L. Neil Smith's
Number 283, August 8, 2004

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so
are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to
harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
—President George W. Bush, August 5, 2004

[Letters to the editor are welcome on any and all subjects. To ensure their acceptance, please try to keep them under 500 words. Sign your letter in the text body with your name and e-mail address as you wish them to appear.]

Letter from Thomas Knapp

Letter from Roy J. Tellason followed by Reply from Jonathan David Morris

Letter from Jim Davidson

Letter from Spencer J. Hahn

Letter from EJ Totty

Letter from Bruce Standlee

Letter from "Aaron"

Letter from Stephen P. Gordon

The Bush administration in a nutshell

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
—President George W. Bush, August 5, 2004

Thomas Knapp

Re: The United States of Prohibition, by Jonathan David Morris

> Take New Jersey. We make it tough to buy beer. Does this surprise you? It
> shouldn't. We make it tough to do just about anything. Buying beer is just
> an example.

Actually PA is NOT a whole lot better in this respect...

> Also in New Jersey, liquor stores are forced to close at 10 p.m. So suppose
> for just a second that it's 9:45 when you decide you want a beer. What are
> your options? Well, you can race to the store, and risk getting a ticket in
> a state with three types of doubled-fine zones, or you can go to a bar,
> where liquor is served until 2. Which is fine if you want to go to a bar,
> but what if you don't? What if you don't like bars? What if you don't like
> the idea of drinking and driving home?

In PA the stores are all "state stores" and all of the employees work for the state, and are all unionized, probably a lot of the reason why privatizing them hasn't been accomplished (something Tom Ridge tried to do when he was first elected, I haven't heard much talk of it since then).

> That's just my point. What's it your business what time I decide to drink?
> What's it the State of New Jersey's business? What are you, my mom and dad
> now? Are you going to tell me when I can't have ice cream, too?
> What if I had a night job? What if I worked late just to keep my family fed?
> Are you going to tell me I'm not allowed to have a beer because I get off at
> 11:15? That's garbage. Complete and utter trash.

Yep. But I don't know that it's much bettery anywhere else, really.

> Then there's Pennsylvania.

There sure is. I've lived in PA since 1978, having managed back then to escape NYC.

> Now, here's a state with a much freer spirit than New Jersey.

That's debatable. I've never seen so many "nuisance taxes" anywhere!

> There are lots of things you can do in Pennsylvania that you can't do in my
> homeland. For example, it's easier to buy fireworks and guns.

Sparklers, maybe, and similar stuff, but most of it is prohibited here, including firecrackers. Which doesn't stop people from getting their hands on them any more than it does anywhere else, and the local cops here don't bother about it too much unless people get really stupid about it.

And as far as guns are concerned, any time you buy one in the state of PA, one copy of your paperwork goes to the state police, for their "database" that they steadfastly maintain, in spite of having been "ordered" by legislators to desist, and which they also continue to claim is not a "registry". What the hell is it, then?

> But the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the Delaware River.
> Pennsylvania has some pretty zany liquor laws of its own.

That's putting it mildly.

> If you're looking for a six-pack--no problem. Head down to the corner deli.

This is flat-out wrong. The only place you can buy a six-pack is at bars. Or very occasionally places that have a "liquor license" of a similar sort—we have a pizzeria in town here like that.

And what really galls me about it is that you can't buy less than a six-pack if you only want one or two. When I lived in NY state, you could go into any cornder deli and pick up a six, or one can if the store wanted to sell them that way (and many did), and there weren't all those silly restrictions about what hours, etc. like they have in other places.

Lots of other states are equally easy when it comes to beer and wine—MD and VA for example.

> But a case of beer? Forget it. That's an altogether separate trip to the
> beer distributor, where, by law, they sell cases but can't sell six-packs.
> Imagine having separate supermarkets for Coca Cola and
> Diet Coke. That's the kind of law this is.

It's the nanny state, is what it is.

> It's wonderful! But suppose you're buying a case of beer for a party. And
> suppose you want to serve wines and spirits, too. Well, you can want 'em all
> you want, but you can't buy 'em here. That'll require yet another stop on
> your way home. This time you've got to stop at a State Store.
> That's right. A State Store. And, no, the name isn't deceiving. The
> state--I'm sorry, commonwealth--of Pennsylvania is in the business of
> getting people blitzed, and has been since the end of Prohibition.

See my comments above on this...

> State-run establishments control the flow of wines and spirits statewide.
> And you're not even allowed to buy wine outside the state--where it's
> cheaper--and bring it back across state lines. Why? Because then the
> Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board wouldn't get its cut.

The "LCBs" have actually been known to send their people across state lines to stores in MD and elsewhere and stake out parking lots of places that sell wine and booze, and then nail the people when they come back over the line, with fines being levied "per bottle" (!) which if you're going for some brand you can't get in PA and get a case of beer you're nailed but good. They call it "bootlegging".

