The Immune: Wisdom wrapped in a tale of terror

Source: Rational Review
Author: Steve Trinward
Posted on 04.10.11 by Steve Trinward

You wake up on what seems like a normal day, and flick on the news as you’re getting ready to roll. Suddenly, the screen is filled with scenes of death and destruction. You stare horrified as hundreds, maybe thousands, of people are dying right before your eyes. Even though this is happening in some foreign land, you’re still mesmerized by the vision.

No, we’re not talking hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons or other “natural” disasters; nor are we dealing with human terrorists, of whatever ethnic stripe. Welcome to the world of The Immune, a fascinating near-future adventure novel by Doc Lucky Meisenheimer. Taking one part H. G Wells, several bits of Robert Heinlein and a few echoes of Orwell, Huxley and other dystopian visionaries, he’s created an allegory that encompasses the 09/11 attacks, environmental mutation fears, government corruption and man-against-the-State, producing a stunning page-turner in the process.

The book opens innocently enough: Dr. John Long is having a meal on Grand Cayman Island with the woman he loves, Cassandra Shelly. (It’s all so sweet: He pops the question, along with the ring, during dinner; the next day they’re diving together off a coral reef.) Within a few pages, however, this idyllic setting of bliss turns into the televised horrors of an attack in Nigeria, and the adventure begins. In this case, though, the attack-force is not terrorist Muslims or other human elements, but a number of gigantic floating jellyfish (imagine a genetically mutated cross between a Portuguese Man o’ War and a blimp).

These “airwars” float across the sky, their tentacles drooping down with lethal stings, gathering up and digesting any organic substance along their paths. Nobody’s safe, and thousands die in the first attack. As more “advanced” societies attempt to fight back, the next surprise unfolds: killing an airwar by puncturing its air-sac only causes it to reproduce, releasing thousands of smaller versions of itself! The reaction of the nation-states (and the power elites who run them) is instantaneous: if you can’t beat them … lie down and let them pass in peace! Within a matter of days, the sole officially accepted response to an airwar attack is “run, hide, do no harm.”

Filed under: Feature Articles

Time for a tax ballot?
Author: Steve Trinward
Posted on 02.10.11 by Steve Trinward

So now the truth comes out from the Leftist press: it’s not a matter of what’s right, just what’s customary!

The recent attempts by Republican Congressthings to let people exempt themselves from paying taxes for abortions SHOULD have prompted a movement to make ALL aspects of government “opt in”; instead, it has led only to “progressive” pundits from all over that realm of the political spectrum saying things like, “We pay taxes for a lot of things that we don’t agree with. Why should this be any different?”

In light of the legacy of war-tax resistance, along with so many other examples of civil disobedience in the leftist heritage, it’s amazing to see such weak-kneed justification for cracking down on anti-abortion sentiments as something evil and nefarious (and dare I say it, implicitly ‘un-American’?). After all, the convictions of those who consider abortion to be “murder” are no less valid than those who consider wars (or at least the vast majority of them) or the death-penalty to be such, and who object to funding those atrocities.

It’s also kinda strange to see “progressives” so openly advocating the statist-quo. One would think that these allegedly forward-looking (hence the name?) folks would see this as an opening to create voluntarism in government, starting with its weakest point: the funding! Instead of marching in the streets, we could indeed be ‘voting with our wallets” and refusing to pay for wars, corporate bailouts and other things considered anathema to progressive/liberal/whatever-ya-call-it-these-days intentions.

Filed under: Feature Articles

Liberty Dollar Update
Posted on 02.10.11 by Thomas L. Knapp

From Ray Waters via Nic Leobold:

SHORT ANSWER: As of today, it (Raid on Liberty Dollar, Gov’t attack on LD) has not played out fully.


NORFED was run by Bernard von Nothaus. The trial is still pending.

This was von Nothaus’s most recent “public” communication:

The Liberty dollar website was ordered closed by a judge pending the trial in June 2010, which Bernard agreed to in exchange for bond and bail leniency.

I don’t want to talk too much about the case, but the basic charges are:

(1) Conspiracy to undermine the stability of the US Dollar. Which is Ironic given count #2

(2) Making and Possessing likeness of coin. His shiny stuff vaguely resembles their shiny stuff.

(3) Mail fraud — essentially they accuse him of a ponzi scheme, because his coins would be ‘restamped’ as inflation grew.

Actually having Liberty dollars and Ron Paul coins are legal — the Fed only raided his stash; it’s perfectly legit to own yours, which kind of kills #2 but I don’t want the Fed to get any new ideas.

Note from Nic Leobold:

It was great to see the latest Liberty Dollar News from December, which I had not even received. The Liberty Dollar is a brilliant product and Bernard von NotHaus is a monetary genius. Liberty Dollar has a bright future as soon as we dispense with the unprincipled prosecution the Justice Department is pursuing. In fact, the prosecution has very little chance of succeeding, because the charges are simply immoral, dishonest and contemptible on their face.

I look forward to working with Liberty Dollar once the prosecution ends, and I hope that Kevin Innes is released as soon as possible from jail. In fact, this is another instance of our national media and news organizations totally failing in their responsibility to educate and inform the American public. There should be a national expose of what has been done to Liberty Dollar and the LD4. But rest assured, our day will come, very soon, when the government’s case falls flat on its face, and currency liberty is established in America, the land of the free and the brave.

Nic Leobold

Filed under: Feature Articles and Guest Columns

RRND/FND 4th Quarter Fundraiser Update, 12/17
Posted on 12.16.10 by Thomas L. Knapp

Latest fundraiser stats:

Goal: $800
Current total: $479

Thanks to subscribing contributors MF and SW! Their payments yesterday advanced us another $5 toward our $800 goal.

It’s been a loooooong week, folks. Lots of extra hours put in — but I think you’ll agree those hours were worth it when we show you the results. Expect a “weekend special edition!” Along with a special announcement that I hope you’ll like a lot, I’d love to be able to announce that we wrapped up this fundraiser on Friday. That part is up to you, though.

Yours in liberty,
Tom Knapp
Rational Review

PS: “One-time” donors of $50 (or more) get a signed first edition copy of Bill Branon’s Let Us Prey. For your convenience, here’s a $50 “one-time” contribution link:

Filed under: Feature Articles and RRND News and Twitter-Worthy

Wrights forms presidential exploratory committee
Posted on 07.03.10 by Thomas L. Knapp

For more information:
Thomas Hill
Phone: (704) 621-8621

Wrights forms presidential exploratory committee

BURNET, Texas (July 4) – R. Lee Wrights, a former Libertarian Party national vice chair and the editor and co-founder of Liberty for All online magazine, announced today he is forming an exploratory committee to lay the groundwork for a possible bid to seek the Libertarian nomination for president in 2012.

“The Libertarian Party faces a critical test in 2012 and I want to make sure that we’re up to the challenge,” Wrights said. “The Libertarian message in 2012 must be loud and clear – Stop the Wars! Stop the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, stop the war on drugs and alternative lifestyles, stop the war on civil liberties.”

Wrights said that it’s time to stop supporting politicians, regardless of party, who don’t even come close to fulfilling their campaign promises.

“President Obama was elected on a platform of ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Wrights said. “Instead of supporting the troops by bringing them home, he has sent thousands more young men and women to die needlessly to prop up a corrupt government in Afghanistan.”

“Now he’s wavering on his promise to bring the troops home by July 2011,” Wrights said. “He calls the war in Afghanistan a ‘war of necessity.’ It is no such thing. It is unnecessary, irresponsible and a dishonor to the founding principles of our republic.”

The president has also reneged on his promise to reverse the trampling of civil liberties which began under the Bush Administration. “He’s done just the opposite,” Wrights said. “He’s expanded federal power to invade our privacy and curtail our rights. He might not call it the ‘war on terror,’ but President Obama still uses 9/11 as an excuse to justify voiding the Bill of Rights.”

Wrights said he is most appalled by the way the president turns every issue he faces into a war by labeling anyone who opposes him as an enemy.

“Not content with just warring with the Republicans in Congress, the president has turned the Gulf oil spill into a war on oil companies. He’s used the financial crisis, which was largely caused by government regulation, interference and incompetence, to continue waging war on banks and financial institutions,” Wrights said.

“Even after his major victory in ramming through a massive health care bill which imposes federal government bureaucrats into our most intimate and personal health care decisions, President Obama continues to wage war on insurance companies and health care providers,” Wrights said. “Now, he’s opened a new front in Arizona over that state’s attempt to deal with an illegal immigrant situation his administration has failed to address.”

“Where will it end?” Wrights asked. “Is anything or anyone safe from being labeled an ‘enemy of the state’ and incurring the wrath of the federal government’s war-making power?”

Wrights pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign will be given to the LP for ballot access. “Whoever is the 2012 Libertarian nominee for president, we must take our message to all 50 states and our message must be clear and unequivocal – Stop the Wars,” Wrights says.


Filed under: Feature Articles and Twitter-Worthy

The 4th of July
Posted on 07.02.10 by Thomas L. Knapp

Guest Column by David Fanelli

The 4th of July is a dedicated day of remembrance. A day not only to remember the sacrifices our forefathers endured to free us from the yoke of tyranny, but also for us to recall how significant our Declaration of Independence and Constitution were for all of humanity. These documents, even with all the flaws of human nature self evident, were the strongest declaration of individual freedom ever created. Because of the freedom these documents provided, America became the wealthiest nation in the world.

Look at us now. A people in fear of their government, a government that has striped away our freedom, and makes us fear being kidnapped and tortured for any form of dissent, a government that places itself above the rule of law, but takes 1200 pages of legal mumbo jumbo to explain to its citizenry its Health Care policy, a government that no longer listens to the wishes and hopes of its people, a government that creates for its people a reputation for oppression and injustice internationally that makes us all ashamed, a government which feels no shame in indebting our children and our children’s children to the few making vast profits from war.

A government that totally disregards the wishes of its citizenry only does so thru tyranny and although their attempts to shred our most sacred documents has been aggressively blatant, our Constitution and Declaration of Independence still stands.

All Americans need to recall one of the most profound messages contained in that document which reads:

That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of those ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and to institute new government.

Well, we tried to do this thru elections and it hasn’t worked.

Perhaps it is time to try what the French people did to their government, after we successfully overthrew the tyranny of England. Now I’m not suggesting, this 4th of July, we place guillotines on the steps of Congress or the White House lawn; our consciousness has grown, ever if their’s hasn’t, over the past 200 years, and would not allow us to behave in such a barbaric manner. So perhaps “A Water Boarding Setup” would be appropriate. I mean it’s not like it’s torture or anything, right? Just a little fun and games, for those who oppose our wishes, by voting against our best interests. People should not be afraid of their government, governments should be afraid of their people.

Filed under: Feature Articles and Guest Columns and Twitter-Worthy

Letter to the editor
Posted on 06.07.10 by Thomas L. Knapp

Regarding the oil spill, which is totally dominating our lives right now.

Follow this link:—Spill-Cam—video-feeds/7381402

This is the link from WWL radio to all 12 robot cameras being used by BP. As you can see, oil is GUSHING out in humongous amounts.

The federal government gave a lowball figure of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day gushing out of the well. Then, BP puts this cap on and claims they are getting 10,000 barrels a day. If all these numbers were correct, there would be a noticeable diminution in the amount of oil that we see.

But, in fact, for those of us who are living this shit every day, we cannot tell ANY difference in the flow.

