Volume 17, No. 17                                                                                                              December 7, 2012

The Liberator Online

for everyone who loves Liberty
Published by The Advocates for Self-Government

"The Advocates for Self-Government is one of the freedom movement's leading organizations."
-- Ron Paul, The Congressional Record, June 30, 2010



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In This Issue

* Report: Campus Outreach Success with OPH

* Rasmussen Polls: Americans Say Drug War Has Failed, Ready for Change
* Ron Paul: The Five Greatest Dangers We Face
* Video: 3 Reasons to Abolish The Dept. of Homeland Security
* Study: U.S. Suffers Shocking Decline in Economic Liberty
* Poll demands politicians keep their anti-tax pledges... Jay Leno lambasts politicians who are robbing your grandkids (and you)... John Stossel says please, bring on the gridlock... Obama's drone killings violate the very essence of American justice, says distinguished law professor... New proposal: licenses for cigarette smokers....

* The Reverse

* Would a Gold Standard Make the U.S. Poorer?

* Share the Good News!

* 2013 Freedom Cruises
* FREE OPH KITS for libertarian student groups!
* Join the Advocates on Twitter
* Join the Advocates on Facebook

President's Corner

by Sharon Harris

Report: Campus Outreach Success with OPH! 

Dear friend,

I am delighted to share with you an inspiring report from Scott Lietzow of Harper College's Young Americans for Liberty chapter about their recent success with the Advocates' OPH outreach kit. 

First, a quick reminder: OPH (Operation Politically Homeless) is the Advocates' famous "outreach event in a kit," which uses the World's Smallest Political Quiz and other eye-catching tools to transform a ho-hum outreach table into an exciting, crowd-drawing, fun event!

OPH lets just two or more libertarians find numerous new libertarian-leaning folks wherever people are gathered. And that makes it perfect for college campuses.

Now on to Scott's report: 

"We had more than 40 students from Harper take the Quiz [at our OPH booth], and some professors as well.  

"It was a fun event and it was good to see all the libertarians on campus. Turns out my English professor is a libertarian and she loves Ron Paul as well! I would not have known that if it were not for the Quiz.  

"Many people at the school became excited and hungry for more knowledge when they found out they were libertarians, which is why Operation Politically Homeless is a great tool to use for recruitment and promoting other events. 

"We used [OPH] to promote our Legislative Panel that we hosted that night. All the new libertarians came out because they wanted to learn more about their new political identity!

"The Quiz made our evening event more successful. When you do OPH, you want to have a meeting or an event following, to get the prospective recruits to come out while they are still excited and looking for information.  

"We love the World's Smallest Political Quiz and thanks to it, we had a very successful event that night!"

Congratulations, Harper College YAL! We look forward to hearing more success stories from you. 

The Advocates has committed to giving every campus libertarian organization that requests one a FREE OPH kit -- the only requirement being that they promise to use it at least three times during the year and send us reports on their results. 

Campus libertarians have eagerly responded to this offer. 

So far we've given OPH kits to more than 600 active campus libertarian groups. And just like the Harper College YAL, they are using these OPHs to find new members and supporters and raise their profile on campus. 

In this way the Advocates is helping these student activists discover and activate thousands of the libertarian leaders, candidates, voters, donors and activists of tomorrow. 

This is vital work that will change the world. 

Two requests for Liberator Online readers:  

1) If you're a student and your school group hasn't got one yet, learn how to get one FREE here. Right now is a great time to order yours -- so your chapter can hit the ground running when students return to campus in the new year! 

2) If you're not a student, but you think this work is worthwhile, please consider making a generous donation. Advocates donors make this and our other programs possible -- we couldn't do it without them! We have some great gifts reserved for you right now when you make your TAX-DEDUCTIBLE donation. Thank you! 

-- Sharon Harris, President | Email

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Intellectual Ammunition

by James W. Harris

Rasmussen Polls: Americans Say Drug War Has Failed, Ready for Change

Americans think the Drug War has failed, and they are ready for bold change in a libertarian direction. 

