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    "You must lay aside all prejudice on both sides, and neither believe nor reject anything, because any other persons, or description of persons, have rejected or believed it. Your own reason is the only oracle given you by heaven, and you are answerable, not for the rightness, but uprightness of the decision." T. Jefferson

Archive for November, 2011

Who is Ron Paul, part 2

Posted by Free to Think on November 29, 2011

I read an AP article by Mike Glover entitled “Republican field crowded and likely to remain so” on Yahoo News this weekend. You may have seen it in another online news site, or in one of many newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, the Denver Post or the Boston Herald, where it had been reprinted.

These days most media outlets rarely publish their own national news stories; it’s cheaper and easier to regurgitate Associated Press releases than to hire their own reporters to write original pieces. So in today’s “information age,” many of us rely on just a few powerful voices to interpret the news for us.

What did we learn from Mr. Glover’s article? There are a lot of Republican presidential hopefuls besides frontrunners Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain.

Mr. Glover devotes the first three paragraphs of his article to “second tier” candidate Rick Santorum. He then devotes two paragraphs apiece to Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry. Twelve paragraphs into the article, Glover speculates that “also-ran” candidates (his term) may not expect to win, but could use the publicity for book deals or just to help them retain political power.

It’s only then that Glover dedicates a single line to Rep. Ron Paul: “Rep. Ron Paul’s hard-core libertarian views energize a small but loyal base.”

This article is at best misleading, at worst blatantly and purposefully deceptive.

1)      In poll after poll of Republican voters, Paul has actually come in ahead of proclaimed “top tier” candidate Herman Cain, and on several occasions has come in second, just after Romney.

2)      Can the term ‘hard-core libertarian views’ fit the definition of objective news reporting?

So what are a few of Ron Paul’s views? A sampling:

Bring government spending to a responsible level

End our wars and bring our troops home

Audit the Federal Reserve

End corporate influence

Stop corporate bailouts

Enforce Constitutional restraints on big government

Promote personal liberty

As I’ve pointed out in an earlier post, this shunning of Rep. Ron Paul is nothing new. But it’s frightening. I sent an email to Mike Glover himself yesterday, politely asking him for an explanation as to why, given the poll results, he chose to cover the story as he did. Let’s see if I hear anything from him.

Posted in Media bias, Politics, Ron Paul | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Teeth Whitening Criminals

Posted by Free to Think on November 22, 2011

The New Jersey Dental Association sued Beach Bum tanning salons last year, alleging “unfair competition.” Why? The salon was offering teeth whitening services.

“It’s an unfair and dishonest competitive practice based on the law governing dentistry,” said Arthur Meisel, the attorney representing the dental association. “Ultimately, it could hurt the consumer.”

But Beach Bum CEO James Oliver said that employees don’t even administer the service — they simply sells the product. Customers who purchase teeth whitening kits have the option of taking them home or using a room equipped with a chair and blue light, which accelerates the process. “We don’t even put our hands in people’s mouths.”

According to the Federal Trade Commission, dentists generally charge between $300 and $700 for a whitening session (usually not covered by insurance), while non-dentists charge between $100 and $150.

The NJ suit is still pending, but under a new Connecticut measure, only licensed dentists can offer on-site teeth whitening, and violators of state dental laws can get jail time. Hair salons that have been offering whitening for as low as $99 have been forced to discontinue their services. Lisa Martinez, a 29-year-old mother of two, was compelled to shut down her business, CT White Smile in Waterford, CT after the ruling.

The ruling wasn’t prompted by any “specific reports of harm,” but “we want to make sure that whatever is applied is applied safely,” says Jeanne Strathearn, the Connecticut State Dental Commission’s chairman and a dentist who offers whitening.

Should the law uphold the dentists’ monopoly of this simple, basic service?

The Institute for Justice, a libertarian public-interest law firm, is representing non-dental teeth whiteners in Connecticut, arguing that the dentists are “using government power to stifle honest competition.”