There are several possibilities:

1) Our eyes deceive us.
2) BP’s numbers are a lie.
3) The Feds’ numbers are a lie.

I pick #3. It is entirely possible that BP is getting 10,000 barrels a day from their cap. But there is no way in hell that well is putting out only 17,000 barrels a day. Independent analysts have reported they believe as much as 100,000 thousands barrels a day is coming from this well. If this is the case, then BP is retrieving only about 10% of the oil that is gushing out. I believe that such a rate is a total failure.

BP and the government are totally scamming the media. Here in South Louisiana, we aren’t buying it, not for one damned second. Please don’t send out stories with these idiotic numbers, or at least put in an editorial blurb. These flow rates are complete and utter bullshit.

Elizabeth Higgs

editor’s note: We try not to make a habit of buying government or corporate promo numbers here at Rational Review. I’m posting this letter from one of our readers/supporters for our readers’ benefit and so that I have a handy link reference to append to our future links to stories related to the spill - TLK]

Filed under: Guest Columns and Twitter-Worthy

Me and Rand (Paul)
Author: Steve Trinward
Posted on 05.24.10 by Steve Trinward

I’m really empathizing with Rand Paul these days.

Thanks to a comment he made to Rachel Maddow on MSNBC last week (one apparently in line with a similar observation before the Louisville Courier-Express Editorial Board back in April), Dr. Paul may have endangered his chances of being the next U.S. Senator from Kentucky, despite his victory as GOPer in Kentucky, a state that hasn’t had a Demoncrap in the Senate since… Wendell Ford retired in 1999. (Thankee, Wikipedia; I’d thought it much further back!)

When asked about his opinion of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, prohibiting discrimination against Black people by ANYONE – including restaurants, bars, hotels or other establishments serving the public, Dr. Paul made the mistake of assuming some degree of enlightenment on the part of his interviewer(s). He said that, although he supported the intention of that legislation, as well as the main of its results, he was concerned about the encroachment it represented on the First Amendment right of individuals to freedom of association, encompassing as it did the PRIVATE sector of both business and housing.

The comment, while perhaps somewhat ill-advised politically speaking, was (I believe, as does Dr. Paul seem to, if you bother to read his follow-ups) delivered with the honest intention of provoking serious consideration of the limits of government power in the lives and conduct of peaceful citizens in this alleged free republic. It was emphatically NOT intended to present Dr. Paul (or his supporters) as “racists” or as bigots in any sense of the term.

Unfortunately, thanks to the mainstream-media jackals (at both ends of the alleged political spectrum?), the comment was presented in exactly that way. Ms. Maddow (sadly, in this writer’s estimation, since she often does show promise, in spite of her biases and agendas) chose to pursue the more unsavory implications of the statement, rather than to consider the larger questions involved: (1) how far should the scope of government extend into the lives of peaceful individuals? (2) should not the First Amendment apply to even the most distasteful opinions, as well as those we approve of? (3) Is enforcing equal treatment truly equivalent to creating equal opportunity?

That’s the gist of the Rand Paul situation. Why then, you may ask, do I feel such empathy with the man? I take you back, some 30-plus years, to 1977. I was at the time not only a Libertarian Party (of Mass. mostly) activist, heading for San Francisco as a delegate to that year’s LP National Convention (back then they happened pretty much every year). In addition, I was also Managing Editor (by title; Editor in Chief by actual duties, assisting the semi-literate Publisher) for a biweekly Boston tabloid by the name of Esplanade. This periodical served the Boston gay community, covering entertainment both local and regional, promoting gay-community businesses and boasting a staff of writers and photographers who created a variety of features both verbal and visual. I was mostly in charge of overseeing that lot, as well as penning my own feature articles, interviews, reviews and most of the paper’s editorials.

Filed under: Feature Articles

Stealing the tax revolt is the worst theft of all
Posted on 04.14.10 by Thomas L. Knapp

Guest column by Donald Meinshausen

There have been tax revolts as long as there have been taxes. They go back to Roman times in England, and are part of the history of every era and place. The tax revolts that we have won gave us the Magna Carta, The Declaration of Independence, and the independence of India.

What labor organizing is to the Left, taxpayer organizing is to us. They are the most important tool or weapon that we have in making or protecting a free society. Why is this? The reason is that this mythos, tactic, organizing ground (or market), has worked well and gloriously and is our heritage. We have never thought of ourselves as having a revolutionary strategy, as the Marxists and Left anarchists has. But actually we do. We’re just not aware of it or really used it. That is until now.


Filed under: Feature Articles and Guest Columns

RRND/FND Spring Fling
Posted on 03.29.10 by Thomas L. Knapp

Update, 03/30/10: Thanks to SW, PD and BV, whose $47 in contributions yesterday put us $32 over the finish line and bring the “Spring Fling” fundraiser to an end!

Thanks also to those of you who gave earlier, or who have given in the past. We deeply appreciate your support and I, for one, am happy to get off the fundraising stump for a couple of months! - TLK

Filed under: Feature Articles and RRND News and Twitter-Worthy

New Blog @ Rational Review: On ALLiance
Posted on 01.05.10 by Thomas L. Knapp

We’re continuing to add “outside author” blogs at Rational Review: We provide the hosting (and take a strip of ad space), the authors provide the content. We provide the tech support, the authors enjoy complete editorial freedom.

Our latest (and most welcome) addition is a group blog, On ALLiance. The “ALL” in the title refers to the Alliance of the Libertarian Left. ALL isn’t a formal organization, but rather a “multi-tendency coalition” — see the link for more details.

On ALLiance is edited/administered by Chris Lempa, with a mix of other left-libertarian authors weighing in. Check it out!

Filed under: Feature Articles

Notice: Ad space auction
Posted on 12.31.09 by Thomas L. Knapp

Top bid as of midnight, 12/30/09 — and therefore the winner! — $300.

Thanks to all who bid on the ad space!

Filed under: Feature Articles and RRND News and Twitter-Worthy

New Feature: Libertarian Authors @ Rational Review
Posted on 11.10.09 by Thomas L. Knapp

Since late 2003, when we began focusing on Rational Review News Digest, our “front page blog” has increasingly become a sort of … well … backwater. Other than the occasional announcement, reprint or guest column, there’s not a lot of action there.

Now, however, there’s going to be a lot more action elsewhere on the site. Starting with three names you’ll almost certainly recognize, we’re setting up as a blog home for prominent libertarian authors who’d just as soon leave the admin stuff to someone else. They get web space, a content management “back end,” and someone they actually know to yell at if things don’t work properly. We take a small piece of screen real estate for advertising. Win-win deal!

Earlier this year, L. Neil Smith opened The Moratorium. He’s blogged a few excellent pieces there, and plans to get back to it after November (which he’ll spend on NANOWRIMO).

As of last week, Tibor R. Machan is blogging at A Passion for Liberty.

And as of this morning, J. Neil Schulman is publishing at J. Neil Schulman @ Rational Review.

These authors aren’t writing “for” Rational Review — they have their own independent blogs “@” Rational Review and enjoy complete editorial and artistic freedom. And that’s just the way we like it; we’re exchanging value for value with the authors, and bringing new value to what we offer our (and their) readers. Enjoy, and look for new names in the “@ Rational Review” blogosphere in the near future.

Best regards,
Tom Knapp
Rational Review

Filed under: Feature Articles and RRND News and Twitter-Worthy

New Feature: Virtual Evenings
Posted on 11.01.09 by Thomas L. Knapp

Rational Review’s “Virtual Evenings” are a premium feature available only to those who have returned value for value (generally by making financial contributions) to Rational Review News Digest and/or Freedom News Daily.

If you resemble that remark — if you’ve ever sent us money, that’s you — and would like to participate, please apply to join the Virtual Evenings email list here (we don’t automatically sign up contributors — they may not be interested in the events and they may not want the email!). The only email messages you’ll receive from this list will be event announcements with access details … a message or two a month.

If you don’t resemble that remark, see the right sidebar of this page and consider making a one-time contribution or becoming one of our “subscribing contributors” with a monthly payment. That’s what makes it possible for us to publish “the freedom movement’s daily newspaper.”

So, what’s a “Virtual Evening?” It’s actually “A Virtual Evening with [insert name here].” That name will be a libertarian/freedom movement person or persons whom we believe our readers and supporters would like the chance to listen to and speak with. A Rational Review editor will act as emcee, introducing the keynote speaker/honored guest, who will deliver a brief speech, presentation or opening statement. Then the “floor” will be opened up for questions, comments and discussion. We’ll ask our honored guests to make themselves available for least 60-90 minutes for their “Virtual Evenings,” but if they can stay longer and if the participants want to keep things going, that’s fine too.

The first “Virtual Evening” events will be held by teleconference, starting in November or December of 2009, at a rate of one or two events per month. In the future, we may add video and Internet chat capabilities as well. Enjoy!

Yours in liberty,
Tom Knapp
Rational Review

Filed under: Feature Articles and RRND News and Twitter-Worthy

Introducing the Libertarian Press Club
Posted on 10.30.09 by Thomas L. Knapp

We’re working on rolling out some new features here at Rational Review, and the first one is now ready for launch:

The Libertarian Press Club will conduct events — telephone-based “virtual press conferences,” for example — to bring libertarian journalists, bloggers, podcasters, etc. together with newsworthy “freedom movement” people and projects. Check it out!

The next two projects should be interesting as well. One is a general “activism facilitation” project, the other is a premium/gift to Rational Review News Digest / Freedom News Daily’s financial supporters. They’re both on the way, Real Soon Now.

Filed under: Feature Articles and RRND News

RRND/FND Fall Fundraiser
Posted on 10.01.09 by Thomas L. Knapp

Update, 10/01/09: Thanks to subscribing contributor HW, whose $5 monthly payment arrived yesterday. Also SPECIAL thanks to KAW, who first suggested the phrase “returning value for value to me.” She does so on a monthly basis as one of our subscribing contributors, too, and added an extra $10 right after the ChipIn widget went dead, “officially” ending this fundraiser. Finally, thanks to HH and RW, who got their contributions in before the widget said “closed.”

Our actual final total (barring any checks that are on their way) is $1,806.32, which is more than the ChipIn gadget says, since some payments arrived by other routes.

So, first, the bad news:

When we started this fundraiser, we played the “going out of business card” for the first and hopefully last time in our history. Specifically, I wrote:

Will RRND/FND blink out of existence on October 1st if we don’t make our goal? No. But unless we receive a substantial infusion of money in the next two weeks, I will go to my fellow editors and propose that we start winding it down, with an eye toward ceasing publication at the end of the year.

The good news:

I will be going to my fellow editors with several ideas, but at this time none of them involve shutting down RRND/FND.

While we didn’t make our goal, or even come close, there was “a substantial infusion of cash” both into RRND/FND and — from other sources — into my personal/family situation.

We’re also entertaining a tentative offer from a new entrant into our very market niche. Not exactly a buy-out, but a possibly lucrative arrangement which would enable us to bring in more money for the work we already do, without running constant fundraisers to scrape by.

So, not only can we keep going, my fellow editors have already told me that they want to keep going, and I agree. While the percentage of RRND/FND readers returning value for value is still low, it’s growing; and our long-time supporters continue to be there for us. I enjoy my job, and I prefer to honor our past and present supporters by continuing at that job for as long as I can possibly justify doing so financially.

So: RRND/FND will continue at least through the end of the year, and quite likely beyond that. There won’t be any more “daily fundraising pitches” until January 1st or after.