So says renowned pollster Scott Rasmussen, who has been studying America's shifting positions on this issue for many years. DRUG WAR

"More than 40 years ago, the federal government launched a war on drugs. Over the past decade, the nation has spent hundreds of billions of dollars fighting that war, a figure that does not even include the high costs of prosecuting and jailing drug law offenders. It's hard to put a price on that aspect of the drug war since half of all inmates in federal prison today were busted for drugs.     

"Despite the enormous expense and growth of the prison population, only 7 percent of American adults now think the United States is winning the War on Drugs. Eighty-two percent disagree. The latest statistics on drug usage support that conclusion."

Rasmussen notes that the votes in Colorado and Washington to legalize marijuana are the strongest signals so far of this sea change in public opinion. 

"Six out of 10 Americans believe the federal government should get out of the way and let individual states decide how they want to address the issue within their own borders. Only 27 percent think the federal government should establish national rules."  

Americans increasingly see the absurdity of criminalizing marijuana in a nation where alcohol is legal. 

"Nationally, 51 percent of Americans believe that alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana. Only 24 percent see pot as the more dangerous drug.

"When we ask Americans simply whether they favor legalization of marijuana, 45 percent say yes and 45 percent say no.  But when we ask about legalizing and regulating marijuana in a similar manner to the way alcohol and cigarettes are regulated, support for legalization increases to 56 percent. Only 36 percent remain opposed."  

There is less tolerance for legalizing harder drugs. However, public dissatisfaction with the War on Drugs and the violence it creates are rapidly changing attitudes even on this difficult issue, says Rasmussen.       

"[O]nly 11 percent support the legalization of cocaine. …Yet, if voters knew for a fact that legalizing marijuana and cocaine would reduce drug violence along the Mexican border, 47 percent would even be open to legalizing and regulating cocaine."

He concludes: 

"[Most Americans voters] are ready to legalize and regulate marijuana. They'd like to see the states experiment with a variety of approaches and monitor the results before deciding upon the next step. That's pragmatism. And that's the way people will evaluate the new approach to the War on Drugs."

Ron Paul: The Five Greatest Dangers We Face

(The following is excerpted from Ron Paul's extraordinary farewell speech to Congress, delivered on the House floor on November 14, 2012. You can read the entire speech here or watch it here.)

"What are the greatest dangers that the American people face today and impede the goal of a free society? There are five.

        1. The continuous attack on our civil liberties, which threatens the rule of law and our ability to resist the onrush of tyranny.

        2. Violent anti-Americanism that has engulfed the world. Because the phenomenon of "blow-back" is not understood or denied, our foreign policy is destined to keep us involved in many wars that we have no business being in. National bankruptcy and a greater threat to our national security will result.

        3. The ease in which we go to war, without a declaration by Congress, but accepting international authority from the UN or NATO even for preemptive wars, otherwise known as aggression.

        4. A financial political crisis as a consequence of excessive debt, unfunded liabilities, spending, bailouts, and gross discrepancy in wealth distribution going from the middle class to the rich. The danger of central economic planning, by the Federal Reserve must be understood.

        5. World government taking over local and U.S. sovereignty by getting involved in the issues of war, welfare, trade, banking, a world currency, taxes, property ownership, and private ownership of guns.

"Happily, there is an answer for these very dangerous trends. 

"What a wonderful world it would be if everyone accepted the simple moral premise of rejecting all acts of aggression. …

"The idealism of non-aggression and rejecting all offensive use of force should be tried. The idealism of government-sanctioned violence has been abused throughout history and is the primary source of poverty and war.  

"The theory of a society being based on individual freedom has been around for a long time. It's time to take a bold step and actually permit it by advancing this cause, rather than taking a step backwards as some would like us to do."

Video: 3 Reasons to Abolish The Dept. of Homeland Security

November 25, 2012 marked the 10th anniversary of the creation of the creepy-sounding Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which put nearly two dozen federal agencies and departments under the control of a new, single entity -- thus creating a gigantic and intrusive new federal bureaucracy. Now DHS is the third-biggest cabinet agency, spending $60 billion last year. But should it exist at all? 

This two-minute video by Reason TV gives three excellent reasons to abolish the Department of Homeland Security outright. In a nutshell, DHS is unnecessary, inefficient, & expensive. (Plus, we should note, it runs the hated Transportation Security Administration [TSA].)

