Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Fuck Christmas

This is brilliant - if you don't like essays generously sprinkled with the F-word, skip it, but if you're an adult, go ahead and read it.

Two things - first, let me say that I don't watch any news programs, let alone Fox News. I have nothing in particular against Fox News, just all newscasts.

Second, as for profanity, there's a paraphrase of Lewis Carroll I like - are you the master of your language, or your language the master of you? I believe I am the master of my language(s), and so I use whatever words I feel like.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Bush (tries to) Defend Domestic Spying

An AP Report in a WV newspaper site...

The CATO Institute said it best - I'm paraphrasing here. If the President can, by some extraordinary stretch of interpretation and imagination, defend any action he takes in the War on Terror as Commander in Chief, then 1) the Patriot Act is unnecessary, and 2) the doctrine of separation of powers is a joke.

Bush can claim he's not a dictator - I'm sure Castro and Stalin denied it to their people as well. When he took the Oath of Office (both of them), he pledged to defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. This most recent news, IMHO, is just the most recent example that he does no such thing. If the Constitution was so important to him (ignoring the rumours reported last week), he'd petition Congress for a true Act of War, then act within that declaration to win it. There has been no formal Congressional Act of War against Iraq; the War on Terror, like the War on Drugs or the War on Poverty, are not wars in any traditional sense, but merely declarations of resolve to remove the planet of scourges both real and imagined; therefore any powers Bush has exercised under the guise of "Commander in Chief" are patently illegal. His actions are traitorous and more than deserving a vote of impeachment.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The lone non-voting senator

The results are in at

Seems the lone non-voting senator wasn't Cantwell as I had previously thought - somehow, she cast an absentee vote of Nay from Iraq (perhaps I need to learn a bit more about how the Senate votes). The senator who didn't vote was Chris Dodd (D-CT). Why not? Nothing I can find - no statement on his website about it, just a Not Voting on the record. I used to live in Connecticut, Dodd was there when I was in the early 80's, although I think he was in the House at the time.

I'm still not happy she wasn't in D.C. when the vote was cast, but am a bit chastened by the fact that she did vote Nay. I still don't think it was her job to oversee foreign elections, though.

Maria Cantwell: Gross Negligence?

That's Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

Let me preface this by saying that I didn't vote for her, don't like her, and don't support her. That said, she is one of my representatives in the Senate, so I accept she won the election and deal with her when necessary.

Yesterday, however, my patience broke. You see, there's a bill going before the Senate to reauthorize the Patriot Act, with a bunch of extra crap thrown in for good measure. George "Its just a god damn piece of paper" Bush wants this bill - and why not? It gives him dictatorial powers by keeping us in a constant state of war, therefore making his role as commander and chief supreme to just about everything else.

The reauthorization bill passed the House, narrowly I hear, and is on it's way to the Senate. Some key senators are trying to fight with a filibuster, while others are fighting back pushing for a cloture vote, which would kill the filibuster and push the bill through the Senate.

Being a concerned citizen and unable to cast my own vote on this issue, I sent e-mails to both Patty Murray (my other Senator) and Maria Cantwell, urging them to vote against cloture and not to pass this bill. You can read about that on the ACLU web site.

Then, watching the news last night, I caught a story on the Iraqi elections going on. Who do I see in the background, acting as an observer but Senator Maria Cantwell. She's not in Washington to cast a vote - she's in Iraq making sure the votes cast there are fair.

In other words, instead of being in Washington protecting the rights of American citizens, she's in a foreign country making sure their rights are being protected.

The job description for a U.S. Senator is listed in the Constitution, and nowhere does it say, "Uphold and protect the rights of citizens of foreign lands on other sovereign nations".

I don't know how the Senate votes, but if she cannot cast a vote from Iraq, then she has abandoned her post. Should the new Patriot Act make it through the Senate while she's away and she doesn't cast a vote, I think she should be allowed to be away from Washington D.C. as much as possible after the next election by voting for someone who will be around when the shit hits the fan.


Just checked MSNBC (at - the Senate did their duty, by god, and rejected cloture, killing the bill until they could work some more civili liberty protections into it. Of course, the best protection they could add would be absolutely nothing - let the damn things sunset in a few weeks, and let's go back to the way things were before. Won't happen, but a boy can dream, can't he...

As an interesting aside, the vote was 52-47 - that adds up to 99. There are 100 Senators, 2 from each state. Whose was the vote that didn't get cast? The vote lists aren't up on the website yet - once I see who didn't cast a vote, I'll post it here.

Patty Murray did vote against the bill - marks for her. She also has a statement about it on her website at Cantwell's last blurb on her site? Some socialist crap about oil exec's not being honest with Congress about fuel oil prices - apparently, she didn't like the answers she got before, so she asked, and asked again. The press release was about her asking again. Maybe while she's in Iraq, she can bring back some oil for the poor folk - isn't that why our troops are there, to get the oil?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Capitol Hill Blue: Bush on the Constitution: 'It's just a goddamned piece of paper'

Not sure how accurate this is, but I've been seeing this story, or reports of it, all over my news feeds.

If it's true, Bush needs to be impeached, then tried for treason.

If it's not, then it's a sad attempt to discredit him.

Let's figure out which it is, then take the proper action.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Rigoberto, Requiesce in Pace by Becky Akers

You know, my wife and I were talking about this story last week - I had my usual knee-jerk reaction (yes, I have them too, although I try to control them before I do something I can't undo), but she was more sympathetic to the marshals, as the reports had the victim shouting about a bomb on the plane.

Now, however, it appears the reports (which were given to news reporters by government agents) were wrong. Why should we be surprised

I had planned to take my wife on a trip to Vegas sometime soon, flying down and staying a week. Now, however, this story and the subsequent reporting by Ms. Akers, has reinforced my own principles (for which I am thankful) - I will NEVER fly again.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

ABC News: Fox News Won't Show Ad Opposing Alito

This is interesting - the story comes from the AP, so don't go blasting ABC for reporting, as anything they added would be editorializing.

Why is it interesting to a libertarian? Well, for a few reasons...

First, although I abhor Fox News (in fact, I abhor most news broadcasts), they are a private company and can do what they wish, including refusing to sell their product (advertising airtime) to anyone for any reason. It's called private property rights, and if Fox doesn't want to run the ad, for whatever reason, so be it.

Second, the fight over Supreme Court justice nominations since the 1980's have focussed on a single issue - abortion rights. While the AP story does mention Alito's queer views on what constitutes a legal search, it also mentions his views on abortion when he was seeking a job in the Reagan administration. Abortion isn't the only issue here, and making the fight against any Supreme Court nominee hinge on his or her views on abortion is, in my mind, horribily short-sighted. Given his views on illegal searches, his views on abortion should be evident to anyone anyway.

Third, I find it an extraordinary juxtaposition of philosophies. You see, the abortion rights people feel that a woman's body, and anything growing inside it, it hers to do with as she pleases. While the religious fervor they exude is off-putting at best, the idea that what you do with your body is up to you stems from the most basic of property rights - you own your body. This is the "I think, therefore I am" of property rights, and it's culminates, in this story anyway, with Fox exercising its right not to air this ad.

Of course, despite the lip-service both parties hand out like candy at a parade, neither of the two major parties give a damn about your property rights, whether it's the right to your own body, or your real estate, or your domain name, or you broadcast airwaves, unless you've got some money and power that can help them.

And as for Alito's view on abortion, that "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion", I'd encourage him (and the rest of you fascists who think there is no right to an abortion, or to use drugs, or prostitution, or any other supposed crime that involves consensual activities) to reread Amendments 9 and 10. Don't understand them? Well, the basically say two things:

  • We couldn't list every right the People have, so we're explicitly saying there are more.

  • We listed every power the Federal government has - any others are either State powers, or left to the People.

All this means we should be freeer and the government smaller, but it hasn't worked out that way, has it?

ABC News: Fox News Won't Show Ad Opposing Alito

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Bush's Approval Rating Falls Again, Poll Shows

Interesting - need to find out if the Fark comment is correct. The comment is that Bush's current approval rating of 34% is the same as Lincoln's. In South Carolina. In 1863. - Bush's Approval Rating Falls Again, Poll Shows

Friday, November 11, 2005


Check out the link below - the quote is from the last paragraph. Substitute your own network, news program, and news anchor, of course...

Fox may be able to condense all the political news into a 30-minute 'No Spin
Zone,' but in those same 30 minutes a person could read the entire text of the
U.S. Constitution and gain a far better understanding of the American political
establishment than Bill O'Reilly will ever provide.

I Hate TV - Editorial/Op-ed:

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Election results - Damage

I-901, the public smoking ban, passed in Washington yesterday.

