In His Own Words | Personal Liberty Digest

Fox News’ Chris Wallace is finally treating Representative Ron Paul with the respect he deserves. Rather than try to paint him as a kook and hitting him with “gotcha” questions, Wallace gives an honest interview and allows Paul to answer his questions.

Wallace also points out a fact the mainstream media are trying to ignore: Paul has passed last month’s top flavor Michele Bachmann in the polls, is gaining ground in the GOP field and is in a dead heat with President Barack Obama.

If you say you believe in the Constitution and want a government that follows it but you don’t support Paul, I encourage you to watch this interview with an open mind. If you think you believe in the Constitution and freedom but still can’t support Paul after watching this interview, go back and reread (if you’ve ever actually read it) the document, because you certainly didn’t understand it the last time.

After watching the interview, if you still can’t support Paul, I’d like to know why. But please, don’t say it’s because he’s an isolationist, as Paul shoots down that notion in the interview. Non-interventionist is not isolationist.

This may be the most fruitful 14 minutes you spend vetting a candidate for the Republican nomination.



Racine Wisconsin Candy Store Owner Fights Mayor to Keep Bars on Her Shop Windows | Video |

A Wisconsin business owner is fighting for the right to keep bars on her shop windows.

Pamela Bogen is set to open her new candy store, The Mini Sweet Shop, in the city of Racine, about 30 miles south of Milwaukee. Right now, the street level-store has bars on the windows — and that‘s where she’s run afoul of Racine Mayor John Dickert.

Dickert said having bars up sends the wrong message about the city, and he wants them removed.

“It‘s about where we’re going in Racine and if we’re going to go back to bars on window, I think we’re going in the wrong direction,” he told WITI Fox 6.

Other stores in the area have bars on their windows, but zoning rules prohibit new businesses from putting them up. The shop already had the bars before Bogen arrived, and for cost reasons the building’s owner convinced city authorities to keep them up as an exception.

And the mayor is not happy about that.

“It‘s a very inconsistent message and we’re all about consistency,” he said.

Bogen said it’s not about rules, it’s about safety.

“Just let me keep the bars up,” she said.

But Dickert said the city is turning around, and bars on the windows will suggest otherwise.

“We just put a community policing station in that area,” he said.

One resident disagreed with the mayor’s estimation of the city.

“This is crackhead city, this is drug-infested,” she said.

Bogen also wondered if the fact that she’s a black business owner had something to do with the mayor fighting her, a claim Dickert said was “absolutely ridiculous.”

The city council is due to make the final call Tuesday on whether Bogen can keep the bars.

For now, Bogen said she just wants to open her shop.

“Let me run my business and try to be successful,” she said.

Mayor… get out of the way. Be happy someone is opening a business in your town.

DOJ Raids Gibson Guitars looking for Illegal Wood | RedState

The Department of Justice is under fire for taking the bold step of sending armed agents into the factories of Gibson Guitar in Nashville and Memphis to seize what it believes to be illegal wood.

Via press release from Gibson:

The Federal Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. has suggested that the use of wood from India that is not finished by Indian workers is illegal, not because of U.S. law, but because it is the Justice Department’s interpretation of a law in India. (If the same wood from the same tree was finished by Indian workers, the material would be legal.) This action was taken without the support and consent of the government in India.

Unbelievably enough, this was not the first time that the Gibson factories have been raided for this same reason.

In 2009, more than a dozen agents with automatic weapons invaded the Gibson factory in Nashville. The Government seized guitars and a substantial amount of ebony fingerboard blanks from Madagascar. To date, 1 year and 9 months later, criminal charges have NOT been filed, yet the Government still holds Gibson’s property. Gibson has obtained sworn statements and documents from the Madagascar government and these materials, which have been filed in federal court, show that the wood seized in 2009 was legally exported under Madagascar law and that no law has been violated. Gibson is attempting to have its property returned in a civil proceeding that is pending in federal court.