It's a fast and fun watch. Immediately following the video is documentation of its claims. Good stuff! 

Study: U.S. Suffers Shocking Decline in Economic Liberty

An extremely valuable resource for those working for economic liberty is the Fraser Institute's annual Economic Freedom of the World report.

For sixteen years this report has been widely regarded as the world's leading measurement of economic freedom. It is published in conjunction with the Economic Freedom Network, a group of independent research and educational institutes in 90 nations and territories worldwide.

The report uses 42 distinct variables to ranking almost all countries in the world based on the amount of economic freedom in each. 

The report defines the cornerstones of economic freedom as: personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to compete, and security of private property. 

It measures economic freedom in five different areas: (1) size of government, (2) legal structure and security of property rights, (3) access to sound money, (4) freedom to trade internationally, and (5) regulation of credit, labor, and business. 

This year's report, released in mid-September, covered the year 2010 (the most recent year for which data is available). 

As usual, it contained some surprises -- and a few shocks. 

For instance: the United States is number one in economic freedom, right?

Wrong. Very wrong. The United States continued a years-long slide, plunging to a shocking18th, its lowest-ever ranking.

The U.S. fall has been sharp and sudden. From 1980 to 2000, the United States was generally rated the third freest economy in the world, ranking behind only Hong Kong and Singapore. In 2000, the U.S. was in second place behind Hong Kong. 

What happened? According to the report, much of this decline is a result of high spending on the part of the U.S. government, as well as excessive regulation. 

"The United States, like many nations, embraced heavy-handed regulation and extensive over-spending in response to the global recession and debt crises. Consequently, its level of economic freedom has dropped," said Fred McMahon, Fraser Institute vice-president of international policy research.

This sad decline offers defenders of free enterprise in the U.S. strong ammunition. Millions of Americans would certainly be alarmed if they knew about this ranking. Returning the U.S. to its former position near the top of the rankings is an easily-articulated and understandable goal. 

The top nations for economic freedom: Hong Kong again topped the rankings of 144 countries, followed by Singapore, New Zealand, and Switzerland. Australia and Canada tied for fifth overall. 

The rankings of other large economies include: United States (18th), Japan (20th), Germany (31st), South Korea (37th), France (47th), Italy (83rd), Mexico (91st), Russia (95th), Brazil (105th), China (107th), and India (111th).

Venezuela has the lowest level of economic freedom. Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Republic of Congo, and Angola round out the bottom five nations.

The report convincingly shows that economic freedom is vital for many reasons. People living in countries with high levels of economic freedom enjoy greater prosperity, more political and civil liberties, longer life spans, and higher levels of self-reported happiness.

"Sadly, citizens living in the bottom-ranked countries face a significantly lower quality of life since they lose the benefits that come from growth spurred on by economic freedom and suffer reduced prosperity," McMahon said.

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Intellectual Ammunition is written by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris. His articles have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, and he has been a Finalist for the Mencken Awards, given by the Free Press Association for "Outstanding Journalism in Support of Liberty."

They Said It...

POLITICIANS, KEEP YOUR PROMISE: "We, the undersigned, urge Congressmen and Senators who signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to keep the promise they made to their constituents to not raise taxes. Washington has an overspending problem, not an under-taxing problem." -- online petition by Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) to be delivered to congressmen who took ATR's pledge not to increase taxes. 

JAY LENO -- LET THE GRANDKIDS PAY: "President Obama and Mitt Romney had lunch together at the White House today. In fact, Romney offered to buy Obama lunch but the president said, 'No, no it's on our grandchildren. They'll take care of it. Don't even worry about it.'" -- Jay Leno, November 29, 2012. 

JOHN STOSSEL: BRING ON THE GRIDLOCK! "My hope for now: gridlock. People say they like bipartisanship, but bipartisanship usually means politicians conspire to take more of our money and freedom. Bipartisanship gave us the Department of Homeland Security, TSA, PATRIOT Act, Import-Export Bank, war on drug users, ethanol subsides, TARP, No Child Left Behind, foreign wars and an ever-rising debt. When Democrats and Republicans come together, they put us deeper in debt. Let's have some gridlock!" -- award-winning libertarian journalist John Stossel, "Did Freedom Win?," syndicated column, November 14, 2012.

