 1,690.
The trend to six-figure salaries is occurring throughout the federal government, according to USA TODAY -- in agencies big and small, high-tech and low-tech.
Ron Paul: End the Gov't Money Monopoly
Leave it to Ron Paul! He shocked the Establishment when his bill to audit the Federal Reserve System won majority support in the U.S. House. (Now it's winning substantial Senate support as well.)
He further made abolishing the Fed a major political issue with a bestselling book on the topic and legislation to accomplish that goal.
Now Paul is once again pushing the envelope on monetary policy -- by introducing the boldest and most libertarian monetary reform possible.
On December 9, Paul introduced HR 4248, the Free Competition in Currency Act. This bill would end the government's monopoly on the creation of money. It would allow the private sector to create alternative currencies to compete head-on with the government dollar.
Says Paul: "Allowing for competing currencies will allow market participants to choose a currency that suits their needs, rather than the needs of the government. The prospect of people turning away from the dollar towards alternate currencies should provide incentive for Congress to regain control of the dollar and halt its downward spiral.
"Restoring soundness to the dollar will remove the government's ability and incentive to inflate the currency and keep us from launching unconstitutional wars that burden our economy to excess. With a sound currency, everyone is better off, not just those who control the monetary system."
And the idea has a respectable, if little-known, history in America. According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, before the Civil War many banks in America issued their own paper money, with a guarantee to pay the bearer on demand in gold or silver coin. After the Civil War, however, the government taxed private currencies out of existence, to allow the federal government a currency monopoly and all the benefits (to government) of an inflatable currency.
Will we see Wal-Mart Wampum -- backed by gold? Google Greenbacks? Starbucks Star Bucks?
The debate on this one is going to be fun, and if the idea gathers a fraction of the support that Paul's Audit the Fed bill has, the Establishment is going to be howling. Go, Ron!
RON PAUL'S SIGN: "On the desk in my office I have a sign that says: 'Don't steal -- the government hates competition.'"
-- U.S. Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), introducing his "Free Competition in Currency Act" (HR 4248) in Congress, December 9, 2009.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA GOES MAINSTREAM: "I think you're having a lot of baby boomers who, all of us, are feeling a lot of aches and pains [and] are going to decide to try medical marijuana. I personally haven't tried it yet, but I'm not saying someday before I'm done I won't."
-- Colorado state Senator Chris Romer (D), quoted in a December 14, 2009 CNN article on that state's booming medical marijuana business.
TRILLIONS DOWN THE WAR RATHOLE: "Iraq has surpassed Vietnam as the second costliest war in U.S. history, behind the Second World War. That war cost $4 trillion (in inflation-adjusted dollars), while the Vietnam War cost $686 billion, according to a Congressional Research Service study. Afghanistan currently ranks sixth, behind Korea and the First World War, but is on target to surpass both those wars by 2011. With the 30,000 troop surge recently announced by President Barack Obama, the annual cost of the Afghan War is set to top Iraq."
-- CBC News, December 13, 2009.
CONGRESS VS. THE NEXT GENERATION: "Congress feels entitled to spend with a blank check and little regard for the future of our economic stability. We are swimming in a sea of red ink that will drown any chance our children have for prosperity or even a decent standard of living."
-- U.S. Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), December 9, 2009.
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"Good News, Bad News, Unbelievable News" is written by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris. His articles have appeard in numerous magazines and newspapers, and he has been a Finalist for the Mencken Awards, given by the Free Press Association for "Outstanding Journalism in Support of Liberty."