Monday, December 29, 2003

What, are you fucking kidding me? The FBI now says people who own or carry almanacs and act in "suspiscious ways" are potential terrorists. What the hell are "suspiscious ways"? You know, I've never owned an almanac, but now I want one just to carry around the mall with me. - Top Stories - FBI Links Almanacs With Terror Planning

Friday, December 19, 2003

It's about damn time this came up for judicial review - hoo rah!

Elaine Cassel: Courts Rebuke Bush for Trampling the Constitution

Friday, December 12, 2003

More commentary on the criminal act perpetrated by the Supreme Court recently. TJ, where are you when we need you? - Bush And Rove Blew It - Randall Nunn

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

I am not - repeat not - a Ditto Head, but I liked Rush's commentary on the recent Supreme Court ruling around campaign finance reform. Cut through his bombastic commentary to find out why, then read the CNN piece if you want to know what happened. My summary - the Supreme Court just eviscerated the First Amendment, just like they've done with the Second. Time to heed Thomas Jefferson's advice...

See, I Told You So: Supreme Court Takes Knife to First Amendment

Supreme Court upholds 'soft money' ban

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

I don't agree with this guy on a few things, but not because I support a marriage amendment - I don't. He's got the Amendment That Never Was interpretation wrong (read the article to know what I'm talking about).

He states it was enacted to restrict rights (just as a Marriage Amendment would do), and that it was unconstitutional. I agree with him that it was unnecessary, but not for those reasons, and it wasn't unconstitutional. It was unnecessary because a reading of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments covers it - that's also the reason why it wasn't unconstitutional.

I believe the Ninth and Tenth Amendments cover gay marriage as well - it's none of the federal government's business. - Spotlight News

Monday, December 08, 2003

A very good essay on copyright and the harm it's doing to intellectual property.

Infoshop News - 'Locking culture in the closet'

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Now, I'm not Christian - I'm very areligious, very secular. But this story and the Federal judgement it details I am in complete agreement with, for a number of reasons. First, "diversity" as a concept in education and business bears little resemblance to what the word diversity really means. Second, I despise public schools. Third, public schools are straying farther and farther from providing a solid, well-rouded education to their charges and more and more into fulfilling their destiny of conditioning America's youth into brainless consumers. And lastly, anything that positively supports the First Amendment (which this judgement does) is a good thing - so many Constitutional amendments are ignored these days.

If you can't get past the Christian bend of the article, I urge you to grow up and learn to see past the surface. Try to ignore the training you recieved in public schools...

U.S. Newswire - Federal Judge Declares Mich. High School Violated Constitutional Rights of Christian Student During Homosexual Diversity Week

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Liberty takes a blow, as the Supreme Court refuses to review a California Appeals court ruling that gun ownership is a collective, not an individual right.
Woodland Daily Democrat

Friday, November 28, 2003

Nice editorial - required reading for libertarians, but socialists will find it "extremist"... - 75 Percent Of U.S. Budget Is For ‘Welfare State’ ! - Gordon Bishop

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Just a few thoughts I had...

The recent gubernatorial election in California should have taught us something about elections and campaigning. It's not what your opinion is, what your platform is, or your party affiliation - in order to get elected, all you need is name recognition. If Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn't a celebrity before running for office, he never would have been elected, and he could have been elected on a platform of raping and pillaging Nevada.

Speaking of elections, I want to throw out an idea I got from L. Neil Smith from his books "The Probability Broach" and "The American Zone". For each position up for election in any race, the ballots list the people running the office and one extra entry for a write-in. I'd like to add one more choice to that list: None of the above are Acceptable. If this entry wins a majority of the votes in a race, the second place entry gets the position, but with the clear message that a majority of the voters didn't want him in office. Eventually, we could move to the true vision - if None of the Above wins, the position remains unfilled. Either way, we could drastically reduce the level of government influence above us. Ultimately, I'd love to see if this raises the level of voter turnout and shows that voter apathy is due to a lack of viable choices rather than disgust with the process.

What do you think? Drop me an e-mail...

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Interesting comments on former Chief Justice Roy Moore from teh Washington Post, reprinted at this site.

Editorial - the Justice who Wasn't
Small but interesting article - even the conservative Federalist Society is conflicted over the Patriot Act. One can only hope that recent conservative appointees to the Supreme Court aren't behind Ashcroft on this one. : Attorney General Defends Patriot Act

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Interesting read. Skims the surface of how the far left operates, and how the far right responds. Nonsequiters flying back and forth across the great divide - reason number three to boycott TV and movies and read books.

You (and Bush) are likely too dumb for this

Friday, November 07, 2003

Good story on two U.S. Supreme Court justices abandoning their charter to defend the Constitution.