DRONE KILLINGS VS. AMERICAN LAW: "The idea that the president can authorize the killing of a human being far from any traditional battlefield without any publically accessible set of constraints, conditions, or requirements is unacceptable in a country committed to the rule of law.  … This is more akin to what law looked like in the Soviet Union than to what it should look like in the United States of America." -- David Cole, Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center and award-winning author, New York Review of Books blog, "It's Time to Stop Killing in Secret," November 28, 2012.

A LICENSE TO SMOKE: "Tobacco users should be required to obtain a 'smoker's license' to buy cigarettes. So argues the academic Simon Chapman in the journal PLOS Medicine. He envisions a 'smart card' system that would allow the government to limit smokers' cigarette purchases and encourage them to quit." -- Patrick Basham of the Cato Institute, "License to Smoke," commentary in the Philadelphia Inquirer, December 3, 2012.
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"They Said It..." is compiled by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris.

Power Point

by Michael Cloud

The Reverse

Tired of long, drawn-out arguments about government? Worn out from explaining why government fails and makes things worse?

What if you could convince your listener to persuade himself about libertarianism? What if you could persuade him to marshal compelling and convincing evidence and arguments that would change his mind about libertarianism?

Persuade himself? How?

The Reverse.

Instead of telling him what's right with liberty and wrong with government, ask him.

"What's one thing that government does now that you think it definitely should not do?"

Or: "What's one activity that government engages in that it should stop doing?"

Or: "What's one government program that's a dismal failure or a waste of money that government ought to shut down?"

Then ask, "Why?"

After he tells you why, ask him to tell you more. Ask him to elaborate and expand. To tell you about the consequences of the bad program. To  give you examples.

Then play Devil's Advocate. Ask him how he would respond to possible objections.

"Suppose someone said X, how would you answer that objection?"

"Suppose someone said Y, how would you answer that objection?"

He will argue himself into a libertarian position. And he will give you the evidence and arguments that are most convincing to him.

The Reverse lets your listener pick the part of government that he's most opposed to, do your arguing for you, and in the process it intensifies his opposition.

How and why does it work?

1. It begins with what your listener already believes. It respects his beliefs and values.

2. It creates rapport. Agreement. You both agree that government should abandon this activity or program.

3. As Pascal wrote, "We are usually convinced more easily by reasons we have found ourselves than by those which have occurred to others.

4. As Win Wenger writes in The Einstein Factor: "The sheer act of expressing our thoughts on some subject causes us to learn more about that subject, even when no new information has been provided from without."

Why does The Reverse work?

To truly learn a subject, teach it.

To help our listeners learn, we must ask them to teach.
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Michael Cloud's brand-new book Unlocking More Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion is available exclusively from the Advocates, along with his acclaimed earlier book Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion.

In 2000, Michael was honored with the Thomas Paine Award as the Most Persuasive Libertarian Communicator in America.

Ask Dr. Ruwart

Dr. Mary Ruwart is a leading expert in libertarian communication. In this column she offers short answers to real questions about libertarianism. To submit questions to Dr. Ruwart, see end of column.
Would a Gold Standard Make the U.S. Poorer?

QUESTION: I often see libertarians, including Ron Paul, stating we should return to the gold standard. However, most of the world's gold is in Russia and South Africa. Wouldn't a gold standard mean the U.S. would lose its position as the world's richest country, overnight?
MY SHORT ANSWER: The richest country is not the one with most currency or gold; it's the one with the most goods and services. Gold is both a "good" and a "currency" (or "medium of exchange"), so it does get a bit confusing at times.

Imagine yourself on a desert island where you find a treasure chest full of gold worth millions of dollars. You have no food, shelter, or fresh water, and nowhere to buy these things, but you have gold. Are you rich? Imagine yourself on a different island with no gold, but abundant food, shelter, and fresh water. Which island is the wealthiest?

