Author, controversial Washington journalist
Speaker, 2004 Libertarian National Convention

Reference

James Bovard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"James Bovard (born 1956) is a libertarian author and lecturer whose political commentary targets examples of waste, failures, corruption, cronyism and abuses of power in government. He is the author of Attention Deficit Democracy, and eight other books. He has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New Republic, Reader's Digest, The American Conservative, and many other publications. His books have been translated into Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, and Korean. ..."

Images

TheAdvocates.org - James Bovard
200x325 JPEG, grayscale

Biography

JamesBovard The Future of Freedom Foundation
"James Bovard serves as policy advisor to The Future of Freedom Foundation. ... He is the author of a new e-book memoir, Public Policy Hooligan. ... He was the 1995 co-recipient of the Thomas Szasz Award for Civil Liberties work, awarded by the Center for Independent Thought, and the recipient of the 1996 Freedom Fund Award from the Firearms Civil Rights Defense Fund of the National Rifle Association."
Laissez Faire Books
Includes selection of Bovard's investigative findings and comment on his favorite books
"Author of the recent Terrorism and Tyranny, journalist Bovard (b. 1956) has established himself as today's most effective investigative reporter for liberty. Nobody comes up with more graphic material and serves it up so dramatically, which is why he has been denounced by many of the President's top underlings."

Awards Received

1995 Szasz Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Cause of Civil Liberties, granted by Center for Independent Thought, The Thomas S. Szasz Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Cause of Civil Liberties, 1995
"... for 'prolific writing about government abuses of individuals in their economic and personal lives.'"

Associations

Policy Adviser, The Future of Freedom Foundation

Web Pages

Advocates for Self-Government - Libertarian Education: James Bovard - Libertarian
Biography, photo, bibliography and quotes
"Journalist James Bovard has written a series of remarkable political books and articles that have knocked the props out from under some of the biggest government policy frauds of our times."

Archived Articles

Future of Freedom Foundation
since Sept 1994

Blog

James Bovard |James Bovard
since Dec 2005

Articles

Misguided Democracy, by George C. Leef, Future of Freedom, Mar 2006
A review of Attention Deficit Democracy by James Bovard
"Bovard has made quite a writing career out of his desire to penetrate the fog of deception that shrouds so much of what government does these days to expose the truth that the state is becoming ever stronger and the sphere of liberty is constantly shrinking."
Related Topics: Democracy, Voting

