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Posts Tagged ‘freedom’

The Cartel premiering in multiple cities

Posted by Richard on April 28, 2010

The Cartel, a feature-length documentary about the failures of the public school system and attempts to reform it, is premiering in Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Washington DC, Philadelphia, and St. Louis on Friday, April 30, and in Denver on Tuesday, May 4. Special events and speakers are planned in many locations on opening night; go here for city-by-city information.

In Denver, the film will play at the Chez Artiste, 2800 S. Colorado Blvd. The 7 PM May 4 showing will be co-hosted by the Independence Institute and Liberty on the Rocks. Institute President John Caldera will speak briefly before the film, so arrive early. Afterward, Pam Benigno and Ben DeGrow of the Institute's Education Policy Center will take questions and lead discussion. 

The film, which focuses on New Jersey schools, has won numerous awards and lots of critical praise. It sold out its New York premier and screenings across New Jersey. Watch the trailer below, and some clips from the film here

[YouTube link]

The Cartel was made possible by the support of the Moving Picture Institute, which also brought us 2081, among others. Their motto is "Promoting Freedom Through Film." Please join me in supporting their efforts.

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Congratulations, Iraqis!

Posted by Richard on March 8, 2010

Hearty congratulations to the brave people of Iraq! Once again, they risked life and limb to flock to the polling stations. Al Qaeda promised to disrupt the election, and there were indeed a number of violent attacks. But the people of Iraq were determined to choose their own government and could not be deterred even by threat of death:

It takes a cynical mind not to share in the achievement of Iraq's national elections. Bombs and missiles, al Qaeda threats and war fatigue failed to deter millions of Iraqis of all sects and regions from exercising a right that is rare in the Arab world. Even the U.N.'s man in Baghdad called the vote "a triumph."

On Sunday, 61% of eligible voters came out in Anbar Province, a former extremist stronghold that includes the towns of Fallujah and Ramadi. In the last national elections five years ago, 3,375 people—or 2%—voted in Anbar. The other Sunni-dominated provinces that boycotted in 2005 saw similar numbers: over 70% turnout in Diyala and Salaheddin and 67% in Nineveh, all higher than the national average of 62%. American Presidential elections rarely have such turnout.

Al Qaeda as well as Sunni and Shiiite extremist groups were defeated militarily by the surge, and this election continues the trend toward settling disputes through politics, not bombs. The remaining terrorists, far weaker and organized in smaller cells, tried hard to deter voting. Thirty-eight people died in various mortar, rocket and bomb attacks on election day. But the attackers had trouble getting near voting stations, and security in Baghdad and elsewhere was good and Iraqis brushed off these threats.

The election result itself is up for grabs and won't be known for several days. Incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki needs to build a new coalition with skeptical Shiite and Kurd parties. Though Shiite himself, former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi attracted Sunni votes to his nationalist secular block. The Kurdish coalition may split.

But the very uncertainty about the results is a sign of democracy's advance, and the drama won't go unnoticed in a Middle East where the victories are always landslides for the ruling party. The contrast with Iran's stolen 2009 vote couldn't be more dramatic, and even Al-Jazeera ran special coverage around the clock.

With the help and protection of coalition forces led by the U.S., Iraqis first voted in free elections a little over five years ago. On December 15, 2005, Iraq became the first constitutional republic in the Arab world, a truly momentous event that will hopefully lead to profound changes in that region in the future.

Yesterday, they reaffirmed their commitment to a democratic form of government. My hat's off to the people of Iraq for the courage and commitment they've shown and to the United States Armed Forces for making this possible. 

And to George W. Bush for believing that democracy and freedom are transformative

Iraqi woman with purple finger and tear in her eye

(Photo is from 2005. See this post.)

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A good week for liberty

Posted by Richard on January 22, 2010

It's been a good week for Liberty, hasn't it? First Amendment rights restored, socialized medicine derailed, socialist Democrats repudiated in Massachusetts (of all places) and in trouble in California and all across the country — is that a boatload of good news, or what?

I've been in the throes of a bad cold all week, and somewhat down as a consequence, but I'm getting over it now — and feeling pretty damned good about how things have been going lately. 🙂 Don't let up, Friends of Liberty, we've got them on the run!