You know, everyone wanted to make this strictly a health issue, and I don’t deny that health is a part of the issue. However, by making this ONLY a health issue, you ignore the infringement on private property owner rights. This sets a precedent that, if not overturned in court, will have repercussions in the future. For example, there has been talk about banning smoking in privately owned condos for the same reasons. There are people (like my mother-in-law) who have allergies to ingredients in perfumes and colognes – could this be next on the list of non-approved public substances? One of my hobbies is building model planes and cars, and the lacquer and enamel paint and thinners I use contain VOC’s (volatile organic compounds)– will the health issues of using VOC solvents override my rights to paint models in my garage someday?

From I-901 to the CAO all the way to the East Cost and Kelo v. New London, everyone’s property rights are under attack for one reason or another. I’m glad people feel safer and healthier – too bad that collectively we don’t truly own anything anymore. A government that doesn't respect your property rights will shortly and surely lose respect for your other rights as well.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Property rights and I-901

There's an election tomorrow, and in Washington state, there's an initiative on the ballot that would severly restrict property rights. It's not as blatant as the Kelo decision, but is much more insidious and just as outrageous. It's Initiative 901 - an indoor smoking ban for all private property.

This initiative, if it passes, would ban smoking on all private property if it's accessible to public - think restaurant, bar, MC repair shop. Any piece of property that you allow the public to access will be non-smoking, even if everyone on the property is a smoker.

The proponents of this initiative claim it's to protect non-smoking employees in smoking establishments - they parade a sad-faced working mom serving drinks in a smoke filled bar. However, the initiative would prohibit smoking even if you have no employees, or your employees already smoke.

This is nothing more than a CAO-like piece of legislation stripping your property rights, masquerading as a public health masterpiece. The juxtaposition of socialist agendas with libertarians ideals usually take the form of initiatives, and usually get settled in the courts. The problem is that the Washington Supreme Court (and the U.S. Supreme Court) have taken the side of the socialists in the recent past - gas taxes were reinstated, eminent domain was expanded, the Patriot Act still is being argued. I expect to see a court case on this, but not much news coverage and I'm not hopeful this will be overturned.

Remember folks - if you don't control what happens to your land, you don't own it anymore. A government that doesn't respect your rights to your property will soon stop respecting your other rights, like freedom of speech, bearing weapons, speedy impartial jury trials, keeping soldiers in your home.

Until then, smoke 'em if you got 'em, and read this guest article in the P.I. - I'm rather surprised the premier newspaper for Soviet Seattle let this one run. I guess they needed to run it to preserve some sense of "balanced reporting" (although how they, or any newspaper, can pretend to be impartial reporters of news is doubtful when they support key issues and initiatives - specifically, the P.I. has come out in support of I-901). You can also check out for more info (I'm not a balanced reporter - you want the proponents web site, find it your-damn-self).

The Politics of Oil, and Economics 101

OK, he's a conservative, but this guy articulates the argument that when demand exceeds supply, prices should go up, and when people buy more of something, the company selling it should make more profit. Of course, you can read the rantings and ravings of the socialists on Fark as well (where I got the link from).

Friday, October 28, 2005

Interesting link from a friend with similar political persuasions.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

New blog listing

Some format changes - I've added links to the stories I read and post here (thought that happened automagically - surprised me) and made the perma-links easier to find and click. I also split up the right side bar and added a new link to Melissa's Liberty Blog. She's as rabid a libertarian as I am, but uses cleaner language (that is, if you're offended by the words "fuck" and "shit" - if you're offended by the use of words like "socialism" and "collective", like I am, it's positively obscene).

I'm also trying to track down some editorials referenced in a recent letter I got from the Advocates for Self-Government. Two people, in three separate op-ed's, blame libertarianism for the damage Katrina did to New Orleans.

Close your mouth - took me a while to close mine, but it's better in the long run if you do.

Anyway, I want to find the complete editorials before commenting in depth. I also want to find contact info for the writers to publish here. Some quick thoughts on what I read:
  • Libertarians didn't build substandard levees
  • Libertarians didn't encourage people to live below sea level by providing cheap flood insurance
  • Libertarians didn't deny basic 1st and 2nd Amendment rights to reporters and victims in the area
  • Private organizations moved quicker and more efficiently to provide aid to victims, despite government efforts to stop them

Anyway, I'll have more once I find the complete op-eds in question.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Town's Sunday construction ban could affect do-it-yourself work - Monday, 10/17/05

People ask me sometimes why I'm against my little patch of unincorporated King County either incorporating into one of the neighboring towns (Seattle, Tukwila, Burien), or becoming it's own little town. I tell them right now I have three levels of government sitting on me - county, state, federal. Incorporating adds a fourth, which I don't like. When they ask me why not, I'll start pointing to this article...

WTF, people? You can't build a deck on Sunday in this little shit-ass TN town? You work 60+ hours a week, with lots of Saturday OT, and want to do some home improvement on Sunday, but the Spring Hill aldermen say, "not on Sunday".

It's a religious based decision, of course - someone brought up the question of Seventh Day Adventists celebrating the Sabbath on Saturday. No one brought up Jews, or Baptist's Wednesday services, but the argument is the same - the holy day shall not be used for work of any kind, especially the kind that can disturb you when you and the fellas watching the game and the women-folk are washing the dishes.

I'm presuming the reason why is noise - wonder if you're working on building some furniture in your garage, got the table saw and planer going full blast, making all sorts of noise with the door open if they'll stomp down on you. How about working on your car with the air tools? Band practice in the driveway?

Move out now.

Tracking Mobile Phones For Real-Time Traffic Data > October 17, 2005

Creepy, when you think about the "mission creep" as the article puts it. How long before they can track a single phone from point to point on a whim, rather than with a court order? If you're concerned about tracking, turn your cell phone off when in the car - you shouldn't be talking when you're driving anyway. How will they deal with out-of-state travellers as well? There have already been hassles between Missouri and Illinois over out of state auto purchases and riverboat casinos (in one incident, a riverboat turning around in the Mississippi crossed the court-enforced state line and was issued a citation by the State Patrol - I forget which state in which gambling is legal). Could be interesting if the Illinois and Kansas AG's gets a lot of complaints about possible privacy issues from residents travelling into Missouri on a regular basis (St. Louis and KC are border cities).

Thinking technically, does it matter if only one car in ten has a cell phone? I wouldn't think so - one cell phone moving 20 mph on the interstate out of St. Louis into the burbs should be as telling as 100.

You know, we have this type of feature in the Seattle area right now, without cell phone tracking. This is just another reason why, though I want to live in the St. Louis area, I plan to live on the Illinois side of the river...

Friday, October 14, 2005

Police Arrest Woman For $1 In Unpaid Taxes - Yahoo! News

Today's "The Government You Deserve" story brought to you by WLTW-TV in Cincinnati.

Remember all you Cincinnati folks, this is the government you voted for, the officials you wanted in office. Fred Enderle, City Manager who sent the police force after this woman, was either elected or hired by elected officials - and he's standing on the principle that it's OK to arrest and fine a woman for not paying her city income tax, all $1.16 of it. Thank the gods you Cinicinnati people have an upstanding principled city manager who won't let things like economies of scale or common sense get in the way.

Move out of Cincinnati while they still let you, and before they bring in another Kansas School Board member with an overload of principles and deficient common sense to be your next city manager...

Now before you all get on my shit for trashing a guy with principles (which I admire - about time we found a public official who actually has them and admits to them), let's discuss this from a different POV. Sure, he has principles, and he states them fairly accurately in the story - there are laws, and you have to comply with the laws. However, before that, he does state that there is some expense involved (ostensibly in the arrest and prosecution of this woman). This is where my admiration of his principles breaks down.

In the private sector, there are rules, by-laws, best practices, etc. You follow these because it's the best way to get the best return on your investment, whether that's a stock you bought, an employee you hired, some equipment you're leasing, or customer service you're delivering. Every rule, best practice, whatever, has a cost associated with it - computer programmers take extra time to comment code and follow standards because the initial cost (in terms of time) is made up later when it comes time to service the code. Auto manufacturers use bolts to fasten things, and take the time to specify those fasteners, because loosening a bolt is easier than breaking a weld when it comes time to service (a vast overgeneralization, I know, but bear with me - I'm running out of analogies).

So, there are costs and returns on the tules you follow when you're doing business. The minute the cost of following those rules becomes higher than the return you get from them, the rules get tossed. For example, if you're writing code that only gets used once in one place and will never be serviced, comments are not done, or are done in a very limited fashion.

The other thing to remember is that there very few universal laws, and almost none of them are codifiable into local code. How do you legislate being responsible? Honorable? Having integrity? You don't. The laws we follow in business - and the laws enacted by all governments - are made up by us. They may originate from a common experience, but they're certainly not universal.

