Friday, February 27, 2004

Whose Creative Economy Is It?

More on My Life...

The vitality of Providence’s artistic underground is weakened by the demise of Olneyville’s fabled music scene


THE BUILDING, a partially stucco-laden four-story structure with an improbable pink hue, seems unexceptional from the outside. Yet tucked amid old brick factory complexes in an industrial-age labyrinth of streets behind Olneyville Square, this was the place — with lofts bearing such names as the Pink Rabbit, the Bakery, Box of Knives, and the Providence Civic Center — that until recently served as the throbbing heart of Providence’s musical underground.

Serving as a successor to the late, lamented Fort Thunder, which was replaced several years ago by a new shopping development in Eagle Square, the old warehouse at 244 Oak St./71 Troy St. attracted its share of touring bands, and the almost 60 artists and musicians who called it home considered it a fertile artistic ecosystem. Although the residents, including people like Lighting Bolt drummer Brian Chippendale, and Jim Drain, a member of the critically regarded art collective Forcefield, kept a low official profile while operating in a forgotten part of town, their efforts nonetheless raised Providence’s reputation as a cool place. "It’s underground," notes Bert Crenca, AS220’s artistic director, "but a very large part of the positive perception that people have nationally of Providence as an arts-vital city."

Well, it was underground, anyway. The Shangri la that intensified at the Oak Street-Troy Street structure over the last six or so years — one loft was even dubbed Valhalla — abruptly came to a halt after inspectors visited the building on January 8, reportedly after a call that people were illegally living there. Arriving the next day, a larger group of officials was alarmed by what they found, telling the building’s tenants that living there was extremely dangerous. Although lawyer Michael J. Lepizzera Jr., who represents about 32 of the tenants, says they had residential leases from property owner Walter Bronhard of Fall River, Massachusetts, their legal case for remaining was weak since the building was not zoned for residential use. After a tense two-week period — which, tenants say, was marked by conflicting information and uncertainty about whether they’d have days or months to move out — the residents were forced to leave on January 24, during one of the coldest weeks of one of the coldest winters in recent memory.

For the time being, the displaced residents have scattered to different locations, Lepizzera say he’s trying to recover security deposits from Bronhard (who didn’t return phone messages left at his Fall River chiropractic office), and many are mourning the passing of the vibrant center of the Olneyville scene. And for a fair number of observers, the situation is emblematic of how Providence, which seemed to be much more affordable just a few years back, is becoming a less hospitable place marked by rising rents, scarcer mill space, more luxury housing, and the general specter of...

Providence Phoenix Article


244 Oak St.
Providence, RI 02909

Former home and headquarters of the Institute for Business Cycle Research, Aubrey Herbert's Economic Education, The State Life Resistance Company, Iglesios de D*os and many other exceptional entertainment and educational cooperatives.

Thankfully, the IBCR staff is diligently at work in our satelite office on Bloody Brook Rd. in the great state of New Hampshire while our new location at Eagle Square undergoes a few renovations.

My Life for 18 Months...

Title: Tribute to Oak and Troy

Joanne's Theory Of A Radio Show from Saturday February 21, 2004


An albatross...vincebus eruptum...dsb...Live at the Pink Rabbit...cursed...daughters...Live at the Pink Rabbit (cd release party)...noise nomads...the body...Live at the's a fucking trap...barret...friends forever...usaisamonster...extreme animals...nautical almanac...lightning bolt...Live at the Pink Rabbit...(Halloween 2003)...i vs wrestler...barnacled...kites...Live at the Providence Civic Center...the white mice...Live at the Munch House...japanese karaoke afterlife experiment...Live at the Pink Rabbit...ed gein, halo perfecto...Live...

The Importance of Being Odd

The Importance of Being Odd: Nerdrum's Challenge to Modernism

By Paul A. Cantor

The Norwegian artist Odd Nerdrum is one of the greatest painters of the century. Unfortunately, according to his detractors, the century in question is the seventeenth. Thus Nerdrum has emerged as one of the most controversial artists of our day. His admirers praise him for his superb Old Master technique, while his critics condemn him as hopelessly reactionary. His work calls into question all our customary narratives about art history, and especially the modernist dogma that the artist can be creative only by turning his back on the past.

Nerdrum has openly acknowledged his debt to the Old Masters. He uses heavy layers of paint to create chiaroscuro effects reminiscent of Caravaggio and Rembrandt, and he also continually recalls the achievement of the great Italian and Dutch painters in his ability to capture the texture of things on canvas -- from shiny metals to rich fabrics. Above all, he knows how to convey every shade of human flesh. And yet the subject matter of Nerdrum's works is usually enough to place him in the modern world. His dark palette seems to underwrite a disturbing vision of the end of civilization as we know it. For those who have not seen Nerdrum's paintings, I try to describe them this way: imagine the result if Rembrandt had painted the sets of The Road Warrior...

Cantor at Artcyclopedia

Paul A. Cantor is a Shakespearean scholar and professor of English at the University of Virginia. He is the author of several books, including Gilligan Unbound: Pop Culture in the Age of Globalization.

Monday, February 23, 2004

"We're free!"

Rebels Seize Haiti's Second-Largest City


CAP-HAITIEN, Haiti (AP) - Rebels captured Haiti's second-largest city with little resistance Sunday, claiming Cap-Haitien as their biggest prize in a two-week uprising that has driven government forces from half the country.

The fighters shot off celebratory rounds in the air as people looted and torched buildings, sending a pall of black smoke over the city of 500,000.

Rebel leader Guy Philippe had vowed to take Cap-Haitien and Port-au-Prince during Carnival festivities that extend to Tuesday night. Philippe has told reporters there already are rebels in the capital, just waiting for the signal to attack.

Rebels said their force of about 200 only met resistance at the Cap-Haitien airport. They said eight people were killed in fighting with militant civilians loyal to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Aristide supporters commandeered a plane from the airport, and witnesses said those who fled on it included seven police officers and former Aristide lawmaker Nawoum Marcellus, whose Radio Africa had been inciting violence against opponents.

"We came in today and we took Cap-Haitien; tomorrow we take Port-au-Prince" the capital, boasted Lucien Estime, a 19-year-old who joined the popular rebellion from the hamlet of Saint Raphael, south of Cap-Haitien.

"Our mission is to liberate Haiti," he said.

The victory leaves more than half of Haiti beyond control of the central government. As that reality set in, panic began spreading Sunday in Port-au-Prince.

Sources close to the government told The Associated Press that several Cabinet ministers were asking friends for places to hide in case the capital is attacked.

On the highway leading into Port-au-Prince from the north, Aristide partisans set up flaming barricades Sunday to block any rebel advance.

In Cap-Haitien, thousands shouting "Aristide fini!" - Aristide is finished - marched along with about 40 rebels in commandeered cars.

"We're free!" people shouted, ripping Aristide posters off walls.

Some looted Marcellus' radio station. Then rebels shot up a building and set it ablaze, to applause from the crowd.

Reporters saw three bodies on the streets, and doctors said a 12-year-old-girl also was shot and killed. At least one rebel was wounded.

Earlier, about 10 armed men stormed the police station and freed about 250 prisoners. The police fled and the prisoners armed themselves, witness Ordil Jean said.

Haiti's ill-equipped and demoralized police force of less than 4,000 has been the main target of the insurgents, who have torched a score of police stations since the rebellion erupted Feb. 5. At least 40 officers are among the 70 people killed since then. In the past week, officers have been deserting their posts with no rebels in sight.

In Cap-Haitien, police had barricaded themselves behind their walled compound, telling reporters they were frightened and had neither the manpower nor the firepower to repel a rebel attack.

As the police headquarters burned on Sunday, teenagers paraded in police hats and body armor. Rebels swigging from beer bottles handed over the keys of cars to residents. People hauled away weapons, typewriters, mattresses, even doors.

Thousands of people then converged on the port in a mad scene of looting. People pushed away cars for which they did not have keys and loaded goods onto hand carts. One man packed sacks of rice onto a looted La-Z-Boy reclining chair and trundled it down the street.

"We're all hungry," said Jean Luc, an 11-year-old who somehow had strapped four 110-pound sacks of rice to a child's bicycle and was precariously trying to pedal it home.

Away from the euphoric scene around the rebels, people bolted their doors and fearfully peered out from balconies onto streets littered with bullet casings.

Rebel commander Jean-Baptiste Joseph, formerly head of an association of ex-soldiers, declared Haiti's disbanded army had liberated Cap-Haitien.

"It's the army that's in charge here. It's the army that will free Haiti."

He confirmed the attackers were led by Philippe, a former police chief who has threatened for days to attack Cap-Haitien.

Also in town was Louis-Jodel Chamblain, co-leader of an army death squad that killed hundreds.

Philippe also was an officer in the army when it ousted Aristide in 1991 and instigated a reign of terror until the United States sent 20,000 troops in 1994 to end the military dictatorship and halt an exodus of boat people to Florida.

Aristide, wildly popular when he became Haiti's first freely elected leader in 1990, has lost support since flawed legislative elections in 2000 that led international donors to freeze millions of dollars in aid.