I will, however, create a new Chip-In with a goal of $5,193.68 (the portion of our $7k goal not yet raised) and run it in the sidebar and as a “sponsor ad” in our email editions through the end of the year. You won’t hear about it day in and day out, but we’ll certainly appreciate it if our readers put a ding in the amount, which represents, more or less, a “deficit” in our assessment of what constitutes a reasonable return on our investment of time and effort.

Yours in liberty,
Tom Knapp
Rational Review

Filed under: Feature Articles and RRND News and Twitter-Worthy

The Ten Biggest Lies of My Lifetime
Posted on 09.27.09 by J. Neil Schulman

This is my short list of “Big Lies” — propaganda which is promoted by major movements, and which denying often gets one tagged as a lunatic, denier, hatemonger, or simply irrelevant.

If you’re looking for me to put the Holocaust of European Jewry or Jihadis being responsible for 9/11 on this list, look elsewhere.

I’m 56 years old, born in April 1953. So I’m limiting myself to Big Lies present in my own lifetime.

Here we go, not in any chronological order.


Filed under: Feature Articles and Guest Columns and Twitter-Worthy

Red Meat Distractions in the Health Care Debate
Posted on 09.14.09 by J. Neil Schulman

The thing that’s disturbing to me right now is that everyone on both sides of health-care reform are debating all the side issues but not the primary issue. I don’t care as much about what President Obama did or did not lie about during his speech — or whether Joe Wilson caught him in a lie — as much as I care about the parts of Obama’s speech in which he was making truthful promises.

Isn’t it bad enough that Barack Obama wants to force healthy people to buy health insurance to subsidize the coverage to people with pre-existing conditions the insurance companies will be forced by law to give? That’s a straight socialist wealth transfer scheme — and fascistic to boot, since for the first time ever it requires people to buy a commercial product or face government punishment. And the forced auto liability insurance argument isn’t accurate; nobody is forced by law to drive or own a car. They could ride with friends or take the bus. How do you decline forced health insurance — kill yourself?

That this is evil and contrary to American values of independence — and unconstitutional to boot — is getting far less coverage on blogs, talk radio, and Fox News than all these distractions about Obama lying, whether Joe Wilson should apologize, and whether the roots are grass or astroturf.

Filed under: Feature Articles

RRND/FND mid-year subscription drive
Posted on 07.01.09 by Thomas L. Knapp

Update, 07/01/09: Thanks to HW, who became final new subscribing contributor to sign on during this drive! HW’s $5/month commitment brings our total recurring revenues to $412.50 against our goal of $2000 (I’ve been accidentally misreporting our numbers $5 to the low side for several days, and just caught it on the wrap-up).

This drive is now OVER, which means you’ll stop seeing daily updates, etc. Thanks to everyone who supports the freedom movement’s daily newspaper!

Here’s what comes next:

- Because we didn’t reach our goal of $2000 per month in recurring revenues, we’ll continue to run lower-impact monthly fundraisers in an attempt to make up the difference between what’s coming in and what we’re trying to bring in. Our July goal is $1587. You can see our progress (and click through to help) at

- We’ll also be focusing on how increasing advertising revenues. This may mean that you see more ads, or that those ads are more prominently placed. Once we get those ad revenues up to $100 per month, we’ll start reducing our fundraising goals by the previous month’s ad revenues.

Thanks again to all of you who continue to support RRND/FND! - TLK


Dear readers,

As promised, I’ve tried to keep RRND/FND’s fundraising activities “low visibility, low pressure” for the last few months. I was even hoping to push this particular fundraiser farther down the road, but recent events have forced my hand. If my smooth sales pitch has already sold you, click here to skip the dirty details and go directly to the part where you send us money.

The dirty details

Since late 2004, Rational Review News Digest has “re-branded” itself as Freedom News Daily for a separate audience, on behalf of the International Society for Individual Liberty. We intend to continue doing so.

Since some time in 2005, ISIL has paid us — to the tune of $1,000 a month — to produce FND. Due to its own financial requirements and fundraising imperatives, ISIL has had to at least temporarily cease that support.

Repeat after me three times: This is not a divorce. It’s not even a breakup. We remain on good terms with ISIL. We intend to continue serving up daily helpings of Freedom News Daily to ISIL’s web, email and Facebook readers.

But, as you can see, this puts a big dent in our already very understated revenue model. Here’s how it breaks down:

Our current revenue model calls for us to bring in $2,000 a month. Before transaction fees, web hosting, etc., that would come to $720 per month in pay for our one full-time staffer (me), $360 per month for our three part-time editors (R. Lee Wrights, Mary Lou Seymour and Steve Trinward), and $200 per month for our tech support guy (Brad Spangler). As you can see, we’re not in this to get rich. But, as I’ve mentioned before, we have to eat.

Of course, we generally don’t bring in $2,000 a month. Until lately, we brought in $1,000 a month from ISIL, $237.50 per month (as of right now) in recurring payments from our beloved “subscribing donors,” an average of, oh, $25 per month in advertising commissions, and whatever else people send in “one-time” or “occasional” payments that aren’t tied to our “subscribing donor” system (another amount that fluctuates). On average, call it $1300-1500 per month — total.

That amount just went down to $300-500 per month with the ISIL developments. Time to get it back up, and moreover on a reliable basis. That means increasing our number of “subscribing contributors” … those of you who are willing to commit to sending $2.50, $5.00, $10, or $20 every month.

Goal: Get our “subscribing contributor” number from $237.50 per month to $2,000 per month by the end of June.

Does that sound hard? It shouldn’t. Our total readership via email, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter comes to nearly 7,100 readers. That’s excluding web edition readers. RRND’s web statistics say we exceed 2,000 unique visitors per day; I don’t have stats for ISIL’s web edition of FND.

I could make a good case for there being 10,000 daily consumers of this newsletter. Even excluding all duplicates, I think it’s a fair bet that we’re talking about more than 5,000 daily readers. If only 705 of you were to sign up at our $2.50 per month level, we’d be there.

So, I’m going to drag out the dreaded “thermometer” graphic and start hectoring you on a daily basis to get us there. Sound familiar? Let’s not have another one of those six-month ordeals.

The sweetener is this: If we can make this goal and stay within shouting distance of it (e.g. we don’t drop down below, say, $1,800 per month in “subscribing contributor” revenues), we’ll be content to do a short (probably one week long) “push it up a little” fundraiser once a year instead of coming back at you again and again with short-term goals that end up taking months to meet.

[Note: I’ve moved the thermometer graphic “up top”]

And here’s where you click to make things happen:

The Buck Starts Here Club
($1/month, billed quarterly)

RRND Daily Reader

RRND Subscriber

RRND Supporter

RRND Patron

I’ll be back with daily updates and neat little factoids (”our lowest subscribing donor level costs less than a large iced white chocolate mocha latte at StarbucksTM” and such) … when you get tired of seeing them, you know where to click.

Yours in liberty,
Tom Knapp
Rational Review

Filed under: Feature Articles and RRND News

The Buck Starts Here!
Posted on 06.19.09 by Thomas L. Knapp

Dear readers,

Over time, we’ve tried to make it easy to contribute to RRND/FND in an automatic/recurring way, with optional levels ranging from $2.50 per month to $20 per month.

There’s a reason for the lowest level being $2.50 instead of, say, $1.00: PayPal charges transaction fees of 30 cents plus a small percentage of the total. From a $1.00 payment, less than 70 cents would actually reach RRND.

However, I’ve always wanted to offer a $1.00 per month level.

PayPal’s subscription function got more flexible awhile back — or maybe it’s always been that way and I just missed it until recently — and by George, I think I’ve got it.

Welcome, Ladies and Gents, to the miracle science of quarterly billing! Our new level of recurring support — The Buck Starts Here Club — lets you support RRND/FND to the tune of one dollar per month without transaction fees eating up more than 30% of that dollar before it ever reaches us.

The long and short of it is $3, billed every three months. I’ve already added this level to our standard “subscribing contributor options” menu, but here it is a la carte for your convenience.

This level of support is recommended for those who:

- Value RRND/FND at one dollar a month; and/or

- Can only afford one dollar a month; and/or

- Can’t, or prefer not to, fork over $12 in one swell foop.

Thanks, of course, to all of you who financially support the freedom movement’s daily newspaper at any level or frequency. We’ll continue to look into new and more convenient options to encourage that support.

Yours in liberty, Tom Knapp
Rational Review

Filed under: Feature Articles and Twitter-Worthy

The more dangerous epidemic
Posted on 05.27.09 by J. Neil Schulman

“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world”

–William Butler Yeats

I’m an anarchist. I’m supposed to be opposed to authority; but really, the commitment only requires me to oppose the State, because it is coercive.

What of the authority of words then? It’s been pointed out to me that unlike the French I owe no allegiance to a government bureau that decides “Le Car” is a bastardization of their language, or forbids the naming of children unless the name appears on an officially sanctioned list.

I opened this comment with a quotation from Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming” but I just as easily could have begun with a quote from Lewis Carroll: “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

And we are behind the looking glass, my friends. When no common agreement can be reached on what a word means, mere anarchy is loosed upon the world — and I don’t mean anarchism, which is a self-organizing system seeking a natural order. I mean the inability to communicate through language because words have no fixed meaning thus there is no longer the possibility of reasoned discussion, only of spin and propaganda.


Filed under: Guest Columns

Bill Maher’s ridiculous conceit
Author: J. Neil Schulman
Posted on 05.14.09 by J. Neil Schulman

Bill Maher should have taken a course in firing full-auto weapons at Front Sight before he made his anti-religion documentary Religulous, because his method of shooting is what the military likes to call “spray and pray.”

Maher points his weapon — in this case a movie camera instead of an M-16 — in the general direction he thinks the enemy is then fires wildly. The problem is that as a documentarian Bill Maher ignores both weapons safety procedures and military rules of engagement. Bill Maher fails to correctly identify his targets before he puts his finger on the trigger and fires. So while he can be scored for some direct hits, he both creates a lot of collateral damage and leaves half the real enemy unscathed.



Filed under: Guest Columns

War games and rotary dial phones
Posted on 05.13.09 by Michelle L

My twin sister and I will be celebrating our 54th birthday this week; or as she likes to say “the silver anniversary of our 29th birthday.” As is often the case, this causes me to look back at both past birthdays as well as childhood memories in general — I think people who have attained a certain number of birthdays probably do the same.

And because we grew up in a time that seemed to be trying to straddle the line between the puritanical fifties and the upheaval of the seventies, it isn’t hard to pinpoint exact moments in time with amazing clarity (given the fact that these days I’m doing good to remember where I put my glasses). (more…)

Filed under: Guest Columns

The trouble with voluntaryists
Posted on 05.03.09 by Thomas L. Knapp

Guest column by Morey Straus

That the core concept of statism is inherently unjust is not in question. Nor is the notion that the voting is unlikely to produce an acceptable level of reform. To this extent, anarchists generally agree.