The Institute for Justice is one of my favorite charitable organizations. As described in their mission statement , IJ “challenges the government when it stands in the way of people trying to earn an honest living, when it unconstitutionally takes away individuals’ property, when bureaucrats instead of parents dictate the education of children, and when government stifles speech.” You can learn more about their work here.

Posted in Detrimental policies, discrimination, Intrusive government, Politics | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

The government is expanding? So what?

Posted by Free to Think on November 14, 2011

Why should we be so worried? Haven’t we always had big government?

Is the government really getting that much bigger?

Is the exploding size of government the fault of Democrats or Republicans?

Why are politicians so afraid of making meaningful spending cuts?

Why is it so important that we address this problem now?

This video gives a simple, concise explanation in under 4 minutes.

Posted in Debt, Detrimental policies | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Who is Ron Paul?

Posted by Free to Think on November 11, 2011

My dear Common Sense followers,

Five months ago I walked away from my blog, feeling disheartened and hopeless.

The more I researched, the more evidence I found that our country is shifting at an exponential pace from its foundations. Not only have checks, balances, inalienable rights, and constitutional, limited government become things of the past, but so have public concern and the objective, watchful eye of the free press. I began to feel that expressing a critical view was simply futile.

I admit I don’t have the time or heart to continue producing the in-depth posts I have in the past. At least not consistently enough to fill a blog. But I am still reading and learning. I hope that more and more people begin to understand some of the causes of the crises that our nation is now facing. Problems are coming to a head, and one can only hope there’s a positive side to that. When things are relatively good, it’s easy to be complacent about irresponsible government spending, trampling of personal rights and unconstitutional laws.

I’d like to do my part by using this venue to pass along some pieces worth thinking about. I’ll start with the wisdom of Jon Stewart.

To me, a very pressing and troubling issue  is the media’s determination to shun Republican candidate Ron Paul, the only person running for President who has something unique to say. While our Titanic of a nation sinks, every other politician is busy declaring how they’d rearrange the deck chairs, while Paul has spelled out exactly how he’d plug up the hole.

Last week Paul came in first in the Illinois straw poll. In fact, he won 52% of the vote, more than Romney, Cain, Perry, Gingrich, Bachman, Huntsman and Santorum combined. Wow, big news? Hardly. Paul’s notable victory was promptly buried by the mainstream press. Meanwhile there’s been a plethora of airtime about Herman Cain’s irrelevant personal debacles. The obvious and intentional snubbing of Ron Paul by the media was well summed up in a hilarious piece by Jon Stewart back in August.

In addition to the silence of the press on his grassroots campaign, Ron Paul’s airtime during the Republican debates have been glaringly inequitable. One blogger went to the trouble of doing the math for one of the debates and found that Paul was 8th in speaking opportunities, though at the time he was 3rd in the polls (were you aware that he was third in the polls?) Yet, as evidenced by the Illinois survey, Ron Paul’s popularity has continued to grow.

Whether or not you like Ron Paul’s message, a burning issue is why the press has gone from purveyors of the truth to outlets for their own personal agendas.

In a side note: it has been so long since I last wrote that I didn’t remember what my last post was about. It was interesting to see that it was an argument against sending American troops into Libya. I was disputing the position that the Libyan people needed us to intervene in their civil war to escape being crushed by government-backed forces.  As it turns out, the Libyan people were able to oust strongman Moammar Qaddafi in short order without the help of a U.S. ground war. This averted the deaths of American servicemen and likely saved our nation hundreds of millions of dollars. But perhaps most importantly, by limiting America’s role in another nation’s conflict there will be less potential for our enemies’ animosity: Qaddafi was killed by his own people, not by an”invading U.S. force.”

I apologize for disappearing.  I hope you’ll continue to be a loyal reader.

Posted in Debt, election, Freedom of Speech, Libya, Media bias, Politics, Ron Paul | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »