Friday, May 28, 2004

I just saw a story on KIRO-TV detailing the Pierce County, Washington, smoking ban and the city of Lakewood (in Pierce County) and others that have passed city ordinances allowing smoking in public places. In particular, the news story concentrated on the Grand Central Casino in Lakewood that has seen business plummet since the ban was enacted. In the story, a waitress at the casino showed a paycheck for the previous week with the ban in place, commenting that it was about one third the size of her normal paychecks, and her tips had decreased from 80-90 percent. The casino hosted a rally event, bringing in local bar and restaurant owners affected by the ban. County health officials came to casino, saw people smoking, and confronted the owners. The owners told them to cite them or leave - the health officials left, but a raid may be planned for the weekend.

We are seeing, in microcosm, the effects that well-intentioned but ill-considered laws passed by narrow-sighted "officials" have on business. Instead of making people healthier, they are causing businesses to close, people to lose jobs (and therefore health and other benefits), and the economy to suffer. The same forces being seen at work in Pierce County over this smoking ban work nation- and world-wide when environmental, health, and other regulations are forced on businesses in the absence of other market forces.

Health officials say it's too early to tell what the effects of the ban on business are, but for a small business owner, waiting for the health department to figure it out will be too late. What will the health department do once they figure out the effects on business are bad? Repeal the legislation and reinstate the businesses that failed while they were doing studies? Don't hold your breath.

If there is a need or requirement for smoke-free bars, restaurants, casinos, or other businesses, market forces will help create them. The smoking ban has already shown that there is a market desire for smoking establishments in Pierce County - why has this negative lesson been lost on Pierce County health officials? I guess since they didn't listen to the major protests that occurred before the regulation was passed, they don't have the sense to see what they're doing now.

And if you live in, or are visiting, western Washington (Seattle, Puget Sound area) this weekend, stop in the Grand Central Casino in Pierce County, drop a few bucks at a Blackjack table, and light one up for freedom, even if you don't smoke or gamble. I'll do my best to get down there this weekend. Civil disobedience is the last non-violent tool we have left to fight off the forces of tyranny, no matter how small or mean.
There's a crucial line in this story that I think is critical to all liberty lovers:

"A defendant has a right to offer a defense no matter how outlandish, silly or unbelievable one might think it will be," [Judge Robert L.] Holzberg said.

The emphasis was mine, but remember that line if you're ever called denied your day in court. Woman claims she's innocent because she was performing oral sex

Thursday, May 27, 2004

OK, you wanted to know how far our government - the government we vote for, the government we ask for, the government we deserve - will go to preserve it's power base. Well here it is - a NY court is exercising power over the reproductive rights of two NY citizens.

Now, I'm not a fan of what the couple is doing and has done, but where does the State get it's power from? From the people who accept that power. This judge stepped over the line - her judgement is one sentence away from mandating sterilization for this couple. Why didn't go there? Because she calculated just how much she could get away with - she knew that a ruling of mandatory sterilization wouldn't fly nearly as well as a simple order to stop procreating, so she didn't mention it, despite the fact that sterilization would prevent just the situation she wants to prevent.

This isn't a ruling of justice, it's a political statement, and this judge should be removed from office and disbarred for making it.

Infoshop News - NY Family Court orders Riochester couple to stop having children

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

I just saw a great sig line on a Slashdot post:

There are four boxes used in defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, ammo. Use in that order.

Well, this is my soap box. I've tried the ballot box, but the 2000 election conviced me that it doesn't really matter. Judges have already, through the voir dire jury selection process, nullified the jury box. What does leave us?

Monday, May 24, 2004

Unbelievable. Now they want to spend more to save more in the long run. I think we should abandon the agency and it's focus, return the "billions of wasted dollars" to the taxpayers they were looted from, and encourage everyone to purchase firearms for their own safety. I'd feel better knowing everyone was taken care of themselves than have Mother Government trying to watch over us all...

Report raps Homeland Security for muddled IT - News - ZDNet

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Good essay comparing the U.S. unde the Patriot Act to 1930's Weimar Republic Germany. Disturbing parallels, if you can get past the liberal knee-jerk reaction to dismiss comparisons to Nazi Germany.
Brian Cloughley: Where Are You Heading, America?

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Nice piece on the demise of neighborhoods and the advance of collectivism. My only point of disagreement with the author is his assertion that collectivism was not born in congressional chambers or Ivy League schools - I believe that's exactly where it was born. It is our own grievous fault that we did not commit infanticide on that terrible babe shortly after it's birth...
Collectivism Begins In Your Neighborhood by Butler Shaffer

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Illinois is trying to raise money by raising sales taxes across a variety of markets, including farming supplies, custom software, and private sales of watercraft. Personally, I think that if Illinois needs more money to cover their bottom line, they should cut some services, using the U.S and Illinois Constitution as a guide to what services are required and what are fluff.

Look at it this way - in your home, you have an income from your job and expeditures for the things you need to live and survive. Once you take care of food, housing, and basic necessities, the rest of the money you have can go for the fluff items - digital cable, internet access, nicer cars, nicer clothes, jewelry, travel, etc. If you find that you are spending more than you are bringing in, you've got two choices - bring in more money to cover the expenses, or cut some of the expenses. In a normal family, increasing the income isn't feasible, so expenses get cut. In government, however, cutting expenses by dropping services is seen as political suicide, so income gets raised in the form of taxes.

At some point this has to hit an end. As any family knows, expenses don't usually go down on their own. The same goes for government. As more and more people demand government services (in the form of entitlements, more police, better roads, subsidized health care, etc.), the cost of government will go up, meaning taxes will go up, meaning people will have less money to handle their own expenses, which means they'll go to the government for more services to cover the ones they can't (public housing, welfare, jobs programs, etc.), which means government needs more money, which means more taxes and less money available to the individuals. Can you see the cycle?

What happens when taxation reaches 100% of your income? If government is now taking everything you make to provide services, and still not providing enough for you to meet your needs, where will the money come from? What will be your incentive to actually make more money, if you don't get to keep it? How will charities provide the services they render if no one has money to freely donate? How will business stay in business when no one has money to buy their goods and services? And when those businesses and charities fold, how will the government provide for those displaced workers? They're not making an income on which to pay taxes, so there's that much less to go around to everyone else.

Increased taxation does not help the economy. You would expect government elected officials - especially career politicians like Illinois' governor - to know and realize this. But they don't. So the beginning of the answer here is clear:

Stop electing morons.

Burr Wolff | Tax News

Monday, May 10, 2004

It's a few weeks old - sorry I didn't see it earlier.

I've been personally "interviewed" by the SS. At the time, I was frightened, but not roughed up, much like the kid. Somewhere in D.C there's a folder with my hand-writing samples in it, just waiting to be compared to some threatening snail mail the Pres may received. They can wait.

This was also my first run-in with an old boys network (got turned in by some local cops who didn't like my viewpoints on a BBS system), my first evidence that the Bill of Rights is more lip-service than actual enforced law, and my last time looking at a government employee with less than contempt and disdain. - Secret Service?questions student on?drawings - Apr 27, 2004

Friday, May 07, 2004

This is what happens when you try to split hairs with the Bill of Rights. The Supreme Court and the Bush Administration should be ashamed of themselves - the Court for upholding this blatantly anti-First Amendment legislation, and the Bush administration for not vetoing it outright to begin with.

Liberal Net rules spawn political attack ads - News - ZDNet

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Brilliant commentary from the Cato Institute.
Coastal Post Online