So why has the DOJ gone crazy for wood?  They believe they are complying with the Lacey Act, specifically, this provision:

Anyone who imports into the United States, or exports out of the United States, illegally harvested plants or products made from illegally harvested plants, including timber, as well as anyone who exports, transports, sells, receives, acquires or purchases such products in the United States, may be prosecuted.  In any prosecution under the Lacey Act, the burden of proof of a violation rests on the government. (emphasis mine)

It doesn’t seem that the DOJ has lived up to the standard emphasized above according to Gibson.  They are asserting that the Justice Department is actually trying to shut down indefinitely the civil court case that Gibson filed to have their property returned.  Given that Gibson is the premier guitar manufacturer worldwide, you have to wonder where the music industry is on this issue.

Reuters is reporting that the guitar maker is being charged with illegally importing wood under a U.S. law barring importation of endangered plants and woods.

In an affidavit, agent John Rayfield of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said U.S. Customs agents in June detained a shipment of sawn ebony logs from India.

The paperwork accompanying the shipment identified it fraudulently as Indian ebony fingerboards for guitars and it did not say it was going to Gibson, the affidavit said.

Of course there will be some back and forth apparently on the legitimacy of the case and whether or not Gibson actually broke any laws, but one thing from the press release stood out to me:

The wood the Government seized on August 24 is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier and is FSC Controlled, meaning that the wood complies with the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council, which is an industry-recognized and independent, not-for-profit organization established to promote responsible management of the world’s forests. FSC Controlled Wood standards require, among other things, that the wood not be illegally harvested and not be harvested in violation of traditional and civil rights. See for more information. Gibson has a long history of supporting sustainable and responsible sources of wood and has worked diligently with entities such as the Rainforest Alliance and Greenpeace to secure FSC certified supplies. The wood seized on August 24 satisfied FSC standards. (emphasis mine)

I find it fascinating that Gibson had been in compliance with a self-regulatory agency like the FSC and has also been picked on bythe government for alleged non-compliance.  I’ve always believed that self-regulation is a viable alternative for many industries that currently answer to the overreaching government.

It’s hard not to see this as the government getting territorial about who gets paid to oversee American industry

Unbelievable… this is America?

Priceless: Michigan Bars to Ban Politicians Who Voted for Smoking Ban | Liberty News Network

Smoking bans most often stink of special interests and anti-liberty agendas. We should probably have an entire story dedicated to the debate of smoking bans as it’s a very controversial topic amongst political circles, both left and right. This particular story, though, is dedicated to a new approach to pushing back.

You see, a group of about 500 Michigan businesses are lashing out against state lawmakers for banning smoking in bars and taverns. How so? By banning lawmakers who supported the smoking ban… from their bars and taverns!

Small bar owners angered over losing their butts to the statewide indoor smoking ban plan to give lawmakers the boot.

A newly formed group, Protect Private Property Rights in Michigan (PPPRM), has organized an effort to ban lawmakers from their establishments in protest against Michigan’s smoking ban. This lawmaker ban is scheduled to start Sept. 1. PPPRM, which claims to have a membership of about 500 businesses, argues that the smoking ban has been disastrous for Michigan’s small bar owners and their employees.

“We’re not smoking advocates or advocates for tobacco use,” PPPRM Executive Director Stephen Mace said. “We ‘re just people who believe in private property rights and are trying to speak out against this law that’s hurting us and our employees. It has already put some of us out of business.”

This issue is a bit close to me as I have a friend in Carson City, Nevada who lost his bar to the smoking ban a few years back. His bar was within walking distance of a casino and most of his revenue came from bar top keno/poker machines. When the Nevada casino lobbyists successfully convinced Nevada voters that the ban was “for the children,” smoking was then only allowed in casinos.

Guess where the customers went? And guess who went out of business?

Ironically, children are allowed to walk through casinos, but not through my friend’s private bar. But I digress…

Back to Michigan. Not only is the smoking ban apparently shutting down bars, it’s also crushing state revenues. According to the PPPRM website, the ban is costing the state $80 million in revenue off of Keno alone!

How damaging is the smoking ban to Michigan bars and taverns? On-Premises sales of distilled spirits tanked more than 20% after the smoking ban. That drop represents closed businesses, lost jobs, lost money in the state economy, and lost tax revenue for the state.

But it’s alright because they did it all for the children, right?