So, the city manager asks what cost do you stop enforcing law? When the law is counter-productive to the economy of the city (i.e. when it will cost more to enforce than it will return to the city). And when the law being enforced does not protect one citizen from the harmful actions or inaction of another. The city is out $1.16, and has spent how much trying to track it down? Do the math - will the fines she pays even make up the difference? I doubt it, but I'd love to hear someone with real numbers...

Oh, and I've been getting spammed religiously in comments - if you've got something real to say, please do so, as I'd love to see something real. My dick and tits are big enough, my mortgage is fine thankyouverymuch, I don't want a fucking Rolex, and I don't need prescription Viagra - I don't give a flying fuck how much you like my blog, I ain't buying your shit, visiting your site, clicking your link, or looking at your pictures.

Vent mode off.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Why not to support the troops

Very well done, somewhat poignant, essay on why we should not support our troops. The whole thing boils down to a Rush Limbaugh paraphrase at the the end - you can't support the troops without supporting the war and government that started it. I support neither the war nor our government, and despite pressure from all sides, do not support our troops either. They are the instruments of an illegal war, and they have freewill, uniforms and chain of command notwithstanding. We didn't allow the "We were under orders" defense of Nazi prison camp guards - why do we put up with it now?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Oliver Burkeman: A treat for rightwing tots

I think I'll see if my library has the book and read it - of course, I think the Guardian got it wrong, comparing liberals to conservatives, neither of whom seems to think that government is too small. Better to see this as a libertarian children's book, but until I read it, the jury's out...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Free Talk Live

New site I found - podcast of a radio broadcast aimed at liberty. Now I'm listening to yesterday's second hour at - well worth a listen.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

GOP House Leader Says There's No Room to Cut Federal Budget

This came in my recent Liberator Online newsletter from the Advocates for Self-Government. If you haven't been there, go already - they're one of the best libertarian grass-roots organizations out there.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) wins, hands-down, the award for the single most mind-bogglingly absurd political comment of recent weeks (if not years).

Fiscal conservatives have expressed alarm over the Bush administration's proposal to spend
anywhere from $60 billion to $200 billion or more in New Orleans disaster relief. Many argue that this money should at least be raised by cutting unnecessary federal spending, rather than by still more deficit spending.

But that's just not possible, countered Rep. DeLay in a press conference after the president's proposal. Get this: DeLay said that Republicans have done such a stellar job of slashing federal spending during the past decade that there simply is no place left in the federal budget where further cuts are possible. (No, he wasn't joking.) According to DeLay, the GOP has won an "ongoing victory" against wasteful federal spending.

"My answer to those that want to offset the spending is sure, bring me the offsets, I'll be glad to do it. But nobody has been able to come up with any yet," the Texas Republican told reporters. "Yes, after 11 years of Republican majority we've pared [the federal budget] down pretty good."
The GOP House Leader's comments stunned and outraged fiscal conservatives and libertarians, who have watched President Bush and the GOP Congress lead one of the biggest social spending sprees of all time.

The arch-conservative New Hampshire Union-Leader newspaper responded bluntly: "That has to be the lie of the year. The only thing Congressional Republicans have pared down is the party's reputation." DeLay, the paper charged, is guilty of "lying to the American people about how their government is being run."

The San Diego Union-Leader similarly noted:
"Since the GOP took over Congress in 1994, the supposed party of small government has presided over the largest expansion of federal spending since the New Deal -- and, no, that doesn't count the post-9/11 spikes in military and homeland security spending. This binge has only accelerated with a Republican president. No wonder the president blithely touts a $100 billion-plus rebuilding of New Orleans without outlining how to pay for it; his indifference to running up $1 trillion in total debt since 2001 shows it might as well be Monopoly money to him."

"If Mr. DeLay actually believes what he said then he has clearly lost touch with reality wrote John Berthoud, president of the National Taxpayers Union, in the Wall Street Journal.
"After all, total federal spending, aside from interest, has increased 79 percent since 1995 -- much greater than the inflationary increase in prices of 28 percent. Republicans have dramatically increased the size of government to an extent not seen since Richard Nixon was in the White House."

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) -- a nonpartisan organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government -- was quick to respond with a long list of specific proposals for cutting.

CAGW released "Prime Cuts 2005," which catalogues 600 recommendations throughout the government that could save taxpayers $232 billion in fiscal year 2006 and $2 trillion over the next five years.

Just a few examples from "Prime Cuts" of programs that could be abolished: Community Development Block Grants (saving $24.7 billion over five years); the White House's National Youth Anti-drug Media Campaign (saving $1 billion over five years); the Advanced Technology Program (saving $750 million over five years) and on and on it goes, page after page of waste, duplication, and federal destructiveness.

Our own suggestion is that Rep. DeLay spend some time talking with his fellow Texas Republican House colleague, libertarian Congressman Ron Paul. We have no doubt at all that Congressman Paul could come up with a few suggestions for trimming the budget.
In fact, Congressman Paul has proposed a bill, The Liberty Amendment, to restrict the federal government to performing only those functions permitted it under the Constitution. (Talk about a radical proposal!) Doing so would cut the federal government so dramatically that the entire federal income tax could easily be abolished.

Unfortunately, only two GOP Congressmen have thus far signed on to support it. Perhaps Congressman Paul could persuade DeLay to be the third?

I didn't put add any links to the story, but did correct some formatting - this is as it appears. Check the sources yourself, and for the love of all that is free, if you live in DeLay's district, vote him out ASAP.

Friday, September 16, 2005

America Has Fallen to a Jacobin Coup by Paul Craig Roberts

Very bleak, very black, very depressing - don't read the linked storyif you scare or worry easily, or if you voted for Bush.

The only problem I have with it is that is merely spells out, rather clearly, what's wrong, but offers no prescriptive advice on how to correct it. Waiting until the next election is clearly not the answer - the only party who might have an inkling of cleaning things up is the Libertarian, and in today's divisive political climate, there's hardly any room for a third party to get a word in edgewise. Impeach Bush? Big deal, didn't do anything to Clinton other than give us another reality TV show. I'm telling you, we held a revolution and a war between the states over less crap than this...

You know, one thing has hit me - Republicans were all over Clinton over Whitewater, a money making scheme that seemed to fail. Aren't the Republicans supposed to the party of Rich White Guys? Seems that money-making ventures (Halliburton, SnL scandal) would be something they could get behind. Now, the Democrats aren't getting over Bush's War (not sure why) - aren't they supposed to be the war-mongers? WWI, WWII, Viet Nam - all Democratic President's. Seems like the tables are turning - the Conservatives are the war-mongerers, and the Democrats are the money-grubbers. Like they both saw the grass on the other side, and decided to see if it was greener or not. Just cements my belief that there's no difference between the two major parties. At all.

America Has Fallen to a Jacobin Coup by Paul Craig Roberts

Thursday, September 15, 2005

World Peace Herald

Apparently, all the other religion and government issues have been resolved, so now we can tackle the crap issues. Not that this isn't important, but in light of evolution v. creationism in government schools, and the U.S. Military freeing the people of Iraq to come up with a Constitution based firmly and solely on Sharia law, this is really small potatoes.

I like the fact that Tom DeLay calls the Pledge a "vital, ennobling part of our national identity", despite the fact that the Pledge was written in 1882 by Francis Bellamy, a Baptists minister, Freemason, and Socialist in order to foster a his socialist vision of a centralized government run economy; that he put in "one nation" to support the Lincolnian vision of a federal republic superior to the individual States and the people; and the "under God" clause was not added until 1954 after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic lay organization. Vital and ennobling my aching ass - it's a way to indoctrinate youths into the social order our Government has in store for them. It fits very well into the structure of public schools, derived from Prussian military schools where the commoners went to learn basic skills, learn to follow orders, obey the command structure, and jump when a horn was sounded.

From a strictly procedural position, it could be worse - we could have the pledge devised by George T. Balch in 1892, which included a flag salute that included, with the right arm, touching your forehead, then your heart, then outstretching it, palm down, in the direction of the flag - in other words, a very scary mix of the Catholic ritual of crossing oneself (minus the shoulder to shoulder motion) with a Nazi salute (to be fair, the Nazi party wasn't in existance yet). His pledge also included pledging your hearts and heads to God and Country, and endorsed the notion of an official language.

Some interesting links on the Pledge:

World Peace Herald

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Flight That Fought Back

I just got through watching "The Flight That Fought Back", a special on UA Flight 93, the fourth hijacked airplane from 9/11/01 that crashed in Pennsylvania. It was affirming - the passengers of Flight 93 were acting as the citizen's militia when they attacked the hijackers, causing the plane to crash into an empty field rather than into a random building in Washington. I have nothing but the greatest respect to those people, and honor their memory and their families.