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Celebrating the triumph of liberty

Posted by Richard on November 9, 2009

Twenty years ago today, residents of the slave state known as the Democratic Republic of Germany danced atop the Berlin Wall with their West German brethren and rushed through the suddenly open gates to freedom — a freedom that thousands had been killed for attempting to reach. It was the beginning of the end for the Iron Curtain, the Soviet Empire, and the subjugation of hundreds of millions under brutal collectivist regimes. It was arguably the most momentous event since the end of World War II.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who herself walked from East Germany to freedom that day, is leading the appropriately massive celebrations taking place all day today in Berlin. Joining her are Mikhail Gorbachev, Lech Walesa, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, and the leaders of all 27 European Union countries.

Absent is the leader of the country most responsible for the fall of the Berlin Wall, the country that made possible the survival of West Berlin to see that glorious day. President Obama declined Chancellor Merkel's invitation to attend, saying he was too busy. So let's see what his schedule for today looks like: 

Office of the Press Secretary
November 8, 2009


In the morning, the President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing, the Economic Daily Briefing, and meet with senior advisors in the Oval Office. These meetings are closed press.

In the evening, the President will sign an Executive Order on the employment of veterans in the federal government in the Oval Office. Through this Executive Order, the President will make the Federal Government the model employer of Veterans. The Executive Order establishes a Council on Veterans Employment and a Veterans Employment Program office within most Federal agencies. The signing is closed press.

The President will then meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel in the Oval Office. This meeting is closed press.

In-Town Travel Pool
Wires: AP, Reuters, Bloomberg
Wire Photos: AP, Reuters, AFP
TV Corr & Crew: CNN
Print: CQ
Radio: VOA
Travel Photo: TIME


9:00AM Pool Call Time

10:00AM THE PRESIDENT receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
Oval Office
Closed Press

10:30AM THE PRESIDENT receives the Economic Daily Briefing
Oval Office
Closed Press

11:00AM THE PRESIDENT meets with senior advisors
Oval Office
Closed Press

6:45PM THE PRESIDENT signs the Veterans Employment Initiative Executive Order
Oval Office
Closed Press

7:00PM THE PRESIDENT meets with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel
Oval Office
Closed Press

Briefing Schedule

12:30PM Briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs


The Office of the Press Secretary doesn't disclose with whom the President is playing golf in the afternoon. 

When I learned that Mikhail Gorbachev was attending the ceremonies today in Berlin, I felt a bit of a lump in my throat. The man who should really be there, but who's no longer with us — the man who, more than any other, brought about that day of liberation in 1989 — is the man who issued this challenge to Gorbachev in 1987: 

“General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

To watch, listen to, or read President Reagan's address at the Brandenburg Gate, go here.  

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A Time for Choosing

Posted by Richard on October 29, 2009

Yesterday was the 45th anniversary of the TV broadcast "Rendezvous with Destiny," a 30-minute campaign commercial for Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, delivered by Ronald Reagan. It was a variation of a speech called "A Time for Choosing," padded with some "vote for Goldwater because…" stuff.

Reagan delivered this speech many times in 1964, including when he nominated Sen. Goldwater at the Republican National Convention. Reagan fans of a sufficient age have always just called it "The Speech." It is as meaningful today as it was in 1964. These excerpts are (despite what the intro at this site says) from his nominating speech at the convention:

It's time we asked ourselves if we still know the freedoms intended for us by the Founding Fathers. James Madison said, "We base all our experiments on the capacity of mankind for self government."

This idea — that government was beholden to the people, that it had no other source of power — is still the newest, most unique idea in all the long history of man's relation to man. This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.

You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man's age-old dream–the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order — or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path. Plutarch warned, "The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits."

The Founding Fathers knew a government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing.

Public servants say, always with the best of intentions, "What greater service we could render if only we had a little more money and a little more power." But the truth is that outside of its legitimate function, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector.

They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong. There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right. …

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.

Hat tip to Rush Limbaugh for reminding me (albeit a day late) and for these quotes

"In holding up Reagan, we're not holding up a man, a cult of personality figure. We're holding up principles. We're reminding people of how the country was founded." — Rush

 "If you think that the era of Reagan is over simply because the external threat of the Soviet Union was beaten down, you have missed the whole point. Reagan was talking about tyranny, liberty, and freedom, and freedom is always threatened, always has to be fought for." — Rush

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Victory for freedom in Honduras

Posted by Richard on August 8, 2009

According to Investor's Business Daily, the Obama administration has abandoned its effort to destroy freedom and democracy in Honduras (emphasis added):

In a welcome about-face, the State Department told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Richard Lugar, R-Ind., in a letter Tuesday that the U.S. would no longer threaten sanctions on Honduras for ousting its president, Mel Zelaya, last June 28.