Eric Odom

Good for them

Obama to farmer: ‘Call the USDA.’ | RedState

So, Wednesday – while campaigning in Illinois, although I understand that we’re supposed to pretend that Obama isn’t actually campaigning, for some bizarre reason – the President of the United States faced with a technical question (the effects of new EPA’s soil and dust regulations on Illinois farmers) by a technical expert (an Illinois farmer). Despite the fact that the technical question is in fact supposedly within Barack Obama’s level of expertise, the President decided instead to make slight fun of the probably-not-voting-for-him-anyway technical expert by chiding him about believing rumors and suggesting that the technical expert call the Department of Agriculture.

Well. There was a Politico reporter who actually decided to see what would happen if s/he did precisely that. So s/he did. As near as I can tell, the original inquiry about “information related to the effects of noise and dust pollution rules on Illinois farmers” turned into a two day affair involving at least ten phone calls, seven separate, discrete offices (almost all of which also included internal phone tag), and at least twelve individuals. And as for the final answer? This is what they sent (yes, sent, via safely distancing email):

“Secretary Vilsack continues to work closely with members of the Cabinet to help them engage with the agricultural community to ensure that we are separating fact from fiction on regulations because the administration is committed to providing greater certainty for farmers and ranchers. Because the question that was posed did not fall within USDA jurisdiction, it does not provide a fair representation of USDA’s robust efforts to get the right information to our producers throughout the country.”

Shorter USDA: “I dunno. Call the President.”

Lots of peopleJonah Goldberg in particular – are going off on this, but I’d like to explain why the President made such a dunderheaded comment as this. It has to do with his rather parochial background. Obviously, nothing in Barack Obama’s life until 1996 would have had him dealing with the Department of Agriculture: from college on he was firmly implanted in the warm, comforting isolation unit that is urban liberal academia. The odds of him having to navigate the byzantine agricultural bureaucracies? Nil. In fact, he probably rarely had to interact with government bureaucracies at their worst at all. Many people manage not to – unless there’s an unique problem*.

And after 1996, when Barack Obama became a legislator – and thus a person who did deal with government bureaucracies on a regular basis? Well. That’s precisely when the power dynamic would have changed for him anyway. You see, when a regular citizen calls a government bureaucrat, the former is counting on the latter having a good day, or at least not a bad one. But when even a state senator calls a government bureaucrat, that bureaucrat is the one who has to worry about good and bad days all of a sudden. Put more explicitly: Illinois State Senator Obama could reliably expect that his calls would be well-received, and that a prompt response would be provided. US Senator Obama could reliably expect that calls made by his staffers would be well-received, and that a prompt response would be provided. President Obama is used to having every random information request that he makes be immediately jumped upon by an eager policy wonk and sent off to be answered by the relevant agency, who will of course treat that request with the highest possible priority.

So of course Barack Obama thinks that calling the USDA is not only a bright idea, but it’s such an obvious one that only the ignorant or obtuse wouldn’t get it immediately. He’s almost certainly never neither had the relevant life experiences, nor the intellectual curiosity, to discover otherwise.

Our government at work.

Mark Foley: Wasserman Schultz ‘Chihuahua in High Heels’

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the congresswoman in charge of President Barack Obama’s reelection bid, has been slammed as “a Chihuahua in high heels,” by former adversary Mark Foley.

And Foley said he can fully understand why fellow Florida Rep. Allen West got upset with her, calling her “vile” and “not a lady” after she attacked him.

“I didn’t like the way he responded to her, but I know exactly why he got mad at her, because she’s the kind who kind of sticks the finger in your chest and keeps belittling you,” said Foley, who sat with Wasserman Schultz in both the Florida House and in Washington.

Story continues below.

In a wide-ranging interview with Newsmax.TV, Foley, a Republican who resigned from the House in 2006, did not mince words over politics and the state of the country. He said:

  • Dozens of incumbents in Congress will be booted out next year as voters hate both parties equally;
  • Mitt Romney would be a better presidential candidate if he stopped running away from his record as governor of Massachusetts;
  • He is not sorry to see Tim Pawlenty quit the race for the GOP presidential nomination, and;
  • If he had still been in Congress, he would have voted in favor of raising the debt ceiling.

