Who talked Rick Perry into grabbing the third rail of American politics? In case you don’t recognize the phrase, “the third rail” refers to any criticism of the Social Security system or any suggestions on ways to improve it by anyone running for public office anywhere in the United States.

It’s called the third rail because, just like a subway line, touching it usually proves fatal.

In the book Perry published last year, which he called Fed Up!, the Texas Governor referred to Social Security as “a Ponzi scheme.” Nobody made much of a fuss about it at the time. Outside of Texas, who cares what the Governor there says?

But now that Perry has taken the top spot in the Republican race for the White House, the poor guy is really getting pounded for it — and for a bunch of other “crazy, right-wing” sentiments he expressed there as well. Or at least so saith the New York Times and Washington Post.

Paul Derangement Syndrome (PDS) is a mental condition that, though it was first detected during the 2008 Republican presidential primaries, has only now been identified for the dangerous disorder that it is. Also known as “Paulophobia,” those suffering from it find themselves tortured by their fear of Texas Congressman and three time presidential candidate Ron Paul.

PDS is peculiar in that in spite of its being a contagion, there is but one segment of the general population that it is known to afflict. Even more curious is the fact that this segment consists of Ron Paul’s fellow partisans in the Republican Party. More specifically, it is neoconservative men and women, especially those with a particularly powerful proclivity for “conservative” talk radio and Fox News, who are most susceptible to contracting PDS.

PDS is known to ravage the rationality of its hosts. While this disorder indeed promises to reduce its victims’ thoughts on Congressman Paul to textbook cases of illogic, it would be a mistake to infer from this that every Paulophobe was a clear thinker prior to falling prey to PDS:

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska)  plans to introduce a controversial bill that would abolish every federal regulation enacted in the past two decades, including restrictions on banking, oil drilling, healthcare, and food and drug safety. "My bill is very simple, I just null and void any regulations passed in the last 20 years," Young announced to a crowd at the Anchorage Downtown Rotary Club. "I picked 20 years ago because it crossed party lines and also we were prosperous at that time. And no new regulations until they can justify them."

Rep. Young’s legislation is still in development, but the premise of the bill is to dissolve burdensome regulations that hamper American businesses from growing and prospering in the sluggish U.S. economy. "The main thing is if an agency can’t justify a regulation, it shouldn’t be on the board," he contended. "The overall idea behind the legislation is to make sure an agency justifies these regulations." The Alaskan congressman did however cede to the likely fate that his proposal would be barricaded by the Democratic-led Senate or stamped with a veto by President Obama.

No extended society has ever existed without some form of law enforcement. However, it is important to understand that there are two very different approaches to maintaining public order.

One of them envisions the police, or whatever the law-enforcement apparatus is called, as public servants, whose job is to protect the public against violent and fraudulent criminal elements that exist in every society. This mindset recognizes that the public must also sometimes protect themselves, since a police force limited to public service by definition cannot be everywhere at once. It also contemplates strict limits on police powers, such as those embodied in civil protections against arbitrary searches and seizures and in the hallowed right of habeas corpus. Where law enforcement exceeds its carefully defined and limited powers, it is held responsible, and officers guilty of abuse of power are subject to punishment like any other lawbreakers. This view of policing is embodied in the motto “To protect and to serve,” coined by the Los Angeles Police Department in 1955, and now used by many other police departments as well.

The Police and Power
In a free society, the ordinary citizen sees the police officer as a respected and trusted public servant and his presence is welcome. The other, and withal, more prevalent view of law enforcement throughout history is that its primary function is to protect the class that wields political power. This class may be a monarchic dynasty, as in Rome under the Caesars; a tribe, as in Gadhafi’s Libya; or a gang of ideologues, as in the former Soviet Union and modern Communist China and Cuba.

Sam Antonio, Liberty News Network, interviews Doug Wead, advisor for Ron Paul campaign.

Governor Beverly Perdue’s recent suggestion that we suspend the 2012 elections so our Representatives can focus on getting things done has caused some to question whether she is fit to hold office. After all, if you want to preserve a wayward democratic republic, it’s probably not the best idea to suggest that democracy is what’s driving us off course.