But I have a problem with some of the messaging surrounding the program. The CEO of Ask Jeeves said it, Elizabeth Wanio's sister said it, and the new website dedicated to erecting a memorial to the flight - that the people on that flight sacrificed themselves to protect the lives of others. While in hindsight, that is true, I doubt it was the first thing these people were thinking when they attacked the terrorists. They wanted to take the plane back - they had a pilot on the ground (the husband of a flight attendant), a pilot on the plane, and a plan to retake the plane. They wanted to live.

Part of me is angry at this spin on the passengers of Flight 93. Their actions and memories are being used, rather cheaply, to advance the the false morality of self-sacrifice (yes, I subscribe to Ayn Rand's philosophy). This idea, that self-sacrifice is the highest moral behavior one can aspire to, is cancerous to the ideals of liberty, where self-reliance, self-responsibility, and individual integrity are the ultimate aspirations. Self-sacrifice is a form of cowardice, the triumph of feeling over accomplishment, the antithesis of personal accomlishment and integrity.

For the record, in my opinion, the lesson of Flight 93 is that individual's acting of their own free will are more powerful that anything government can put together.

The fallout from 9/11/01 has actually made it harder for a group of citizens on a hijacked airline to do what these heroes did. They at least has forks and knives from the airline galley - now they'll have to fight attackers with plastic utensils. Since terrorists don't follow the rules to begin with, why do we assume they won't have knives? There have been potential terrorists who have caught on planes with blades and shoe bombs - how will we fight back now? And how effective has the TSA been in stopping people from getting on airplanes without weapons? I know they've managed to keep babies off planes and disarm grandmothers of knitting needles.

Anyway, I did enjoy the movie, and think the passengers of Flight 93 embodied the truest ideals of what it means to be American. Too bad our elected officials can't say the same thing.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Appeals Court Rules No Right to Trial for U.S. Citizen Jose Padilla

Well, there it is - and you thought the Constitution meant something to this administration. Think again.

We held a revolution and a War Between the States for less than this.

Media Alert | September 9, 2005 | Appeals Court Rules No Right to Trial for U.S. Citizen Jose Padilla

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Gouge On

A follow-on to my September 1 posting on price gouging - here's some Economics 101 on Price Controls that should make you think twice about calling your Congressman to complain about high prices...

Friday, September 02, 2005

Why Aren't Public Schools More Like Universities?

Interesting article comparing American universities (which foreigners flock to) to American K-12 schools (which even Americans want to avoid). The entire argument is pro-privatization, which I support for just about everything government currently handles as "entitlements".

Why Aren't Public Schools More Like Universities?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

In Defense of Price Gouging

A good essay by John R. Lott, Jr. and Sonya D. Jones on why "price gouging" is another politcal dirty word...

In Defense of Price Gouging by John R. Lott, Jr. and Sonya D. Jones

Friday, August 26, 2005

Smithsonian in trouble

According to an article snippet forwarded to me from a friend, this appeared in the New York Times on August 25, 2005:

Ominous drips from strained expansion joints have sprinkled down amid Asian artifacts in the institution's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. The historic Arts and Industries Building is closed to visitors to protect them from metal panels dropping from its beautiful but dilapidated ceiling. At the National Air and Space Museum, a water stain mars the Lilienthal hang glider that inspired the Wright Brothers to fly. Even the 1940's prototypes of what was to become seemingly indestructible Tupperware were irreparably damaged in a plumbing breakdown.

The world's largest museum complex, the Smithsonian includes 18 museums and galleries, 10 science centers and a zoological park. It is charged with conserving and displaying the country's treasures, both grand and whimsical - the Star-Spangled Banner that flew over Fort McHenry, bits of moon rock from the earliest space missions, the "puffy shirt" worn by Jerry Seinfeld in his hit television series.

But years of inadequate financing and maintenance have led to widespread disrepair that is imperiling the collections, institution officials say.

My friend added this comment:
The whole article makes for very sad reading. But as a nation, it is
what we want, apparently. “No More Taxes” inevitably means “No More
Financing for the Smithsonian”. Ah well, as the NASM rots, we can enjoy
that big SUV...
I was going to reply to my friend, but didn't want to start a political discussion, so instead I'll vent here.

No more taxes? You've seen no more taxes? I sure as hell haven't - I saw a extra refund a few years back (then saw massive deficit spending, but that's another essay), then my tax bill got higher than it ever has. I've seen government on every level do everything it can to squeeze more taxes out of me (the recent Kelo decision is the latest attempt), even when I've voted to pass laws saying it can't. I've seen the IRS bill me for ten large (that's $10,000) because it didn't like the fact that I only reported my income once (that's right, they were counting some of my income twice and thought I owed them more). If my tax money isn't going to fix the Smithsonian buildings, I wonder where it is going. Hopefully it's not being used to force democracy on a sovereign nation halfway around the world.

I'm also wondering why my friend decided to send this out to everyone - shouldn't he be whipping out his checkbook and writing a big fat one off to the Smithsonian to help? I mean, this is something near and dear to his heart, right? Couldn't he give extra money to the government for a specific purpose? Of course, if it were a private institution, this would be no problem - donations of this sort are done privately all the time.

That brings up another issue - do privately held museums have this problem? The Museum of Flight in Seattle is owned by Boeing Aircraft - wonder if they've let their building deteriorate to the point where it's causing irreparable damage to exhibits and holdings. What kind of museum curator lets his building fall down around his ears? Does he not care about the exhibits? Where does the money the Smithsonian does take in go? Do they charge admission on top of the government handout? That's still not enough? Who's overseeing the accounting? How much is the curator's salary? The salary of others who work there? Will they take a pay cut to preserve the artifacts they've been hired to preserve? Can the labor force be reduced to cut costs, or are all they all "civil servants", basically tenured for life? I'm thinking that the Museum has no shareholders to answer to, and the money is free, so why should the curator care? It's not like his salary depends on the number of people paying admission - if it did, he'd be working on better exhibits than Tupperware and Seinfeld's shirt (preserving the first is ironic, preserving the second is just silly and pointless) in order to get more people interested and coming to the museums. In other words, if he had a selfish self-interest in the success of the Museum (i.e. ownership, or some part of his livelihood tied to ownership), this wouldn't be happening.

There are three things to do - let it fall and lose all those exhibits (I'm appalled by that idea as well, although Indiana Jones' fedora can crumble to dust for all I care); funnel more money into it (maybe we can pass the hat around for donations - let's start with our service men and women in Iraq and see what they think); or sell it to a private party to fix, preserve, and profit from.

Instead of whining, my friend should be forming a private organization, dedicated to raising money to buy the Museum and put it in private hands. Contract with the government to preserve citizen access to the exhibits, but allow it to show a profit, attract investors, and purchase new holdings and exhibits to keep the whole thing running. If he cared enough about it, this is what he'd be doing - as it is, he cares just enough to whine that no one else is helping...

Friday, August 19, 2005

Your government at work #2

You know, there are people who think, rightly so, that you should be free to live your life as you see fit. That your life is your own responsibility, and the harm you cause to yourself is up to you to deal with, and when you cause harm to others you should be responsible enough to make it right. Too bad Northbrook Village Board President Gene Marks (e-mail him here)isn't one of them, according to a story in the Northbrook Star.

Apparently, in his experience as a firefighter, the number of dead people in house fires he's seen has bothered him (as well it should, as it would anyone). Now, as a duly elected official (and newly elected - his four year term runs til April 2009), he's gonna by gumption do something about it, namely require sprinkler systems in all new single family homes in Northbrook Village, Illinois. As some on put it, now, when you burn the toast, instead of that annoying beeping, you get to haul the soaked contents of your home to the curb and buy new shit.

One other thing Gene Marks doesn't believe is that there are limits to what government can and should do. Board Trustee James Karagianis has it half right when he says, "Government should not intrude in every area of life, and this is one area that I think is intrusive." Actually, I would say government should intrude as little as possible into anything. Two other Trustees, Sandy Frum and Mike Scolaro, are wary fo the measure, but for the wrong reasons - they're concerned about the cost. In dollars, not in freedom lost.

Another Trustee, one Julius Kole (address 4036 Linderwood Lane, Northbrook, IL 60062, Phone: 847-498-0669, E-mail: - all public info from the Northbrook web site), actually said, "I think there comes a point that you have to force some things down people's throats." (emphasis mine) Do the residents of Northbrook Village realize what this guy is saying? If you're living your life in such a way that seems to be wrong to the Board, they'll force the right thing down your throats. Got an old tree in your front yard that drop leaves on the road in the fall causing a hazardous driving condition? Cut it down! Got a leaky faucet that wasting a hundred gallons of water a year? New plumbing mandated! Got a leaky ring in your engine, causing it to smoke when it's cold? Fine and fix! It's all for your own good, you know... Quite frankly, elect these petty little Nazis out ASAP. If there's an impeachment process, do it, and do it now. It can only get worse.