What separates anti-political libertarians from principled partyarchs is the advocacy of a vulgar form of unilateral disarmament.* This form of pacifism is more in line with the LeFevrian stripe than in the simpler sense, in that the anarchist is more concerned with becoming part of the problem than with straightforward avoidance. But it still walks and talks like pacifism. This willful disassociation from tactics used by statists is as doomed to catch fire as was Quakerism. (more…)

Filed under: Guest Columns and Twitter-Worthy

Grand(standing) Old Party
Posted on 04.12.09 by Michelle L

The 10th amendment to the United States Constitution reads as follows:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

According to many Constitutional scholars, this amendment was intended to highlight the fact that while the original 13 States were one independent nation, this new nation was comprised of 13 independent and sovereign entities, capable of creating legislation pertinent to their particular areas that were not expressly delegated to Congress by the other articles contained in the Bill of Rights.

(This of course is leaving aside the argument that the War Between the States did away with the sovereignty of the states by asserting that the South had no right to leave the Union — there are opinions aplenty concerning this issue.)

That was then — and in the generations since, state governments have historically ignored the 10th amendment in order to feed at the federal trough. Entire political dynasties and multi-generational careers have been made on the basis of how many federal dollars could be funneled to the states’ coffers from dear old Uncle Sam.


Filed under: Guest Columns

My Movement of the Movement Address
Posted on 04.09.09 by J. Neil Schulman

You know how U.S. presidents deliver State of the Union addresses and governors give State of the State addresses?

My old friend Samuel Edward Konkin III would rise from his grave to haunt me if I were to deliver a State of the Movement address so this address is guaranteed to be state-free. But movements presumably move in one direction or another so my very personal report on This Movement of Ours is My Movement of the Movement Address.


Filed under: Guest Columns

Quitters, Incorporated*
Posted on 04.01.09 by Michelle L

*(A none-too-subtle reference to Quitters, Inc., a short story concerning heavy-handed methods of smoking cessation by Stephen King.)

Why am I always in the minority when it comes to public opinion? You’d think the law of averages would occasionally work in my favor and I’d check the local news website’s latest poll or comment section and find this:

“CUTE KITTENS — fer ‘em or agin ‘em?”

Oh, easy. *clicks fer ‘em*

But oh, hell no.

The local newspaper and television has been abuzz with articles concerning the tobacco tax hike and the possible benefits to society as a whole. By far the vast majority of comments run along these lines:

“Ewww, smokers are totally gross so it’s totally kewl to tax the crap out of them so they quit and don’t bother me. OMG! I’m so texting all my BFFs on Twitter right now and they so agree with me. Totally.”

“Harrumph! Smokers cost me and the boys down at the country club bazillions of dollars in health care taxes. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the 19th Hole to enjoy a bourbon and branchwater. Cheers. Harrumph!”

Do you see what I did there? I personally don’t own a cell phone or drink … so I have zero problem with demonizing people who do! It’s so easy a caveman can do it!

“But won’t someone think of the CHILDREN!!!!!!!!!”

Okay, let’s think of the children. (more…)

Filed under: Guest Columns

No Rational Review Twitter contest this week
Posted on 03.15.09 by Thomas L. Knapp

Sorry, folks — I wasn’t able to get a sponsor and prizes lined up to do a contest this week. I’ll see if I can come up with something exciting for next week.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t help us promote Rational Review’s tweets anyway! Feel free to let your friends know that they can get the latest news and commentary via Twitter by following user rationalreview.

Usually, that is — this week the mechanism we’ve been using to “automatically” port our stories to Twitter hasn’t been especially reliable. I’m looking into other ways of getting the stuff from point A to point B, and may switch to manually doing so if necessary.

Tom Knapp
Rational Review

Filed under: Feature Articles and RRND News and Twitter-Worthy

Hazardous conditions
Posted on 03.11.09 by Michelle L

Moral Hazard a risk that somebody will behave immorally because insurance, the law, or some other agency protects them against loss that the immoral behavior might otherwise cause.

Because I’m blessed with an unusually high level of disdain for bureaucracy and government in general, it’s extremely rare for me to experience jaw-dropping shock when confronted with the empire’s mouthpieces and their paid pontifications, which are excreted with dreadful regularity in the mainstream media. Then I came across this:

Sheila Bair, the chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., said the agency has set aside $22 billion to cover any projected losses over the next year, leaving $19 billion. The deposit insurance fund now stands at its lowest level in nearly a quarter-century and is raising the assessment on banks and thrifts to give it more money in reserve. “Overall, we’re fine. But it is important for people to understand, we’re backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. The money will always be there. We can’t run out of money,” Bair said.

The money will always be there? We can’t run out of money?” Surely this is mere hyperbole, right? I mean, even the government can’t sincerely believe that money is some sort of infinite resource, right?

Perhaps not. (more…)

Filed under: Guest Columns

This week’s Twitter contest: LP Stuff!
Posted on 03.08.09 by Thomas L. Knapp

Last week’s Twitter contest expanded Rational Review’s number of “followers” from around 40 to more than 300.

This week, we’re shooting for a thousand followers — and we’re giving away five prizes, worth more than $100 altogether, from LPStuff.Com!


- The contest period starts at noon (Central Time) today, Sunday, March 8th. It ends at noon (Central Time) on Tuesday, March 10th Wednesday, March 11th.

- To enter the contest, sign up at Twitter.Com (if you haven’t already!), follow user rationalreview on Twitter (if you don’t already!) and tweet the following during the contest period (please do NOT include the quote marks!): “@rationalreview More than $100 in LPStuff.Com prizes this week’s Rational Review contest. Follow the freedom movement’s daily newspaper!”

- At the end of the contest period, we’ll randomly select five entrants to receive prizes from our sponsor, LPStuff.Com. Since the prizes are different from each other this time (see below), the first winner drawn will get first choice of prize, then the second winner can choose from what’s left,, and so on.

Winner or not, I hope you’ll visit LPStuff.Com and purchase your favorites from their fine selection of Libertarian Party-logoed merchandise, campaign supplies, etc. I’ll personally attest to the quality of their wares, as will anyone, I suspect, who visited the LPStuff.Com booth at last year’s LP national convention in Denver.


1 pair “Longing to be Free” boxers ($14.95) prize won by bsodmyself

1 Libertarian Defined t-shirt ($19.95) prize won by dgaking

1 magnetic backed Enough is Enough bumper sticker ($6.45) prize won by eve6andahalf

1 Winged Libertarian Hoodie ($39.95) prize won by rmbarlow

1 Libertarian Lapel Pin ($19.95) prize won by sweepstaking

Yours in liberty, Tom Knapp
Rational Review

Filed under: Feature Articles and RRND News

Why gay rights activists need to straighten up
Posted on 02.18.09 by J. Neil Schulman

I’ve been a libertarian my entire adult life. Libertarianism, as I’ve been an apologist for it, is a philosophy promoting individual rights, civil liberties, and the freedom to have manifest destiny over one’s own life and property. I am opposed to the government telling people what they can do with their minds and bodies. I am consistent on this whether the issue is consensual intimate relations between adults, or the freedom to self-medicate and self-entertain oneself using the agricultural or pharmaceutical product of one’s choice, or the responsibility of parents to choose what their children are taught about how the human race came to be, or whether it’s regarding the decision of a woman not to carry a fetus to term in her womb.

So when I have to explain to my daughter, who phone-banked in the November 2008 election against California’s Proposition 8 by which the California electorate voted to amend their Constitution restricting marriage to heterosexual couples, why I’m opposed to California courts overturning the vote she lost, it requires an explanation of my grounding principles and my firmly grasping sharp ideological nettles.

Let there be no mistake. I favor absolute equality in law for adult individuals who prize the liberty to have intimate relations with, fall in love with, and make life commitments to other individuals of their own gender. I favor laws enabling institutions to grant equity to same-sex couples in matters of habitation, inheritance, taxation, hospital visitation and fiduciary decision-making. If there are to be civil rights laws forbidding discrimination in employment, housing, and use of common facilities, and laws forbidding hate crimes, on the basis of race, color, religion, or ethnic origin, then I see no reason why gender preference is worth neither less nor more than these other collective categories for receiving grants of legal protection.

But none of that means I’m going to favor up-ending constitutional principles to favor a specific group’s pleadings, nor do I think a struggle for civil rights entitles one to thuggery, nor am I willing to embrace hypocrisy, the destruction of language, rewriting history, and lies just because some people have justifiable grievances.

Let’s start with the lies contained in the use of two common terms: “homosexual” and “gay.”


Filed under: Guest Columns

RRND-FND Mid-Year Fundraising Drive
Posted on 01.12.09 by Thomas L. Knapp

Update, 01/12/09 – This fundraiser is OVER, thanks to all of you who contributed over the weekend. It’s a long list, which I’ll start by thanking two of our subscribing contributors, ACN and CL, whose payments totaling $10 arrived over the weekend. Thanks also to supporters JC, SC, TB, BW, TH, RD, DD, RH, RB, DR, CD and SL contributed a total of of $590! TH and JR contributed through ISIL — one of the contributions was $50, the other was an undisclosed amount. Thanks to them!

So, our known total over the weekend (drum roll, please) …$650. That brings our running total to $5382.87, busting the meter and ending this long, long fundraiser.

There will be future fundraisers of course, but we’re working on different ways of doing them. Part of that may be higher frequency, but lower goal and less “in the body of the newsletter” stuff. Obviously we’d prefer to make receiving and reading RRND/FND as enjoyable as possible for all of our readers, and we know you don’t like this constant money pitch stuff any more than we do. Thanks again to all of you who have supported and continue to support our efforts … now we’re going to get back to work on ratcheting up the quality of those efforts.

Yours in liberty,
Tom Knapp
Rational Review

Filed under: 2AM News and Feature Articles and LAND News and PND News and RRND News

Fireproof — Review of a Movie that Tested My Faith and Made It Firmer :-)
Posted on 10.10.08 by J. Neil Schulman


As an independent filmmaker whose own new feature, Lady Magdalene’s, was made on about the same budget IMDb Pro shows Fireproof was made for –about $500K — I have closely been following the theatrical box-office success of Fireproof with gratitude.

Getting an ultra-low-budget film into theatrical distribution is a journey through Hell and Purgatory that Dante Alighieri could have written about.

To emerge into the theatrical-release paradise of wide release, an opening weekend ranking of #4 among movies costing 100 times as much to produce, and achieving tickets sales in the amount of $13,055,530 domestically in its first 12 days of release, is spectacular to the
point one must suspect a miracle.

As the hymn goes, “God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.” My own faith tells me that for God to allow this movie into theatrical release and achieve the box-office success it has, He must have deep plans … because never have I seen a worse movie in my life.


Filed under: Guest Columns

The next step toward getting the republic back
Posted on 09.30.08 by J. Neil Schulman

Yesterday’s House vote can be the Concord Bridge of a renewed American Revolution — if the idea gets out fast enough.

The congressional representatives — both conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats — who yesterday stood up to the water-boardings given to them by President Bush, Treachery Secretary Paulson, Federal Reverse Chairman Bernanke, and the McCain-Obama Presidential Ticket — voted against the Bail Out of OPEC. Why else would the price of oil have plummeted when the bail-out went south? The failure of the bail-out showed us who was really going to get bailed out.

The House made a good first step yesterday. But they need a second step.

Now the representatives who voted in good faith with the American people should vote to reject their foul bought-and-paid-for party leadership and caucus together into a new political party.

This idea needs to get out before the Jewish holidays are over and the House reconvenes.

Let’s show them a path back to the Republic. Spread the word virally and quickly.