Writings

A Legacy of Anti-Terrorist Failure in Lebanon, Future of Freedom, Oct 2006
Details the U.S. and Israeli involvement in Lebanon, starting with the 1982 Operation Peace for Galilee, the Sabra and Shatila massacre, and the attacks on the U.S. embassy and Marine HQ
"With the Bush team cheer-leading all the way, Israel reinvaded Lebanon in July in response to Hezbollah's seizure of two Israeli soldiers. ... Americans need to pay attention to what is happening in Lebanon because there are many politicians and political appointees in Washington who want to see U.S. troops join the fray. This would be as foolish now as it was in 1982."
Related Topic: Lebanon
A Modest Proposal for the Next Drug-War Shootdown, Future of Freedom, Aug 2001
Some (tongue in cheek) recommendations in the aftermath of the shootdown by the Peruvian air force of a Cessna carrying Baptist missionaries
"But seriously, folks ... Drug warriors like to stress that anti-drug programs target the guilty and it is only an accident —and a rare one, at that— when innocent people are killed. Yet it is apparently routine policy for Peruvian jets to strafe the survivors of a shootdown."
Related Topics: War on Drugs, Peru
Blockbuster Victory for the Second Amendment, Future of Freedom, Aug 1999
Commentary on the April 1999 decision by a federal district judge to consider unconstitutional a 1994 law that decreed that a person under a domestic restraining order could not own firearms
"Judge Cummings's decision explained the historical origins of the Second Amendment. ... If Americans in the founding generation had been as fearful of firearms as many contemporary liberals are, this country might still be kowtowing to a foreign king. And Cummings did not shy away from recognizing that the Second Amendment was also enacted as a curb on abusive government ..."
Booze Busting: The New Prohibition, Future of Freedom, Dec 1998
Discusses various anti-alcohol laws and enforcement actions, including the law raising the minimum drinking age
"Perhaps the most harmful example of the anti-alcohol bias in recent legislation occurred in 1984, when Congress and President Reagan jammed a new minimum drinking age of 21 down the throats of 26 states. ... Though the 21st Amendment explicitly states that the power to regulate alcohol is vested solely in the states, Chief Justice Rehnquist and colleagues upheld the law ..."
Related Topic: Prohibition
Bush's Opium Boom, 28 May 2003
Describes attempts by the Taliban, the U.S., the United Nations and the Karzai government to control opium poppy production
"In April 2002, the Karzai government offered farmers up to $600 an acre not to plant opium. Many of the farmers who accepted the government proposal got defrauded. Instead of cash, they were given a government voucher that was often very difficult to redeem. In other cases, farmers acceded to government demands to destroy their crops but were never paid anything, not even a voucher. Some farmers concluded that the government was even more devious than the people who previously bought their opium."
Related Topic: Afghanistan
Bush's Signing Statement Dictatorship, 9 Oct 2006
Details some of Bush's (more than 800) signing statements and his "unitary executive" doctrine
"President Bush has once again decreed that his personal pen is the highest law of the land. ... His action vivifies that the rule of law now means little more than the enforcement of the secret thoughts of the commander in chief. ... The American Bar Association recently declared that Bush's signing statements are 'contrary to the rule of law and our constitutional separation of powers.'"
Related Topics: Rule of Law, George W. Bush
China: From Brutal Oppressor to Terrorist Victim, Future of Freedom, Dec 2003
Describes how both the U.S. and Chinese governments changed their policies with respect to certain "terrorist" groups to suit their own ends
"China did not need the U.S. government's permission to repress its own subjects. But the U.S. terrorist designation of ETIM shielded China against international criticism. Wang Yong, a specialist in international relations at Beijing University, observed, 'The U.S. action on ETIM was probably a posture in exchange for China's support on Iraq.' (China is a member of the UN Security Council and could veto a UN resolution endorsing military action against Iraq.)"
Related Topic: China
Democracy Versus Liberty, The Freeman, Aug 2006
Discusses the dangers of equating liberty with "self-government" as majority rule
"Democracy can be a good method for reaching agreement on standards of weights and measurements used in commerce, but is a poor method for dictating wages and prices. Democracy should be a system of government based on common agreement on issues that must be agreed upon, and tolerance—however grudging—on all other differences."
Dictatorship of Gadflies, Future of Freedom, Nov 1998
Discusses the National Trust for Historic Preservation and similar groups
"Government preservation police have seized control over the exteriors — and often the interiors — of hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses. ... the premier preservationist organization, has gone from seeking to educate Americans about historic treasures to clamoring for maximum restrictions on private land use across the nation. ... Taxpayers might be surprised to know that the trust — which receives $7 million a year from the federal government — has bankrolled the political opposition to property-rights initiatives."
Related Topic: Private Property
Do Elections Guarantee Freedom?, Future of Freedom, Nov 2007
Discusses whether democratic elections achieve the purported objective of "will of the people" controlling the government
"What if being permitted to choose a master once every four years is the primary 'freedom' left? Are citizens merely choosing whose vassal they will be? Many citizens today behave like slaves who spent their time wishing for a good master, rather than scouting up information on runaway routes."
Drug War Dementia, Future of Freedom, Nov 1996
Details various police, military and school actions and legislation in the government's war on users of certain banned substances
"If drugs were legal, we would still see deaths from overdoses, but there would be far fewer deaths from gun battles among drug dealers, far fewer neighborhoods destroyed destroyed by drug dealers, and far fewer deaths from contaminated drugs. The question is not whether drugs are bad for the individual but whether government has a right to punish people for how they treat their own bodies."