> When the mob monopolized liquor like this, we called it illegal. When a
> state does it, we call it the law.
> Pennsylvania knows how annoying this is, but they won't give up the ship.
> There's too much money in it. So instead they're just trying to keep up with
> the times. To that end, the PLCB now runs an online catalogue, complete with
> Chairman's Selections chosen by--you guessed it--board chairman Jonathan
> Newman. This probably sounds pretty good, though, right? What could be
> easier than ordering online? Well, not so fast: Web orders aren't sent to
> your home. They're sent to a State Store of your choosing, and you've got to
> go pick them up. So much for convenience. Somehow, ordering wine is now a
> 12-step program.

How else could they check your ID and make sure that you're old enough?

> And listen, for what it's worth, I'm not sure I trust the Chairman's
> Selections, either. I remember the story of Socrates, and I don't like the
> idea of drinking something suggested by the government. So thanks, but no
> thanks. I'll pass.


> You know what I do like, though? I like New York. Of the three states where
> I regularly buy beer, New York is the best. You still need to go to a
> separate store in order to buy wines and spirits. That stinks. But you can
> buy beer in a gas station. They even let you buy it in a grocery store. And
> why shouldn't they? There's no reason why Garden State grocers can't sell
> beer, too. I'm not buying any arguments about "the children." If you're
> worried about kids getting their hands on a longneck, don't sell it to them.
> And if you're worried they're going to steal it, that's another problem
> altogether. It's called theft. Look into loss prevention. Problem solved.

California, with as little to recommend it in many other respects, is pretty loose about this as well. There you will see booze in a 7-11...

Roy J. Tellason

Reply from Jonathan David Morris

Hi Roy. I've heard conflicting reports as to how accurate I was when I said you could buy six-packs at corner delis. I've only been visiting Pennsylvania regularly for about two years now, and it was only last week that I started moving stuff into my townhouse there. However, I know I've purchased a number of six-packs at the deli down the street from my fiancee's house, and I've seen beer sold at similar establishments. Your point remains the same, though: The rules are outrageously stringent.

According to the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, there are five types of liquor licenses in Pennsylvania, once of which is the "Eating Place," or "E," license. This can be obtained by "a delicatessen or corner store." But not just any delicatessen or corner store. "The interior dimensions of the establishment must be no less than 300 square feet," and "equipped with at least thirty chairs." Because, of course, it would be irresponsible to drink in a place that has less than thirty chairs.

Lawmakers have too much time on their hands. Someone needs to get them good and drunk... and let them foot the bill.

Jonathan David Morris

Dear Editor,

Hi. About a year ago, I would have invited Mr. Morris to join me here in Texas. We buy beer and wine in the grocery stores, hard liquor in liquor stores, and there are even liquor warehouse stores that sell beer by the case, wine, you name it. Supermarkets sell beer by the case or the six, in 12 packs and 24 packs, any way they stack 'em.

Mind, you a lot of grocery stores in Texas are run by folks of Baptist background. You might be thinking that they keep their stores dry. Not so. They've joined in. Reminds me of that old joke about why you take two Baptists with you when you go fishing. If you take only one, he drinks all your beer.

But, this past January I reacted badly to seeing a man pointing a gun at me and was handcuffed, beaten and then beaten some more while about 20 cops stood around and watched. Ten rib fractures, a broken nose, discoid antelectasis of the left lung, reduced function of the left adrenal gland, and a scar over my left eye and I've made up my mind to move to Wyoming.

Mind you, I've enjoyed my visits to Wyoming. But, I cannot recall how they do the liquor trade. I don't think they have state stores, didn't see that in their constitution when I looked it over, and there was a Casper Trib article from 13 July 2004 announcing that 83% of the underage undercover finks who tried to buy booze in Big Horn county got what they were sent for, so it can't be all bad.

It occurs to me that there may be a thing or two more important to me than whether a state lets me buy a case of beer at a drive-up liquor warehouse or not. I'm all for freedom in all things. Life, liberty, and property is the order, though, and that seems quite inspired to me.

Your mileage may vary. If you don't like your mileage, buy an autogyro.


Jim Davidson

Re: "Doctor Fix-It" by Lady Liberty

Editor, It is difficult to reconcile the principles of libertarianism and personal responsibility with Lady Liberty's comments regarding limiting medical malpractice lawsuits as part of a solution to rising medical costs.

While it may be true that "only about 5% of medical professionals cause about 80% of malpractice claims, I can think of nothing less libertarian than trusting politicians to prospectively limit a wrongdoer's civil liability for the benefit of the greater good.

I've got a better solution. How about leaving individual doctors free to choose whether to purchase from insurers who give discounts to good doctors (or refuse to insure the bad ones), maintain a separate liability fund, pool risk through an association with trusted, competent colleagues, or decide to risk going without insurance? And encouraging free market principles by eliminating Medicare, licensing / record-keeping / treatment requirements, and allowing individuals to decide for themselves where to be medical consumers, protecting patients by driving the bad doctors out via crippling lawsuits rather than ineffective regulations?

Price caps are never the answer—whether for gasoline or tort damages.

For information on myths concerning medical malpractice caps, check out [this link] (which despite having its own slant provides useful facts regarding California's experience with such caps).

