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)