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Commentary by Howard Phillips, Chairman of The Conservative Caucus


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 Home | April 2009 Archives

 Tom Braden | April 27, 2009 | Digg This


Apparently preserved in alcohol, Tom Braden recently died at the age of 92.

When Pat Buchanan could no longer stand nightly arguments with Braden on CNNís one-hour "Crossfire" program and WRC Radioís three-hour debate, he graciously turned the task over to me.

When Braden was drunk, he was crude, rude, nasty, and belligerent. He was only slightly less so when there was no alcohol on his breath.

Braden led a very sad life. In return for a major payoff from Nelson Rockefeller, Braden permitted his wife to be Rockefellerís mistress. Similarly, he looked the other way when his wife had intimate relations with Bobby Kennedy and Robert McNamara.

When Bradenís daughter was raped by a black man, he became a virulent supporter of abortion.

Braden was a top official of the Central Intelligence Agency, giving money to Left-wing students to represent the United States at international conferences, corrupting with subsidies the U.S. National Student Association, and providing the money which permitted the Communist Party newspaper, The Daily Worker, to publish on a regular basis.

In summary, Braden was a bitter, nasty man who took pride in his friendships with wealthy, famous liberals and who had no shame when it came to some of the horrible decisions he made in the course of his life. Perhaps that is why he was an unreformed alcoholic and perhaps it was alcohol that kept him alive until past his 92nd birthday.

 Bert Blumert | April 8, 2009 | Digg This


Ron Paul and I, among many others, had a friend in common: Burt Blumert, who once hosted me at his lovely home on Half Moon Bay in California.

Hereís what Ron Paul had to say about Burt Blumert:

"Burton Samuel Blumert passed away on Monday March 30, following a long battle with cancer. Burt was a true hero of the freedom movement and my close friend, advisor, and business partner.

"As the founder and manager of Camino Coins in Burlingame, CA, Burt was one of the nationís leading dealers in gold and silver coins. A student of Ludwig von Mises and the Austrian school of economics, Burt understood the important role precious metals played in protecting ordinary citizens from the damage wrought by fiat money and inflation. Thus, he regarded his work as a coin dealer not just as a business, but as an opportunity to help people by providing them with some protection from the Federal Reserveís inflation tax.

"After I stepped down from Congress in 1984, I partnered with Burt in the coin business, a partnership which lasted until I returned to Congress in 1996. Our partnership was based on nothing more than our words. As anyone who ever dealt with Burt could testify, that was all that was needed, because Burtís word was truly his bond. I am unaware of anyone who dealt with Burt who questioned his integrity or his commitment to his customers.

"As well-known and respected as he was for his leadership in the coin business, Burt was best known as a promoter of libertarian ideas. Burt was a long time friend and patron of Murray Rothbard, one of Misesís top American students and a pioneer in economics, political theory, history, and much else. Burt helped Murray establish the Center for Libertarian Studies, and served as its president from 1975 until his death.

"Burt also played a key role in the flourishing of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, which, as its name suggests, is the leading center for the promotion and development of Austrian economics and libertarian political theory in the nation. Burt served as a founding board member of the Institute and he chaired the Institute's board after the original chair, Mrs. Margit von Mises, passed away in 1993. He also published The Rothbard-Rockwell Report, a well-read libertarian newsletter written by Murray Rothbard and Mises Institute President Lew Rockwell.

"Burt played a major role in making the ideas of liberty a force on the internet by serving as the publisher of, as well supporting the development of Burt also played an instrumental role in the development of Burt also served as chairman of my first run for the presidency, and important counselor in the second.

"In addition to his work with these organizations, Burt was a friend, mentor, and patron to numerous libertarian scholars and activists. He was incredibly generous with both his time and his resources. Talking to Burt was always a treat, because he had one of the best senses of humor I have ever known, and it seemed like he was always in a good mood. Events that would send his friends into fits of depression, rage, or both would be used by Burt as fodder for a series of jokes and wisecracks. Even in the last days of his battle with cancer he remained upbeat. One of Burtís friends called him shortly after learning about Burtís cancer, but instead of consoling Burt, this friend ending up having his sprits lifted by Burtís humor.

"It is somewhat of a comfort to myself, and I am sure to Burtís other friends, to know that he lived long enough to see so many of his efforts bear fruit. Today, the Mises Institute teaches sound economics and the principles of liberty to thousands of students every year while is one of the leading economics websites in the world. is one of the top providers of political, economic, and cultural commentary on the web, while is the leading source of information for scholars, journalists, and activists looking for material to combat the propaganda of the war party.

"As I travel across the country, I am astounded at the number of young people I met who are interested in the cause of individual liberty, peace, and sound money. Many of them got their introduction to these ideas through one of the many organizations nurtured by Burt Blumert.

"Madame Speaker, perhaps the highest compliment one can pay to a departed friend is to say that they left the world better than they found it. That is certainly true in the case of Burt Blumert. While I am saddened that I will never again benefit from Burtís good humor and wise counsel, I am comforted by knowing that I was blessed by his friendship and the thought that the vibrant and growing freedom movement will serve as a living monument to Burt for years to come. I therefore join friends of liberty around the world in mourning Burtís passing, and saluting all he accomplished during his lifetime." Source: Rep. Ron Paul, M.D. (R-Tex.), before the U.S. House of Representatives, April 2, 2009,, 4/3/09

 Virginia Foxx - American Hero | April 6, 2009 | Digg This


The Conservative Caucus has long been known as the leader of the "Defund the Left" movement, seeking to cut off Federal funding of organizations (almost always left-wing) which receive taxpayer subsidies while lobbying Federal, state, and local governments.

A small but encouraging victory on this front was recently won by U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) when she persuaded the House to prohibit Federally funded "volunteers" from being assigned to such groups as ACORN and Planned Parenthood. Congressman Foxxís amendment to H.R. 1388 (the GIVE Act) excludes organizations involved in lobbying or providing or promoting abortion services, as well as any groups that have been indicted for voter fraud.

Knowing that such groups often evade this type of restriction by setting up a separate organization, sharing staff and office space, to carry out the prohibited activity, the Foxx amendment spreads a broader net, excluding any organization that is "co-located on the same premises" as a prohibited group.

The vote on the Foxx amendment (House roll call 139, March 18) was 318-105. It is probable that some of those voting for it hope to see the amendment removed by the House-Senate conference. This is something that TCC will be watching.

 Americans Reject Social Security for Mexicans | April 3, 2009 | Digg This


The proposed Social Security totalization agreement between the United States and Mexico faces strong opposition from the public, according to a poll conducted by The Conservative Caucus Foundation (TCCF). The agreement would allow Mexicans who have worked in the United States and returned to Mexico (including illegal aliens) to receive U.S. Social Security benefits. Mexicans would be eligible even if they had not worked the 40 quarters required of U.S. Social Security recipients.

When asked whether Congress should overturn the agreement (which has not yet been submitted for approval), 98% said yes and only 2% no. The idea of a "global welfare system" was also opposed by 98%.

Only 38% had heard about the agreement, which was signed in 2004.

The poll was conducted by mail during early 2009 and received about 1,000 responses.

The Conservative Caucus Foundation (TCCF), founded in 1976, has published studies on many public policy issues, including some concerning Red China, the Panama Canal, nuclear disarmament, and SDI.

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