When the Newton School massacre occurred, the bodies of the 26 victims were not even cold when the mainstream press call for and advocated for more laws restricting firearms. To the press, the victims did not matter at all. Their lives did not matter. What mattered to the press was having a story to promote an agenda. I was not in the least bit surprised, considering that 78% of all mainstream journalists favor stricter gun control laws, according to a survey of journalists done by the Los Angeles Times. To the press, the story represented a vehicle to advocate a position.

What the mainstream press chooses to ignore is that the issue is not gun control per se; it is and forever will be about mental illness, and how we as a society deal with individuals who have these afflictions.

The recent stories regarding Anna Gristina and Catherine Scalia have once again brought up the issue of prostitution in the Empire State to the forefront. These women feel that they have done nothing wrong and they also feel that they have a right to engage in this activity, regardless of what others may think. While I personally find the thought of any adult man or woman selling his or her body for the purposes of sex disgusting and abominable, I also feel that these women should not be prosecuted and that the practice of prostitution should be decriminalized.

There was once a time in America when we all praised the open mind. That we praised hearing open, honest and thoughtful debate on all sides of an argument; that we looked at all information, data and evidence; that we listened and read openly what people had said and wrote; that we would test our hypothesis over and over again always with the open mind and the come to our own conclusions.

Since the late 1960s and early 70s, most Americans have abandoned all that considering it all passé. They replaced it with their own prejudices, ideology and their own beliefs. In short, since that time, there has been a deliberate closing of the American mind.

“Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the  press or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the  Government for a redress of grievances.”

This First Amendment, adopted on Dec. 15, 1791, is the most important part of  the Constitution. With free speech and press, we can be informed when government officials violate other parts of the Constitution. And we can inform others any way we can, and form organizations strong enough to either make them stop – or vote them out of office.

Without the absolute right to freely speak, assemble and organize, a constitution is useless. The Soviet Union under the dictator Stalin had a  constitution that gave its citizens all sorts of rights. But anyone who reported violations of those rights or who tried to organize any opposition to the government was killed or sent to prison.

Last week Norm Cohen, my fellow columnist, wrote that he, and others with him on the left, want to “take the money out of politics.” They include filmmaker Michael Moore and MSNBC commentator Dylan Ratigan.

From our friends at the Mises Institute. This is chapter three of Jeffrey A. Tucker's book It's a Jetsons World: Private Miracles and Public Crimes.

I’m saddened to learn this morning that Siobhan Reynolds died over the weekend in a plane crash.

I met Reynolds several years ago when I attended a forum on Capitol Hill on the under-treatment of pain. Her story about her husband’s chronic pain was so heartbreaking it moved me to take an interest in the issue. I eventually commissioned and edited a paper on the DEA and pain treatment while I was working for Cato.

Reynolds was fierce and tireless. She ran her advocacy group the Pain Relief Network on a thin budget, and often used her own money to travel to towns and cities where she felt prosecutors were unfairly targeting a doctor. And then she’d fight back. And sometimes she’d win. And the DEA and the  federal prosecutors she fought weren’t really accustomed to that.

Read the full story at The Agitator.

Last May, New Jersey’s Supreme Court delivered the 21st Abbott vs. Burke decision, appropriating $500 million more from the state treasury for Abbott school districts. However, New Jersey’s history of court-ordered taxation to fund education originated with the Gross Income Tax Act of 1976. Advertised as a means to lower property taxes and limit the growth of public spending, the income tax was forced on residents by the court in order to improve student performance in economically disadvantaged districts by increasing per-pupil spending to the level of the wealthier districts.

Press Release

For Immediate Release
Friday, September 16, 2011

WASHINGTON - In honor of Constitution Day, Libertarian Party Executive Director Wes Benedict released the following statement today:

"Tomorrow, September 17, is Constitution Day: the anniversary of the agreement on the U.S. Constitution by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787.

"When I think about that anniversary, I am saddened by how far we have strayed from our original respect for the Constitution. But I am hopeful for the future.

"The value of a constitution is that it binds government and prevents pure majority rule. Without it, government tends to grow without bounds as political majorities find ways to constrain and take money from political minorities.

"Fortunately, the American Founders were well aware of this problem. They created a Constitution to limit the federal government's powers to just a few narrow functions.