He also addressed his own cancer, saying he is now in recovery after the removal of his prostate gland just five weeks ago.

Foley said Wasserman Schultz has a habit of “sticking her foot in her mouth” which could come back to hurt her.

“She claims Americans don’t support the auto industry because they don’t buy American cars and she has two foreign cars,” he said.

And her latest claim that Obama is in good shape going into the next election is another example of her saying things that are not backed up by reality. “He dipped below 40 percent approval rating, the worst presidential approval rating in recorded history. If she thinks that’s a benchmark for launch, good luck to her.”

Foley said Wasserman Schultz’s role as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee involves trying to put West out of a job as a Congressman so he can understand why he got angry with her.

“I’ve known Debbie a long time. I served in the state House with her,” he said. “She’s a Chihuahua in high heels. She’s nip and tuck and I can see why Allen West got mad.

“When someone’s day job is to eliminate your job, which is what she’s supposed to do, that can rile you, but he should not have responded in the way he did.”

On the presidential race, Foley, now a real estate agent and radio talk show host, said a “business-inspired candidate” such as Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry or former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman would have the best chance of beating Obama.

“He has presided over the worst economic mess and amplified the mess,” Foley said of the president. “He can go ahead and blame George Bush and the Republicans all he wants – we deserve some blame for the economic misfortune we find ourselves in – but there’s a point where he has to stop and play leader of the free world.

“My gut tells me Perry’s going to be a pretty quick star. He’s managed a state that’s a border state and has had to deal with immigration which will be the top tier issue facing America. He has more job starts in America than most any state and Austin, Texas is one of the most enviable places to live in the country, so most of the things he has done he seems to have done well.”

Foley made it clear he was not endorsing Perry, but added, “Someone like him, who has managed in an economic turmoil and has proven after 10 years as governor that he can lead us to the promised land and create jobs – that’s a pretty good message.”

He said front-runner Romney would be better served if he stopped trying to pretend he was not responsible for things that went on in Massachusetts when he was governor.

“If Romney would honestly own his Massachusetts record and stand up and say, ‘Yeah, I voted for those things, I was governor of the most liberal state in America and here’s why I can be president based on that notion,’ I’d admire him a lot more. But he seems to distance himself from where he was in Massachusetts.

“He was a great governor, great leader of the Olympics, a great business mind and could instantly bring credibility to the White House effort to create jobs in America.”

Foley said that Pawlenty’s withdrawal from the field was no bad thing, and suggested others struggling in the polls should soon follow. “It clears some of the wood and allows people to say, ‘hey there’s a good set of candidates we can choose from.’ “

Foley predicted that the 2012 election will be another watershed as voters express their dissatisfaction with incumbents from both parties, and the prolonged battle over raising the debt ceiling was a prime example of the malaise in Washington. “I would have voted to raise it,” with spending reforms, he said.

“People are frightened. They are frightened for their own survival. They are worried about their jobs, they’re worried about their mortgages, worried about their kids’ future.

“They look at their 401(k)s, look at their bank statements, look at job security and they’re frightened. Then they see our political leaders arguing as if they are schoolchildren in a fight. It’s permeated the psyche of people unlike I’ve ever seen before. They now hate both parties universally. They hate members of Congress be they are men or women.

“They distrust the president for not providing solutions, they are tired of him just constantly blaming someone else – if he had his way he would be blaming Reagan for the problems today. So they sense a lack of leadership, a lack of optimism and clearly a lack of focus on the direction out of this problem.”

On his cancer, Foley urged men around his age, 56, to have annual prostate checks and not make the mistake he did. “My father had prostate cancer and I should have assumed that it would be hereditary. That being said, I missed a couple of annual physicals,” he admitted.

“I feel great but there are a lot of things that had I been more aggressive at the front end, they could have planted a little seed in the prostate and it could have killed the cancer, but instead I ended up in a radical prostatectomy, which is a removal. That’s not fun.”

Foley, who quit near the end of his sixth term in Congress, said he often thinks of returning to politics.

“I enjoyed the job. I love helping people solve problems…I miss the debate. I miss helping seniors and veterans. I loved finding a problem and solving it for people.”