Opponents accuse him of breaking promises to help the poor, allowing corruption fueled by drug-trafficking and masterminding attacks on opponents by armed gangs - charges the president denies...

AP News My Way

Sidelining Washington Powerbrokers...

Pre-emptive strike on the Dean machine

Vince Stehle is a director of the Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network in San Francisco, a technology support group for non-profit organisations.

"...The Dean campaign demonstrated the power of an intelligent network, not just to expand and pay for itself but to actually perform the vital functions of the campaign. More than any other campaign, it devolved critical campaign tasks to its burgeoning network of supporters.

But like a virus, the Dean campaign also represented a fundamental threat to the health of powerful forces in Washington - the national political media and the city's professional political establishment.

Its rapid rise, independent of the anointing touch of these two pillars of political power, threatened both institutions. Consciously or subconsciously, the political elite understood that their role in providing expert guidance to the vast electorate would have been undermined if the Dean campaign had succeeded.

Political consultants and fundraisers would see their influence wane if candidates could tap their networks for volunteer labour rather than paying millions of dollars in consulting fees.

Campaign fundraisers recognise that their jobs are in peril if politicians no longer need them to provide most of their funds. And political reporters have every reason to fear that voters will cease to take their guidance seriously when they are able to find commentary that is equally compelling on campaign websites and from independent blogs.

The political press and the Washington campaign consulting industry recognised that Howard Dean posed a grave danger to their position and they responded with a fierce campaign to undermine and discredit his message..."

The Guardian on the Dean Campaign

Luckily, the people's voice will only become louder and more powerful. Sorry guys, you're on the wrong side of history, again.

The 'Magic Lantern' and the Fed's Eagerness to Employ?

U.S. Government boosts online surveillance activity

By Dan Verton - Computer World

Significant changes are under way in the federal government's war on terrorism, including unprecedented electronic surveillance measures designed to uncover terrorist cells in the U.S.

FBI officials are reportedly developing a combination computer worm/Trojan horse called "Magic Lantern" that's designed to capture keystrokes on a target computer and encryption keys used to conceal data.

The increased focus on domestic surveillance and cyberintelligence tools comes as the war on terrorism enters a new phase designed to ferret out sleeper cells-small groups that live legally in the U.S. for years poised to conduct terrorist attacks. The Justice Department has called increased electronic surveillance of suspected terrorists a must-have capability. But some experts worry that the new focus may not produce desired results and that it poses a threat to privacy and other civil liberties.

Spy Tools Could Be Useful

"To the degree there are any al Qaeda sleeper cells here, they do use the Internet to communicate frequently," said Vince Cannistraro, former director of counterintelligence at the CIA. "They also encrypt their messages. So surveillance tools are potentially useful if the FBI knows what it is looking for and knows where to look. That, of course, is a big if."

"I am very concerned about civil liberties at this point and certainly about increased penetration of online activities," said Steve Kobrin, a professor of multinational management and an online privacy expert at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. "The odds that our privacy is being invaded by the U.S. [government] have certainly gone up, and the odds that we will ever know about it have gone down."

Phil Zimmermann, inventor of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) encryption software, said that although there was an initial push by some in Congress and the White House to clamp down on encryption exports in the aftermath of September 11, he doesn't foresee a change in U.S. policy on that front.

Zimmermann also said the government won't insert back doors in commercial software. "We've already won this battle," he said.

But concerns about other measures linger.

"The availability of new surveillance technologies and the government's eagerness to employ them certainly do pose a challenge to traditional civil liberties," said Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington. "There is some danger that the surveillance impulse will take on a life of its own, producing an unwholesome mutation of our political system."

Federal Online Surveillance at

Friday, February 20, 2004

Economics in One Lesson?

'I blagged my way through, reading a torn-up textbook and ad libbing'

Matthew Richardson claims to know "next to nothing" about economics but, flew off to China anyway to deliver a series of lectures on global economics.

Richardson, borrowing an A-level textbook by Stephen Valdez entitled An Introduction to Global Financial Markets from a library, he felt he could "carry it off".

All went well during the first afternoon. Then, the next day he made it to the lunch break.

"The problem was that I was running out of chapters. By mid-afternoon on the second day I was already on chapter 15 of 16 and I still had the rest of the day and the following morning to go. I realised I wasn't going to make it."

It was then he decided to hightail it out of there. "I didn't like to tell them I didn't know what I was talking about. So I decided to leg it."

Read the UK Telegraph Story on the Oxford Engineering Student and Sometime Economist

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Economists Are Habitually Disappointed By What Governments Do.

Economist Bryan Caplan looks at sophisms and the importance of economic education.

"The Bastiat-Mises view implies two striking and testable predictions about the configuration of public opinion: First, the status quo will be popular.... Second, the public will have systematically biased beliefs about economics."

Mises and Bastiat on How Democracy Goes Wrong, Part II

And don't miss Part One at The Library of Economics and Liberty

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

A Little Political Malfeasance to Brighten Up Your Day

Lights Out For Legal 'Siren'

One of Mayor Bloomberg's top deputy mayors will have the lights and sirens stripped from her car after she was caught by a television crew abusing them to get to work faster.

Carol Robles-Roman, the deputy mayor for legal affairs, asked last week to have the emergency-response package removed from her car in the wake of a WCBS-TV report in which she admitted to misusing it, said Bloomberg spokesman Ed Skyler.

Robles-Roman's illegitimate use of the emergency equipment was in direct violation of the mayor's no-siren policy.

The Full Story at the NY Post

The Pope and the Austrian School

Tomasz Teluk discusses the links between John Paul II and the teachings of Ludwig von Mises.

The Pope and Capitalism

"The pontiff may or may not have seen Mel Gibson's new movie, but more and more philosophers suggest that he has read Human Action by Ludwig von Mises, and that this magnum opus by the Austrian economist probably influenced the Pope in certain fragments of his early book, The Acting Person. The Pope's criticism of so-called "bureaucratic governance" is akin to Mises' "bureaucracy." The Pope's "personalism" is philosophically very close to the Austrian School, and is based on the same Aristotelian and Thomist traditions...

John Paul II reminds us that property rights are natural rights. He also underlines the significance of the freedom of human action and freedom of people's economic activities. The Pope reveals to us the change in the global economy. Wealth is no longer tied only to land, natural resources or capital. Knowledge, technology and know-how are important elements of contemporary fortunes."

'The Pope and Capitalism' at Tech Central Station

Furthermore, the Vice President of the Mises Institute, Jeffery Tucker, has a great article entitled The Pope and the Cause of Freedom that takes a closer look at the Centesimus Annus.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Speaking of Good Ol' George Washington

Here is some of what our public school history books left out.

Not to mention the fact that a few other men have a legitimate claim to being the father of the country.

An enlightening new book by Cormac O'Brien sheds some new light on our "Imperfect G*d" and others who have held this nation's highest office.

"They're not only presidents but also human beings — flawed, neurotic, hapless, bizarre, frightened and sometimes depraved."

O'Brien states that George Washington spent 7 percent of his presidential salary on booze; John Quincy Adams liked to skinny dip in the Potomac; and Warren G. Harding once lost a box of White House china in a poker game.

A number of the men elected to the highest office in the land were uncharismatic cold fish, difficult owlish pills or lacking in interpersonal skills, according to O'Brien. Furthermore, lots were skirt chasers, while others were hard drinkers.

O'Brien's book, "Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents: What Your Teachers Never Told You About the Men of the White House" (Quirk Books, $16.95), details, among other things, how many homely, lazy or weird men have made it to the Oval Office.

The 'Secret Lives' of U.S. Presidents from the Pioneer Press

" Force"

Enjoy the day, most federal offices are closed.

"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action."

- George Washington, in a speech of January 7, 1790

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Les Amants du Pont-Neuf

One of the greatest films in recent years,

The Lovers on the Bridge DVD

And a serious contender for one of the best of all-time.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Something Fishy?

Rybkin offers a new explanation for his recent disappearance on Feb. 6.

Agence France Presse is now reporting that Russian presidential candidate Ivan Rybkin says he was drugged, kidnapped, and kept unconscious by captors who had lured him to Ukraine.

Rybkin mysteriously disappeared, only to resurface five days later stating that he was suprised by the media coverage of his disappearance, and that he had only gone to visit friends.

According to the AFP, Rybkin said that he had gone to Ukraine believing he would meet with Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov for peace negotiations.

upon his arrival in Kiev on February 6, Rybkin said he was driven to an apartment where he was told to wait for Maskhadov.

"I had some tea and some sandwiches and suddenly I felt very drowsy," Rybkin said.

"I woke up in yet another totally unfamiliar apartment after an uncertain time."

Rybkin said he was unconscious for four days and regained consciousness on February 10, and told to telephone family or friends in Moscow to say he had taken a short break.

His captors then "showed me a revolting video tape with my participation and they told me it was a plan to compromise me and force me to be cooperative."

"I don't know who kidnapped me, but I know for whose benefit it was done."

He stated he was driven to the airport and boarded a plane back to Moscow.