Seriously, folks, if a random person off the street tried to force this crap on you, you'd be well justified in telling them to stuff themselves. If a company tried to handle you this way, you'd be justified in filing a lawsuit and spreading so much bad publicity for them they'd pay you to shut up. But when government does this, what recourse do you have? Move? Vote? Neither do much good - busy-bodies who want to be paid from the public dole are everywhere. Write letters? All I ever get in return from my Congressperson are form letters (mail and e-mail) when I'm in agreement with them, nothing when I'm not (actually, only one Senator even acknowledges my letters to her - the junior Senator and the old Rep seemingly never hear anything). Run for office yourself? You lie down with the dogs, you wake up with fleas - I personally don't trust anyone who wants a public position.

The Founding Fathers held a revolution over less than this...


Before continuing, read the story in the Fairfield (CT) Herald.

Out-FUCKING-rageous! Not only have these people been paying their property taxes, but the City is now charging extra, as well as offering them prices that are five years old. If I lived in New London, I'd move. Now. Just leave. Sell your house for less than it's worth (once the New London officials get a mind to take it, it won't be worth even that), trash the place to kill the property value, salt the earth, and move anywhere out of the state of Connecticut.

Now, most libertarians with any sense of property rights will tell you that property taxes are, in essence, rent you pay to government for land you supposedly own. This actually isn't very surprising, and is completely legal (think of any civil case where the loser has to pay court costs and interest on money not paid during the contest), but it is completely outrageous, and the officials in the city of New London should be voted out of office next time around. I also wouldn't be patronizing any establishment that set up shop in the new buildings that are going on top of these people houses and land.

The problem here is the mentality at work - public officials need money to do the things they need (and simply want) to do. Since government doesn't produce anything like a business does, they have no real income. Therefore, government relies on taxes (i.e. theft) to provide that income. As government spends, it is asked to spend more on things the people think government should be doing - providing education for your kids, maintaing public roads, helping the poor, fighting wars far away from home, etc. It needs more money to do so, so it raises taxes.

In recent years, however, a number of states have passed laws and initiatives barring the random and capricious increase in taxes to provide these public services. Lawmakers are therefore looking for more creative ways to increase the amount of money they get without actually raising taxes. Using eminent domain in this creative way (and getting 6 of 9 Justices to agree with you) is very creative, doesn't increase the tax rate at all, but increases the value of the land being taxed. If you can overlook people being ousted from their homes, it's brilliant.

Any libertarian will tell you that 99% of the things government does today it shouldn't do - eductation, transportation, charity, ecology, etc., are all done better and cheaper in the private sector, and what's more, offers you a choice of options. That's the main problem with government - there is no choice. If I don't want a telephone, I don't buy a phone - if I don't like the way a company does business, I don't buy from that company. But if I don't like my government stealing from me to give to the needle exchange clinic down the road - tough. In this case, New London stole land from these people and gave it to a private developer - which is more moral or ethical?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Your government at work

Thank the gods we’re being kept safe from these dangerous people flying…  Reason #2 why I’ll never board a plane voluntarily again.

Oh baby: Infants among those caught up in 'no-fly' confusion -

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Parental Rights vs. Public Schools by Wendy McElroy

Good essay, but it misses one point completely.  Why didn’t the father in this case simply remove his son from the school, tell the officials to go fling themselves in the lake, and home-school the boy?  If you want there to be no influence of government-run propaganda camps (aka public schools) in your life, the best thing to do is keep your kids out of them. 

Parental Rights vs. Public Schools by Wendy McElroy

Wednesday, August 10, 2005 - Chertoff: Privacy fears not justified

This is the danger of having people appointed to key positions rather than voted into positions – he has no one to vote him out, no way to remove him unless we go to his boss, George Bush.  This is also the latest in a string of reasons why I will never, ever, fly again. - Chertoff: Privacy fears not justified

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Where?s the Kelo Calamity? by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Interesting take on the recent Kelo decision, where the Supreme Court ruled that the city of New London, CT, could make it’s own eminent domain decisions.  I hadn’t thought of the issue the way lew did – it makes for a very interesting juxtaposition of ideas. I recommend reading the essay with an open mind and thought to true liberalism (AKA libertarianism).

Where’s the Kelo Calamity? by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Libertarians propose taking Breyer land

Another justice who supported New London’s eminent domain case, another proposal by libertarians to eminent domain his house, this time into a public park. NewsFlash - Libertarians propose taking Breyer land

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: High court: U.S. Constitution limits searches

This is actually good and bad news – good news that the Washington State Supreme Court is interpreting the U.S. and Washington Constitutions correctly, bad that it even had to be done in the first place.  I mean, come on people – you search without a proper warrant, and expect whatever you find to be useful?  That’s what happens in totalitarian regimes, like Cuba, China, North Korea, and the former Soviet Union.  That’s not how it’s supposed to happen here.  (I’ll refrain from inserting disparaging remarks about the Soviet Socialist Republic of California at this time…)

And no, I don’t care that the cops were trying to shut down a crack house.  What happens when it’s your condo or apartment and the cops decide they’re going to enforce the flag desecration amendment, or gay marriage, or gun rights?  Sure, warrant-less searches seem like a good thing when you want to get rid of drug dealers (remember, there’s no amendment saying you can’t ingest whatever you want, nor that can’t manufacture or sell it), or when you want to stop terrorism, but it’s a slippery slope – that means that actions which seem to be doing good now may be used as precedent to support actions which are tyrranical in the future (just in case you were wondering ).

This won’t make it to the U.S. Supreme Court - this was strictly a State of Washington matter, and the U.S Supreme Court has no jurisdiction here.  If it is appealed there, I’d expect the Court to decline review, but then again, I’m reasonable and figured the Court would find eminent domain applied in New London, as well as interstate commerce and/or the 9th and 10th Amendments would cover medical marijuana in California.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: High court: U.S. Constitution limits searches

Initial reports were wrong

Looks like the initial reports about Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brasilian shot by British police last week, were wrong. He wasn't wearing a heavy jacket and was not in the country illegally, according to a report by the Guardian quoting his sister. This is looking worse and worse for the Bobbies (got a friend who is an ex-London police officer, haven't talked to him about this yet).

The bombings in London and their fallout in public policy missteps also ties back to the renewal of the Patriot Act in the US. In an essay on, Ron Paul has an interesting quote:
Let’s remember that London is the most heavily monitored city in the world, with
surveillance cameras recording virtually all public activity in the city center. British police officials are not hampered by our 4th amendment nor our numerous due process requirements. In other words, they can act without any constitutional restrictions, just as supporters of the Patriot Act want our own police to act. Despite this they were not able to prevent the bombings, proving that even a wholesale surveillance society cannot be made completely safe against determined terrorists. Congress misses the irony entirely. The London bombings don’t prove the need for the Patriot Act, they prove the folly of it.

Remember, you deserve the government you vote for, and I didn't vote for any of my representatives...

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

US police pursue girl over stone

This is being reported on, of all places, the BBC – not sure if there are other local stories about this, but has a decent essay about this.

My thoughts?  Well, this is reason #44 (I think) why I’m never living in California.  You know, I remember when kids could be kids and not have three police cars sentence you to 5 days in detentions (with only a 30 minute visit with family) and a month’s house arrest.  As a matter of fact, I thought courts were supposed to the sentencing, not the cops, but I digress.

In our current atmosphere of fear and insanity perpetuated by our current government, this kind of thing just seems routine, not extraordinarily extreme.  What’s will it take to wake people up?  SWAT teams sent into pre-schools to arrest 4 year olds caught slapping each other?  A few dead kids because a police sharpshooter took them out when he mistook their jumbo burrito for an assault weapon?  What else does the American public need to wake them up to the fact that the State has over-stepped it bounds, well and properly over-stepped them?  Remember, the Founding Fathers led an armed revolt over less than this…

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | US police pursue girl over stone

Monday, July 25, 2005

A few things

First, in a move that would make Nixon piss himself, it looks like the state of Hawaii is getting involved in price-fixing of gasoline.  What economics professor failed the head of the Public Utilities Commission?  What literature professor was glad when this guy dropped out because “Atlas Shrugged” was too long a book for this guy to read?  At least Hawaii’s governor is against it, even if Senator Ron Menor is blocking her attempts to repeal the law (note – if he’s your Senator, write him and tell him to read some economics books written by capitalists).  Setting price caps will spread the cost of getting gas to Hawaii to the rest of the nation, driving our gas prices up.  As the costs of producing gas go up, the price caps will move slower, cutting into the profit margin of the gas company (remember, companies are there to make profit, not be charities) and eventually get set less than the cost of producing it – in other words, gas companies will lose money by selling gas in Hawaii.  Why sell at a loss?  Get out of the market – let the Hawaiian’s walk and ride bikes.