Very interesting.

Big Brother Goes Green – HUMAN EVENTS

Gas-guzzling vehicle owners pay the lion’s share of highway maintenance, but advanced technology is paving the way for eco-friendly cars to contribute more revenue through a new tax.

 By requiring cars to be equipped with odometer spyware that will report to authorities how many miles are driven, government is looking to toss out the old gas tax for a new miles-driven fee.

 “The Left is always pushing for more and more regulations, and more and more taxes.  Now an insatiable Washington is looking to tax so-called green vehicles in a Big Brotheresque way,” said Robert Gordon, senior adviser for strategic outreach at The Heritage Foundation.

 “The green chickens could be coming home to roost, and with them, the Left may have finally met a tax it doesn’t like,” Gordon said.

 Sen. Kent Conrad (D.-N.D.), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, is expected to make a recommendation later this year on whether the federal government should drop the gas tax and implement the Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) tax.

 During a hearing earlier this spring, The Hill reported Conrad as saying that President Obama is asking for $556 billion over the next six years to fund federal transportation projects.  Money from the Highway Trust Fund is also used to support mass transit, walkways, bike paths and scenic trails.

 “Do we move to some kind of an assessment that is based on how many miles vehicles go, so that we capture revenue from those who are going to be using the roads who aren’t going to be paying any gas tax, or very little, with hybrids and electric cars?” Conrad suggested.

 Draft legislation put forward by the Transportation Department would create a pilot program to tax drivers by the mile, although the White House has distanced itself from the effort.

 “This is not an administration proposal,” White House spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki told The Hill in a separate article.

 “This is not a bill supported by the administration.  This was an early working draft proposal that was never formally circulated within the administration, does not take into account the advice of the President’s senior advisers, economic team or Cabinet officials, and does not represent the views of the President,” Psaki said.

 A proposal in the Oregon legislature to create a VMT tax stalled in committee earlier this year after opposition by environmentalists.

 However, that measure would have applied the VMT tax only to hybrids and electric cars.

 Environmentalists opposed the legislation because they said it would be contrary to the incentive to buy fuel-efficiency vehicles, and that the technology required to collect the mileage information is an invasion of privacy.

 “The idea of imposing VMT taxes … has raised concerns about privacy because the process of assessing such taxes could give the government access to specific information about how individual vehicles are used,” the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said in its March report, “Alternative Approaches to Funding Highways.”

 Some conservatives say gas taxes are obsolete, and suggest fees paid by those who actually use the service as a less invasive scheme to raise revenue.

 “The main concern is that we have huge shortfalls in the trust fund that need to be addressed, and Congress is either unable, or unwilling, to raise fuel taxes,” said Marc Scribner, land use and transportation policy analyst for the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).

 Since 2008, the trust fund has borrowed $30 billion from the treasury to pay for road maintenance.

 “The federal government spends far too much and taxes Americans to vastly excessive levels,” said Ryan Radia, associate director of technology studies at CEI.

 “We don’t think the tax burden should go up, but the question is, ‘How are we going to fund the highway system?’  It’s better that those who use the highway bear the cost, not all Americans,” Radia said.

 While drivers of eco-friendly cars would pay more taxes under the VMT system, it would result in lower taxes for low-income drivers who drive older car models that are not as fuel-efficient, and rural residents who drive pickup trucks, the CBO said.

 Josh Culling, state affairs manager at Americans for Tax Reform, said, “Our friends on the Left are finally finding out that taxes are problematic.”

 “There are a number of ways to justify fairness,” Culling said.

 Also contentious is how the mileage information would be collected on individual cars.  Oregon specifically rejected the use of a global positioning satellite (GPS) systems.

 The CBO report said consumers might be more willing to share their travel information with a commercial source for collection, rather than a government agency.

 Technology already available has the ability to collect data on location and travel time, which “could be used to reconstruct, or even monitor in real time, a vehicle’s travel,” the CBO report said.

 “Government keeps trying to get more and more involved in our personal lives.  In this proposal, they will be in the car with us, literally, when we drive,” said Josh Culling, state affairs manager for Americans for Tax Reform.