He would not be drawn on the contents of the tape he mentioned, saying only: I'm not going to comment on the video tape, it was done to compromise me."

"To be able to tell people the truth from now on, I will conduct my campaign from Western Europe," he said in a London hotel alongside his main financial sponsor Boris Berezovsky.

Rybkin is worried about the safety of his family in Russia, and added: "From now on, if my granddaughter would even scrape her knee, I would blame Mr Putin."

The Full Story at Yahoo

Days Ago, He Was Quite Evasive in an Interview with the BBC

Thursday, February 12, 2004

The Infidelity Eruption

"Go Out And Start A Brush Fire"

Rep. Ron Paul stands head and shoulders above his peers.

Starting a Brush Fire for Freedom

An interview with US Rep. Ron Paul

by John W. Whitehead

When asked what advice he would give to Americans concerned about the growing power of the federal government and the various threats to our liberties, Congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex.) quoted Samuel Adams: “Every individual has a responsibility to be informed, to know what is going on and to know the issues. As Samuel Adams once said, ‘Go out and start a brush fire.’ And you can do that with one individual or many. You can become a teacher or a writer or help somebody in politics. But you can only start a brush fire for freedom if you feel confident that you understand the issues and really can defend liberty as being the best system for all of us.”

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ron Paul graduated from Gettysburg College and the Duke University School of Medicine, before serving as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force during the 1960s. He and his wife Carol moved to Texas in 1968, where he began his medical practice in Brazoria County as a specialist in obstetrics/gynecology.

While serving in Congress during the late 1970s and early 1980s, Dr. Paul’s limited-government ideals were not popular in Washington. While serving on the House Banking Committee, he was a strong advocate for sound monetary policy and an outspoken critic of the Federal Reserve’s inflationary measures. Dr. Paul consistently voted to lower or abolish federal taxes, spending, and regulation, and used his House seat to actively preserve, protect, and defend our constitutional principles of government. In fact, in Congress he is known as “Dr. No” because he refuses to accept any legislation that does not pass strict constitutional muster.

In 1984, Dr. Paul voluntarily relinquished his House seat and returned to his medical practice in Texas. However, in 1997 he returned to Congress and has continued to advocate a dramatic reduction in the size of the federal government and a return to constitutional principles.

Since the 9/11 tragedy, Dr. Paul has been an outspoken critic of the USA Patriot Act and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, which he believes are a threat to liberty and a sign that our country is becoming more like a police sate. “The idea that search warrants could be granted so easily under the Patriot Act,” says Dr. Paul. “… with sneak and peak searches and going into libraries and other places to find out what people are doing is wrong. It’s total surveillance.”

Dr. Paul has also been a strong critic of the war in Iraq, going so far as to call it “unconstitutional” because there was no formal declaration of war, and “immoral” because there was no direct attack on our country. “Iraq is a Third World Nation that couldn’t defend itself,” says Dr. Paul. “This has been proven to be correct. We had been bombing them, flying over their air space, intimidating them and controlling them for 12 years. They have been trying to shoot our airplanes down, and never have been able to. Iraq simply could not defend itself.”

Obviously, opinions like this have made Ron Paul somewhat of a lone wolf in Congress. But as one writer pointed out, “There has always been one politician in Washington who has never been a politician. That man is Congressman Ron Paul from the 14th District in Texas who has always been a throwback to the original ‘citizen statesman’ that the Founders promoted as the ideal type of leader for the Republic they had formed.” Indeed, Dr. Paul is quick to point out that we have “drifted away” from the original idea of a Republic and have more of a centralized government which presents a threat to individual liberty. Still, he remains cautiously optimistic about the future of America. “I am not optimistic in the short run,” Paul admits. “I have a lot of concerns. But we will have to wait and see what evolves. However, I am optimistic enough to believe that if we put the time and energy into fighting for our country and the Constitution, there is as good a chance of winning this fight as losing it.”

Rutherford Institute President John W. Whitehead interviews Ron Paul to talk about his lone wolf status in Congress, the USA Patriot Act, the war in Iraq, and the rise of big government under Republican leadership.

JWW: You are quoted as saying: “Man’s nature is unchanging, and so are the principles of liberty. And when I raise my hand to swear to Almighty God that I will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, I mean it with all my heart, as you would. That’s why, before every vote I take, I ask if the legislation under consideration is constitutional. Of course, it virtually never is. That’s why they call me ‘Dr. No.’ I will not support any bill that violates the Constitution.” Are you a lone wolf in Congress?

Ron Paul: Yes, most of the time. My emotions range from the extreme feeling that I’m totally alone to working with almost everybody. There are times when neither side will agree with me and I will be voting by myself. I understand that I vote by myself more times than everyone else in Congress put together. So, there are times on economic issues where I will have many close and enthusiastic allies from both sides on war issues and sometimes on civil liberties issues. There are principled people from both sides that I ally with. Thus, in one way you could paint me as being totally alone. However, in another sense, I have a chance to work with almost everybody at one time or another.

JWW: This brings me to the question of the USA Patriot Act. You took a strong stand against the Patriot Act because of the expansive powers it gives to the federal government and the intelligence agencies. There are many conservatives across the country who, on a daily basis, take issue with me because I came out against the Patriot Act. They believe the Act is absolutely necessary. Why don’t you believe it is necessary?

RP: You don’t have to give up freedom in order to protect freedom. In many ways, some of our problems came from the fact that we didn’t put enough responsibility on individuals as well as property owners to protect their own property. For instance, I believe it is the responsibility of the airlines to protect their property as well as their passengers, just as an armored car has a responsibility, if necessary, to protect its cargo with guns. I believe we should have more responsibility to take care of ourselves. We have drifted from this principle.

Moreover, you don’t have to give up freedom. You don’t have to give up Fourth Amendment protections in order for the government to take care of us. The idea that search warrants could be granted so easily under the Patriot Act with sneak and peek searches and going into libraries and other places to find out what people are doing is wrong. It’s total surveillance. The other thing that convinced me that it was such a bad deal was that these proposals are not new. These are the kinds of things that have been around, especially in the financial area, which I have followed closely. These proposals have been around for a long time, and many who were pushing these changes saw this as an opportunity. Then, of course, there was the procedure that went on at the time of the Patriot Act that raised a lot of questions as well.

JWW: Are you saying there was a conspiracy to get the Patriot Act enacted?

RP: It was taking advantage of the times, and the final version of the bill really wasn’t available for study before it was passed.

JWW: Isn’t that immoral?

RP: You would think so. But in Washington, it doesn’t seem to bother too many. I’m glad that a lot of people caught on because they have sure raised a fuss. They have not wanted more of the same. However, it looks like we are getting more of the same because the Patriot Act has actually been strengthened.

JWW: On Saturday, December 13, 2003, President Bush signed the Intelligence Authorization Act into law. This was the same day Saddam Hussein was captured and Americans, thus, were obviously distracted. You, among others, have criticized this piece of legislation. Although this bill uses American taxpayer money to fund the various intelligence agencies, it included a redefinition of financial institutions. The phrase, which previously referred to banks, now includes stockbrokers, car dealerships, credit card companies, insurance agencies, jewelers, airlines, the U.S. Post Office and the catch-all phrase of any other business “whose cash transactions have a high degree of usefulness in criminal, tax, or regulatory matters.” First, why are you concerned about this provision? And second, was this an obvious attempt to put into law what was earlier dubbed “Patriot Act II”?

RP: This is an expansion by way of the so-called Patriot Act II. In one sense, the people are waking up and some members of Congress are responding. However, the system still moves forward, mainly because of the advocacy of the Bush Administration and our leadership in Congress. They actually want more powers for the federal government to monitor everything that we the people do. Of course, they say this is to catch terrorists, but these rules affect all private, law-abiding American citizens as well.

JWW: In his State of the Union Speech, President Bush called for the Patriot Act to be extended and not to be sunsetted. Were you surprised that he came out so strongly and aggressively in favor of the Patriot Act in his State of the Union speech?

RP: It almost seems like the President is out of touch. I was recently in Utah, where we thought we could get about 300 people out on the subject of the Patriot Act. However, we had closer to 700 people, and none of them were for the Patriot Act. Therefore, when you see the President saying this, I wonder what his assessment is at the grass roots level. So, yes, I was surprised about how bold he was on the Patriot Act. I don’t think the people want that. I believe there was a sense of this in the Congress because many members applauded at the wrong time when the President mentioned the Patriot Act. In other words, when he mentioned that it was going to be sunsetted and before he said that he wanted to strengthen it, the Congress applauded.

JWW: In June 2002, you gave a speech on the House floor in which you asked the question, “Are we doomed to be a police state?” You went on to give one of the most intelligent speeches on the state of our nation and our freedoms that I’ve heard in a long time. You painted a grim picture of a nation quietly slipping into a kind of “democratic totalitarianism” in which, I quote, “the principle tool for sustaining a police state, even the most militant, is always economic control and punishment by denying disobedient citizens such things as jobs or places to live, and by levying fines and imprisonment.” It’s been a year-and-a-half since you made that speech. Do you think we’ve moved further down the road toward a police state?

RP: I think we are. The government responded to 9/11 by making more rules and laws such as the Patriot Act and its extensions.

JWW: Why do you think Congress and the media paid so little attention to the creation of the largest government bureaucracy since World War II, the Department of Homeland Security? As you have said, when the Department of Defense was created in 1947, Congress held hearings for two years before Truman signed the legislation. This legislation passed in a matter of weeks. Given the fact, as you have pointed out, that the creation of the department dramatically increased the size and scope of the federal government and will mostly serve to spy on the American people, why do you think Congress, and particularly congressional Republicans who have historically been for smaller government, willingly supported such a radical expansion of the federal government?

RP: I believe the American people are frightened and the members of Congress are taking advantage of it—especially those who want big government. They see this as a chance to move in that direction. And since 9/11, I think the American people have wanted something done. They want to feel more secure. They have some very natural reactions. However, if those in charge have a tendency to want to depend on government, then they are going to expand government.

JWW: Are you saying that George W. Bush is an advocate of very large government?

RP: When Bush talks, he does not sound like he is an advocate of big government. But if you look at what has happened in the last three years of his administration—whether it is in medicine, education, the Department of Homeland Security, military adventurism or nation building—big government has been thriving. If you look at the budget and the exploding deficits, this would confirm that belief.

JWW: The Republican Party and the conservatives have been associated with private sector theories. The Left has always been concerned with the ideological strengthening of government in a way that threatens the private sector. Are you saying that Bush is really pushing more of a leftist ideology than a rightist ideology?

RP: The results are that we are getting more social engineering under the administration.

JWW: Which is leftist ideology.

RP: That is correct. We are ending up with a leftist ideology from Bush. I hate to interpret all the beliefs, convictions and motivations of individuals. However, despite the rhetoric for a limited government and balanced budget, if you look at the results, the Left is winning. Supposedly, the Republicans are in charge. There are many good conservatives who would like to vote more often for a limited government. But there is this tremendous desire to accommodate and be part of the party system. Washington, D.C. is a partisan city. Thus, it ends up that when these proposals are made—for whatever reason—they get passed rather easily.

JWW: Are you saying that representative government has broken down? In other words, it is not working effectively?

RP: It is not working very well, which means that the people must remain vigilant. They have to look at the total conclusion, rather than just the rhetoric and spin, and face up to the reality of what is happening around them.

JWW: Watching television—CNN and shows like that—one could at times get the idea that the media has become the voice for the Bush Administration. In fact, there are sound bites by news people indicating, for example, that “government sources say today…” One wonders which government sources they are talking about. Then they proceed to give this report on what the Bush White House has told them as unbiased news. It is very pro big government at times. How are the people ever going to be vigilant if the media is not questioning their government sources on a regular basis? They are simply passing on information from the government as news.

RP: That has always been a problem, although I believe it is less of a problem now. That is why I am feeling better about what is happening. I had an earlier stint of duty in the Congress in the ‘70s, and what you just said was much truer then. There were three major networks, which controlled 90 percent of the news. It’s different now because there are more news outlets. Thus, you get more opinions on television. People have access to cable stations. However, where I am excited is in the area of the Internet and radio talk shows. There is a lot more information out there, and I think that is the reason the people are very much aware of a bill like the Patriot Act. Their doors have not been knocked on by the police. They have not yet suffered directly from the Patriot Act, and yet they are alert to it. Thus, we have to overcome the bias of the media. But I think we are able to do that better now than we have ever been able to.

JWW: In November 2000, you wrote a rather prophetic column entitled “Our Foolish War in the Middle East.” You warned Americans that a “lack of understanding of Middle Eastern history and religion, combined with our policy of aggression and empire building, has led to a dangerous interventionist attitude.” You went on to say, “It is clear that we are not in the Middle East for national security reasons, but rather to protect powerful commercial interests. This assures that we protect oil supplies for the West and provides us with an excuse to keep the military/ industrial complex active.” In closing, you said, “Congress and the administration must understand that the greatest threat to our national security is our own bad policy.” Do you believe that 9/11 was a consequence of that bad policy? And do you think we continue to aggravate the situation with our present policy?

RP: It is a combination of things. The commercial interests are very, very important. Oil interests are a major part of it. Even in 1990, then-President George H. W. Bush said that we had to intervene in the Middle East to protect American oil. His administration modified that after awhile because it didn’t sound good. Next, it was suggested that we were going over there for jobs. Finally, it was said that we were over there to stop aggression. Thus, the supposed reasons for our presence in the Middle East varied. But there was an admission that it was for oil. Oil is a major issue.

I also believe the continuous inference of the military/industrial complex has a role in our intervention in the militant type foreign policy. I think that is extremely important. I also believe the philosophy of the President’s advisors now on foreign policy is a neo-conservative one. They believe that, over and above the oil objective, they are doing something very good and very noble—that is, going in and getting rid of the bad guys and putting good guys in power. They can even lie to accomplish these so-called good things.

Also, the fact that we have taken sides in the fight between the Palestinians and Israel has also sewn some seeds of discontent. It was no big secret that Israel was very anxious to get rid of Saddam Hussein. And I have no objection to that. I was one of the very few who said that Israel had every right in the world to do whatever they wanted when they bombed the nuclear site in Iraq. I defended them. But not with American money. We should not use American money. The Middle East should be dealt with by the Middle Eastern countries, not by America. Our commercial interests are important, but there are other factors as well.

JWW: In a September 2002 address to Congress, you said, “Military force is justified only in self-defense; naked aggression is the province of dictators and rogue states. This is the danger of a new ‘preemptive first strike’ doctrine. America is the most moral nation on earth, founded on moral principles, and we must apply moral principles when deciding to use military force.” Do you think America’s invasion of Iraq was immoral? Unconstitutional?

RP: It was clearly unconstitutional because there was no declaration of war. It was immoral because there was no direct attack on our country. And it was immoral because the response was not appropriate. Also, Iraq is a Third World Nation that couldn’t defend itself. This has been proven to be correct. We had been bombing them, flying over their air space, intimidating them and controlling them for 12 years. They have been trying to shoot our airplanes down, and never have been able to. Iraq simply could not defend itself.

JWW: Some have asserted that the Bush Administration waged the war against Iraq simply for political reasons. In other words, the Bush Administration saw the Iraqi war as a way to bolster a future political campaign. As a result, American troops were sent to Iraq for political purposes. And now we have hundreds of troops that have died for a political reason?

RP: I wouldn’t be willing to simplify it to that point. However, I do know that probably 99 percent of everything everybody does in Washington has a political overtone to it.

JWW: But when American troops die for politics, isn’t that different?

RP: That makes it immoral. This is especially true if the war is not legitimate and it is not waged for national defense purposes. What really aggravated me was the unconstitutionality of the so-called Iraqi war and the fact that we were really going into Iraq to boost the United Nations—that is, to make sure that the United Nations, if they are not willing to enforce their own rules and demands, then the United States will do it for them in order for the United Nations to remain strong and powerful. I saw this as strengthening the United Nations. At this very same time, what did our administration do? They put us back in UNESCO. This is something that Ronald Reagan had gotten us out of approximately 20 years ago.

JWW: You have said that true limited government conservatives had been corrupted by the rise of the neo-conservatives in Washington. How do you define the term neo-conservative?

RP: It is a term that these people gave themselves. There were leftists who wanted to be strong on national defense, more militant and more aggressive. They did not agree with the old Left of the ‘50s. Thus, they joined the Republican Party and called themselves conservatives. However, they didn’t want to be traditional conservatives. They became neo-conservatives. They were very much involved in social engineering through federal control of education, welfare and medicine. That is exactly what we have been getting.

JWW: So the neo-conservatives are actually leftists?

RP: The neo-conservatives have essentially nothing to do with conservatism.

JWW: Is President Bush a neo-conservative?

RP: The policy of the Bush Administration is neo-conservative. Therefore, the President’s appointments and the people he listens to are neo-conservative. I have a much firmer belief about the Vice President as being a neo-conservative than I do the President. He is more philosophically in tune with Donald Rumsfeld.

JWW: Does it bother you that the Bush Administration seems to have chosen a political philosophy that tends to err on the side of strength? That is, it seems to have chosen to value safety, security, authority and the idea that the ends justify the means over individual freedom and liberty? If so, why?

RP: It bothers me very much. I seem to struggle with it every day, trying to make the point that we as a nation are spending too much. We are moving in the wrong direction. We are supposed to be shrinking the government. We shouldn’t have an expansion as the empire-building foreign policy. But this type of philosophy is not brand new. This is not a new creation. It is a culmination. It wasn’t created by the Bush family and the other neo-conservatives. It is etched in our history. For example, Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt thought like neo-conservatives. It was the so-called progressive wing of the Republican Party, which was very much like the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. The philosophy has come together now with George W. Bush’s administration.

JWW: Do you believe the neo-conservative influence on our government can be reversed now that we’ve launched a preemptive war, chosen to use force to impose our ideals and weakened the Constitution’s ability to protect our freedom and privacy? Haven’t we gone beyond the point of no return?

RP: I believe there will be a reversal. I am optimistic that this will happen. We are going to win because we are going to run out of money. The old Soviet Union is an example. What happened to the Soviets was what Ed Meese, Attorney General in the Reagan Administration, had predicted. He said that socialism doesn’t work. The Soviet empire collapsed from within. Throughout history, the neo-conservative philosophy that promotes welfarism and empire building has never worked. It always collapses eventually. The tragedy is that when it does happen, many people will suffer as a result of the collapse. Thus, it will not last.

JWW: There is a huge problem. The United States is presently carrying a $7 trillion debt. But virtually every day President Bush has a new program that will cost millions or billions of dollars, such as $12 billion to fly to the moon. Within 30 years, with the new Medicare proposal, it is now predicted that this country will be totally bankrupt. Where is the hope in all of that?

RP: Our country is insolvent, and bankruptcy will come. And there will be liquidation of debt. Daily there is liquidation of debt.

JWW: Does this mean a depression?

RP: I think it is going to be very, very bad. We are much poorer than we think we are. The debt, however, will not be paid. Some actually think the $7 trillion can be paid off. But the debt will be liquidated. The danger is that there is a lot of turmoil when that happens. There is also the fear that in order to keep order we will resort to having a much stronger Executive Branch—a centralized power in one man. I am just hoping and praying that we get enough information out there and that the people will not resort to a complete statist takeover—that is, the idea that the government has to take care of us rather than us opting for the freedom to take care of ourselves.

JWW: Isn’t this type of statist philosophy taught in the public schools?

RP: Yes, it is.

JWW: History teaches us a lesson here, does it not? Once people accept the statist philosophy, there is danger of an authoritarian state. That is how Hitler came to power. When the German government collapsed economically, the German people asked for a Caesar. They wanted someone to save them, and the result was a military state. Is there a great danger of that happening in this country?

RP: There is. However, you must remember that Estonia and Latvia now exist as separate countries from Russia and the Soviet system. Some of these countries have an improved economy. Thus, systems can collapse and countries can rise again and break up the monolith. But exactly how it will come about, we don’t know. My personal responsibility is to warn people of what is happening and tell them that we cannot sustain the system the way it is presently operating. We must continue to argue the case for the Republic and individual liberty with full confidence that people don’t have to lose their freedom. They don’t have to lose any of their financial benefits. Actually, we as a people are enhanced if we have more freedom. Thus, at base, it is an intellectual struggle rather than a political struggle alone.

JWW: It is the educational struggle that we seem to be losing. For example, the younger generation coming out of high school seems to have no concept of the rights, liberty and freedom that are enshrined in our Constitution.

RP: I see that all the time. However, I am also in a congressional district where home schooling is very strong. There are a lot of private schools as well. There are also many religious schools, both Protestant and Catholic. This is very encouraging. And although there aren’t as many children in private schools as there are in public ones, there is a portion of the younger generation that will have a sense of what freedom means. To win any battle, you do not have to convert a majority. You have to convert a determined minority who are in a position of influence. Thus, as another generation comes to maturity, there is a chance for other views to prevail.

JWW: You are opposed to President Bush’s government program to support “healthy” marriage. You’ve said that “an initiative aimed at promoting moral values will be funded immorally, by taxing people who may have no interest in such government folly.” What do you say to conservatives and those on the religious right who think this kind of thing is a good idea?

RP: I do not want to sound as if I don’t care about a healthy marriage. To the contrary, I believe that the marriage/family unit is serving one of the most important functions. It should be the family and the parents who are raising the children, rather than the government. However, the notion that our government should—to the tune of a billion and half dollars—tell people why they ought to be married is ludicrous. First, we should not be spending money we don’t have. And second, the odds of this making people aware of the fact that marriage is a good idea is absurd. Can you imagine the founders of our country placing in the Constitution the notion that government should promote marriage? The more I think about it, the sillier I think it is.

JWW: The Bush Administration has been criticized for “keeping score”; that is, rewarding loyalty and punishing disobedience. Have you ever been the victim of any retaliatory moves on the part of the Bush Administration because of your opposition to the war in Iraq? Have any colleagues of yours?

RP: Not really. We have heard a couple of rumors about the Bush Administration trying to get people to run against me. However, that has never been confirmed. And it certainly didn’t work because although I got a very poor Republican district in the redistricting draw, no Republican filed against me, no Democrat filed against me and no libertarian filed against me. I’m the only one in Texas who has no opponent whatsoever. Thus, I can’t complain too much right now of anyone doing me any harm—not that they wouldn’t like to.

JWW: What advice would you give to people who are concerned about the rising power and reach of the federal government and the growing threat to our privacy and civil liberties? How can average citizens best assert themselves to preserve our constitutional freedoms and limit the reach of the federal government?

RP: Every individual has a responsibility to be informed, to know what is going on and to know the issues. As Samuel Adams once said, “Go out and start a brush fire.” And you can do that with one individual or many. You can become a teacher or a writer or help somebody in politics. But you can only start a brush fire for freedom if you feel confident that you understand the issues and really can defend liberty as being the best system for all of us.

JWW: Does it bother you that corporate America seems to be so well represented by and connected to the Bush Administration? Many have even likened the events of the last two years to a kind of corporate takeover of America and its policies. Given the amount of money it now requires to run for public office and given the enormous power and influence that corporations now have over the political process, do you think we are beyond fixing what Eisenhower warned us about the military/industrial complex?

RP: It is true that the military/industrial complex has a tremendous influence over our country. We can certainly find examples in the Bush Administration. But this is not new. I also believe the Democrats unfairly get a pass on this because of their rhetoric, which is just like the rhetoric of the Republicans in that they are supposedly for less government. But few check on what they are really doing. Democrats are always bashing the Republicans for having ties with Wall Street and the military/industrial complex. However, if you look closely at the Democrats, you will see that they are very well connected as well to Wall Street and the military/industrial complex. Thus, they are part of the process as well. Republicans and Democrats will both be influenced by the military/industrial complex as long as our government is doing things they shouldn’t do. The reason they are doing those kinds of things is because of the lack of understanding of the voters and the politicians who believe that the Congress should be allowed to do as they please. If we, as a Congress, would not do things that are unconstitutional, there would be no incentive and no benefits to the military/industrial complex. That indirectly would take care of all the obscene lobbying that goes on in Washington, which amounts to some $150 million a month that corporations spend lobbying Congress to get more influence.

JWW: Many argue that our Constitution is antiquated. Then there is the concept of the living Constitution, which judges can mold and change to meet society’s needs. There are even those who advocate a new Constitution. Isn’t our original Constitution good enough?

RP: It is good enough for me. But we are doing something much worse than raising the question of either rewriting or doing away with the Constitution, which has worked for over two centuries. What we are doing today is undermining, ignoring and even ridiculing our Constitution. As an example, I tried to make the International Relations Committee vote on a Declaration of War concerning the Iraqi situation just to make the point that we ought to be declaring war and not just giving this power to the President.

JWW: In other words, Congress should follow the letter of the Constitution.

RP: Yes. I was told that this provision in the Constitution was no longer followed because it was anachronistic and I was being frivolous to have raised it. I was put down by both the chairman of the committee, as well as the ranking member of the committee, for even suggesting this old-fashioned idea that Congress should declare war, rather than allowing the President to make the final decision.

JWW: You’ve said that America was never meant to be a democracy, that the founding fathers meant to create a republic and that nowhere in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution does it mention anything about democracy. Given all the talk lately about defending “democracy” and “democratizing” the Middle East and the world, it would appear we’ve lost touch with the original philosophy that our country was founded on.

RP: We don’t understand it very well. We have drifted away from it. We don’t have a true republic; we have a centralized government. Moreover, we place a lot of emphasis on the dictatorship or the power of the majority. We cannot forget that a section of the Constitution that was clearly wrong was the section dealing with slavery. But a majority of the people at that time were willing to go along with this and at least either overlook or endorse slavery. The majority won. That was at least one serious flaw. But now we have accepted the majoritarian flaw. We now believe, as a people, that the majority always knows what is best for the individual, rather than saying that the Constitution should be there to protect the minority and the small groups—especially to protect the individual’s right to live his life as he chooses.

JWW: A democracy is a 51 percent vote. How does a republic differ from a democracy?

RP: In a republic, you actually still have the democratic election of the leaders. However, you don’t have 51 percent determining rights. If one percent can vote to confiscate 99 percent of your wages, then you don’t have much left of your life. You have become enslaved. They literally have that authority and at times have taken taxes up to that height. Thus, in a republic we have representation, and the whole purpose of a constitutional republic is to protect the liberty of the individual.

JWW: In a republic, there are statesmen, not politicians. Is there a difference?

RP: There is a difference. However, it is interesting that in Washington a statesman is one who is willing to sacrifice his firmly held principles for the benefit of the whole. It is called statesmanship. I have heard that expressed on the floor. Some are complimented for their willingness to go against their deeply held beliefs—for example, not raising taxes—because it was so necessary to compromise to move the process forward.

JWW: But these are not statesmen. They are politicians.