Related Topic: War on Drugs
Ellsberg's Lessons for Our Time, Future of Freedom, May 2008
Reviews Daniel Ellsberg's Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers and how its commentary applies to current conflicts
"The fact was that the United States had orchestrated an attack by South Vietnamese commandos on North Vietnamese territory before the alleged conflict began. But Johnson lied and commenced bombing, and Congress rushed to cheer him on. In Vietnam, as in Iraq, the U.S. government pushed hard to get an election to sanctify its puppet regime."
Related Topics: Vietnam War, Richard M. Nixon
"Every Day is 1956": The Hungarian Revolution Today, 27 Oct 2006
"Fifty years ago, the Hungarian people bravely expelled Soviet tanks from Budapest and proclaimed their intention to create a democracy. ... Two and a half years later, it was the Hungarians who, more than any other Eastern Europeans, brought the Iron Curtain crashing down. In May 1989, Hungarian government officials cut the barbed wire on the border with Austria. ... Hungary again reminds us that we do not need to bow down to whomever manages to capture political power."
Related Topic: Hungary
Flashback: Beirut, June 1982: The Reagan Roadmap for Antiterrorism Disaster, CounterPunch, 8 Oct 2003
Details events before and after the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut
"On September 13, Reagan authorized Marine commanders in Lebanon to call in air strikes and other attacks against the Muslims to help the Christian Lebanese army. ... Navy ships repeatedly bombarded the Muslims over the next few weeks. ... October 23, 1983 ... The explosion left a 30-foot-deep crater and killed 243 marines. ... Reagan quietly withdrew U.S. combat troops from Beirut in early 1984. ... Muslims also responded to U.S. troops by seizing American hostages. Reagan sent military equipment to Iran ..."
Related Topics: Lebanon, Ronald W. Reagan
Freedom to Farm Washington, Future of Freedom, Jan 1999
The results of the 1996 Freedom to Farm Act
"... if congressmen truly wanted to help worthy farmers, Freedom to Farm is a miserable failure. A 1998 USDA study found that most of the benefits of the act are going to landowners – often absentee landowners – not to the people who actually sow and harvest. Landowners responded to new subsidies by raising the rent farmers paid."
Related Topic: Farming
Free Speech on the Ropes, Future of Freedom, Jan 2006
Constrasts President Bush's "we love our freedom" rhetoric with actions to suppress dissent by establishing "free speech zones"
"Brett Bursey, 54 years old, was arrested for holding a 'No War for Oil' sign too near the hangar where Bush would be speaking. Local police, acting under Secret Service orders, supposedly established a 'free speech zone' far from the airport hangar. ... After moving twice, Bursey refused to move again and was arrested."
"Free-Speech Zone": The administration quarantines dissent, The American Conservative, 15 Dec 2003
Provides various examples of "free speech zone" incidents as well as reactions in the U.S. and overseas
"When Bush travels around the United States, the Secret Service visits the location ahead of time and orders local police to set up 'free speech zones' or 'protest zones' where people opposed to Bush policies (and sometimes sign-carrying supporters) are quarantined. These zones routinely succeed in keeping protesters out of presidential sight and outside the view of media covering the event."
Hoover's Second Wrecking of American Agriculture, Future of Freedom, Dec 2005
Follow-up to "How the Feds Took Over Farming," describes the policies of Hoover's Federal Farm Board
"The Farm Board was certain that a world shortage of wheat was imminent and that importing nations would soon come begging to America. Instead, Canadian and Argentinean farmers reaped windfall profits ... Its massive cache ... depressed world prices, since every grain dealer in the world knew that the United States would eventually dump its surplus on the market."
Related Topic: Farming
Illegal Surveillance: A Real Security Threat, 27 Feb 2006
Describes how the FBI, IRS and other agencies spied on Americans on both sides of the political spectrum during the 1960s and 1970s, and warns about the NSA wiretaps ordered by George W. Bush
"Americans seem to have forgotten why the Founding Fathers prohibited government from spying on them. ... such blind faith in government simply ignores the lessons of U.S. history. ... The purpose of the Fourth Amendment was to prevent government officials from having 'dictatorial power over the streets' and elsewhere ..."
Iraqi Sanctions and American Intentions: Blameless Carnage? Part 1, Future of Freedom, Jan 2004
Examines the effects of the destruction of Iraqi infrastucture during the 1990-91 Gulf War, the subsequent UN sanctions and the "oil for food" program
"... an epidemiologist and an expert on the effects of sanctions, estimated in 2003 that the sanctions had resulted in infant and young-child fatalities numbering between 343,900 and 529,000. ... Sanctions wreaked havoc on the Iraqi people, in part because the Pentagon intentionally destroyed Iraq's water-treatment systems during the first U.S.-Iraq war ..."
Related Topic: Iraq
Iraqi Sanctions and American Intentions: Blameless Carnage? Part 2, Future of Freedom, Feb 2004
Further examination of the effects of the Iraqi sanctions and the hypocritical comments after the 2003 invasion
"After human-rights advocates had harshly condemned sanctions on Iraq for almost a decade, the sanctions suddenly morphed into a causus belli. ... Progressive editor Matthew Rothschild observed that Bush and Blair 'refuse to acknowledge any responsibility for those deaths ...' In reality, the United States government perennially blocked the importation of the necessary equipment and supplies to repair the water system ..."
Related Topic: Iraq
Killing in the Name of Democracy, Attention Deficit Democracy, 27 Jan 2006
Excerpt from the "Messianic Democracy" chapter, details various U.S. presidents' policies and actions from Wilson to Eisenhower
"The U.S. government's first experience with forcibly spreading democracy came in the wake of the Spanish-American War ... President Woodrow Wilson raised tub-thumping for democracy to new levels ... During the 1920s and 1930s, U.S. military interventions in Latin America were routinely portrayed as 'missions to establish democracy.'"
Killing in the Name of Democracy, Future of Freedom, Jun 2006