The second thing is a new blog I found called Liberty Now (also linked on the right).  Decent opinions, but seems to be focussed on Iraq and the “War” on Terrorism more than actual liberty.  In any case, his latest post is on the PATRIOT Act, and the fact that the House passed a more Draconian version of it than the Senate is considering.  I posted a comment there, but left out a few things…

The Senate version of the bill has a provision that you will be notified within seven (7) days if you’re the subject of a secret search.  While being notified at all is better than never knowing, it’s still unacceptable – there should be NO SECRET SEARCHES.  No warrant-less searches.  At all.  Period.  By standing up and accepting notification within seven days, we’re letting our liberties seep away.  I think I’ve said this in this forum before – if you drop a frog in a pot of boiling water, he’ll jump out; but if you drop him into lukewarm water and slowly turn the heat up, he’ll fall asleep and die.  In this case, supporting a seven day notification is the equivalent of giving the frog the controls to the fire, but only letting it get hotter.  Not to go too far down a tangent, but this is the also the same game the NRA plays with your gun rights, negotiating for the lesser of two evils in Congress rather than standing up and saying, “What part of ‘shall not be infringed’ is unclear to you, Senator?”

In any case, I’ll be reading more Liberty Now in the coming weeks – it’s given me some things to think about and some things to talk about.  I hope you’ll be reading it as well.

And for all you snooping FBI and TSA and Homeland Security agents – try reading the First Amendment before coming back.

Police-Shot Brazilian Had Expired Visa

You know, if I hadn’t heard the fucking statists on the Bob Rivers Show on KZOK-FM this morning trying to make the British police sound blameless, this headline would have been more shocking.  Apparently, he was being monitored from home, while on a bus, and only when he headed for the Tube was he chased.  Imagine – running for a train while wearing a heavy coat is justification for police execution.  What will the British cops do when winter sets in?  Start shooting every dark skinned person who’s running late for work?  Have the bobbies opened their ranks to the Klan?

The apologists will say, well, the cops didn’t know he wasn’t armed when they shot him.  Well, shouldn’t they assume that?  I mean, Britain has the most Draconian gun control laws on the books – the cops should be assuming that citizens aren’t armed and be using non-lethal forms of subduing potential criminals.

Even if you come to correct conclusion that massive gun control does nothing to assuage crime in general (and merely disarms law-abiding citizens, hereafter referred to as “victims”), I’m sure that the apologist’s next statement will be about defence.  Defence?  Five head shots is “defence”?  A shot to the leg  or shoulder is defence – if a weapon is brandished, a shot to the chest or head is justifiable.  Five head shots is nothing more than fear, uncontrolled emotional outbursts that, quite frankly, all gun owners should be in control of.

Police-Shot Brazilian Had Expired Visa

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Justice Souter's Home under Eminent Domain threat

Brilliant ploy, brilliant tactic – while I cannot condone the taking of someone else’s land to give to someone else, this may be an exception I’m willing to live with.

Freestar Media, LLC

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Science Blog -- Grizzly-sized catfish caught in Thailand -- (Slashdot Effect Version)

Not exactly American, but definitely liberty minded.  A doctor from the WWF (not the WWE) is saying that we need to protect the habitats for Mekong giant catfish, or they face extinction.  Two sentences earlier, he said that they are poorly studied.  Why do we need to prevent their extinction?  If they’re poorly studied, how are you going to protect them?  What role do they play in the ecosystem that is unique and non-replaceable?  How do they contribute to improve the lives of humans other than as food?  Before we start enacting wide-ranging regulations and procedures, we need to figure out why they need protection.  The Earth has adjusted quite nicely to life without dinosaurs, smilodons, mastodons, dodos, and passenger pigeons – I’d hope it will adjust quite nicely without giant catfish, but if the WWF can prove to me it won’t, I’m willing to listen.

My other question about this is more humorous – what line and bait did they use?  I’m thinking 20 lb. test and some stink bait ain’t gonna cut it… :-)

Science Blog -- Grizzly-sized catfish caught in Thailand -- (Slashdot Effect Version)

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Time Magazine to Hand Over Reporter Notes - Yahoo! News

First Amendment rights?  What First Amendment rights?

For those of you keeping score at home, here’s the latest tally of the Bill of Rights that are either dead or coughing up blood (I’ll not go through the whole Constitution at this time):

  • 1st Amendment
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
  • 2nd Amendment
    “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
  • 5th Amendment
    “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
  • 9th Amendment
    “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
  • 10th Amendment
    “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Good thing military recruitment is down, or the 3rd Amendment would be next.

Time Magazine to Hand Over Reporter Notes - Yahoo! News

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Property rights? What property rights?

OK, folks – how many fucking rights does the Supreme Court have to take away before we decide enough is en-fucking-nough?  This ruling enforces the feeling most libertarian property owners already have, that you don’t really own your land, but just rent it from the State – when they want it back, they can take it back.  I sense a Carl Drega moment coming to New London any day now…

Guardian Unlimited | World Latest | Supreme Court Rules Cities May Seize Homes

Monday, June 20, 2005

Reason #5: Why I Will Never Live in California

I will agree with the Supreme Court here - they had no jurisdiction - although in the wake of more recent rulings, that in and of itself comes as a shock.

Supreme Court Backs Government in Land Rights Case

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Justice Thomas Dissent

If you’ve been living under a rock, maybe you don’t know that the Supreme Court ruled that the government can prosecute medical marijuana possession, even if it doesn’t involve interstate commerce.

The vote was 6–3 – the writer of the dissenting opinion was Justice Clarence Thomas, who has, in my mind, partially vindicated some of his earlier controversy.  Read his dissent here (PDF format).

Monday, June 06, 2005

Where do you go...

… when the people who are supposed to uphold the supreme law of the land don’t?  Simply put, the Supreme Court’s decision to allow federal medical marijuana prosecutions to move forward is in direct violation of the Interstate Commerce Clause, because the case in question did not cross a state boundary at all.  Instead, in a 6–3 decision, the Supreme Court decided that current federal interests trump Constitutional limits – why bother having a Constitution if we’re going to ignore it?

At the risk of invoking a version of Godwin’s Law, I blame Lincoln for starting all of this.

Cato Daily Dispatch for June 6, 2005

Papiere Bitte by Doris Colmes

You know, when a Holocaust survivor compares the Real ID act to Nazi Germany, Godwin’s Law is trumped.

Papiere Bitte by Doris Colmes

U.S. & World - Supreme Court OKs Medical Pot Prosecutions

Fox News has the report that the Supreme Court has OK’d federal prosecutions for medical marijuana violations.  Score one for the bad guys. - U.S. & World - Supreme Court OKs Medical Pot Prosecutions

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Nebraska Motorcycle Helmet Bill Dead For Year

Another state to avoid driving through this summer – IIRC, there are seven states west of the Mississippi that have helmet laws.  They are:  Washington, Oregon, Kalifornia (go figure there), Nevada, Missouri, Louisiana, and Nebraska.  That means for me that, if I want to visit my in-laws in Illinois, I can remove my helmet once I enter Idaho, and not have to put it back on until I return (my route, calculated a few years ago when I had a Sturgis trip planned, went through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa, and into Illinois, deliberately skirting Missouri).  In fact, if you’re over 21, once you leave the Left Coast states, you can get all the way to the border of New York before have to put a helmet back on – New York, Vermont, and Massachusetts form a helmet-required block that prevents you from getting to the more libertarian minded New Hampshire and Maine.

Check out the helmet and other MC laws here or here. - Politics - Motorcycle Helmet Bill Dead For Year

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Hope this doesn't catch on

A Miami news site is reporting on how one tribal school in Arizona is handling tardiness and absenteeism among it’s students.  They fine the parents.  One only hopes that this type of socialist thinking doesn’t catch on in normal public schools.

Can you imagine it?  Not only does the State rob you to pay for public schools (property taxes in my jurisdiction, despite the fact that I have no school age children), but now in at least one tribal jurisdiction, they’ll charge more if your kid doesn’t make to school on time, or decides to skip school completely.  What if the parent’s are home-schooling – do they get charged per day for every kid they don’t send to school?  How enforceable is this rule, anyway?  Why isn’t anyone else asking these questions, or not reporting on them if they do?

My advice to parents who have kids in the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation school system - get your kids out now.  If not, your kids who graduate under this level of oppression and control will never have the mental fortitude necessary to fight it when they’re confronted with the natural expansion of this power in the future.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Letter to John Stossel

One of the things I get in my e-mail inbox regularly is “A Note from John Stossel” – I signed up for it on the ABC website, as I admire John for his regular and consistent libertarian outlook on the “Give Me a Break!” segments on 20/20, and his specials that highlight libertarian viewpoints of current events issues.