Nor will it insist on Zelaya's return to power. As it turns out, the U.S. Senate can't find any legal reason why the Honduran Supreme Court's refusal to let Zelaya stay in office beyond the time allowed by Honduran law constitutes a "military coup."

Things could have worked out differently. Venezuela's Hugo Chavez first called for invading Honduras. That threat passed as it became clear Chavez couldn't project his power there.

Next, civil unrest was threatened by Zelaya. But Hondurans astounded the world by standing by their Congress, Supreme Court, attorney general, businesses and the church, all of which declared that Zelaya had violated the constitution and had to go.

Zelaya might have regained power, but only by becoming a dictator and ending Honduras' democracy. The people ended that.

The scariest outcome for Honduras was U.S. sanctions. They would have crushed the tiny country dependent on the U.S. for 80% of its trade. No sanctions, no Zelaya.

This isn't to say U.S. policymakers are happy or that the dispute is over. Honduras is still suspended from the Organization of American States, its trade has been disrupted, Venezuela's oil is still cut off, and its officials still can't get U.S. visas. But the worst is over. Whatever changes that come will be by Honduran consent alone.

So with great reluctance, the Obama administration has decided to stop siding with Venezuela's Chavez and Cuba's Castro in their effort to subvert freedom and democracy in Honduras. Thanks, guys, for small favors. Any chance that you'll support democrats over autocrats in other places and times?

I'm not optimistic, since you just acknowledged Ahm-a-doin-a-jihad as the legitimate elected leader of Iran — or did you

Anyway, hearty congratulations to the brave people of Honduras!

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At least some people are supporting democracy in Honduras

Posted by Richard on July 10, 2009

The Obama administration, which could hardly be bothered to comment on the brutal repression and slaughter in Iran, was quick to interfere in the internal affairs of Honduras. Immediately after would-be President-for-Life Manuel Zelaya was (quite legally) removed from office, President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton allied the U.S. with leftist thugs like Castro, Chavez, Ortega, and the dictators who control the United Nations in efforts to overturn the will of the Honduran people and subvert their constitutional democracy.

Seventeen senators have sent a letter to Clinton objecting to the administration's one-sided support of Zelaya and disregard for Honduran law. Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson praised the letter (emphasis added): 

“These 17 Senators deserve the praise of all who believe in the rule of law, and the people of Honduras deserve the support of all Americans who value freedom and democratic, constitutional rule,” Wilson added.

Yesterday, an urgent letter was sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her to meet with the current government of Honduras, stating [PDF], “While you have already met with Mr. Zelaya, we find it discouraging that you are unwilling to meet with Honduran officials that have simply followed their constitution.”

The letter was sent by Senators Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), David Vitter (R-Louisiana), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), John Ensign (R-Nevada), Jim Bunning (R-Kentucky), Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska), Kit Bond (R-Missouri), Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), James Risch (R-Idaho), Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), John Thune (R-South Dakota), and Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama).

Attached to the letter are the charges that were filed against former Honduran president Manuel Zelaya by the Attorney General of Honduras, Luis Alberto Rubi, to the Supreme Court of Honduras. Also attached is the order by the court to arrest Zelaya for “acting against the established form of government, treason against the country, abuse of authority, and usurpation of power in detriment of the public administration and of the State of Honduras.”

“The official documents of the Honduran Attorney General and Supreme Court, along with the vote of their Congress to impeach and remove Manuel Zelaya from office, prove irrefutably that Zelaya was properly removed from power in accordance with the Honduran Constitution,” said Wilson.

Of the 370-odd articles in Honduras' 27-year-old constitution, seven are protected from amendment or repeal. One of those, Article 239, limits the President to one term and calls for the immediate removal from office of any official who attempts to violate that provision or even proposes that it be changed. Octavio Sánchez explained the reason for this: 

Continuismo – the tendency of heads of state to extend their rule indefinitely – has been the lifeblood of Latin America's authoritarian tradition. The Constitution's provision of instant sanction might sound draconian, but every Latin American democrat knows how much of a threat to our fragile democracies continuismo presents. In Latin America, chiefs of state have often been above the law. The instant sanction of the supreme law has successfully prevented the possibility of a new Honduran continuismo.