And ever since an audio surfaced of the North Carolina Democrat’s remarks, her efforts at damage control — a claim that she was simply indulging sarcasm — have been falling short. The audio reveals that her suggestion was rendered matter-of-factly, embedded within more than a minute of almost continuous blather, which, perhaps, leads one to believe that Perdue might be well served in the future to take a breath. It never helps when your mouth is one step ahead of your brain.

But whether the Governor was serious or just possesses the world’s worst delivery is secondary, because she isn’t fit to hold office either way. It isn’t, however, for the reason most critics think.
 

In a court case sure to go down in history for one of the most bizarre rulings, a Wisconsin judge has held that American citizens do not have a "fundamental right to produce or consume foods of their choice." The decision was so shocking that the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund asked the judge to issue a clarification of the ruling.

The case involved people who owned cows and sought to board them at a farm. As noted by Foolocracy.com, “Although the commercial relationship between the owner of the cow and owner of the land gives cause for the state to intervene, Fiedler [took] his ruling into a more personal and troubling direction.”

The plaintiffs in the case argued that their right to privacy — which allows them to decline medical treatment, allow abortion, view pornography, and engage in consensual sex — should also translate into the right to “consume food of his/her own choice.”

Judge Patrick Fiedler remained unconvinced, claiming that the constitutionality of food rights is “wholly without merit.” He added that the plaintiffs' use of the Roe v Wade case as a precedent does “not explain why a woman’s right to have an abortion translates to a right to consume unpasteurized milk….
 

In what is likely to be their only point of agreement, both sides in a lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) petitioned the Supreme Court on Wednesday to hear their appeals and rule on the law’s constitutionality as soon as possible. Both are appealing a ruling by a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that the ObamaCare individual mandate is unconstitutional but the rest of the law is not.

The Obama administration, which (as The New American reported Tuesday) allowed a deadline for requesting a review of the ruling by the full circuit court to pass, appealed to the Supreme Court to uphold the entire law. U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr., “said the justices should defer to ‘the considered judgment of the elected branches of government on how to address a crisis in the national healthcare market,’” according to the Los Angeles Times.

The plaintiffs — 26 state Attorneys General plus the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) — are, on the other hand, asking the court to strike down the whole law, not just the individual mandate.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has reversed course on a law to regulate safety systems to prevent swimmers, particularly children, from getting trapped in public swimming pool drains. Federal regulators will investigate single drain systems and require public pools to install suction shut off systems by May 2012, or they will be closed down. In a 3-2 vote, the CPSC approved the new pool-safety measure on Wednesday. Previous to the new requirement, municipal pool operators were exempted from requirements mandated by the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act of 2007 if they installed special covers on their drains to prevent entrapments.

In response to incidences where children have drowned from getting trapped in pool drains — including the 7-year-old granddaughter of former Secretary of State James Baker — the requirement would force public pools with a single main drain to install back-up systems that would be capable of automatically shutting down the suction of the drain.

Due to pool and spa drain entrapments, between 1999 and 2010 — an entire decade — there have been 80 injuries and 12 fatalities, according to government reports.

This is a speech delivered by the author at the Liberty Political Action Conferene in Reno, Nevada, on September 15, 2011:

Introduction
The phenomenon that has arrested our attention and that is the object of our concerns is something that we call “liberty.”  Indeed, if our political universe can be said to consist of ideas, then the idea of liberty is the center around which every other revolves.  Partisans of every conceivable variety, if they insist upon engaging in our political discourse, simply have no option but to become fluent in the language of liberty.  The idiom of liberty has prevailed over all others, not just within the contemporary Western world, but well beyond it.  In America, especially, one would no more think to deny the value of liberty than one would think to deny the values of compassion, justice, or any other virtue.

Still, just because the rhetoric of liberty springs effortlessly from our lips does not mean, necessarily, that we know that of which we speak.  It is true, no doubt, that, not unlike any number of other concepts with which we are acquainted, “liberty” is not something that is easy to define.  And, not unlike any other concept, the challenges of defining liberty, we are confident, do not preclude us from identifying it when we see it.  Whether this self-assurance is justified, however, is another question.

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