Archive for December, 2009

Rights Lost = Tyranny Gains

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Guilt by association? 1 in 3 fear punishmentAmericans say they see ‘chilling’ loss of rights

December 26, 2009 By Bob Unruh © 2009 WorldNetDaily Editor’s note: This is another in a series of monthly Freedom Index” polls conducted exclusively for WND by the public opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies.

There’s a new “chill” that has nothing to do with claims of global warming or climate change and everything to do with the failing confidence Americans feel in their own freedoms, according to a new poll.

“More Americans this month felt that there was more of a climate of fear over their freedom of association – with more than one in three – 36 percent – saying that they believed Americans had reason to fear punishment or retribution based on who their friends were or who they met with. This is chilling stuff!” said Fritz Wenzel of Wenzel Strategies.

The WND/Wenzel telephone survey was conducted Dec. 18-21 using an automated telephone technology calling a random sampling of listed telephone numbers. The survey included 26 questions and carries a 95 percent confidence interval. It included 823 likely voters. It carries a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.

His survey revealed that the WorldNetDaily Freedom Index took a huge plunge in December, dropping to its lowest ever mark of 46.4 on a 100-point scale. The assessment is based on respondents’ answers to a series of monthly questions about how they feel about a basketful of liberties they enjoy as Americans.

The survey’s initial result in June was 57.6, which fell to 53.2 in July. There followed a slight uptick with 54.2 in August and 56.4 in September, but October fell again, to 52.2 followed by a weak rally at 53.6 in November.

Wenzel described the issues undermining Americans’ confidence in their liberties as linked to Washington’s moves toward President Obama’s agenda.

“When it comes to health care reform, December has turned out to be a very good month for President Barack Obama,” he said. “But when it comes to public approval of his work, it has been a very bad month.”


“There has been a dramatic negative move in the Freedom Index this month, dropping for othe first time below the dead-level-even mark of 50 on its 100-point scale. It now stands at 46.4, down from 53.6 just a month ago

“This coincides with the commencement of the serious votes on the health care bill, which apparently imposes some harsh restrictions on virtually every aspect of the American health care system,” he said.

“Clearly, people are spooked.”

Nearly half of all respondents – 47 percent, confirmed there has been a decrease in freedoms under Obama’s reign. That was up from 40 percent a month earlier.

“That’s a big move,” Wenzel said.

“And, in this and other polls, Obama has seen his job approval rating plummet,” he continued. “In this survey, his approval is just 41 percent positive, down from 44 percent last month. He is slipping dangerously close to a point from which it will be very hard to recover.”

Wenzel reported among Republicans, 73 percent confirmed “a decrease in freedoms under Obama, up from 61 percent just one month ago.”

“And among political independents, the percentage who said the same thing increased by 7 percent this month over last,” he said.

Along with increased worries about the loss of American freedoms, “more Americans this month felt that there was more of a climate of fear over their freedom of association,” he said.

Thirty-six percent said they thought Americans has reason to be concerned about punishment based on their friends and acquaintances, he said.

“An increase in the fear that Republicans said they personally feel when expressing their thoughts using a bumper sticker or campaign button was offset by a growing sense of freedoms felt by Democrats to do the same thing. This is a continuing trend of political polarization that we have seen in the WND Freedom Index over the past few months which has coincided with the increasing bitterness over sweeping Capitol Hill legislation,” he said.

The result may not be good news for the president.

“This is the bottom line – coming on the heels of the Democratic Party election losses last month, this polling data paints a drab picture for the Democrats heading into what is shaping up to be a critical congressional election year,” Wenzel suggested.

“The Democrats have so far pinned their legislative hopes on landmark victories on two key issues – health care reform and the so-called Cap and Trade environmental bill that passed the House last summer, but public sentiment on both of those issues has tilted strongly against the Democratic Party.

“Politics is a lot like the weather – just wait a little while and it will change. But right now, it is hard to imagine a scenario – or an issue – where they [Democrats] could regain enough political momentum to hold their majorities in both houses less than 11 months from now,” Wenzel said.

Nearly one voter in five said Americans are “not at all free” to speak their minds without fear of punishment and another one in six said the country is “not very free.” One in seven even have “great fear” that punishment or investigation could result from their choice of worship.

The means for the government to obtain such information also is an issue. More than three in 10 believe the government is using “scanners” and electronic records to create “great intrusion” into American lives. Nearly 10 percent express “great fear” at even expressing their own opinions.

About one in six said they were not very free or not at all free to even put a bumper sticker expressing their political or religious beliefs on their vehicles. One in five expressed the same reservations about discussing their beliefs if the conversation was in a public area. And more than one in four said they were not very or not at all free to express their opinions without fear of government penalty.

The result was that more than 25 percent of Americans censor their own expressions because of the perceived threat.

If you are a member of the media and would like to interview Fritz Wenzel about this story, please e-mail.

See detailed results of survey questions:

Do you believe that, under the Obama administration, America has seen an increase or a decrease in freedom?

Do you believe that today Americans can speak their minds freely without fear of punishment, penalty or retribution?

Do you believe that today Americans can associate with anyone they want, no matter who they are, without fear of penalty, government investigation or retribution?

Do you believe that today Americans can worship in any manner they choose without fear they will be punished, ostracized, investigated or face some other penalty?

Do you believe that the government today is using technology, such as cameras, scanners, and electronic health records, to become too intrusive into the lives of citizens?

If there were a controversial cause about which you felt strongly, would you be afraid to attend a local rally to voice your opinion because of fear of retribution, penalty, or government investigation?

How free do you feel to put a bumper sticker on your car or to wear a button expressing your political or religious beliefs?

How free do you feel to discuss political or religious beliefs in a public place, such as in a restaurant or on a bus or train?

Do you feel you are free to express what you truly think about any subject without fear of harm, punishment, government investigation, or some other penalty?

Do you find that you self-censor thoughts before speaking on certain issues in public because you fear harm, punishment, social rejection, or some other penalty?

The Command Economy

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

America is transforming itself, without forethought, debate, or pause, into a command economy. A command economy is a top-down, state-controlled economy directed by planners and bureaucrats, boards and bodies, administrators and authorities. A command economy is not characterized by mutuality of interest and agreement between parties. It relies on edict. A command economy, as the name implies, orders the affairs of a nation by coercion. In a free economy goods and services are bought and sold by consent; business transactions are based on agreement; contracts depend upon a meeting of the minds of the parties involved. In a command economy government sets prices, controls and directs resources, and oversees production and consumption. Free economies produce prosperity; command economies produce poverty. The transformation o America is already taking place at breakneck speed, even before the current economic crisis is full blown. Historical precedents insist that as conditions worsen, the transformation into a command economy will accelerate.

It is astonishing that this should be taking place, especially at a time in which three billion people around the globe have rejected the poverty, want and shortages of their command economies to begin the experience and blessings of abundance. It is not as though object lessons are wanting. China’s stunning economic growth, its modernization and rising living standards are the result of nothing more complicated than freeing the command economy. Although lessons abound, Americans are choosing — or perhaps failing to choose and therefore letting the choice be made for them — to go in much the same direction as the command economy of postwar Great Britain. That period saw the nationalization of entire sectors of the British economy, a currency crisis and prolonged economic decline including crippling unemployment and choking inflation. The reasons that the United States would choose to follow a pattern that hollows out economies the way it did the British are many. But as a symptom, although not a cause of this self-inflicted harm, look to the modern American politician. For today’s breed of politician, power is their very passion. Their every concern and the entire public debate about politicians centers around the use of power. How may power best be exploited and aggrandized? Who is to be bailed out, who is to be plundered to pay for it? Who is to be subsidized, who penalized? Who shall be taxed and who shall be paid? In contrast, the founders looked upon power very differently: How can it be kept in check? In yielding to the former and to their command economy, the current generation of Americans, blessed with so much, will be the shame of the ages.

Anyone believing the evidence for the looming command economy is being overstated need look no further than the speed at which American finance has been nationalized in the current crisis. Legislators voted an initial $700 billion bailout package, but in no time the taxpayers ended up with more than eighteen times that, $12.8 trillion in loans, spending, and guarantees. And to make clear who is really in charge, the giveaways are accompanies by a refusal of the authorities to disclose who is getting what and what kind of collateral, if any, is being given. The trend was dramatically illustrated in October 2008. In a development that played out like a scene from The Godfather, the CEOs of the nine largest banks in America, dealmakers and negotiators in their right, were ushered into a room at the Treasury Department in Washington and handed a one-page document agreeing to sell preferred shares to the government. They were told by Henry Paulson, according to the New York Times account, that they must sign it before leaving. The chairman of Wells Fargo protested that his institution didn’t have problems with toxic mortgages and didn’t need a bailout. Too bad. “It was a take it or take it offer,” said one insider. An online writer for The Wall Street Journal favorably likened Paulson’s commandeering of the banks to Reagan at the Berlin Wall. “History often carries an air of inevitability,” he gushed.

If there is inevitability to America’s becoming a command economy, it is a sorrowful day for human freedom. The Central Plan of the command economy is incompatible with dissent, disagreement, individual preferences, and your own plan, whatever it may be. If the Central Plan is to prevent foreclosures on homeowners who can’t pay, then the plans of individuals whose resources will be used to prevent those foreclosures must give way. If your individual plan and the Central Plan are in conflict, you will have to give up your plan. As we have noted, a free economy rests on agreement, but a command economy is constructed of coercion. One of the reasons (among many to which I refer in my book The Dollar Meltdown) that a command economy produces poverty has to do with the diversion of productive human effort. In a free economy people provide services that are sought by others and they are rewarded for doing so. Each individual’s own wants and needs are met to the extent he finds ways to serve others. But in a command economy enormous amounts of human effort are expended in attempts to influence or control the Central Plan. This activity produces no new wealth. It only seeks to divide what wealth already exists.

The command economy is not the exclusive province of either the left or the right, Republican or Democrat, Communist or Fascist, Stalinist or Nazi, Pol Pot, Mao, Chávez, or Ahmadinejad. It is what they all have in common. Just as war is the health of the state, economic turbulence is the state’s opportunity for self-advancement. As the unseen and destructive consequences of each new command and initiative unfold, new plans are created and commands issued to undo the latest harm. In the current sequence, the Fed used its monetary monopoly to create artificial credit conditions; the cheap money fueled a housing boom, which, like all bubbles, popped; the monetary and fiscal authorities rushed in to bail out the banks; the only means they have of bailing out the banks is to borrow or print more money. And that’s only going to make matters a lot worse.

Charles Goyette December 23. 2009

Socialist Revolution Has Come to America

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Remember those heady days of 2008 when Barack Obama successfully painted himself as a moderate? 21, 2009 – by Matt Patterson   The socialist revolution has come to America. It has been a long time coming.

On Christmas Day 1991, the Soviet flag flying over the Kremlin came down — the Cold War was over. In the United States, the political left, dismayed from the collapse of its great patron, retrenched and transmogrified with the times, choosing for their president a free-trading, welfare-reforming moderate.

But this was but a feint; the era of big government was not over. The left had not learned its lesson, had not abandoned its dreams of absolute control. It seethed and stewed … and waited.

The new century dawned in fire when the twin towers came down. America lashed out, sending large armies into Asia and Arabia. Like all wars, fortunes waxed and waned. But the iPod generation has not the capacity to endure the waning. By the time Mesopotamia was stabilizing, it was too late; the American public had abandoned the war it had once supported. The commander-in-chief who took America into battle with Congress and the people behind him left office ridiculed and reviled.

Many will tell you that it was the financial crisis that led to the election of Obama in 2008. It is certainly true that John McCain’s erratic response to that meltdown did nothing to enhance his chances. But the Republican goose was cooked long before Lehman by years of war, seemingly endless reports of our soldiers struggling valiantly to hold back chaos in faraway lands for reasons that were growing less clear by the day, and a Republican president who seemed frighteningly inarticulate and uncomprehending throughout. The public had simply had enough.

Into this breech stepped a charming, charismatic, seemingly moderate Democrat (he even promised tax cuts!). Barack Obama made everyone feel good — about him, about themselves, about themselves for supporting him. And America wanted, needed to feel good again; they had spilled too much blood, had too much of their own blood spilled, in the preceding eight years.

A Republican Party in tatters, a nation exhausted and desperate. Are there any other conditions under which the American people could have turned to a man like Barack Obama? For just under the smooth, smiling facade lurked a man of deep allegiance to the radical left, counting among his associates both an avowed terrorist and a raving, racialist preacher.

But Americans didn’t want to hear it and the media obliged them. The ideologue was soon ensconced in the White House, where he acted swiftly to upend the entirety of American society through a comprehensive, two-pronged assault:

1. The government moved to take greater control of medical care and thus one-sixth of our entire economy. The excuse? Some people don’t have insurance, don’t you know? What are the details? Good question: specifics hatched in back rooms behind closed doors, utterly incomprehensible bills that may as well be carved in hieroglyphics. What will it mean for you? Why, whatever they want it to mean, of course.