J. Neil Schulman, author of the 1979 novel Alongside Night, which predicted this crisis

Filed under: Guest Columns

Does the First Amendment forbid Congress from Prohibiting Abortion?
Posted on 09.09.08 by J. Neil Schulman

In the wonderful movie Contact, from Carl Sagan’s novel about first contact with extraterrestrial intelligence, scientist Ellie Arroway must convince a panel that she’s the right candidate to be earth’s first ambassador to non-humans. When asked by one selector whether she believes in God — as does most of the human race — Ellie answers that, as a scientist, she only believes what can be proved, and doesn’t believe there’s proof either way. Ellie is rejected in favor of the opportunistic David Drumlin, who cynically gives the panel exactly the pious affirmation of faith they need to select him over Ellie.

The Saddleback Church presidential forum cast Barack Obama as Ellie Arroway and John McCain as David Drumlin.


Filed under: Guest Columns

My 2008 Presidential Endorsements by a Small-l Libertarian
Posted on 08.31.08 by J. Neil Schulman

Let’s start with my voting history, so you’ll know where I’m coming from.

In my first eligibility to cast a ballot in a presidential election — in 1972 — I could not bring myself to vote either to re-elect Republican Richard Nixon or replace him with Democrat George McGovern. I cast a write-in vote for the 19th century libertarian, Lysander Spooner, for president.

In 1976 I was one of the activists in the “Vote for Nobody!” campaign, and did not vote either for Gerald Ford or Jimmy Carter.

In 1980 and 1984 — even though I liked him better than any other major-party candidate for president since I’d become eligible to vote — I refrained from voting for Ronald Reagan. I remained a non-voter on the Jack Parr principle that “voting only encourages them.”

In 1988 without even a major-party candidate on the ballot as appealing to me as Reagan, I again refrained from voting.

By 1992 I’d argued myself into becoming a voter again, on the principle that if I believed in self-defense with a gun, I could believe in self-defense with a proxy gun — the ballot. But unable to vote for either George H.W. Bush or Bill Clinton, I voted for Ross Perot.



Filed under: Guest Columns

Gentle engagement
Posted on 06.09.08 by Thomas L. Knapp

Guest column by Barry Klein.

– Gentle Engagement –

How free market activists can achieve a pattern of victories
at the local level while laying ground work to influence politics
at the state and federal levels. — by Barry Klein


… Recognize that money to fund an organization office with staff is critical. The following package of ideas probably cannot be done well without a budget of
$200,000 per year, per city or metro area.

This is a strategy to reach the small number of opinion setters in each urbanized area. I call this group the “political village.” They are the civic activists and members of business groups who are watching the issues, developing opinions and sometimes trying to shape policy. It is much more affordable to reach and educate this relatively small number of people than a whole population of voting adults. I estimate 10,000 people fit this description in the Houston area where I live, and people are entering and leaving the village continuously.


Filed under: Feature Articles and Guest Columns

Can A Leopard Really Change His Spots?
Posted on 06.01.08 by Michelle L

I have recently heard from many wonderful folks in the Libertarian Party that support the Barr-Root ticket; people that say we need to rally round the candidates and that I’m committing the cardinal sin of “cut and run” rather than putting the Party first. While I have utmost respect for all members of the Libertarian Party, I am having a very hard time believing that these particular leopards can change their spots.


Filed under: Guest Columns

Dear Libertarian Party: I want to break up
Posted on 05.28.08 by Michelle L


Please don’t act surprised, we both know it’s been over for a long time — it’s just that now, after Denver; I can’t pretend otherwise.

Some people are thrilled when their exes make fools of themselves — fortunately for you, I am not one of them. That was, until you decided to announce to the world that your new BFF is Bob Barr; that he is the one you’d rather been seen around town with and who is being marketed as the chosen one to finally put you into the mainstream of political parties. I mean, seriously … Bob Barr?? And to think, I put your signs in my yard for all the world to see.

I can’t honestly say that the warning signs weren’t there — the way you seemed to disregard my loyalty in favor of the prospect of national coverage; the way you looked at other parties when you thought I wasn’t looking, the way you were never there for our children; Liberty, Freedom and Values like you once were — just paying them enough lip service to make it appear that they (and I) were still important to you but really only using us for photo ops.

I felt betrayed because of how much I had believed in you; how honorable you seemed compared to the other parties — how, when all the cool kids asked how I could possibly stand by you when you had zero chance of winning, I defended you and told everyone that you were different — that you had real values! (more…)

Filed under: Guest Columns

Announcement: RRND/FND hiatus
Posted on 05.21.08 by Thomas L. Knapp

Update: Well, folks, this is it — the final edition of RRND/FND before our first “group vacation” in 5 1/2 years! If you’re attending the Libertarian Party’s national convention in Denver, be sure to clip the coupon below for a nice discount at the ISIL/Laissez Faire Books table … and to look up myself and my fellow RRND/FND editor, R. Lee Wrights. If you’ve decided that discretion is the better part of valor, enjoy the holiday weekend and we’ll be back next Wednesday.


DENVER, CO 05/22/08 - 05/26/08


Yours in liberty,
Tom Knapp
Rational Review

Filed under: Feature Articles and RRND News

Phillies 2008: A polite difference with a fellow candidate
Posted on 05.12.08 by George Phillies

We’re Libertarians. There is no issue we all agree upon, except perhaps how we spell our party’s name.

It’s not surprising, then, that sometimes some members of our party will support an isolated Democrat. Or a lone Republican.

If you are an LNC member, your burden is more severe. You made a commitment to your fellow Libertarians. You ran for our office so you could leverage your time and energy to build a stronger Libertarian Party. If you instead spent your time building an opposing party, you are not doing what you implicitly promised.

I’m state chair of LPMass, the Libertarian Party of Massachusetts. I’ve worked vigorously to revive my state’s Libertarian Party. Our State Committee is now meeting monthly. Our State newsletter is now appearing monthly. We’ve revived fundraising. I’ve committed thousands of dollars of my own money for our Presidential ballot access campaign.

You may rest assured, I haven’t given a Democrat or a Republican a dime or a minute.

And I’m a Presidential candidate. When I identify my political beliefs, I say I’m a *Libertarian*.

Here we come to one of my differences with LNC member Bob Barr, who I view as a friend.

While on the LNC, Bob Barr has also been the champion of the Bob Barr Leadership PAC. Since the start of 2007, his PAC has raised more than a million dollars. That’s very impressive. Now, raising that money was expensive. Much of it went to general expenses.

But when Bob Barr PAC money went since the start of 2007 to individual political candidates, it largely went to Republicans. And that means?

If I’m your nominee this Summer, that means I hope to be in Georgia to campaign with Libertarian Senate Candidate Allen Buckley. His opponent Saxby Chambliss received $3,500 from Bob Barr’s PAC.

I hope to be in New Hampshire to campaign with Libertarian Senate Candidate Ken Blevens. His opponent John Sununu received $3,000 from Bob Barr’s PAC.

I hope to be in Virginia to campaign with Libertarian Senate Candidate Bill Redpath. The Gilmore for Senate campaign received $1,000 from Bob Barr’s PAC.

I hope to be in North Carolina to campaign with Libertarian Congressional Candidate Thomas Hill. His opponent Robin Hayes received $1,000 from Bob Barr’s PAC.

I hope to be in Texas to campaign with Libertarian Congressional Candidate Ken Ashby. His opponent Jeb Hensarling received $3,500 from Bob Barr’s PAC.

I hope to be in Idaho to campaign with Libertarian Senate Candidate Kent Marmon. His erstwhile opponent, Larry Craig, dropped out, but not before he received $1,000 from Bob Barr’s PAC.

That’s Republicans who have a Libertarian opponent. Bob Barr supported a longer list of Republicans who don’t yet face Libertarian opposition.

The longer list matters, too.

When you donate to a candidate, your money counts twice. It counts once for that candidate. It counts again for the candidate’s party.

When I invest money in my campaign, I am building our Libertarian Party. And when Bob Barr through his PAC invested in Republican candidates, he was building up the Republican Party.

And that leads to the question. What do we want and expect from a Presidential candidate?

I urge you to consider: We only get one Presidential campaign every four years. It’s your decision.

George Phillies is a candidate for the Libertarian Party’s 2008 presidential nomination. His campaign web site is located at As a matter of course, Rational Review will publish, unedited, the submissions of libertarian presidential candidates. For more information, or for assistance, contact us at

Filed under: Guest Columns

New movies for my Pro-RKBA, libertarian, and patriotic friends
Posted on 02.25.08 by J. Neil Schulman

Often enough I hear my pro-RKBA, libertarian, and conservative/patriot friends complaining that Hollywood doesn’t make movies for us and that the movies they do make are hostile to our core values.

Here’s your chance to turn that tide by supporting some new movies made by friends who do share our values.

First up is the new comedy Witless Protection, starring Larry the Cable Guy, Jenny McCarthy, and Yaphet Kotto, released this past weekend by LionsGate. (This is the same studio that is producing Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.) The writer/director of Witless Protection is Charles Carner, a friend I met through our long attendance at the pro-Second-Amendment ATF nights (where Alcohol and Tobacco were consumed and Firearms discussed). This being a Larry the Cable Guy movie with a lot of redneck humor, don’t expect an evening of Oscar Wilde or Noel Coward, but Charles emails me, “I managed to put some politically-incorrect humor into the movie, which was fun.”

The critics are, of course, attacking the movie because it’s not aimed at them but targeted to people who actually have to pay to see movies. So it didn’t have the biggest opening weekend and, without support, might be gone from the theaters by next weekend. So please pass along the message to go see this movie sometime this week to all Second Amendment, libertarian, and patriot lists. If there’s enough business during the week it might be held over another weekend and have time for a viral word-of-mouth campaign to boost its box office.

Next up is Second-Amendment scholar David T. Hardy’s feature documentary, In Search of the Second Amendment, which is having its film-festival premiere at the Backlot Film Festival at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Culver City, CA, April 2-5, 2008. The website for this excellent analysis of the history and legal status of the Second Amendment — more timely than ever with the Heller case on DC’s gun ban being reviewed by the Supreme Court this year — is at

The Backlot Film Festival is the same festival where my own suspense-comedy feature, Lady Magdalene’s, starring Nichelle Nichols, is having its first LA-area screening the evening of April 3rd. I don’t think it takes much convincing that a movie written and directed by the author of the libertarian-award-winning Alongside Night and Charlton-Heston endorsed Stopping Power has plenty of pro-individual-liberty and pro-Second Amendment content. Nichelle Nichols will be present to introduce our screening plus the one after it, a restored print of the classic MGM all-black musical, Cabin in the Sky — and Nichelle will be singing live between the screenings with piano accompaniment, Because of Nichelle’s association both with Star Trek and now Heroes we expect this to be a star-studded event. And the timing couldn’t be better for our prospects to achieve distribution since at our February 2nd film-festival premiere at the San Diego Black Film Festival, Lady Magdalene’s won the festival’s Best Cutting Edge Film Award. Full details on our website at

Discount tickets to the Backlot Film Festival, including all film screenings, will be available through various pro-RKBA and libertarian groups. Details on the where and how will be forthcoming.

Remember, if we don’t support the filmmakers who embody our own values, they might not remain in the business so they can keep on trying to balance Hollywood’s politically-correct offerings.

Filed under: Guest Columns

RRND/FND Fundraiser, Q4 2007/Q1 2008
Posted on 02.04.08 by Thomas L. Knapp

Update, 02/04/08 — Thanks to $25 contributor DJ and to subscribing contributors SH, KT, DFD, MA and MB, whose monthly payments totaling $32.50 arrived this weekend! They bring our running total to $2,877!