Monday, October 20, 2003

A major news organization with a good story on eminent domain, even mentioning libertarians and a libertarian organization - will wonders never cease?
CBS News | Eminent Domain | September 26, 2003 16:30:23

Sunday, October 12, 2003

There was a story reported by KING 5 news here in Seattle about illegal gun kits being seized in Redmond. According to the report, ATF agents raided a warehouse that contained kits to convert FNFAL automatic rifles from the semi-auto configuration they're legal as to fully auto machine guns, which, inviolation of he 2nd and 14th Amendments to the Constitution, are illegal.

Problem is, the reporter, one Pat McReynolds, is wrong.

The kits were legal up until a few months ago, when the ATF decided they were not. Instead of working with importers and gun dealers, they decided to flex their muscle and conduct raids. And the kits still don't make the guns fully auto - you still to get a receiver. McReynolds also editorializes shamelessly, using terms like "agents found enough illegal machine gun kits to outfit a small army," and "Thousands of machine guns ready to sell and assemble can easily attract buyers with sinister plans."

Three points:

  • The ATF is acting in violation of the Constitution - no surprise, as they've done so in the past and gotten away with it.

  • Machine guns in enough numbers to outfit a small army could also outfit a plane full of passengers to dissuade terrorists from hijacking the plane and flying it into a skyscraper.

  • Pat McReynolds is yellow and left-biased, better suited for the "National Enquirer" than a major metropolitan news organization. However, having viewed the major news organizations in Seattle for the past few years, he's in good company.

  • My thanks for Vin Suprinowicz's "The Libertarian" column for his insights and for bringing this to my attention. As it was, I never heard this on KING-5 TV news.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Good site for libertarian discussion, articles, commentary, and a blog as well...
I need to verify this is a true story, but if it is, it's a great testament against the TSA and the government that put them there, and one more reason why I will never fly again.

Interesting editorial - I tend to concentrate so much on the BIll of Rights, I forget they're an addendum to the full Constitution. Here's where the Constitution is being summarily ignored... - Here We Go . . . Agai - William Bailey

Monday, September 15, 2003

Decent article on some flaws in the opposition to the Patriot Act and Patriot Act II. I have once bone to pick with the author.

He states that one of the ACLU's points in their sample resolution could be construed as a criminal act of obstruction of justice. I agree, but don't see this as a problem.

When the Founding Fathers rose up and revolted against the unjust administration of Britain, they were committing far more than obstructions of justice - it was out right treason. Resisting tyranny, in any form, requires a certain measure of rule breaking and chance taking, which can incur penalties up to an including the death of the participants. As Benjamin Franklin said, "We must all hang together, or we will most assuredly hang separately."

Quite simply, if all the non-violent law-abiding ways of resistance are taken from us, then the only means to resist necessarily mean breaking laws and possibly incurring penalties. It's the nature of revolt. - Grassroots opposition to rights-infringing antiterrorism tactics - Sep. 15, 2003

Friday, September 12, 2003

Decent outside looking in POV from International Herald Tribune.

IHT: A beacon of freedom grows dim

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

The say that talk is cheap, and John Ashcroft proves that by talking. : Exclusive: Ashcroft Defends Patriot Act
Here's the Dumbya saying flat out that the Patriot Act isn't enough, he wants more. Oh, and by the way, I'm extended the national state of emergency so I can continue to act like the tyrants we're supposed to despise.

President makes pitch for new laws
Looks like the government has decided that the freedoms we hold so dear in the country and that we strive to defend (even in places we have no business being) aren't really that important when it comes to the war on terror. Read the article, then decide for yourself if th current administration is wiping it's ass with the Bill of Rights while saying it's trying to defend them world-wide. -- 24-Hour News: National News -- Justice again refuses court-ordered testimony of al-Qaida captive in Moussaoui case

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

A recent story in the Herald Tribune upholds the Fourth Amendment in Louisiana's Supreme Court. Southwest Florida's Information Leader

Monday, March 03, 2003

A news clip I took from the Liberator Online, a bi-weekly e-newsletter distributed by the Advocates for Self-Government, a private libertarian organization. Subscribe today!

Ron Paul Introduces “Liberty Amendment” to End Income Tax

Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) -- the greatest Congressman of the past century -- has once again introduced the Liberty Amendment.

The Liberty Amendment would repeal the 16th Amendment (which allows the income tax) and reduce the federal government’s functions to only those expressly named in the Constitution -- which would get rid of just about everything the federal government is doing today.

It is hard to imagine anything that would do more to immediately and dramatically increase liberty, prosperity and peace in America.

Here is Congressman Paul’s statement as he introduced the bill:

“Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce the Liberty Amendment, which repeals the 16th Amendment, thus paving the way for real change in the way government collects and spends the people’s hard-earned money. The Liberty Amendment also explicitly forbids the federal government from performing any action not explicitly authorized by the United States Constitution.

“The 16th Amendment gives the federal government a direct claim on the lives of American citizens by enabling Congress to levy a direct income tax on individuals. Until the passage of the 16th amendment, the Supreme Court had consistently held that Congress had no power to impose an income tax.

“Income taxes are responsible for the transformation of the federal government from one of limited powers into a vast leviathan whose tentacles reach into almost every aspect of American life. Thanks to the income tax, today the federal government routinely invades our privacy, and penalizes our every endeavor.

“The Founding Fathers realized that “the power to tax is the power to destroy,” which is why they did not give the federal government the power to impose an income tax. Needless to say, the Founders would be horrified to know that Americans today give more than a third of their income to the federal government.

“Income taxes not only diminish liberty, they retard economic growth by discouraging work and production. Our current tax system also forces Americans to waste valuable time and money on complacence with an ever-more complex tax code. The increased interest in flat-tax and national sales tax proposals, as well as the increasing number of small businesses that questioning the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) “withholding” system provides further proof that America is tired of the labyrinthine tax code. Americans are also increasingly fed up with an IRS that continues to ride roughshod over their civil liberties, despite recent “pro-taxpayer” reforms.

“Mr. Speaker, America survived and prospered for 140 years without an income tax, and with a federal government that generally adhered to strictly constitutional functions, operating with modest excise revenues. The income tax opened the door to the era (and errors) of Big Government. I hope my colleagues will help close that door by cosponsoring the Liberty Amendment.”


Congressman Paul’s home page:

Thursday, February 27, 2003

OK, here's a good one for freedom loving Americans and libertarians everywhere. Have you heard of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act? It's also been referred to as the Patriot Act II, or the Son of Patriot Act.

Basically, it's a bill drafted by the head of the Department of Justice, Attorney General John Ashcroft (prior to being named AG, he lost the Missouri governor's election to Mel Carnahan, despite the fact that Mr. Carnahan was dead at the time of the election). He's also the man behind the Secret Court (authorized by the Patriot Act, also called the FISA Court), ignoring habeus corpus, and holding people indefinitely without charges or legal counsel, which characterize our current implementation of the War on Terrorism.

If you're not familiar with the Patriot Act, you might want to read it here or in PDF form here. Basically, it says that in order to fight terrorism and preserve the rights and freedoms of Americans, we need to be able to violate, ignore, and abuse the rights and freedoms of those citizens. In my view, it's McCarthyism with teeth, the worst piece of government tyranny forced onto the American people since the tyrant Lincoln's crimes during the War Between the States.

Anyway, this new bill (not currently published - the link above is an early draft; you can get the PDF version here) expands on the abuses introduced and passed by a weak Congress by:

  • Wire-tap any phone whether or not Congress declares a war. Also, expands the time limits set for those, which already supercede anything specified by the Fourth Amendment.

  • Allow surveillance, searches, and seizures without court approval - even the Secret Court.

  • Expands the powers of the Secret Court to throw people in jail when they decide not to abuse other people's liberies by not complying with Secret Court orders (such as to install wire-taps or surveillance equipment).

  • Allows electronic searches without prior presentation of a warrant - they can provide you with one later.

  • Allows electronic searches and seizures of "whatever". If you've got a multi-function device, they'll intercept everything that it has, which flies in the face of what a search warrant is supposed to be about (specific places, specific things, specific methods). This also includes stuff that's on the device, whether or not it has anything to do with what they're looking for.

  • Expands what "terrorist activity" is when it comes to warrants - not just life-threatening attacks, but also funding terrorist organizations. I wonder if they'll be confiscating my gas card bill and recent 1040 forms? (sorry for the editorializing - I couldn't help myself)

  • Give government the same fast access to your credit reports as credit reporting firms have - no more nasty procedures, court subpoenas, or valid warrants. And here's an interesting twist - it would be illegal for a credit reporting agency to reveal that the government has gotten access to your credit report.

  • Allows the DOJ rather than a Federal Court to subpoena you for testimony. And you can't tell anyone you've been subpoenaed, except a lawyer (no word on whether the lawyer has to be government certified).

  • Keep hidden information that you can now get through the Freedom of Information Act.

  • Sets up a DNA database - any DNA from any crime is now part of a federal database, to be used for whatever purposes John Ashcroft thinks.

  • Expand the crimes that can carry the death penalty.

  • Some really silly items, like revoking tax-exempt status and denying federal benefits to terrorist organizations. Are we to believe that Islamic Jihad is shaking cans outside of department stores to raise money?

  • Expanding civil asset forfeiture laws (I hate these laws in general).

  • Most disturbing, you can be expatriated if the government says you're a member of a terrorist organization. And since you're no longer a citizen, you're out from under what little protection the Constitution still provides.

This draft and it's analysis is disturbing - I urge you to read the original Patriot Act, then read the draft of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act, and make up your own mind. Then go to the ACLU's Action Alert site and send a free fax to your Congressmen, and tell them to stop this. Now.

Sunday, February 23, 2003

AN article in Sunday's Seattle Times piqued my interest - here we have a major newspaper running a story about a libertarian plan I've heard about in other places, and not being too demeaning or derogatory.

It's called the Free State Project, and it works like this - get twenty thousand or more libertarians to move to one state, and start running for office. Once in office, start applying the libertarian agenda while in those offices - slash entitlements and taxes, cut regulations and red-tape, and instill the values of freedom and liberty. After a while, the state should prosper, attracting more liberty people to it. In short, make an example of the state.

The state chosen would be a sparsely populated one and already have some libertarian principles operating - states mentioned include New Hampshire (no sales or income tax), Maine (has a coastline), Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana (all three are sparsely populated). The people are volunteers - currently there are around twenty-six hundred already signed up. Once they hit the five thousand mark, they pick the state. Once they hit the twenty thousand mark, everyone moves and the experiment is on.

Why do I call it an experiment? Because for the first time since the American Revolution, a truly libertarian politcal body will be in process of birth. The closest the world has been to that ideal in the modern world is Hong Kong.

My one problem with the story is the use of the word "nuttiness" to describe the project's founder, Jason Sorens, even if it was meant to be a compliment. That type of editorializing in a serious reporting story is yellow - the reporter, one Marego Athans with the Baltimore Sun should be ashamed, as should her editor.

I support this movement - my wife have discussed signing up for it. It will be a few years before they're ready to move - the article reports that the Free State Project expects to hit the twenty thousand mark by 2005. Hopefully, my wife and I will be ready when they are.

Read the article, peruse the Free State Project's website (read the FAQ - it's worth it), and make up your own mind.

Saturday, February 22, 2003

Some background on me before we get too far.

I consider myself a rabid libertarian. I believe that government is best that governs least. I was a member of the Libertarian Party, but I became very disillusioned with the party when I saw they were actually no different that the Republicans or Democrats. I believe Thomas Jefferson was right - a little revolution every now and then is a good thing.

Anyway, I live in Seattle, work for a major software company (yeah, that one), and am married with a daughter in college.

Seattle is a bit of a stretch for me - my wife and I call it Soviet Seattle. There are more socialists per capita here than anywhere else I've lived. They don't call themselves socialists - they're progressive liberals, or something to that effect, but no matter what the face you put on it, it's socialism. For a definition, socialism believes that the good of the whole outweighs the good of the one. Most Seattlites would agree that "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" is a valid way of running government. The quote is a standard socialist rallying cry. For the record, I think it's crap - more on that later.

Anyway, the socialism goes further than the population - the media here is fairly saturated with it as well. One of the local news casts (KIRO-TV) has an investigative reporting team - basically two reporters who do the public good by going where government can't. Anyway, they had two big stories this week. The first was people who use red fuel, or specially dyed diesel fuel, in their road vehicles. Red fuel is untaxed diesel, and is regulated to be used only in equipment that never uses roads - backhoes, generators, heavy construction equipment, etc. Apparently, there are some people who work for these companies who fill their trucks and cars with the fuel and then drive them on our roads. The problem? The fuel is untaxed and the vehicles illegally using this fuel use the roads - in other words, they're not paying their fair share, and it tweaks the socialists.

The second big report they had was on people using handicapped parking permits illegally. There's a black market in forged handicapped permits, and some people buy them just to get the good parking spots or avoid paying parking meters (apparently handicapped permits let you avoid paying the meter). Again, these are people abusing a system meant for the common good, not paying their fair share, and that causes socialist investigators ears a'twitchin'.

My problem?

  • Why aren't these reporters asking our federal government why we're using an unconstitutional army to wage unconstitutional wars against countries for no well-defined reason?

  • Why aren't they asking our state government why they're ignoring voter approved initiatives to lower taxes?

  • Why aren't they asking our local government why work is continuing on the third runway at Seatac despite investigations into alleged collusion between the builders and local authorities?

The problem is that the media is not acting a check against intrusive government, but as a fourth branch of government by investigating people who have found a way around government limitations. I'm all for freedom of the press (remember the Constitution?), but when the press self-censors, it's time for a change.

Unfortunately, I seem to be one of a very small group of people who feel that way. More tomorrow....

Thursday, February 20, 2003

The first of what I hope to be many posts on the death and rebirth of liberty in America.

Here I'll discuss (and hopefully discourse) on liberty, libertarianism (the theory, not the political party), self-government, and personal responsiblity. All in hopes of doing something, anything, to make my fellow Americans turn away from the the fascist and socialistic tendancies they seem to be so fond of following.

Stay tuned for more.