Revised text of the "Messianic Democracy" chapter of Attention Deficit Democracy with additional parallels to George W. Bush
"Killing in the name of democracy has a long and sordid history. ... The U.S. government is currently spending more than a billion dollars a year for democracy efforts abroad. But Thomas Carothers, the director of the Carnegie Endowment's Democracy and Rule of Law Project, warns that Bush policies are creating a 'democracy backlash' around the globe."
Lies and Leviathan, Future of Freedom, Aug 2006
Describes the deceit used to institute and expand the U.S. Social Security program, as well as various other government programs and officials
"Big government requires big lies — and not just on wars but across the board. The more powerful government becomes, the more abuses it commits and the more lies it must tell. Interventions beget debacles that require cover-ups and denials. The more the government screws up, the more evidence the government is obliged to bury or deny."
My Time in the Tower of London, Future of Freedom, Dec 2006
Compares the torture of centuries past in the Tower of London with the 2006 legalization of similar practices in the United States
"... in late September 2006, Congress voted to effectively legalize torture and to pardon all the torturers and torture policymakers. Has the U.S. Capitol building acquired at least an odor of the Tower of London? ... the law that Congress passed will be a cornucopia of barbarity that will be likely to afflict people around the world."
Nonsense on the Inevitability of Democracy, Future of Freedom, May 2006
Examines Francis Fukuyama's assertion about the "universalization of Western liberal democracy" and recent pronouncements by George W. Bush
"The democratic-inevitability theory is also akin to the Marxist theory of the withering away of the state. Marx asserted that, after the creation of communism, the state would simply wither away, since there would be no need or incentive for people to exploit one another. Democratic inevitability implies that, once democracy is achieved, politicians will no longer seek power to violate the rights and liberties of citizens. For some unexplained reason, after democracy becomes universal, voting will turn politicians into choir boys."
Related Topic: Democracy
Parity: Bureaucratic Tyranny by Moral Fraud, Future of Freedom, Sep 1999
Discusses the consequences of establishing "parity" of agricultural prices, in the name of "fairness"
"After the enactment of the Agricultural Adjustment Act in 1933, bureaucrats used the doctrine of parity to dictate how many pounds of peanuts each farmer could sell, how many acres of tobacco he could plant, how many boxes of oranges he could ship, and where he could sell his milk. Parity provided a noble-sounding pretext ... to justify the arrest of thousands of farmers for planting or selling more of their harvest than the government permitted."
Related Topics: Farming, Technology
Political Plundering of Property Owners, Nov 2002
Details effects of local government land and property seizures allegedly for urban renewal purposes, for improving "blighted" neighborhoods or for the benefit of sports team owners
"Between 1949 and 1971, however, urban renewal razed five times as many low-income housing units as it created and evicted more than one million people from their homes. In one of the first major challenges to the federal urban-renewal program, a federal district court struck down a Washington, D.C., land-seizure program in 1953 ... But in November 1954, the Supreme Court overturned the federal district court and effectively gave government officials unlimited power to confiscate and redistribute land."
The 9/11 Servility Reflex, Future of Freedom, Dec 2007
Discusses how the general American public reacted after the 9/11 attacks and how the 9/11 Commission and the mainstream media helped reinforce that reaction
"The naive response to politicians triumphed in the weeks after the 9/11 attacks. By the end of September 2001, almost two-thirds of Americans said they 'trust the government in Washington to do what is right' either 'just about always' or 'most of the time.' Amazingly, the attacks even boosted Americans' confidence that government would protect them against terrorists."
The Bush Torture Memos, Future of Freedom, Nov 2006
Examines how the Bush Justice Department and the Pentagon twisted legal interpretations to absolve themselves of charges of torture
"President Bush is proposing to medievalize the American legal code by permitting the use of coerced confessions in judicial proceedings. ... the Bybee memo ... began by largely redefining torture out of existence. It then explained why even if someone died during torture, the torturer might not be guilty if he felt the torture was necessary to prevent some worse evil."
The Fraudulent Meaning of Elections, Future of Freedom, Apr 2006
Examines the arguments raised in the debate between Democrats and Republicans in Congress over the certification of the 2005 Ohio Electoral College voters
"The 'debate' in Congress illustrated how elections are now about consecration, rather than representation. Elections have become something for rulers to shroud themselves in, rather than leashes used by the people. Politicians are obsessed with maintaining the imagined dignity of their class, not in resolving doubts about honest vote counting."
Related Topics: Voting, Republican Party
The Most Absurdities per Kilo, Future of Freedom, Feb 2006
Describes the SWAT attack on Tommy Chong residence for the purpose of confiscating bongs, part of Operation Pipe Dreams
"... on February 24 [2003], Ashcroft proudly announced the most decisive attack ever on purveyors of bongs ... At a time when political leaders warned that a terrorist attack on the homeland could be imminent, more than 1,200 federal law officers were involved in Operation Pipe Dreams, ... the biggest attack on glass bowls in American history."
Related Topics: War on Drugs, Tommy Chong
Warring as Lying Throughout American History, Future of Freedom, Feb 2008
Recounts how U.S. Presidents and their administrations since James Polk have lied about wars, from start to finish
"Presidential deceits on foreign policy have filled cemeteries across the land. ... Lying and warring appear to be two sides of the same coin. Unfortunately, many Americans continue to be gullible when presidents claim a need to commence killing foreigners. It remains to be seen whether the citizenry is corrigible on this life-and-death issue."