One of the letters this week is as follows:

"Dear John Stossel, I enjoyed reading your book ["Give Me a Break" ORDER HERE] so much that I bought a dozen copies and sent them out to friends and family. I am writing to let you know about one of the few negative responses I received...I almost always sent out your book accompanied by another; 'Black and White World' which is a collection of editorial cartoons by John Cox and Allen Forkum... When my brother received his copies of the books, he sent me... 'John Stossel seems like a good guy, just at the wrong time. I don't think the Republicans need defending... This response caught me completely off guard...I had a similar response from a Right-wing friend of mine -- only he accused me of being too liberal. I sent him the SAME two books!" Troy Omelchuk, Scottsdale, Ariz.

It think this illustrates the point I’ve always made about libertarians – we’re neither left nor right, liberal nor conservative, but a mix of both.  Libertarians tend to be socially liberal and fiscally conservative, fighting for more civil liberties in the way we run our lives, and less government intrusion in the form of taxes and fees.  I just thought this letter was very telling – the liberal brother thinks Stossel defends the right, while the conservative friend thinks he’s too liberal.  In fact, libertarians rise above both.

How Your Government Wastes Your Money

Read down this story , and when you get to the fourth paragraph, you’ll be asking yourself the same question I did: Are you fucking kidding me?  They can’t account for how much?  You know, I had to actually cut a check to the IRS this year for the first time in my 38 years as an American citizen, and survive a small investigation of my return from the year previous – I thought I handled it well and professionally, but now I wonder if I shouldn’t have put up a bigger fight.

In a slightly related story, I was reading an old copy of Wired magazine from December 2003 – there was a story about a guy who was a tech support expert for a Mafia-run betting operation.  He doesn’t make much considering what he does (an entire IT department’s worth of work for him and a second guy), but since it’s all illegal money, he has zero income and files no income tax.  Wonder how I get a job like that?

How Your Government Wastes Your Money

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Top 10 filibuster falsehoods

Interesting take on the judicial filibuster talk filling everyone’s minds with FUD.  The one thing the author forgot:

Filibusters are a child screaming to get it’s way.

In short, Democrats now (as well as Republicans and Democrats in the past) have used the filibuster as a kind of ad hominem against the other side.  Instead of debating the relative strengths and weaknesses of the candidate and putting forth logical objective arguments on both sides of the coin, Democrats are resorting to parliamentary procedures to simply dismiss judicial candidates.

Think of it this way – you’re a pre-teen age child and you want to stay up an extra hour.  Your parent’s say no, go to bed.  You then launch into a meaningless argument about why you should stay up, ask your parents when they go to bed, drink 3–4 glasses of water, come back downstairs to get something, ask them some philosophical question, hang around until you get noticed, and try like hell to get that extra hour out of them.  That’s what these Senators are doing – the President says, here are my candidates, and rather than accept them and vote on them, the Senate filibuster crew badgers everyone, makes a big stink, and refuses to do anything meaningful.  The difference is they don’t have parent’s around to smack them on their skinny little asses and send them to bed.

Ask me again why I think we should hit the reset button on government…

The Top 10 filibuster falsehoods ... [Media Matters for America]

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Good news, Bad news

The bad news – a national ID card passed the Senate 100–0.  We all voted for these fuckers…

The good news – governors of several state aren’t taking this lightly.  They may have the wrong reasons for it (money issues, unfunded mandates and all that), but at least they’re complaining.

For me, I plan on simply not renewing my driver’s license when the time comes to nationalise.

Read about it in Wired News.

Man arrested for giving a manicure without a license

In the Concord Monitor Online, New Hampshire, a report from Monday talks about a man who was arrested for not being a licensed cosmetologist, and yet giving a manicure.  It was a protest – he’s not trying to be a manicurist in New Hampshire, but trying to expose useless licensing laws.

To be a manicurist in NH, you need around 300 hours of training, and take and pass numerous written and practical tests.  My wife was a licensed cosmetologist in the state of Illinois – the training requirements are comparable there to be a hairdresser.  IL even has a continuing education requirement – you need to take courses throughout your career to renew your license.

My big question is this – let’s assume I don’t have a license, but want to work in a barber shop.  I know nothing about cutting hair – how long will I last in the business?  If it’s my shop, I’ll fold in a month when people stop coming in – if I’m working for someone else, I’d give it a day or less.  Now let’s say I know how to cut hair, but don’t know about sanitary practices.  If I cause injury to someone because I don’t know how to properly sanitise things, I’d be liable for medical expenses and damages, and the bad PR and money I’d have to pay out would close my shop.  Now let’s say I figure that out and re-open, but I’m just not very good – people want styles I can’t reproduce, or procedures I don’t know how to do.  In order to expand my business, I’ll need to learn new skills – to be successful, I’ll need to keep up on the latest styles and techniques.

In other words, in order to run a successful business, I’ll need training on how to cut hair, how to do it safely, and keep up to date on the latest in my industry.  Everything I need to have a successful growing business I would do without a license, so why do I need one again?  Oh, right, so the government knows what I’m doing for a living.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Pahrump Valley Times - Nye County's Largest Newspaper Circulation

Thank You, Dennis Myers, for an objective look at the filibuster, for removing the ideological arguments for or against it from either party, and for giving me the word in your final paragraph I’ve been looking for to describe the Republicrats and Democans.  The word “dogma” connotes so much in the way of religious overtones and obstinate closed-mindedness – it fits the current political climate well, and also helps explain my own failing interest in politics lately.

Oh, and I notice I forgot to include the link for my previous post – sorry.  I added it back. / News / Local / N.H. / Police charge illegal immigrant with criminal trespassing

You know, I’m not sure how I feel about this story – for starters, I do think it’s a novel approach for the states to deal with illegal immigration (and a great way for states to start exercising their sovereign power over the federal government that Lincoln usurped in the 19th century).  On the other hand, I think the person they chose to use for their test case was bad – while he might have been an illegal alien, he was a working productive individual.  Perhaps NH could go after the illegals getting welfare or unemployment, rather than someone who came here to make a better life for himself and seemed to be doing it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Reason: In Defense of "Judicial Tyranny": The religious right's court-unpacking scheme

Brilliant commentary on the recent spate of comments coming from religious conservatives about “activist judiciary”.  The term “activist” has never been satisfactorily defined in this context, and from my POV, they’re merely engaging in some rhetorical, vocal, and very public “sour grapes”.  Reason helps put this into some ironic perspective (FDR, the Great Socialist, had the same views and used similar language as the New Fascists do) – unfortunately, it’s been my experience that you can show a fundamentalist the blue sky above, and he’ll still condemn you to Hell for denying that it’s raining.

Reason: In Defense of "Judicial Tyranny": The religious right's court-unpacking scheme

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Counterbias: The End of Personal Responsibility

In Counterbias: The End of Personal Responsibility, the author, one Susan Shafer, makes a very nice, and somewhat satirical, plea for the restoration of personal responsibility.  I agree, fully and whole heartedly, with her viewpoints here, although I’m not on her side of the political spectrum.

I also think she missed the boat on one thing concerning public schools, although I concede that, as elementary school librarian, she’s much closer to the problem than I.  Her statements around government controlling what is taught make it seem as if this is some future possibility, rather than a present fact.  Ask any kid in high school history class what the cause of the War Between the States was, and he’ll say, “What?” until you explain to him that you mean the “Civil War”, then he’ll say, “Oh, OK.  Slavery, dude.”  Ask him who the 15th or the 17th President was, and he’ll answer “Who?  Uh, Kennedy?”, but he’ll be able to name the Great Emancipator and recite anecdotes ad nauseum.  Ask him what the 9th or 10th Amendments to the Constitution are, and he’ll look puzzled, but he’ll know tha the 1st gives you freedom of speech at least (maybe religion and the press as well, but it’s doubtful he’ll know about assembly or redress of greivances).  Now I ask you, if the government isn’t running the government-run schools and controlling the curriculum, who is?

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Correction to previous story

I received a comment on one of my entries (I’m not sure what I’m more happy about - the new information, or the fact that someone other than me reads this bloody thing), correcting my presumption that the Founding Fathers were all Christian.  In point of fact, not of all them were – the commenter was good enough to forward a link from the Quartz Hill School of Theology that explains and supports the religious thinkings of our Founding Fathers.  While it appears the School is very Christian in it’s doctrine and offerings, the article above is refreshingly open and forthright.  I also appreciated the section about the separation of Church and State with supporting quotes from various founding fathers.

My thanks to Colin J. who took the time to correct me and provide supporting documentation.