The Supreme Court and the attorney general ordered Zelaya's arrest for disobeying several court orders compelling him to obey the Constitution. He was detained and taken to Costa Rica. Why? Congress needed time to convene and remove him from office. With him inside the country that would have been impossible. This decision was taken by the 123 (of the 128) members of Congress present that day.

The Supreme Court and Congress did not act hastily. They ordered the military to arrest Zelaya only after he personally led a mob that broke into a government warehouse. The mob seized the ballots that were confiscated to prevent Zelaya from holding an illegal "referendum" to abrogate the constitution — ballots, by the way, that were provided to him by Hugo Chavez. (I wonder how many of them had been conveniently pre-marked. I wonder if Jimmy Carter was scheduled to vouch for the outcome of the voting.)

Don't believe the coup myth. The Honduran military acted entirely within the bounds of the Constitution. The military gained nothing but the respect of the nation by its actions.

I am extremely proud of my compatriots. Finally, we have decided to stand up and become a country of laws, not men. From now on, here in Honduras, no one will be above the law.

I am extremely disturbed by the behavior of my government in toward Honduras. It's attempting to coerce that sovereign nation into returning to power a leftist thug who tried to overturn the country's constitution and who was legally removed from office in order to preserve democratic government and the rule of law. 

It seems that at every possible opportunity — Israel, Iran, Honduras — the Obama administration has either turned its back on or actively opposed the forces of democracy and freedom.

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Rediscovering Frederick Douglass

Posted by Richard on July 7, 2009

Jonathan Bean:

Some 157 years ago, in 1852, the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass delivered his “Fourth of July Oration” condemning America for practicing slavery and thereby failing to live up to the humane ideals expressed by the Declaration of Independence.

“What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July?” Douglass thundered. “I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.”

Douglass’s words might seem passé on Independence Day 2009, with Barack Obama occupying the White House, several black Americans serving as governors, and others running everything from the Republican National Committee to Fortune 500 companies. But the words of the Sage of Anacostia remain not only relevant, but essential. Why? Douglass unfailingly opposed any man’s exercising control over another, and he would be appalled, his writings suggest, by the new spirit of dependency and control ushered in with the Age of Obama. Douglass championed limited constitutional government, colorblind law, capitalism, hard work, and self-help. His principles are not the stuff of “New New Deals” but rather a brief for a “New Independence Day” based on small-government principles.

Read. The. Whole. Thing.

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Happy Independence Day!

Posted by Richard on July 4, 2009

Note: This is a near-duplicate of last year's Independence Day post. Because every bit of it is something that we should all read and think about every Independence Day, and there's no point in trying to update or improve it. One change: Rush Limbaugh, bless his heart, never did move his father's fine speech, "The Americans Who Risked Everything," to the subscriber portion of his site. It's still available to everyone at the link below, and I assume it will continue to be. So go read it!

 Old Glory

Perhaps the finest words ever penned by man, from the document that changed the world for the better like no other before or since:  

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Last Independence Day, I posted an excerpt from "The Americans Who Risked Everything," a wonderful speech by Rush Limbaugh, Jr. (father of talkmeister Rush Limbaugh III) about the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Please go read that excerpt.

(Note: Through the weekend, you can read the whole speech in the public portion of Rush's site; after that, it will again disappear into the subscriber-only portion of the site.)

After the portion I previously excerpted, Limbaugh went on to provide specific details about the price paid by some of the signers for their courageous act. Then he summarized:

Of those 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, nine died of wounds or hardships during the war. Five were captured and imprisoned, in each case with brutal treatment. Several lost wives, sons or entire families. One lost his 13 children. Two wives were brutally treated. All were at one time or another the victims of manhunts and driven from their homes. Twelve signers had their homes completely burned. Seventeen lost everything they owned. Yet not one defected or went back on his pledged word. Their honor, and the nation they sacrificed so much to create is still intact.

And, finally, there is the New Jersey signer, Abraham Clark.