2.  Efforts to criminalize a particular naturally occurring compound, CO2, picked up pace. Why have they so singled out this substance? Because it is a byproduct of work and, indeed, life itself — every time you turn on your heater, every time you drive to work, every time you sit down to eat: don’t you know these sinful behaviors must be curbed, because you are “poisoning the planet” with your every move?

Success in this double strategy would amount to nothing less than a socialist revolution. A revolution of legislative opacity and bureaucratic fiat, to be sure, but a revolution just the same, for there is literally no part of your existence they couldn’t justify controlling under the cover of “health care” and “emissions” reform. Resistance would be met at first with peaceable punishments, fines and such. But the history of such revolutions shows that, sooner or later, they enforce their dictates with bars and boots.

Think it can’t happen here? History is littered with the wreckage of free states that gave way, sometimes with a scream, often with a whimper, to autocracy and absolutism. The city that gave birth to the world’s first and greatest republic was also home to Caesar and Mussolini.

America is not immune to these forces. The tides of history are inexorable and sooner or later pull every edifice into the sea.

Matt Patterson is a National Review Institute Washington fellow and the author of “Union of Hearts: The Abraham Lincoln & Ann Rutledge Story”. His email is

Jefferson’s Warnings About Money and Banks

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

By Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson
December 17, 2009


In 1962, President John F. Kennedy hosted a dinner for 49 Nobel laureates. The occasion provided the opportunity for JFK to display his keen wit in the memorable quote, “I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House—with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”

I wonder how many of today’s high school and college students appreciate Jefferson’s genius. Our third president, author of the Declaration of Independence and founder of the University of Virginia, was a masterful scholar of history, a political philosopher for the ages, a noted horticulturist, an archaeologist, architect, and inventor. He also knew a thing or two about money and banking. Let’s take a moment here to review the wise insights on money and banking left to us by this consummate Renaissance man.

Regarding money, Jefferson commented, “Paper is poverty … it is only the ghost of money, and not money itself.” We should remember this when we contemplate the loss of 95 percent of the purchasing power of the paper currency called “Federal Reserve notes” in less than a century. As Ben Bernanke and the Fed create trillions of new paper “dollars,” we, the richest country in history, face the possibility of a hyperinflationary collapse and accompanying impoverishment.

Jefferson, like other Founding Fathers, understood vividly the vulnerability of paper currencies, because of the devastating hyperinflation of the paper Continental dollar during the War for Independence. That is why the Coinage Act of 1792 stipulates gold and silver, NOT paper, as money. Jefferson and the Founders knew that for money to be sound, it needed to be something objective, tangible, unvarying, as well as something that people valued independent of its use as money—something like a fixed weight of gold or silver—rather than something as transitory and insubstantial as “the full faith and credit” of a government of unreliable human beings.

Jefferson intuitively grasped one of the basic principles of free-market economics: In a free, open competitive market, people choose good stuff (food, machines, tools, etc.) over bad stuff, and so goods of superior quality and value push inferior products into oblivion. The only reason Americans today have such an inferior currency is political. Government legislation denies us the freedom to choose what to accept as money. Jefferson wrote, “I now deny [the federal government’s] power of making paper money or anything else a legal tender.” What a terrible price we have paid and will pay for legal-tender laws forcing us to accept mere paper as money.

Anticipating the Federal Reserve System, Jefferson believed that, “The incorporation of a bank and the powers assumed [by legislation doing so] have not, in my opinion, been delegated to the United States by the Constitution. They are not among the powers specially enumerated.” In Jefferson’s eyes, a central bank is unconstitutional.

Jefferson warned, “If the American people ever allow the banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers occupied … I sincerely believe the banking institutions having the issuing power of money are more dangerous to liberty than standing armies.”

Today, Uncle Sam is woefully dependent on the Fed and a few “too-big-to-fail” banks. That is because Uncle Sam is the world’s largest debtor, and without these giant banks to maintain a market for its oceans of debt, the federal government would have to shut down.

I once spoke with a congressman after hearing him complain about Federal Reserve policy. When I reminded him that the Fed had been created by an act of Congress, and that the creator controls the creation, he turned ashen, speechless. Is Congress a bunch of cowards or do the banks have a choke-hold on our government?

Are the Fed and the giant money-center banks as “dangerous” as Jefferson believed? Certainly, their power is undeniable.

The wealth of the American people is jeopardized by paper money and big banks. We should have heeded Jefferson’s warnings.V & VIf you are interested in learning about supporting the efforts of The Center for Vision & Values, please click here. Thank you.

Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson is an adjunct faculty member, economist, and contributing scholar with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.