RP: It is called statesmanship now. That’s how language has been distorted. I agree with your definition of statesmanship. But in Washington, newspeak prevails. As a consequence, a statesman is the opposite of what you and I might consider a statesman.

JWW: Do you think one man can really make a difference in Washington anymore?

RP: That is hard to say. But I know that one good idea and the truth can make a difference. And if one individual can have an influence against the horde, then our system works. We should believe that the participation of one individual can make a difference or otherwise we are involved in a fruitless venture.

JWW: So you are not a pessimist?

RP: No, I am not a pessimist. People frequently ask me why I am not more frustrated because I don’t win very many things. I am not a bit frustrated because the truth is I have very low expectations for Washington. We win more fights than I assume we would. I am also very much aware of the fact that this is a slow process. It is a situation where ideas do win out and ideas do have consequences. Therefore, I don’t really deal in the political world. I try to stick to the world of ideas, principles, economic policy and the Constitution—where I feel comfortable.

JWW: Thomas Jefferson said that the key to the future of freedom was an educated citizenry. Such a people knew their rights and the Constitution. They had an educational background so they could understand the issues. However, as we often see today, our educational system doesn’t teach these precepts very well. Thus, how are we going to preserve freedom if our citizens are not being taught how to be free?

RP: This is an example of what happens when the government takes over the schools. In such an instance, the government will act in its own self-interest. It will not teach these virtues because such virtues don’t enhance big government. However, as long as there is some freedom left to opt out of the educational system—such as home education and private schools where such things are taught—there is hope. Therefore, what we have to cling to is the freedom to opt out.

JWW: Are you optimistic about the future of freedom and liberty in America?

RP: I am cautiously optimistic. I am not optimistic in the short run. I have a lot of concerns. But we will have to wait and see what evolves. However, I am optimistic enough to believe that if we put the time and energy into fighting for our country and the Constitution, there is as good a chance of winning this fight as losing it.

The Interview at Oldspeak

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

"Be Urgent, In And Out Of Season."

Nothing Could Have Prepared Me For What I Saw Last Night

Email received from Jody Dean, an Emmy Award–winning anchor/reporter for KTVT-TV (CBS 11) in Dallas

There’ve been a ton of emails and forwards floating around recently from those who’ve had the privilege of seeing Mel Gibson’s "The Passion of the Christ" prior to its actual release. I thought I’d give you my reaction after seeing it last night.

The screening was on the first night of "Elevate!," a weekend-long seminar for young people at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano. There were about 2,000 people there, and the movie was shown after several speakers had taken the podium. It started around 9 and finished around I reckon the film is about two hours in length. Frankly, I lost complete track of time – so I can’t be sure.

I want you to know that I started in broadcasting when I was 13 years old. I’ve been in the business of writing, performing, production, and broadcasting for a long time. I’ve been a part of movies, radio, television, stage and other productions – so I know how things are done. I know about soundtracks and special effects and make-up and screenplays. I think I’ve seen just about every kind of movie or TV show ever made – from extremely inspirational to extremely gory. I read a lot, too – and have covered stories and scenes that still make me wince. I also have a vivid imagination, and have the ability to picture things as they must have happened – or to anticipate things as they will be portrayed. I’ve also seen an enormous amount of footage from Gibson’s film, so I thought I knew what was coming.

But there is nothing in my existence – nothing I could have read, seen, heard, thought, or known – that could have prepared me for what I saw on screen last night.

This is not a movie that anyone will "like." I don’t think it’s a movie anyone will "love." It certainly doesn’t "entertain." There isn’t even the sense that one has just watched a movie. What it is, is an experience – on a level of primary emotion that is scarcely comprehensible. Every shred of human preconception or predisposition is utterly stripped away. No one will eat popcorn during this film. Some may not eat for days after they’ve seen it. Quite honestly, I wanted to vomit. It hits that hard.

I can see why some people are worried about how the film portrays the Jews. They should be worried. No, it’s not anti-Semitic. What it is, is entirely shattering. There are no "winners." No one comes off looking "good" – except Jesus. Even His own mother hesitates. As depicted, the Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day merely do what any of us would have done – and still do. They protected their perceived "place" – their sense of safety and security, and the satisfaction of their own "rightness." But everyone falters. Caiphus judges. Peter denies. Judas betrays. Simon the Cyrene balks. Mark runs away. Pilate equivocates. The crowd mocks. The soldiers laugh. Longinus still stabs with his pilus. The centurion still carries out his orders. And as Jesus fixes them all with a glance, they still turn away. The Jews, the Romans, Jesus’ friends – they all fall. Everyone, except the Principal Figure. Heaven sheds a single, mighty tear – and as blood and water spew from His side, the complacency of all creation is eternally shattered.

The film grabs you in the first five seconds, and never lets go. The brutality, humiliation, and gore is almost inconceivable – and still probably doesn’t go far enough. The scourging alone seems to never end, and you cringe at the sound and splatter of every blow – no matter how steely your nerves. Even those who have known combat or prison will have trouble, no matter their experience – because this Man was not conscripted. He went willingly, laying down His entirety for all. It is one thing for a soldier to die for his countrymen. It’s something else entirely to think of even a common man dying for those who hate and wish to kill him. But this is no common man. This is the King of the Universe. The idea that anyone could or would have gone through such punishment is unthinkable – but this Man was completely innocent, completely holy – and paying the price for others. He screams as He is laid upon the cross, "Father, they don’t know. They don’t know..."

What Gibson has done is to use all of his considerable skill to portray the most dramatic moment of the most dramatic events since the dawn of time. There is no escape. It’s a punch to the gut that puts you on the canvas, and you don’t get up. You are simply confronted by the horror of what was done – what had to be done – and why. Throughout the entire film, I found myself apologizing.

What you’ve heard about how audiences have reacted is true. There was no sound after the film’s conclusion. No noise at all. No one got up. No one moved. The only sound one could hear was sobbing. In all my years of public life, I have never heard anything like that.

I told many of you that Gibson had reportedly re-shot the ending to include more "hope" through the Resurrection? That’s not true. The Resurrection scene is perhaps the shortest in the entire movie – and yet it packs a punch that can’t be quantified. It is perfect. There is no way to negotiate the meaning out of it. It simply asks, "Now, what will you do?"

I’ll leave the details to you, in the hope that you will see the film – but one thing above all stands out, and I have to tell you about it. It comes from the end of Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness – where the Bible says Satan left him "until a more opportune time." I imagine Satan never quit tempting Christ, but this film captures beyond words the most opportune time. At every step of the way, Satan is there at Jesus’ side – imploring Him to quit, reasoning with Him to give up, and seducing Him to surrender. For the first time, one gets a heart-stopping idea of the sense of madness that must have enveloped Jesus – a sense of the evil that was at His very elbow. The physical punishment is relentless – but it’s the sense of psychological torture that is most overwhelming. He should have quit. He should have opened His mouth. He should have called 10,000 angels. No one would have blamed Him. What we deserve is obvious. But He couldn’t do that. He wouldn’t do that. He didn’t do that. He doesn’t do that. It was not and is not His character. He was obedient, all the way to the cross – and you feel the real meaning of that phrase in a place the human heart usually doesn’t dare to go. You understand that we are called to that same level of obedience. With Jesus’ humanity so irresistibly on display, you understand that we have no excuse. There is no place to hide.

The truth is this: Is it just a "movie"? In a way, yes. But it goes far beyond that, in a fashion I’ve never felt – in any forum. We may think we "know." We know nothing. We’ve gone 2,000 years – used to the idea of a pleasant story, and a sanitized Christ. We expect the ending, because we’ve heard it so many times. God forgive us. This film tears that all away. It’s as close as any of us will ever get to knowing, until we fully know. Paul understood. "Be urgent, in and out of season."

Luke wrote that Jesus reveals Himself in the breaking of the bread.

Exactly. "The Passion of the Christ" shows that Bread being broken.

Go see this movie.

His, and His alone.


My Special Thanks to Lew Rockwell for Sharing This Email

Heinleins, Hayeks, Menckens, Rands, and Rothbards...

Starship Bloopers
By Colby Cosh

If you wish to trace the sources of the libertarian strain in 20th-century American thought, you must include the science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein in your accounting of Hayeks, Menckens, Rands, and Rothbards. He deserves no less, yet is not always found in the ledger. Millions have been influenced by his anarchic fantasies, his military and Second Amendment enthusiasms, and his vision of a world ever oscillating between chaos and progress.

Called everything from fascist to pornographer in his time, Heinlein is now recognizable as a particular sort of conservative, one who would get along well with Thomas Jefferson, Mark Twain, and Barry Goldwater. He was a man's man; a religious skeptic; an agrarian sentimentalist heavily influenced by the frontier, or the idea thereof; and a keen exponent of armed politeness, particularly in foreign affairs. You can recognize this sort of fellow by asking which side he would have taken in the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. RAH, certainly, would have picked up a musket and joined the moonshiners.

Heinlein may be best known for the pulp novel (1959) that served as the basis of Paul Verhoeven's movie Starship Troopers (1997). This book was one of the great genre-benders of the century. Throughout the 1950s Heinlein had been writing subversive, experimental ruminations on politics disguised cleverly as mass-market novels for young people.