Spencer J. Hahn

Dear Mr. Ed/Editor/Ken,

Re.: [this link]

Well, here we go again!

Another arsehole former governor—elevated to the heights of perfidy, equivocation, and treason—has once again sent a telegraphing signal to the American populace that the "shit is about to hit the fan."

Now, once again I ask the question: If the bozo in question actually knows what the hell is going to happen, why in friggen blazes is he telling the whole nation about it, instead of stealthily working—behind the scenes—to capture the miscreants?

Or, are we all being set-up to believe that something might happen, and with that thought in mind be willing to accept that no matter what, it will happen if only because some government dullard says it will, and therefore conclude that it will happen—with all of its disastrous consequences?

Now, you know? I've said before that I can't read minds.

I will presume—safely I believe—that no other human has that faculty either, maybe.

Certainly Mr. Ridge doesn't have that faculty, because he would have long ago found gainful employment in the private sector. Anyone with a unique capability doesn't work for any kind of government—at least not without serious reservations.

However, in all of this, there begs the question: If the government is now so suddenly aware of what's going on—before hand, then why didn't it prognosticate about the Twin Towers long in advance of what was going to happen?

Are we to presume that the government got smart in the mere span of a few years?

You'll pardon me—once again, if I say that I'm about to puke on anyone who professes to say that the government of the current situation was without foreknowledge of what was going to happen on 9/11/2001.

I say that because F.D. Roosevelt absolutely knew before hand that the Japanese Navy was on its way to bomb Pearl Harbor, but kept the matter under such tight wraps, and that it just recently was released—perhaps inadvertently to the author of the book Day of Deceit—The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor by Robert B. Stinnett. [From Amazon.com: hardcover, paperback, Audio cassette, Acobe Acrobat e-book, or Microsoft Reader e-book]

To sum it all up, I'm going to put it just this way: If Mr. Ridge is so smart about what's going to happen—now, why wasn't the government so smart about these things back before 9/11/2001?

I ask that in the face of the matter that the FBI absolutely knew before hand about the first attack on the Twin Towers, and even they refused to stop the attack by secretly allowing a non-explosive substance be substituted in place of what was used. The terrorists were allowed to use the real thing, just as on 9/11/2001.

We are all being set up for yet another Reichstag fire.

How many more Reichstags need be set ablaze before the American people realize that what they have isn't what was?

In Liberty,
EJ Totty


I think that the TLE readers would find today's Reason Online article "Security and Securities" by Jonathan Rauch an insightful look at the post 9/11 changes in the Securities Trades physical and cultural changes. The article, intentionally or otherwise, illustrates how a business (Depository Trust & Clearing Corp), which processes securities transactions equal to "...the entire gross domestic product every three days," changed its practices and infrastructure in response to the events of 9/11.

This article illustrated for me the difference between market solutions and government solutions to crises. This quote clarifies the magnitude of the changes: "DTCC's disaster-proofing costs so far have run to something like $150 million." In less than 3 years DTCC has radically changed its operations and disaster preparedness practices. On the other hand, how many government agencies have spent how many trillions of dollars, over decades of time, failing to update their basic computer services? In addition, DTCC determined that decentralizing its operations was one of the best ways to protect its core business transaction. When was the last time we saw any Federal official calling for less centralization in the hands (and bank accounts) of the Washington bureaucrats?

As I've learned from reading on TLE, LewRockwell.com and from the Ludwig von Mises Institute's excellent Austrian Economics online library, the profit motive drives businesses towards rational, economically justified, changes. Government agents and bureaucrats, lacking the profit incentive, have no reason to improve their performance, practices, or services, except where doing so preserves their power and influence.

Reason Online

Bruce Standlee

Badnarik2004, the main discussion list-serve for volunteers assisting Michael Badnarik for President, currently has over 650 members. Michael Badnarik is the Libertarian candidate for President. You can learn more about him at http://www.Badnarik.org/

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Toward Liberty,


More details will be following, but the data from the poll we just commissioned in New Mexico are starting to come in. We do have the answer to the big question for which you have been waiting, so here it is:

1* If the Presidential election were held today, would you vote for Republican George W. Bush, Democrat John F. Kerry, or Libertarian Michael Badnarik?

43% Bush
48% Kerry
5% Badnarik
5% Not sure

Bush Kerry Badnarik
First Choice 43% 48% 5%
Second Choice 8% 9% 47%

If you will recall, we just polled at 3% in our latest national survey, as well as the one just conducted in California. After this phase of the campaign is over, we will be polling in NM again, using the same questions, to compare the results.

In order for Project New Mexico Freedom to continue to be a success, we need your assistance. It is now becoming difficult for the mainstream media to ignore us—and we need to shove these polling numbers directly in their faces. To do that costs money—and a lot of it. Please make you contribution today at https://badnarik.org/.

New Mexico Freedom ends on August 13th, so your immediate online contribution is crucial. Again, the URL to help pay for more commercials is https://badnarik.org/. Both Mike and I thank you in advance for your generous contribution.

Stephen P. Gordon
Communications Director
Badnarik/Campagan 2004

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