Be afraid - be very VERY afraid

In a recent story in the Pacific Northwest Medical Journal, titled Curing Obesity through Sterility: California 's Controversial Program Under the Microscope, I discovered a program implemented by the State of California (also called the Republic of California, which I refer to as the People’s Republic of California) which, in one sweep of a pen, could become this countries first mandatory eugenics program.  (I was unable to find a corroborating link for the San Francisco or the California program, or any web references to the state’s Committee for Exploratory Medicine).

While the current program is voluntary, it is scary – begun in San Francisco, this program offers state funded vasectomies to men diagnosed as being clinically obese.  The reason is rather simply stated in the second paragraph above – to eliminate the genetics of people deemed inferior to the defined norm.

Get that?  California is saying that if you are genetically inferior to some defined norm, they’ll pay for you to remove yourself from the available gene pool.  Other countries have enacted state funded sterilization in order to prevent overpopulation

Knowing the fact that California is anecdotally the most progressive state in the union, how long will it be before “voluntary” becomes “highly recommended” to “required” for certain cases?  How many other genetic differences will California add to the list?  Anti-social?  Homosexual?  Brown eyes?  I see this as the first step in a eugenics program funded by taxpayers to weed out undesirable elements – the next step would be to add incentives for people with desirable genetics to breed like bunnies.  Ever see “Gattaca”?  This is where California is headed.

This is now reason number one why I will never, ever, live in California, and another reason to never ever visit either.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Constitution Restoration? Or just Christian Fundamentalism?

Check out the Constitution Reform Act (H.R. text here, the Conservative Caucus page on it here), and tell me what you think.

I think it sucks.  I hate laws, even laws that make sense to implement.  But you need some more viable reasons.

First, it tries to enforce via law the myth that:

  1. God exists, and
  2. All our freedom comes from him

Aside from the fact that I am an atheist, I do believe in Natural Law – i.e. there is an absolute right way to live, and that includes my absolute freedom to do as I please.  I don’t believe it was handed down from some anthropomorphic Zeus impersonator, but is a natural offshoot of my intelligence and evolution – I think, therefore I am and all that.  However, I don’t think this is legislatable – it’s a personal choice, a philosophy of life, much like someone else’s choice of god, religion, church, and morality.  It cannot, should not, and if I have any say, will not be codified in some half-witted set of words that defies further scrutiny,

Second, it tries to limit the interpretation of our laws by banning the use of foreign sources when judges write their decisions.  At best, this will mean that judges (who don’t live in cocoons) will simply write their decisions so as to appear capricious (rather than citing a U.N. resolution to support their stance).  At worst, we’ll move closer to a fully politicized and activist Supreme Court, more interested in figuring out what the legislature wanted to do rather than saying what they can’t do.

Third, it doesn’t restore a damned thing.  In fact, one can argue (but not if it passes), that it actually violates the Freedom of Religion clause in the First Amendment (by recognizing the existance of God, you have a de facto state religion, loosely based on Judeo-Christian origins).  Now, I know my history - the Founding Fathers were all Christian to a man, various flavors of Protestantism.  Our government was founded by these men with their 18th Century Christian principles laced through the documents that form this country.  Our country has wavered from these principles time and time again - the Conservative Coalition would have you believe that gay marraige is the primary sign of the End Times, and the biggest wavering from our Constitutional principles there ever was.  They are, of course, wrong – events such as the Whiskey Rebellion, the War Between the States, Income tax, welfare, social security, the War on Drugs, and the War on Terror are all more heinous and serious breaches of our Constitutional government than gay marriage could ever be.

If you’re Congressman is on the list of sponsors or co-sponsors, write to him and tell him that government should stay out of your, my, and everyone else’s personal life, and that his personal life should stay out of his job.

Constitution Restoration? Or just Christian Fundamentalism?

Check out the Constitution Reform Act (H.R. text here, the Conservative Caucus page on it here), and tell me what you think.

I think it sucks.  I hate laws, even laws that make sense to implement.  But you need some more viable reasons.

First, it tries to enforce via law the myth that:

  1. God exists, and
  2. All our freedom comes from him

Aside from the fact that I am an atheist, I do believe in Natural Law – i.e. there is an absolute right way to live, and that includes my absolute freedom to do as I please.  I don’t believe it was handed down from some anthropomorphic Zeus impersonator, but is a natural offshoot of my intelligence and evolution – I think, therefore I am and all that.  However, I don’t think this is legislatable – it’s a personal choice, a philosophy of life, much like someone else’s choice of god, religion, church, and morality.  It cannot, should not, and if I have any say, will not be codified in some half-witted set of words that defies further scrutiny,

Second, it tries to limit the interpretation of our laws by banning the use of foreign sources when judges write their decisions.  At best, this will mean that judges (who don’t live in cocoons) will simply write their decisions so as to appear capricious (rather than citing a U.N. resolution to support their stance).  At worst, we’ll move closer to a fully politicized and activist Supreme Court, more interested in figuring out what the legislature wanted to do rather than saying what they can’t do.

Third, it doesn’t restore a damned thing.  In fact, one can argue (but not if it passes), that it actually violates the Freedom of Religion clause in the First Amendment (by recognizing the existance of God, you have a de facto state religion, loosely based on Judeo-Christian origins).  Now, I know my history - the Founding Fathers were all Christian to a man, various flavors of Protestantism.  Our government was founded by these men with their 18th Century Christian principles laced through the documents that form this country.  Our country has wavered from these principles time and time again - the Conservative Coalition would have you believe that gay marraige is the primary sign of the End Times, and the biggest wavering from our Constitutional principles there ever was.  They are, of course, wrong – events such as the Whiskey Rebellion, the War Between the States, Income tax, welfare, social security, the War on Drugs, and the War on Terror are all more heinous and serious breaches of our Constitutional government than gay marriage could ever be.

If you’re Congressman is on the list of sponsors or co-sponsors, write to him and tell him that government should stay out of your, my, and everyone else’s personal life, and that his personal life should stay out of his job.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Pull the plug on pandering

Molly Ivins on the Terry Schiavo case – I’ve been watching this, and I have nothing to add.  You all know how I feel about big government sticking it’s nose outside the narrow confines of the Constitution – Molly says it better than I could anyway.

WorkingForChange-Pull the plug on pandering

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Warning: This blog may be illegal

Especially if McCain and Feingold have their way.  According to a recent story on CNet (faithfully forwarded to me by the Advocates for Liberty), the Internet exemption on political speech around election time may become illegal.  That means blogs, e-mail, home pages – anything on the Internet that connects you to a candidate or party – may become illegal under the auspices of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law.

You may remember when this law was passed, there was an outcry about it’s effects on the First Amendment – you know, that little part of the Constitution that says, among other things, that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech – not only in the world, but on this blog when the Supreme Court upheld it.  This is why – government is now, with the blessing of the Supreme Court, not just ignoring the First Amendment, but actively working to do away with it, just as they have with the Second, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Tenth.

Oh, recognized journalists still have their exemption, as long as it’s broadcast or some sort of periodical (magazine, newspaper, etc) – amateur grassroots editorial journalists like most politically motivated bloggers aren’t in that club, and no one quite knows how to categorize a randomly updated blog.  Guess we need some sort of ID that tells the government we’re journalists and should be exempt.  If so, I’ll keep mine in my wallet next to my firearm owner’s permit, Social Security card, and that empty spot reserved for my Freedom of Religion registration card.

On a serious noite – how bad does it have to get, people, before we decide enough is bloody enough?  Our Founding Fathers went to war over less than this in the 18th century.  Someone once said that there are four boxes used in defense of liberty – soap, ballot, jury, ammo.  Use in that order.  As I mentioned before: this blog is my soap box, our votes are ignored, and the Courts have nullified juries across this country.  What do we have left?

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

This is why I don't read/listen to mainstream news

Read this story, then ask yourself these questions:

  1. Why did the boy have a gun in his backpack?
  2. Why was the boy bringing the gun to school?
  3. Why would all Columbus schools cancel classes because of one episode at one grade school?
  4. What actions did the police take with the mother?
  5. Why did the reporter not think to ask these questions?
  6. Who thought it was a good idea to report Ms. Kim Bell’s thoughts, despite the fact her comment is patently false?  (read the quote: “It’s not a school a kid would bring a gun to,” is foolish, ignorant, and asinine, since a kid brought a gun to the school despite her inane assertion.)

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – mainstream broadcast news is either so far out of touch with reality their reports are useless, or biased so far to the left or right (unconsciously or not) they alienate two thirds of the population with every syllable.  Do your own news research – get a good RSS reader (like KlipFolio, which I use), or a good search engine (I use Google News Search in KlipFolio), and find the news that matters to you.

ABC News: Boy Injured When Gun Goes Off at School