I also have it on good authority — that of long-time supporter/contributor MJ Taylor of from Reason to Freedom — that a $200 check is on the way … so I’m declaring this fundraiser CLOSED with a putative total of $3,077. Thanks to all of you for your support, and to our friends at ISIL/Laissez Faire Books and LibertyStickers.Com for their help with premiums (not all of the stickers have been mailed out yet, but I’m working on it!) - TLK

Filed under: Feature Articles and RRND News

Cry Havoc And Let Slip The Dogs Of War
Posted on 01.14.08 by Michelle L

I find war detestable but those who praise it without participating in it even more so.” — Romain Rolland 1866-1944

Bear with me while I engage in what can only be termed journalistic masturbation.

After watching wall-to-wall coverage in the mainstream media concerning the incident in the Strait of Hormuz between Iranian speedboats and US warships, one would be hard pressed to not experience a feeling of deja vu — the parallels to the Gulf of Tonkin are amazing.

For a few days now, the major networks have breathlessly trumpeted the provocative confrontation and reported that “US warships were seconds away from firing on the speedboats.” Everybody panic!

Eh, not so much.


Filed under: Guest Columns

Your neighbor could be a marijuana grower — thanks to misguided policies
Posted on 11.26.07 by Thomas L. Knapp

Guest Column by Rob Kampia

Would you like to see criminal gangs growing marijuana in your community, making large profits, which in turn would fund other criminal activities?

A new federal report says that our current marijuana policies are actually making this more likely. If you live in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, California, or parts of New York State, you may be particularly at risk.

The report is the U.S. Department of Justice’s “National Drug Threat Assessment 2008,” released to the public on November 8. The only mention it got in the press had to do with supposed shortages of cocaine in some areas, but the report’s findings on marijuana will affect many more Americans. Marijuana, after all, is far and away the most commonly used illegal drug.


Filed under: Feature Articles and Guest Columns

Ad It Up — November Advertising Sale in RRND/FND!
Posted on 11.16.07 by Thomas L. Knapp

It’s time for our November ad sale here at Rational Review, and you’re never going to see better rates. It’s very simple:

- Any Blogad for 1 week, $10
- Any Blogad for 2 weeks, $15
- Any Blogad for 1 month, $25
- Any Blogad for 3 months, $50

To order, click here or on the “advertise here” link in any of our Blogads strips.

Choose from any of our Blogad formats (Standard, Hi-Rise, Mini or Classie) — the cost is the same, and it’s as low as it’s ever going to get. During this sale, you can get a one-month Blogad for the usual cost of a one-week Blogad, and three months for a little more than HALF the usual cost of a single month. Sorry, we can’t accept Flash animations during this sale — regular graphics only.

To order, click here or on the “advertise here” link in any of our Blogads strips.

Your ad will run on EVERY page at, as well as on the Freedom News Daily page at ISIL’s web site. It will also run as a text ad w/link in our daily email editions (and will be permanently archived on the web in those editions).

If you sell a good or service that you think libertarian readers will find interesting, or if you’re seeking support for your campaign for political office, or if you want to flog your own organization or web site, now’s the time to do it CHEAP. We run a maximum of five Blogads at any given time, and this sale ends when November ends, but if the ad strip is full you CAN advance order the ad at these rates, to run when spaces become available.

Naturally, we reserve the right to reject ads — but we won’t do so without good reason, and payment for rejected ads will of course be promptly and cheerfully refunded.

To order, click here or on the “advertise here” link in any of our Blogads strips.

Filed under: Feature Articles and RRND News

Phillies 2008: Helping Families Educate Their Children
Posted on 10.08.07 by George Phillies

… (and Help Businesses Reward their Employees).

There is no family responsibility more important than educating the next generation. You may be wealthy or poor. You may be healthy or sick. No matter your conditions, you can be sure: If your children are not educated well, they will end up poor and sick.

As Libertarians, we believe that competitive private and market solutions will generally provide superior answers to challenging questions. Private and home schooling should offer children a richness of individually-designed education programs that other arrangements will find difficult to match. However, sensible Libertarians also recognize that public schools enjoy two huge advantages, namely large tax subsidies and a huge market and production base already in place.


Filed under: Guest Columns

RRND/FND Fundraiser, Q3 2007
Posted on 10.01.07 by Thomas L. Knapp

FINAL UPDATE, 10/01/07

Thanks to contributors MC (who will be hearing from me later today about his Laissez Faire Books gift certificate) and DT, and to subscribing contributor JL! Their payments, totaling $105, came in over the weekend, bringing our third quarter fundraising total to $1,835!

We didn’t make our goal of $3,000, and that means the 4th quarter fundraiser will probably start early so that we can try to break through … but I’ll hold off as long as possible in honor of those of you who contributed this quarter. Thank you so much for your support, and I’ll keep the fundraising appeals off your screen for awhile - TLK


Filed under: Feature Articles and RRND News

Phillies 2008: Defending Our Constitution
Posted on 09.04.07 by George Phillies

A few pithy thoughts and quotes:

Civil Liberties — The Oath of Office of the President is to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States. When a President takes office, he should place his hand on one place: the Constitution he is swearing to protect. When an advisor tells the President “The Constitution is not a suicide pact” as a justification for his illegal deeds, he is urging that our government be overthrown. As President, I will appoint officials and advisors who support the Constitution.

A Loyal, Patriotic Civil Service — Loyal Americans honor our Constitution and obey the Law of the land. They do not make warrantless searches of your home. They do not wiretap your phone calls without court orders. They do not throw Americans into jail and detain them without trial or access to attorneys. We need a Federal government composed of loyal Americans who love our country. Federal employees who made warrantless searches, performed warrantless wiretaps, and detained citizens without trial will be replaced with patriotic Americans. And then the facts of their actions should be presented to grand juries.

Presidential Royalism — We have a President, not an Emperor. Americans who dissent from elected Federal officers are true patriots who understand where America was born. Advocates of Free Speech zones, into which protesters are herded and hidden from the press, are dangerous subversives attacking our Constitution. Patriotic Americans do not grovel. They should not mindlessly stand and applaud because a President walks into the room. [Mind you, if you want to stand, applaud, or throw yourself on your kneepads, that’s your privilege.] Libertarians reject royalism.

Torture. Rendition. Secret Prisons. — Real Americans do not torture. Real Americans do not kidnap so others can torture for us. Real Americans support timely public trials with juries, not military kangaroo tribunals. Real Americans should ensure that torture, renditions, and secret prisons are ended, and the people who committed crimes, such as torture, kidnap, and secretly imprison, are brought to justice.

George Phillies is a candidate for the Libertarian Party’s 2008 presidential nomination. His campaign web site is located at As a matter of course, Rational Review will publish, unedited, the submissions of libertarian presidential candidates. For more information, or for assistance, contact us at

Filed under: Guest Columns

Phillies 2008: A sensible defense policy
Posted on 08.09.07 by George Phillies

The Cold War is over. Bring home the army that defends Europe against the Soviet Union. World War II is over. Bring home our post-war garrisons. Transform the National Guard into state defense forces not available for overseas service, as the law currently allows. Only a Libertarian will bring our men and women home.

We have the best navy in the world. We maintain a huge Atlantic fleet, when no hostile nations border the Atlantic. We build the world’s finest amphibious landing ships, which are only useful for launching invasions. We aren’t planning any. We should right-size our armed forces to an order of battle matching the threats we face. Only a Libertarian President will
right-size our military.

Finding Mr. Bin Laden is a job for spies and special forces, not a job for tank divisions. The Afghan people have been governing themselves for hundreds of years. They will not long tolerate foreign occupation. Only a Libertarian President will give the Bin Laden problem to the right people.

The real foundation of our national security is our technology and industry. They let us deploy real defenses against real threats. Resources spent by our standing military are resources extracted from our industrialists and farmers and educators. When we spend our resources on a pointlessly large military, we weaken the foundation of our national security. Only a Libertarian President will strengthen our national security by right-sizing defense spending.

George Phillies is a candidate for the Libertarian Party’s 2008 presidential nomination. His campaign web site is located at As a matter of course, Rational Review will publish, unedited, the submissions of libertarian presidential candidates. For more information, or for assistance, contact us at

Filed under: Guest Columns

Phillies 2008: Thoughts on Social Liberties
Posted on 07.26.07 by George Phillies

Family Values - There are few parts of family life more sensitive than guiding medical care for family members unable to act for themselves. In the Terry Schiavo case, Congress tried to steal control of her medical care. Congress voted against real family values. If you support real family values, you should elect Libertarians. We believe Uncle Sam has no business making life and death decisions for you and your loved ones.

The Kelo Decision - Your house should belong to you, not to the lounge lizard who bribed your city council. Eminent Domain takings should be limited to traditional public purposes. Eminent domain should not be used to steal your house for a developer or sports team.


Filed under: Guest Columns

A major pain in the gut
Posted on 07.16.07 by Michelle L

I seriously doubt that there are too many folks out there who haven’t heard about Michael Chertoff’s gut feeling by now. That government officials are reduced to using such obscure rationalizations in order to get our attention, I believe really speaks volumes for the sorry state of affairs existing today.

A quick search for the word “gut” happlily confirms my suspicions; the online dictionary of Merriam Webster starts the definition of gut with the word, bowels. I have long suspected that the administration’s facts are rectally sourced or, in other words, they pull them out of their collective asses.


Filed under: Guest Columns

How to tell if Bush is lying
Posted on 07.05.07 by Michelle L

My husband thinks it’s cute the way I always seem to be surprised by all the fairy tales, falsehoods and fabrications that emit from the White House; that I must somehow hold out hope that our elected (or not elected as the case may be) officials have some deep seated humanity that would cause them trouble sleeping at night should they lie to their constituents.

Odd, I always considered myself to be rather cynical and jaded about politicians.

Now we come to Bush commuting (not pardoning because after all, he still has to pay money and be on probation and he is still convicted — and we all know that convicted liars have no place in politics) Scooter Libby’s sentence.

You can read the entire pack of lies at:

For your convenience, I have graciously copied the pertinent parts and noted the pants-on-fire-level whoppers for your enlightenment.


Filed under: Guest Columns

Phillies 2008: We Want Soldiers Who Shoot Straight
Posted on 07.05.07 by George Phillies

Six decades ago, President Harry Truman ordered that the Armed Forces be desegregated. No longer would there be separate military units for different people, sorted by the color of their skin. Instead, all soldiers were to be the same color: Army Green. All airmen were to be the same color: Air Force Blue. And so on across all our Armed Forces.

Armed Forces desegregation actually began in Arizona, where the Air National Guard’s commanding officer was a prominent social liberal: He and his wife later brought Planned Parenthood to Tempe. His later political book warned emphatically about the dangers of overpopulation and the need for population control. The officer in question eventually went into politics, continuing to espouse his principles of individual freedom and equality before the law: In 1964, he became the Republican Party’s nominee for President of the United States.

It is now 2007. Six decades after the Armed Forces were desegregated by race, the Armed Forces are segregated by gender orientation. (more…)

Filed under: Guest Columns

RRND/FND Fundraiser — 2nd Quarter 2007
Posted on 06.29.07 by Thomas L. Knapp

Update, 06/29/07 — Thanks to RS and JL, whose contributions totaling $27.50 arrived in the last 24 hours! That brings our running total to $1,690 … $1,310 short of our fundraiser goal.