Clearly, the second island is wealthier. As a medium of exchange (currency), gold is worth something only if it can buy goods and services. Today, the United States is the (or one of the) wealthiest nation(s) on earth because goods and services are abundant. Studies have shown that one of the factors that makes a nation wealthy is a stable, rather than inflating, currency. Although we have inflation in the U.S., it is less than most other nations. This contributes to our wealth. If we went on the gold standard, inflation would be even less. Our productivity would go up, so our wealth would too. This is why libertarians and Ron Paul recommend it. 

Russia has a lot of gold in the ground and Mexico has silver, but neither are wealthy, because natural resources -- even gold and silver -- aren't worth much if they aren't mined. Efficient mining is one of the goods and services that make a country wealthy. However, Russia is bogged down in more government than we have, so it's tough to mine the gold cost-effectively. What they do mine will be used to buy goods and services that Russians can't produce for themselves, because of all their regulations and red tape. Through these purchases, Russian gold will flow into the U.S. and other nations that have the true wealth of goods and services. 

Gold is also a "good" because it's used industrially and in jewelry, in addition to being a medium of exchange. Because gold is a "good," it will always have some value. Paper money that is not backed by gold, silver, or some other good, can become worthless. People also like gold-backed currency because it can't be inflated by decree. 

Gold may not be the perfect medium of exchange in today's world. However, it's much better than paper because it has intrinsic value and it would prevent the government from devaluing our currency through inflation. The end result would be that our nation would create even more wealth than it does today -- regardless of where the gold is buried. 

LEARN MORE: Suggestions for further information on this topic by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris: 

The Case for Gold: free ebook by Rep. Ron Paul and Lewis Lehrman. In 1982, Ron Paul and Lewis Lehrman served on the U.S. Gold Commission, commissioned by Congress to evaluate the role of gold in the monetary system. Paul and Lehrman produced a landmark minority report: The Case for Gold. Published in book form by the Cato Institute that year, the report covers the history of gold in the United States, explains how the breakdown in its use as a financial standard was caused by government, and details the critical need for sound money -- where prices reflect market realities, government stays in check, and people retain their freedom. The book is rich with economic information, history, and provocative common-sense proposals. You can download this ebook FREE at the Cato Institute. 

* What Has Government Done to Our Money? by Murray N. Rothbard. A classic and a must-read for every libertarian! Rothbard's extremely short and easy-to-read book is a treasure trove of information about money. Rothbard shows precisely how banks create money out of thin air and how the central bank, backed by government power, allows them to get away with it. He describes the disastrous consequences of ending of the gold standard. He shows how a true free market in money would work and outlines steps to get there. Available as a FREE ebook download as well in an inexpensive print version from the Mises Institute. 

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Got questions?  Dr. Ruwart has answers! If you'd like answers to YOUR "tough questions" on libertarian issues, email Dr. Ruwart at:
Due to volume, Dr. Ruwart can't personally acknowledge all emails. But we'll run the best questions and answers in upcoming issues.

Dr. Ruwart's previous Liberator Online answers are archived in searchable form.
Dr. Ruwart's brand new book Short Answers to the Tough Questions, Expanded Edition is available from the Advocates, as is her acclaimed classic Healing Our World.

One-Minute Liberty Tip 

By Sharon Harris

Share the Good News! 

In my President's Column this issue I had fun writing about one of my favorite things: a libertarian success story! 

The column reports on the recent outreach success that Harper College's Young Americans for Liberty chapter achieved with the Advocates' OPH outreach kit. 

I love stories like this, and not just because it involves an Advocates program. It's inspiring, it gives me hope for the future, and it will inspire other libertarians to take similar action. 

Libertarians are good at sharing bad news about government and politicians. And that's vital. We need to flood the web with memes, links, videos and so on illustrating the failures and injustice of government coercion.  

But we also need to fill people with hope that change is possible. And one way to do that is to share -- indeed, to loudly trumpet -- our successes, big and small. 

Imagine a movie reviewer who only wrote about bad movies and why you shouldn't go see them. Or a food critic who only reviewed restaurants that served poor food. 

You might find such critics useful, but if you were looking for places to go on a Saturday night, you'd search out other critics. And after awhile, however well-written their criticisms were, their non-stop negativity might make you stop reading them altogether. 