Interviews

Interview with Jim Bovard, by Sunni Maravillosa, Apr 2006
Extensive dialogue, from Jim's first paid writing to an upcoming book, the publishing industry, the Future of Freedom Foundation, his books, radio hosts and much, much more
"I started to become politically aware at a time when government lies and abuses were roiling the nation and the world. ... Roaming in the East Bloc in the mid-1980s gave me a stronger sense of the evil of tyranny. ... I occasionally tried my hand at humorous writing ... I sent a satire on the failure of the all-volunteer Congress to the New York Times."
James Bovard Interview, by Scott Horton, The Weekend Interview Show with Scott Horton, 16 Oct 2004
"Scott talks to Jim Bovard, author of the new book The Bush Betrayal, about the book, and about the administration."

Books Authored

UpdAttention Deficit Democracy, 10 Jan 2006
Electronic text of Introduction available at LewRockwell.com
"The rising gullibility of the American people may be the most important trend in U.S. democracy. With each passing decade, with each new presidency, it takes less and less to snooker Americans. And a candidate only has to fool enough people on one day to snare power over everyone for four years."
Related Topics: Democracy, George W. Bush, Voting
Feeling Your Pain: The Explosion and Abuse of Government Power in the Clinton-Gore Years, 2000
Related Topic: Bill Clinton
Freedom in Chains: The Rise of the State and the Demise of the Citizen, 1999
Partial contents: The Great Pretending: The State, Ideal & Real - The Mirage of Welfare State Freedom - Cagekeepers and Caretakers: Modern Democracy - The Moral Glorification of Leviathan - Sovereignty & Political Slavery
Related Topic: The State
Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty, 1994
Related Topic: Rights
Terrorism and Tyranny: Trampling Freedom, Justice and Peace to Rid the World of Evil, 2003
Related Topic: Terrorism
The Bush Betrayal, 7 Aug 2004
Electronic text of first chapter available at Future of Freedom Foundation
"This book does not aim to analyze all Bush policies. Instead, it examines an array of his domestic and foreign actions that vivify the damage Bush is inflicting and the danger he poses both to America and the world. Bush governs like an elective monarch, entitled to reverence and deference on all issues."
Related Topic: George W. Bush