The quarter and the fundraiser end tomorrow, and we’re WAY light here, folks. I’m going to make one last plea, and an adjustment, before shutting this thing down. I’d love to be able to report to you on Monday that some angels got us across the finish line … so I’m moving the finish line up. If we’re not going to make it to $3,000 (and it doesn’t look like we will) how about $2,000? We’re only $310 away from that mark.

We’ll keep trying (privately) to sell our “major supporter goodie package” — more than $2,000 worth of stuff for $1,000. If you’re interested in that, see

What we’re looking for from the rest of you — the readers who love RRND/FND but aren’t interested in popping a thousand bucks for advertising and such — is that other $310. That’s 31 of you who think it’s worth $10, or 62 who’ll go $5, or 124 of you who are willing to pony up $2.50 to support our continue publication … or some mix of those numbers. One dollar? That works! So does $100.

Have a great weekend. But first, click and contribute - TLK

To contribute to RRND using PayPal or e-gold, see the sidebar of any page at

If you prefer tax deductibility, support ISIL and “earmark” your contribution for the support of Freedom News Daily at:

And if you’d like to physically ship us checks, money orders, wampum, bullion, Federal Reserve Notes, used bottles that can be returned for deposit refunds, or pieces of toast with images of the Virgin Mary on them that we can auction on eBay, just drop me a line for instructions on how to do that. (Seriously: We’re always looking for computer hardware — if you’ve got a reasonably recent desktop or laptop that you’re looking to unload, let me know).

And now, for the graphic you never wanted to see:

I’ll update this article daily throughout the fundraiser. And THANK YOU for your continuing support!

Yours in liberty,
Tom Knapp
Rational Review

Filed under: Feature Articles and RRND News

Phillies 2008: An Open Letter to Goldwater Conservatives
Posted on 06.03.07 by George Phillies

Rational Review is a wonderful place, if not precisely a conservative site. This message is directly applicable to some readers. For the rest of you, the following is a message to forward to any conservative sites you know, because some conservatives already have been saved. They just need to learn where the pearly gates are located.

Let me draw a few comparisons:

Barry Goldwater wanted to reduce the size of government.

George Bush conservatives offer “big government conservatism” and the largest expansion in welfare since Lyndon Johnson.

Barry Goldwater supported a balanced budget.

George Bush conservatives offer the largest budget deficits, funded and unfunded, in our history.

Barry Goldwater said that “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”

George Bush conservatives give us extremism, just not in the defense of liberty: extraordinary rendition, detention without trial, and torture.

Barry Goldwater knew that secret police who listened to phone calls were Commies working for the KGB and Chairman Mao.

George Bush conservatives bring us bigger and better American secret police, who use computers to listen to every single phone call and Internet message.

Barry Goldwater was in love with technology. He was a jet pilot. His home was filled with high-tech gadgets. He ran for President of a country that strove to be the world leader in technology and science.

Modern conservatives oppose stem cell research. When asked about evolution, four Republican Presidential candidates expressed disbelief. Worse, the other six did not burst into laughter.

Barry Goldwater believed in personal privacy.

Bush conservatives want to introduce state identity papers. (more…)

Filed under: Guest Columns

Choice vs. Edict: A very “smoky” crossroads
Author: Steve Trinward
Posted on 05.30.07 by Steve Trinward

If you want to find out whether or not someone is a libertarian at heart, ask them how they feel about smoking; more often than not, the fascistic underbelly will shine through almost instantly …

I recently experienced the fantasy of nearly every red-blooded hetero-American (or other) man the other night: I was standing at a social event, drinking free beer and munching on free hors d’oeuvres, chatting with several rather tall, very attractive, pleasantly slender, clearly intelligent and creative single women: one blonde, one brunette and one a striking redhead.

What’s more, from my personal agenda, they were all songwriters, who had each come to Nashville, as I did initially, to pursue that craft and perhaps make a living at it. The fantasy continued to play out, as we chatted and got to know each other a bit better; staying “in the moment” became more and more difficult, at least for this little black duck.

And then the conversation turned, and not in a good way, as one of the women commented on the proposed state legislation, to ban smoking in all “public” places, expressing her heartfelt approval of the measure. Then, almost without skipping a beat, both of the other two goddesses chimed in, in total agreement. (Mind you, we were standing in the back-barroom of a local tavern/restaurant, just off Music Row, which — by the choice of the owner and his/her patrons (mainly tourist trade and music industry) — was already … “smoke-free” … voluntarily!)

[Update: June 1, 2007: The Tennessee House passed what the papers call a “watered down” version of the bill, which “specifically exempts bars, tobacco shops, restaurant patios, mechanic shops, small businesses with three or fewer employees, private clubs, private homes and residences as well as allowing a maximum of 25 percent of hotel rooms to be smoking rooms.” Although it is still draconian and mandates rather than persuades, it is at least a little less oppressive overall (nice that they include “private homes” in the list; we wouldn’t want to think we weren’t “allowed” to control our own property, now would we?) - SAT]

I tried to restrain my ire, replying only that this attitude was at the root of much of what was wrong with our society today: if the first impulse when faced with an issue is to pass laws prohibiting behavior, then the idea of “freedom” will always be secondary to the desires of whatever pressure-group happened to hold power. (more…)

Filed under: Feature Articles

Rachel Carson’s genocide
Posted on 05.23.07 by Thomas L. Knapp

Op-Ed from the Ayn Rand Institute
by Keith Lockitch

On May 27, environmentalists will celebrate what would have been the 100th birthday of Rachel Carson, the founding mother of their movement.

But Carson’s centenary is no cause for celebration. Her legacy includes more than a million deaths a year from the mosquito-borne disease malaria. Though nearly eradicated decades ago, malaria has resurged with a vengeance because DDT, the most effective agent of mosquito control, has been essentially discarded — discarded based not on scientific concerns about its safety, but on environmental dogma advanced by Carson.

The crusade against DDT began with Carson’s antipesticide diatribe Silent Spring, published in 1962 at the height of the worldwide antimalaria campaign. The widespread spraying of DDT had caused a spectacular drop in malaria incidence — Sri Lanka, for example, reported 2.8 million malaria victims in 1948, but by 1963 it had only 17. Yet Carson’s book made no mention of this. It said nothing of DDT’s crucial role in eradicating malaria in industrialized countries, or of the tens of millions of lives saved by its use.

Instead, Carson filled her book with misinformation — alleging, among other claims, that DDT causes cancer. Her unsubstantiated assertion that continued DDT use would unleash a cancer epidemic generated a panicked fear of the pesticide that endures as public opinion to this day.


Filed under: Reprints

Phillies 2008: Torture — Crime against Civilization
Posted on 05.23.07 by George Phillies

At the South Carolina debate, Republican candidates were asked if they would torture prisoners. Some of them thought torture was just fine.

What is the libertarian answer to the torture question? It’s the American answer, the answer the American people have already given. Torture is a crime against civilization, reviled by all patriotic Americans.

Let’s take it from the top.

First, there is nothing for a President to decide. Inside the United States, torture is a felony. If you are anywhere in the United States, and you torture someone, you are committing more crimes than I care to list. There is no exception in those laws for government officials.

If you are an American abroad and torture someone, it’s a felony. If your victim dies, you have earned the death penalty. There is no exception in those laws for government officials.

Second, those laws reflect the wisdom of the American people. Torturers are the filth of the earth, properly grouped with child molesters and mercenaries. We need not ask what the founding fathers and their fellows thought of mercenaries. Their position is enshrined in the third verse of The Star-Spangled Banner:

“And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave,”


Filed under: Guest Columns

None Of The Above always gets my support
Posted on 05.21.07 by Jim Davidson

Special to Rational Review

People persist in asking me for whom should they vote. I strongly believe that if you are voting for any incumbent, you are making a grave error, which is likely to be deadly to many, disastrous to private property, and beneficial only to graft and corruption. In the case of nearly every challenger I’ve ever scrutinized closely, the same is true. There are a few exceptions, but they are indeed rare.

So, for whom should you vote? I think the Libertarian Party has an excellent idea. In every election, for every office, a legitimate candidate to consider is “None of the Above.” If you vote for “None of the Above” in a Libertarian Party primary, and that choice wins the most votes, then the party runs no one for that office. Where allowed by law, they place “None of the Above” on the ballot for that office. So, you would have the opportunity to elect no one to that office, and, in the event that any jurisdiction allowed such a vote to be credentialed, no one would serve in that office.

Isn’t that a fine idea? Wouldn’t you be better off? Can you think of any office at any level that would not be improved by sitting empty for a year, two years, four years, or six years — depending on the relevant term?


Filed under: Guest Columns

It’s Way Past Miller Time for the War in Iraq
Posted on 05.20.07 by J. Neil Schulman

Sometimes I wonder if people even listen to themselves talk.

The Bush administration tells us that the United States has not yet achieved its objectives in the War in Iraq so American troops have to stay there until a stable Iraqi democracy can fend for itself against an insurgency fueled by al Qaeda-fed Sunni Muslims and Iranian-fed Shia Muslims: that the Iraqi InSurgency has to be fought with an American Surgency.

The Democratic Party opposition tells us that, because of this InSurgency, the Bush administration already lost the War in Iraq so it’s time to cut our losses and bring American troops home.

Neither the Bush administration nor its critics see the obvious fact that Operation Iraqi Freedom was a total victory, and any discussion of whether American troops should stay or go have to follow from that fact.

Filed under: Guest Columns

Time for a GOP smackdown: Paul should challenge Giuliani to a policy debate.
Posted on 05.20.07 by Ben Kalafut

It could be called the “diss heard ’round the world.” Rudolph Giuliani’s dismissal of Ron Paul’s assertion that U.S. foreign policy makes us more likely to be attacked by terrorists may have won him the debate, but its long-term impact on his credibility has yet to be seen.

The war in Iraq remains the issue of greatest importance to voters. In Paul and Giuliani we have two candidates for a major party’s nomination whose views on the matter couldn’t be farther apart and whose disagreement has become perhaps the most talked-about event to date of the 2008 Presidential race.

It’s thus a natural time for a real debate, a structured intellectual dispute over an issue as opposed to a soundbite-generating Q and A session. The resolution: The United States should adopt a noninterventionist foreign policy. Paul takes affirmative, Giuliani takes negative.


Filed under: Guest Columns

Tornado Ravaged Greensburg, Kansas: Kansas Mutual Aid relief workers forced out of city by police
Posted on 05.19.07 by Brad Spangler

The following is the second report of two, posted on behalf of Dave. The first is available here. — Brad S.

Filed under: Feature Articles

Dateline: the former site of Greensburg, Kansas
Posted on 05.14.07 by Brad Spangler

Anarchist group Kansas Mutual Aid is helping with disaster relief in the wake of the devastating and colossal tornado that hit Greensburg, Kansas. The town has been simply obliterated. Read KMA member Dave Strano’s report below.

Filed under: Feature Articles

Phillies 2008: Civil Disobedience by Government
Posted on 05.09.07 by George Phillies

Civil disobedience is a political act. It may be nonviolent or violent. We may greet it with approval; we may condemn it. Civil disobedience remains a political act.

When Gandhi led Indians to the sea to protest the British salt monopoly, he committed an act of nonviolent civil disobedience, an act that many Americans would approve. When George Washington led the Continental Army against the British, he committed an act of civil disobedience, an act of violent civil disobedience that most Americans also endorse. The attacks of the Iraqi resistance against our Army of Occupation in Iraq are equally acts of violent civil disobedience, acts directed against our fellow Americans.