Starship Troopers very visibly went Too Far. An allegorical love letter to the U.S. Marines, it was a blood-and-guts actioner envisioning a single world democracy in which only military veterans and certain similar public servants had the franchise. (Heinlein loved postulating alternatives to universal suffrage, which he considered to be a dictatorship of imbecility.) The novels that followed included some fine quasi-Randian tracts, practically revolutionary handbooks. Later, Heinlein's reach lengthened beyond his grasp, as he explored sex, metaphysics, and time travel.

Throughout it all, the Navy veteran was publishing political non-fiction too. There may have been fiercer Cold Warriors, but I don't know of another one who had the sheer bottle to learn conversational Russian, travel to the USSR, and come back with tales of dead-eyed Intourist agents and squalid Moscow eateries.

SO IT IS OF some interest that Heinlein's first novel, For Us, the Living: A Comedy of Customs, has now come to light. Written in 1938-39, it has just been published by Heinlein's estate. Its appearance raises a fascinating question: What was the ultimate anti-government conservative thinking about during the ultimate crisis of classical-liberal principles? The slightly astonishing answer is: Social Credit.

For a citizen of the province of Alberta, like myself, this is almost a cosmic joke. Social Credit was a monetary heresy devised in the 1920s by a Scottish engineer named C.H. Douglas, who was vexed by the eternal mystery of "poverty in the midst of plenty", and apparently deluded by certain analogies between the money economy and an electrical circuit.

Douglas theorized that capitalist societies suffered from a constant leakage of wealth that left consumers perpetually short of purchasing power and caused chronic and worsening "overproduction." The villains were fractional-reserve banks. Douglas did not see why private lenders should have the power to create money by, as he saw it, mere fiat. He proposed to nationalize credit -- create a savings account for every citizen, inject fresh money into it every month or so, and offer loans to business willy-nilly at some low rate tied to econometric statistics.

This madness found a rapt audience amidst certain parts of Western society. Any economic sector deep in hock to the banks could see the genius in nationalizing them. To anti-Semites, Douglas's dislike for shadowy "financiers" was catnip. And engineers were easily swayed by one who spoke their language -- which seems to have been Heinlein's vulnerability.

In For Us, The Living, Heinlein transports a young naval officer Rip Van Winkle-fashion into the world of 2086, in which the United States has gone SoCred. Everyone gets a share of the new money created continually (but without inflation) by the government, and no one works if he doesn't want to. Needless to say, most citizens in this future are humble artisans living in a continual creative rapture.

In the real world, advocates of Social Credit attained political power in only one place: Alberta. This was thanks to a rotund, bombastic radio evangelist and schoolteacher named William Aberhart, who popularized Douglas's theories in the early 1930s using playlets and jokes. Alberta farmers, suffering the torments of the Depression, caught Social Credit like a fever. Aberhart was swept to power in 1935, and clearly Heinlein had read some of the worldwide headlines that followed.

ALAS, ABERHART DIDN'T really understand the nuances of Social Credit, and as a provincial premier he had no constitutional authority to coin money or found a bank. He invited Douglas to Alberta to advise the new government, but Douglas informed the cabinet-table yokels that they hadn't understood his books or a damn thing else, and flew off in a Scotch pique.

Aberhart desperately tried several nostrums, including the issuing of "Prosperity Certificates" -- inflationary scrip. The Crown, the judiciary, and Ottawa disallowed this and most everything else he attempted. Yet he left a long shadow: After he died (1943), his party shucked the monetarist tomfoolery, became an early-model conservative movement, and held power in the province until 1971.

Social Credit had other celebrity adherents, notably Ezra Pound. Until now, it was little suspected that Heinlein had been one. It is impossible to imagine now how little confidence intellectual men had in the future of the free market during the Depression. The ultimate attraction of Social Credit was that it was a softer answer than Marxism to the suicide of capitalism, which everyone believed he was witnessing in the 1930s. One had no need to believe in such hideous Red principles as factory-floor warfare and collective farming. We just have to go after the banks -- and who loves a bank? Heinlein must eventually have cottoned to the true nature of credit creation (although, to be fair, it isn't just cranks who find something sinister about fractional banking).

Heinlein fans will want to know how For Us, The Living actually is as a novel. Answer: It's Heinlein -- preachy, prurient, structurally clumsy, and still charming despite these flaws. Reading it, at times I almost felt the adolescent thrill of perusing a "new" Heinlein that foreshadows many of his later obsessions. Most impressive, perhaps, is his conviction that rocket power and a lunar expedition were in humanity's future. Remember that R.H. Goddard was still a controversial figure in 1938, and the first practical demonstration of long-range rocketry -- in the form of Hitler's gruesome "revenge weapons" -- was years away.

Yet prescient as he was, Heinlein's crystal ball had smudges. He foresaw a European Union, but conceived it as a constitutional monarchy, headed by the dethroned Duke of Windsor. His vision of the Internet circa 2086 was a network of pneumatic tubes, criss-crossing the continent, by which paper documents could be sent quickly. This sort of thing is perhaps the real fun of For Us, The Living: watching a great futurist explore a tomorrow from which yesterday has already diverged.

Read The Article In The American Spectator

Sunday, February 08, 2004

War Rationale Revision...

It may just mean big trouble for world leaders past, present, and future.

"________ was dangerous, and I'm not just going to leave him in power and trust a madman."

"He's a dangerous man. He had the ability to make weapons at the very minimum."


"We know that ________ had the intent to arm his regime with weapons of mass destruction."

"And________ had something else -- he had a record of using weapons of mass destruction against his enemies and against his own people."


There are quite a few world leaders that one could fill in the blank with. The concetration of power is a threat to honest, hard-working people everywhere.

Perhaps, we should focus on another significant enemy: WMWD (Weapons of Mass Wealth Destruction).

Read the Article at The Washington Post

Friday, February 06, 2004

Husband Mart

Of course, I work on the 5th floor...

A store that sells husbands has just opened where a woman may go to choose a husband from among many men. The store is comprised of 6 floors, and the men increase in positive attributes as the shopper ascends the flights. There is, however, a catch. As you open the door to any floor you may choose a man from that floor, but if you go up a floor, you cannot go back down except to exit the building.

So a woman goes to the shopping center to find a husband.

On the first floor the sign on the door reads:

Floor 1 - These men have jobs. The woman reads the sign and says to herself, "Well, that's better than my last boyfriend, but I wonder what's further up?" So up she goes.

The second floor sign reads:

Floor 2 - These men have jobs and love kids. The woman remarks to herself, "That's great, but I wonder what's further up?" And up she goes again.

The third floor sign reads:

Floor 3 - These men ! have jobs, love kids and are extremely good looking. Hmmm, better" she says. "But I wonder what's upstairs?"

The fourth floor sign reads:

Floor 4 - These men have jobs, love kids, are extremely good looking and help with the housework. "Wow!" exclaims the woman, "very tempting. BUT, there must be more further up!" And again she heads up another flight

The fifth floor sign reads:

Floor 5 - These men have jobs, love kids, are extremely good looking, help with the housework and have a strong romantic streak. "Oh, mercy me! But just think... what must be awaiting me further on?"

So up to the sixth floor she goes.

The sixth floor sign reads:

Floor 6 - You are visitor 3,456,789,012 to this floor There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please.

Thank you for shopping Husband Mart and have a nice day

Beatrice, Penelope, Juliet, Dulcinea etc...

‘Beauty is the promise of happiness’.

- Stendhal

‘The love of beauty involves a yearning which is not — and perhaps cannot be — fulfilled.’

- John Armstrong

Can your Penelope still be knitting?

My Thanks to Theodoropoulos for the Quotes

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Let The Laws Live Up To The People's Lives

Things are changing. And, fast.

We need the courage to endure dynamic change in order to ride out the turbulent waves toward a spontaneous order.

The coercion, corruption, and destruction have gone on long enough. Inevitably, things have a way of working themselves out.

Can Rumsfeld Survive?

This can't be good news...

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) pressed Rumsfeld on a statement Rumsfeld made in late March during the war, as U.S. troops advanced on Baghdad, that "we know where they are," referring to weapons stockpiles. Rumsfeld conceded that he had misspoken and should have said he was referring to "suspect sites," where analysts believed chemical or biological weapons might have been stored.

"You're quite right -- shorthand 'we know where they are' probably turned out not to be exactly what one would have preferred in retrospect," Rumsfeld said.

Tenet to Defend CIA Role in the Washington Post

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

A Fine Day in the Nation's History

The Bank of the United States closed its doors on this day in 1841.

Shakespeare in the Morning...

Sonnet CXLV.

Those lips that Love's own hand did make
Breathed forth the sound that said 'I hate'
To me that languish'd for her sake;
But when she saw my woeful state,
Straight in her heart did mercy come,
Chiding that tongue that ever sweet
Was used in giving gentle doom,
And taught it thus anew to greet:
'I hate' she alter'd with an end,
That follow'd it as gentle day
Doth follow night, who like a fiend
From heaven to hell is flown away;
'I hate' from hate away she threw,
And saved my life, saying 'not you.'