We need the good news as well as the bad. And we hunger for the good! 

Libertarian successes don't have to be huge or earthshaking to be inspiring and worth sharing. Let's go back to the example of the Hunter College OPH. 

First, it's great news for the Hunter libertarian chapter, and they are smart to share it among chapter members. They had a successful outreach event. They discovered new libertarians on campus -- always great news. They can celebrate the good work that their OPH volunteers did -- and use this momentum to plan for their next event. 

Second, it is great news for the national Young Americans for Liberty organization. Here is a chapter success story that reflects well on the national organization. It's an outreach effort that other groups can emulate. Sharing the experience on YAL's national website -- as the Hunter College group did -- thus helps YAL and its campus affiliates across the country. 

For the Advocates, the Hunter College YAL's report is good news as well. It shows the success of one of our products, OPH, and of our program to give OPHs free to every campus libertarian group that requests it. 

Not only does that lift our spirits and encourage us to continue the program, it will inspire Advocates donors to continue to fund the program. In fact, such reports are crucial to the continuation of this program. (We need to hear from you OPHers!)

And we in turn will spread this story. I've devoted my president's column -- and now this column as well -- to aspects of their event. I'll also be happily informing our donors of yet another OPH success. 

To encourage other libertarians -- students and non-students alike -- we'll also spread this story on our Facebook page, our blog, and elsewhere. 

Other libertarians will see those reports. Some will forward them to still other libertarian sites. Libertarian activists will be inspired to do OPH or other effective outreach. 

And if they report back to us about their success… Right. The process continues. 

Also, every Hunter College libertarian who took part in that OPH has taken a step towards qualifying for our Lights of Liberty Awards, which reward libertarian outreach and encourage more of it. And that's still more good news for liberty. 

So by sharing your success, you create little ripples of success that encourage much more success. Tens of thousands of people will hear about, and be cheered and inspired by, this single OPH event at Hunter College. 

That's how it works. 

I've used Hunter College's OPH as an example. But it could be any other success. A published letter to the editor. A high vote total. A successful speech or meeting. New members. Small victories add up to big ones. 

Success is contagious. Success is magnetic. People like to participate in successful movements, and they are drawn by successful activities. 

Success creates honest optimism -- a crucial element for building a successful political movement. 

In these ways, success breeds more success. 

So please -- share your successes, large and small. Spread the word about other libertarians' successes. 

And remember -- send your OPH reports to us!
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Sharon Harris is president of the Advocates for Self-Government.  

What's Happening with the Advocates

2013 FREEDOM CRUISES: Advocates Board Chair and longtime libertarian leader Dr. Ken Bisson invites you to join him for Freedom Cruises in January and May 2013. Enjoy a wonderful trip on a luxury cruiser – at a bargain rate! January 2013 itinerary: an Eastern Caribbean cruise to Grand Turk, St. Maarten, and San Juan. May 2013 itinerary: The 7 day "Castles Along the Rhine,” cruising between Basel, Switzerland and Amsterdam, with a great opportunity to enjoy a few extra days in Europe on either end of your cruise. Non-libertarians welcome! Great food and fine company. (This isn't an Advocates event, but libertarians who have been on past cruises rave about them.) For photos and more details -- or to sign up for free, no-pressure, no-commitment email updates -- visit Freedom Cruises.

FREE OPH KITS FOR LIBERTARIAN STUDENT GROUPS: Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we're giving our acclaimed OPH (Operation Political Homeless) outreach kits to libertarian student groups FREE -- if they simply promise to use them a minimum of three times a year and send us photos documenting their OPH activity. OPH -- praised as the best recruiting tool in the libertarian movement -- normally sells for $50.00.
If you're in a student libertarian group, click here for more information on getting your free OPH kit.

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Joining the conversation is easy. If you don't already have a Twitter account, it only takes a few moments to sign up for one.

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That's all it takes! You'll then get our tweets -- and we can get yours.
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About Us

THE LIBERATOR ONLINE, created by James W. Harris and Paul Schmidt, is the official newsletter of the Advocates for Self-Government.

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