Peaceful or violent, approved or disapproved, acts of civil disobedience are extraordinary political acts. For better or worse, acts of civil disobedience have the intent of causing political change.

The opposite of Civil Disobedience is Civil Disobedience by Government. (more…)

Filed under: Guest Columns

Phillies 2008: Support any Republican->Support Torture
Posted on 04.02.07 by George Phillies

Your Vote Counts Twice
Your Support Counts Twice

When you vote for a candidate, your vote counts twice. It counts once for the candidate. It counts again for the candidate’s party.

Even when your candidate loses, your vote for the candidate shows that the candidate’s party and the ideas it represents have support. When a D.C. resident votes for a Republican Presidential candidate, or a Utah resident votes for the matching Democrat, they know their candidate will lose in their state. There is almost no chance that their popular votes will translate into electoral votes for their candidates. Their popular votes are still important, because they show that their candidate enjoys popular support for his views, popular support that may well manifest itself in other elections for other offices.

That’s why there are no wasted votes. Every vote counts as a show of support for the candidate’s positions and ideas.


Filed under: Guest Columns

Phillies 2008: Help Families Educate Their Children
Posted on 03.15.07 by George Phillies

(and Help Businesses Reward their Employees)
(and move away from the public school monopoly, along a nonthreatening track)

There is no family responsibility more important than educating the next generation. You may be wealthy or poor. You may be healthy or sick. No matter your conditions, you can be sure: If your children are not educated well, they will end up poor and sick.

As Libertarians, we believe that competitive private and market solutions will generally provide superior answers to challenging questions. Private and home schooling should offer children a richness of individually-designed education programs that other arrangements will find difficult to match. However, sensible Libertarians also recognize that public schools enjoy two huge advantages, namely large tax subsidies and a huge market and production base already in place.

How can Libertarians change America from where we are, to where we want to go, on a path each of whose steps is positive? Any proposed change must add to choice, not take away options from parents anxious for their children, or the change will not be adopted.


Filed under: Guest Columns

Phillies 2008: Looking ahead to 2009
Posted on 03.05.07 by George Phillies

When It’s All Over

The Libertarian Party nominating convention is more than a year away. The General Election, results unpredictable, is far beyond that. Nonetheless, someday the election campaign and its outcome will have come to an end.

I have no idea whether I will win or lose the race for the nomination. I am doing my best to win, as are each of my serious opponents.

What should the candidate do when the election is said and done?

I realize that there have been past Presidential candidates, who have faced the same question. I’m not talking about them for the moment. They will answer to higher judges, namely to our party’s members and to the weight of history. Here I am only talking about my perspective on my possible future.


Filed under: Guest Columns

This Movement We Have Chosen
Posted on 02.21.07 by Jeff Riggenbach

Books cited or discussed in this essay:

Doherty, Brian. Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement. New York: Public Affairs, 2007.

Mencken, H. L. “Newspaper Morals” [1914] in A Gang of Pecksniffs: And Other Comments on Newspaper Publishers, Editors and Reporters. Ed. Theo Lippman, Jr. New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1975

- - -. Minority Report: H. L. Mencken’s Notebooks. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1956.


Brian Doherty’s Radicals for Capitalism is an outstanding book. Anyone who has read Doherty’s work over the past fifteen years or so in Liberty and Reason knows he’s an excellent writer, but as an historian of the libertarian movement, he’s also comprehensive, evenhanded, and continuously interesting.

This is not to say, however, that there are no significant problems with this book. And thereby hangs a tale …


My own small part in Doherty’s “freewheeling history of the modern American libertarian movement” begins with a walkon in a key scene on page 449. (Overall, my part is what you’d call a bit part, though I do have a few lines — and this is exactly as it should be. I’ve been around for a long time and I’ve known and worked with many of the major players in this story, but I was never a major player myself.) The situation, as the scene opens, is touch and go. It’s the late spring of 1978, a full year and a half since Charles Koch bought Libertarian Review (LR) from Bob Kephart, and a full year since he assumed control of the magazine, moving it to New York, reinstalling founding editor Roy A. Childs, Jr. in the office of editor-in-chief, and sitting back to await the steady stream of scintillating and provocative issues he knew young Childs was capable of.

Childs was capable, no doubt about that. He was brilliant. He was a fine writer and a gifted editor-in-chief, the kind of man who could talk well-established intellectuals into writing for his magazine for a tenth of what they’d earn (and a fraction of the audience they’d reach) if they sold the same article to Harper’s or Esquire or the Atlantic. He was the kind of editor who planned issues months ahead, who saw the big picture, where the magazine was heading, and why. He was also, as Doherty styles him, “the sort of man whose presence put smiles on people’s faces. He was the sort of figure all ideological movements need … the tireless networker, letter writer, phone caller, dedicated to a larger vision of a long-term libertarian project that extended beyond whatever work he happened to be doing, as dedicated to promoting and connecting other libertarian comrades as producing specific tangible work of his own.” In the late spring of 1978, as our scene opens, he was already, as Doherty puts it, “the most consistent personal inspiration and support to a rising generation of young libertarians.” (450) In the years to come, he filled that role ever more impressively and effectively.

But he could not meet a deadline. (more…)

Filed under: Guest Columns

Kubby 2008: In Distinguished Company
Posted on 02.17.07 by Steve Kubby

I’ve recently been asked a number of times — by friends, fellow Libertarians, supporters of other candidates and even my own campaign volunteers — if my personal legal situation has any bearing on my presidential candidacy.

More pointedly, I’ve been asked if the fact that I’m on probation in the state of California might not disqualify me as a candidate, if for no other reason than that it might limit my ability to travel.

I’d like to turn these questions into an opportunity: An opportunity to explain my situation, and to explain why it’s not only not a problem, but a positive factor in my campaign.


Filed under: Guest Columns

Phillies 2008: 2008 Is Too Late
Posted on 02.16.07 by George Phillies

2008 is Too Late!

2008 is too late to end the Bush Republican War On Iraq.

By 2008, thousands more of our brave American men and women will have died totally pointless deaths. They won’t have died to protect America. They’ll be dead because George Bush is afraid to admit that he was wrong. By 2008, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis will have joined them. They’ll all be together, united in the grave. (more…)

Filed under: Guest Columns

Why Rightists Should be Chanting “Run Ralph Run!”
Posted on 02.08.07 by Dan E. Phillips

According to News Max consumer activist Ralph Nader is leaving open the possibility of running for President again in 2008. He will decide whether to run later this year. He is reportedly unhappy with Sen. Hillary Clinton, a (the?) likely Democratic nominee. Per News Max, Nader described Sen. Clinton as a “panderer and a flatterer.” You don’t say?

Major candidates are almost always overly “handled.” Nader’s observation that Hillary is a “panderer and a flatterer” is no doubt true, but the same thing could be said of all the major candidates. As a result you get a centrist, “handled” politics. Former Senator Edwards is a “panderer and a flatterer.” Former Governor Romney is a “panderer and a flatterer.” Pandering and flattering may well be the price of entry to major candidate status. Perhaps Sen. McCain is not your prototypical panderer, but he is definitely attempting to make nice with the base and evangelicals after routinely thumbing his nose at them. If anything his previous contrariness and independence was possibly pandering to moderates and the media.

For rightists of all varieties, conservatives, Republicans, libertarians, paleoconservatives, Constitutionalists, third party advocates, etc., I believe a Nader run would be a positive development and should be encouraged. Cynically it potentially draws votes away from the Democratic candidate. Nader arguably cost Former Vice President Al Gore the election in 2000.

However, there is a potentially more important reason to encourage ideological revolts on the left. American politics, despite frequent allegations of extremism on both sides, is actually totally dominated and paralyzed by the center (more…)

Filed under: Guest Columns

Phillies 2008: The Real State of the Union
Posted on 01.26.07 by George Phillies

The American people can see the truth.

The United States is on the wrong track. The state of the Union is not good, and it is getting worse by the day.

Our brave men and women perish in Iraq, fighting for ever-changing objectives. The trade deficit soars toward a trillion dollars a year. The national debt of the United States climbs three-quarters of a trillion dollars a year. The Federal government treats our Bill of Rights as a doormat. Our immigration laws are an unenforced joke. Some children receive excellent educations. Others face a dismal future with little studying or learning. Medical care costs are through the ceiling. Energy and environmental issues endanger our national safety. Take-home pay is stagnant. A third of young African-American men are someplace on their way through the justice system, in jail, on probation, or disenfranchised.

And what has Congress debated, the past few years? Gay marriage. Abortion. French Fries: Congress renamed them. Twice. (more…)

Filed under: Guest Columns

Ron Paul for President: What is Free Republic Afraid of?
Posted on 01.26.07 by Dan E. Phillips

Since the beginning of the Bush administration genuine conservatives have been taking a beating, but now there is hope. Friday 12 January 07 finally brought some good news for the conservative movement and the cause of authentic conservatism and constitutionally limited government! Rep. Ron Paul has set up an exploratory committee for a possible presidential campaign for the GOP nomination in 2008. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Rep. Paul, he is a Republican Congressman from the 14th District of Texas. In the Congress he is a bright shining light of limited government in a bastion of big government darkness. In an age when many Republicans have embraced the cause of activist, “big government (sic) conservatism” at home and abroad, Rep. Paul has been keeping the limited government faith. (Of course “big government conservatism” is an obvious oxymoron.) Rep. Paul’s, who is a physician by trade, support of constitutionally limited government has earned him the moniker “Dr. No,” because he so often votes against big spending bills. Rep. Paul, in an era marked by the abandonment of core principles, has remained a genuine constitutionalist.

For awhile, I have had to set back and listen to conservatives debate whether Sen. McCain or Gov. Romney was the least objectionable candidate. Or even worse if that is possible, I had to listen to speculation about whether Mayor Rudy Giuliani could win the Republican nomination. Almost in despair I listened as conservatives mentioned amnesty supporters Sen. Brownback and Gov. Huckabee as possible conservative alternative candidates. I wondered to myself and also aloud, “Has the conservative movement really sunk this low?”


Filed under: Guest Columns

Inaugural Address of the next President of the United States
Posted on 01.16.07 by J. Neil Schulman

Inaugural Address of the President of the United States
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
By J. Neil Schulman and Brad Linaweaver

The candidate for president of the United States who pledges to deliver this speech upon being inaugurated will get our support, whether he or she is a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, other party, or Independent. - J. Neil Schulman & Brad Linaweaver January 12, 2007

[After acknowledging the assembled dignitaries] . and my fellow citizens.

The inauguration of a new president of the United States can be either a time for hope or a time for despair. It can be a time for hope when your choice was between a good presidential candidate and a better one, between two candidates who told you clearly what they thought, meant what they said, and who you could believe when either of them raised their right hand and swore the oath I just took to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

It’s a time for despair when the best you could do with your ballot was to cast it for your favorite among TV reality show contestants, all of whom were packaged media personalities with no real beliefs, no principles, no ideas, no courage - and no imagination - in other words, someone who would do anything or say anything to be the last one standing at the end of the presidential contest, and whose oath of office is as empty as the words spoken to win the election.

You will not know for sure which sort of president stands before you now, until you see the job I do. But what I can do today is to tell you my vision of the job that needs to be done, so that you’ll be able to write out a report card at the end of my term and grade my performance.


Filed under: Guest Columns

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