President Bush Proposes Cut in Economic Education

As if economic education wasn't dismal enough in this country...

President Bush's 2005 budget proposal asks Congress to cut or eliminate 128 federal programs. Here are five of the largest and five of the smallest proposed cuts:

Large cuts

Money for new election equipment: $1.4 billion (96% cut)

First-responders funding: $805 million (18% cut)

Edward Byrne Memorial law enforcement grants: $704 million (would eliminate the program)

EPA funding not requested by White House: $511 million (would eliminate all that funding)

FAA modernization: $393 million (14% cut)

Small cuts (All these cuts would eliminate the programs)

B.J. Stupak scholarships for aspiring Olympic athletes: $1 million

Close Up Fellowships for low-income students and teachers: $1 million

Excellence in Economic Education (promotes economic and financial literacy): $1 million

Rehabilitation services for migrant and seasonal farm workers with disabilities: $2 million

Recreational programs for disabled people: $3 million

Source: White House Office of Management and Budget

If the list of cuts and eliminations ran into the thousands of pages, i'd be much happier. But, it is a start.

USA Today PDF List of Cuts and Eliminations

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

You wouldn't hear it on the news...

But Dean is still ahead in the delegate count.

On The Need To Respect Private Property

Property (1864?)

by Louis-François-Michel-Raymond Wolowski (1810-1876)


Pierre Émile Levasseur (1828-1911)


Property and the family are two ideas, for the attack and defense of which legions of writers have taken up arms during the last half century. Recent systems, founded upon old errors, but revived by the popular emotions which they aroused, have in vain disturbed, misrepresented, sometimes even denied, them. These ideas express necessary facts, which, under diverse forms, have been and will always be coming forth; they may thus be justly regarded as the fundamental principles of all political society, because from them originate, to a great extent, the two principal objects which concern social laws, namely, the rights of man over things, and his duties toward his fellow-men.

The Right of Property


If man acquires rights over things, it is because he is at once active, intelligent and free; by his activity he spreads over external nature; by his intelligence he governs it, and bends it to his use; by his liberty, he establishes between himself and it the relation of cause and effect and makes it his own.


Nature has not for man the provident tenderness imagined by the philosophers of the eighteenth century, and dreamed of before them by the poets of antiquity when they described the golden age. She does not lavish her treasures in order to make life flow smoothly along in abundance and idleness for mortals; on the contrary, she is severe, and yields her treasures only at the price of constant labor; she maltreats those who have not sufficient strength or intelligence to subdue her, and when we consider the primitive races whom the arts of civilization had not yet raised above her, we may ask ourselves, with Pliny, if she did not show herself a step-mother rather than a mother. Left to itself, the earth presents here deserts, there marshes or inextricable forests; the most fertile portions are ordinarily the most inaccessible, because, situated in the valleys, they are encroached upon by stagnant waters, and infected by the miasms which exhale from them, or haunted by noxious animals that seek their food there; poisonous plants grow among the nutritious ones, without any outward sign by which to distinguish them, while yet we have not the warning of instinct which the animals have. The best fruits themselves have as yet, for the most part, only a coarse savor before cultivation has corrected their bitterness. Doubtless man can live, as he has, amidst this indifferent or hostile nature; but he would live there, timid and fearful as the roe of the forests, isolated, or collected in small groups, and lost in the immense spaces, in which his frail existence would be but an accident in the luxuriant life of organized beings; he would not feel himself at home, and would in very fact be like a stranger on an earth which he would not have fashioned according to his will, and where he would be neither the swiftest in the chase, the best protected against cold, nor the best armed for strife.


What even now distinguished him from other creatures, in this state of profound barbarism, were the divine powers of soul with which he was gifted. However torpid they might as yet have been, they would have taught him, without any doubt, to emerge from his nakedness and his feebleness: from the earliest times, they would have suggested the means of arming his hand with an axe of stone, like whose which, buried in the calcareous deposits of another age, tell us to-day of the miserable beginning of our race upon the globe; they would have taught him to protect his body against the cold with the skin of the bear, and to shield his home and family from the attacks of ferocious beasts by arranging a cave for his use or building a hut in the midst of water, not far from the shore of a lake. But already man would have left upon matter some impress of his personality, and the reign of property would have begun.


When centuries have elapsed, and generations have accumulated their labors, where is there, in a civilized country, a clod of earth, a leaf, which does not bear this impress? In the town, we are surrounded by the works of man; we walk upon a level pavement or a beaten road; it is man who made healthy the formerly muddy soil, who took from the side of a far-away hill the flint or stone which covers it. We live in houses; it is man who has dug the stone from the quarry, who has hewn it, who has planed the woods; it is the thought of man which has arranged the materials properly and made a building of what was before rock and wood. And in the country, the action of man is still everywhere present; men have cultivated the soil, and generations of laborers have mellowed and enriched it; the works of man have dammed the rivers and created fertility where the waters had brought only desolation; to-day man goes as far as to people the rivers, to direct the growth of fish, and takes possession of the empire of the waters. We reap the wheat, our principal food. Where is it found in a wild state? Wheat is a domestic plant, a species transformed by man for the wants of man. Thus products, natives of countries most diverse have been brought together, grafted, modified by man for the adornment of the garden, the pleasures of the table, or the labors of the workshop. The very animals, from the dog, man’s companion, to the cattle raised for the shambles have been fashioned into new types which deviate sensibly from the primitive type given by nature. Everywhere a powerful hand is divined which has moulded matter, and an intelligent will which has adapted it, following a uniform plan, to the satisfaction of the wants of one same being. Nature has recognized her master, and man feels that he is at home in nature. Nature has been appropriated by him for his use; she has become his own; she is his property.

Read More Wolowski & Levasseur On Property

Note on the Authors:

“Another prominent economist was the Pole Louis Wolowski (1810-76), a brother-in-law of Michel Chevalier. Born in Warsaw, Wolowski emigrated to France in 1834, founding and editing for many years the Revue de législation et jurisprudence. Possessor of a doctorate of law and another in political economy, Wolowski was to become a banker, statesman and professor as well as being associated for many years with the Journal des Économistes. Wolowski’s nephew, Émile Levasseur (1828-1911) became a prominent economic historian and successor to Baudrillart at the Collège de France. Levasseur published a well-known work on the Histoire des classes ouvrières en France (History of the Working Classes in France) (1859) and, in 1867, published a Précis d’Économie Politique, which went into many editions. Wolowski and Levasseur, it should be noted, wrote a scintillating joint article in defence of property rights, on ‘Property’, for Lalor’s three-volume Cyclopedia of Political Science, published in the United States in 1884.”

– Murray N. Rothbard, An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought, vol. 2, p. 443.

Note on the Text:

This article on property, drawn from John J. Lalor, ed., Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States; By the Best American and European Writers, Vol. III (New York: Charles E. Merrill & Co., 1888) [reprinted from: Chicago: M. B. Cary & Co., 1884], pp. 391-95, turns out, after some detective work, not to have been “written for” Lalor’s Cyclopædia, but rather to be a condensation, by an unknown translator, of a still longer article by Wolowki and Levasseur, likewise on property, in Maurice Block, ed., Dictionnaire général de la politique, 2nd ed. (Paris: E. Perrin, 1884) [original edition: Paris: O. Lorenz, 1863-4], tome II, pp. 710-21. In a note to the French original, Wolowski informs us that Levasseur took over the writing of the article during Wolowski’s illness, so that while the article expresses the opinions of both authors, its final manner of expression is primarily Levasseur’s. We plan in due course to translate and post both the French original and a complete English translation (including Wolowski’s critique of intellectual property); in the meantime we provide the truncated Lalor version both for its intrinsic interest and for its possible influence on Rothbard, who cites it favorably in several of his works. – Roderick T. Long

My great thanks to Prof. Long and the Molinari Institute.

I Miss The Independent Counsel!

How about one for every government agency and multi-national corporation?

Sunday, February 01, 2004

"Decline To Accept The End Of Man."

William Faulkner (1897-1962)

"No matter how piercing and appalling his insights, the desolation creeping over his outer world, the lurid lights and shadows of his inner world, the writer must live with hope, work in faith."

J.B. Priestley

"All his life William Faulkner had avoided speeches, and insisted that he not be taken as a man of letters. 'I'm just a farmer who likes to tell stories.' he once said. Because of his known aversion to making formal pronouncements, there was much interest, when he traveled to Stockholm to receive the prize on December 10, 1950, in what he would say in the speech that custom obliged him to deliver. Faulkner evidently wanted to set right the misinterpretation of his own work as pessimistic. But beyond that, he recognized that, as the first American novelist to receive the prize since the end of World War II, he had a special obligation to take the changed situation of the writer, and of man, into account."

Richard Ellmann

William Faulkner: Nobel Prize Speech

Stockholm, Sweden, December 10, 1950

I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work--a life's work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand where I am standing.

Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only one question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat. He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid: and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed--love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, and victories without hope and worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.

Until he learns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

Faulkner Prevails