He gave two sons to the officer corps in the Revolutionary Army. They were captured and sent to that infamous British prison hulk afloat in New York Harbor known as the hell ship Jersey, where 11,000 American captives were to die. The younger Clarks were treated with a special brutality because of their father. One was put in solitary and given no food. With the end almost in sight, with the war almost won, no one could have blamed Abraham Clark for acceding to the British request when they offered him his sons' lives if he would recant and come out for the King and Parliament. The utter despair in this man's heart, the anguish in his very soul, must reach out to each one of us down through 200 years with his answer: "No."

The 56 signers of the Declaration Of Independence proved by their every deed that they made no idle boast when they composed the most magnificent curtain line in history. "And for the support of this Declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

His son then added the following postscript:

My friends, I know you have a copy of the Declaration of Independence somewhere around the house – in an old history book (newer ones may well omit it), an encyclopedia, or one of those artificially aged "parchments" we all got in school years ago. I suggest that each of you take the time this month to read through the text of the Declaration, one of the most noble and beautiful political documents in human history.

There is no more profound sentence than this: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness…"

These are far more than mere poetic words. The underlying ideas that infuse every sentence of this treatise have sustained this nation for more than two centuries. They were forged in the crucible of great sacrifice. They are living words that spring from and satisfy the deepest cries for liberty in the human spirit.

"Sacred honor" isn't a phrase we use much these days, but every American life is touched by the bounty of this, the Founders' legacy. It is freedom, tested by blood, and watered with tears.

If you don't have a copy of the Declaration handy, you can find the entire text here. I, too, suggest you take the time this Independence Day to read it. Better yet, if you're celebrating with a crowd, have the best speaker in the group read it out loud to everyone. While they're enjoying a brew and waiting for the burgers and brats to cook. Then, all of you raise a glass.

To Liberty, my friends! To Liberty!

John Trumbull's "Declaration of Independence"

John Trumbull's "Declaration of Independence"

The painting features the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence — John Adams, Roger Sherman, Thomas Jefferson (presenting the document), and Benjamin Franklin — standing before John Hancock, the President of the Continental Congress. The painting includes portraits of 42 of the 56 signers and 5 other patriots. The artist sketched the individuals and the room from life.

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Tiananmen in Tehran II

Posted by Richard on June 25, 2009

I invoked the memory of Tiananmen Square last week. I may have been premature. Apparently, the suppression of dissent in Tehran became a true massacre today.

Guns, clubs, and axes. Axes!

They were especially targeting the women, because women are "the greatest threat to the regime."

These are the monsters with whom we're supposed to resolve our differences by sitting down with them and talking??

I'm beyond outrage. I'm beyond grief. I'm beyond words. Go. Look. Think.

(HT: Vodkapundit)

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Appalled and outraged … at last

Posted by Richard on June 23, 2009

More than a week after every major European leader (aren't we supposed to take our cues from the Europeans?), President Obama has finally strongly condemned the brutal repression of dissent in Iran. He's ten days late, but better late than never:

After days of criticism from Republicans, Mr. Obama opened a White House news conference saying he was "appalled and outraged" by the threats and confrontations in the streets of the Iranian capital. He declined to confirm whether a U.S. offer of direct talks with Iran will still stand, instead saying he would wait to see how the postelection crisis there "plays itself out."

"In 2009, no iron fist is strong enough to shut off the world from bearing witness to the peaceful pursuit of justice," Mr. Obama said. "The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, the beatings and imprisonments of the last few days. I strongly condemn these unjust actions, and I join with the American people in mourning each and every innocent life that is lost."

Very good, Mr. President. Very good indeed. Now why was that so difficult? 

It wasn't as forceful as Reagan's support of the Solidarity movement in 1981, but it's a start. Now if only the Iranian people had a Lech Walesa to lead them instead of that mullah-approved sorry excuse for a "reform candidate," Mousavi.

UPDATE: The Spirit of Man and Foundation for Democracy in Iran (June 23, Update 1) had very different reactions than mine. I wasn't aware that Iranian diplomats had been invited to an Independence Day barbecue at the White House and that the invitation still stands. Now I'm appalled. I take back my mild praise — it appears to be undeserved.

UPDATE 2 (6/24): The Independence Day invitation wasn't to a White House event, but to numerous July 4th events at American embassies and consulates around the world. Apparently faced with growing outrage and disbelief, the White House has finally rescinded the invitation. It wasn't exactly an act of great moral courage, since exactly zero Iranian diplomats had accepted the invitation. 

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What you can do to help the people of Iran

Posted by Richard on June 16, 2009

The struggle for freedom and democracy continues in Iran (as it always will, anywhere and everywhere that the human spirit yearns to be free). Winston of The Spirit of Man is asking for your help:

I have been asked by so many people today again about how they can help the people of Iran in their quest for democracy and freedom. I have had calls from as far as Holland. This is what I think any decent human being can do to help further the cause of liberty in Iran:

In the United States: Get on the phones. Call your US Congressmen/women and demand they issue statements in support of the Iranian people. Remind them of Iran Freedom Support Act of 2005. Make sure to be polite and courteous. Call your senators and demand they be tough with the regime.

In Canada, UK, Holland & other European countries: Call your respective Members of Parliament. Demand they press their respective governments not to negotiate with the Iranian regime. Be polite and ask them kindly to issue statements in support of the people of Iran's quest for democracy and liberty. You can call or write to your media and ask them to cover the Iranian regime's brutal crackdown of the peaceful protests in any way they can. This is a media war. This is the information war. All of you regardless of your location can spread the word. The regime fears nothing like information. That's all I can think of now but if you've comments or suggestions, please share them with me.

You can find local pro-freedom rallies arranged by Iranian expats in your town/city and show up as a sign of support. Trust me, it is very heart warming for Iranians to see you care. All of us need to be encouraged and I am sure your presence provides that for those who are fighting the regime. Thank you!

So far, no luck finding any information about rallies in the Denver area, but I'll keep looking. If I find one, I'll be there!


“All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.”

President George W. Bush
Second Inaugural Speech
January 20, 2005


Obama repeated Tuesday at a news conference his "deep concerns" about the disputed balloting. He said he believes the ayatollah's decision to order an investigation "indicates he understands the Iranian people have deep concerns."

But at the same time, Obama said it would not be helpful if the United States was seen by the world as "meddling" in the issue.

Times have changed. How sad. How shameful.

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Tiananmen in Tehran

Posted by Richard on June 16, 2009

They shot pro-democracy demonstrators in Tehran yesterday. The Mousavi campaign called off a protest rally today because they were warned that riot squads would be using live ammunition. And vote counts allegedly leaked by someone in the interior ministry put Ahm-a-doin-a-jihad in third place:

The statistics, circulated on Iranian blogs and websites, claimed Mr Mousavi had won 19.1 million votes while Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won only 5.7 million.

The two other candidates, reformist Mehdi Karoubi and hardliner Mohsen Rezai, won 13.4 million and 3.7 million respectively. The authenticity of the leaked figures could not be confirmed.

No one actually knows how many have been killed, beaten, and arrested, or in how many other cities the demonstrations have been taking place. Foreign journalists (and Iranians working for them) are essentially under "house arrest," ordered to cover these events by watching the state-run TV reports from their hotel rooms.

So much for the wishful thinking of President Obama, who seemed so sure last Friday that his Cairo speech had changed the world, but who this week has decided to "withhold comment" (as Biden put it):

The clenched fist of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in his suspect return to power, has not only delivered a blow to freedom-seeking Iranians; it is also knocking the Obama administration for a loop — primarily because the president has chosen not to stand with Iranians who seek "a future of peace and dignity."

The administration was obviously rooting for Ahmadinejad to be beaten by his chief rival, former Iranian prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi. The president on Friday, the day of the election, spoke of "a robust debate taking place in Iran" bringing with it "new possibilities" and "the possibility of change."

How naive those words sound in retrospect. Presidential wishful thinking has crashed head-on into Islamofascist reality.

Europeans have condemned Iran's repressive regime, but apparently the Obama administration — true to its post-modernist, morally relativist, politically correct intellectual roots — doesn't want to be seen as taking sides between a brutal theocracy and people yearning for their basic human rights. It doesn't want anyone to think we might meddle in Iran's affairs — in this new era of hopenchange, the U.S. only meddles in the affairs of pro-Western democracies like Israel.

This brutal repression of Iranians' desire for freedom and democracy is unfolding less than two weeks after the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, with its iconic image of a lone brave man standing in front of a line of tanks. Yesterday's big demonstration (and the shootings) took place in Azadi (Freedom) Square — a fitting location with a more meaningful name than Tiananmen (Gate of Heavenly Peace).

Tehran 24 has striking pictures and video from the last few days. Among many from Saturday, this compelling image reminiscent of Tiananmen stood out:

defiant woman in Tehran

 My thoughts are with this courageous woman and all the brave freedom-loving people of Iran. I'd like to think that behind the scenes, stealthily, the U.S. is providing at least some support to the pro-democracy forces — but with this administration, it's highly unlikely.

For more news and commentary on Iran, check out The Spirit of Man and the Foundation for Democracy in Iran. The latter has called on Obama for support (emphasis in original): 

The Foundation for Democracy in Iran has written to President Barack Hussein Obama, urging him to stand up for America's principles and avoid the error made by President Clinton in 1999, when he washed his hands of the student uprising in Iran, claiming that America could do nothing."Mr. President, America can do much, as you and your supporters said repeatedly during your election campaign. For starters, America should continue to hold up the beacon of liberty that Iranians look to with such longing – not put it under a shroud," the letter states.

The FDI does not call on the United States to support any particular group or party inside Iran, but instead calls on the president to "assert America’s moral authority in defense of freedom."

Above all, the letter calls on President Obama "to refuse to recognize the imposter regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and to muster world opinion to neutralize him behind an international cordon sanitaire until he crumbles from isolation and neglect. Download a PDF of the letter.

I hope they're not holding their breaths. By Obama's reckoning, America has no moral authority, and championing liberty and human rights for Iranians would be "imposing our way of life" on the government thugs descending on that brave woman above.

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2081 set to premier

Posted by Richard on May 14, 2009

Last August, I posted about 2081: Everyone Will Finally Be Equal, the theatrical short film based on Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron. According to producer Thor Halvorrsen and director Chandler Tuttle (via email), it's finally coming out:

Many of you have written to us over the past few weeks and months asking when 2081 would be released in theaters or made available on DVD, and I am thrilled to say that we finally have an answer: 2081 has been accepted to the Seattle International Film Festival and will be premiering on Friday, May 29th as part of the Shorts Program's opening night festivities:

2081 World Premiere
Seattle International Film Festival
ShortsFest Opening Night

Friday May 29th, 7pm

SIFF Cinema
321 Mercer Street
Seattle, WA

If you're going to be in Seattle, you can get tickets at the SIFF website. The rest of us will probably have to wait until October, when it becomes available via DVD and download. Watch the trailer at the 2081 website and if you're interested, sign up for email updates.

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Posted by Richard on April 7, 2009

Ari Armstrong's has won the highest honor in this year's Samuel Adams Alliance Sammie Awards competition, the "Modern-Day Sam Adams Award." Armstrong's award, according to the Sam Adams Alliance, is significant and noteworthy:

Armstrong wins the $10,000 prize for his relentless—and ubiquitous—defense of free markets and individual liberty in the state of Colorado. He is author of and a columnist for the Grand Junction Free Press. In the last year, Ari’s work has been published in the Rocky Mountain News, Colorado Springs Gazette, Denver Post Online, and featured on numerous radio and television news programs. 

According to, the Sammie Awards will be presented later this month by luminaries of the pro-freedom movement: 

Armstrong will receive his "Golden Sammie" April 18 in Chicago. Presenting the awards will be Michelle Malkin, Stephen Moore, John Fund, Jonathan Hoenig, Mary Katharine, and Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher.

In his entry, Armstrong summarized his "food stamp" diets of 2007 and 2009, his fight against political correctness (as with the "bitch slap" controversy of 2008), his work on health policy, and various other projects.

Armstrong said, "I congratulate the other winners and look forward to learning from their example. I thank the Sam Adams Alliance for recognizing the important work for liberty done at the regional level. Finally, I thank my fellow liberty activists in Colorado — especially my wife — for teaching me so much about liberty, individual rights, and free markets, and how to advocate those values through intellectual activism. This award is for you, my brothers and sisters in liberty."

Armstrong founded (then in late 1998, before the term "blog" had been coined.

My heartiest congratulations to Ari, a most deserving recipient of this award. He is an intelligent, articulate, and passionate advocate of the freedom philosophy, and I'm proud to have worked with him in the Libertarian Party of Colorado in the years that I was active in that organization. Bravo, Ari!

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