Monday, March 31, 2008
The study will be done in time for the 2009 legislative session.
How does this kind of bull keep on happening? The State faces almost a $1 billion revenue shortfall for the current budget and the idiots approve spending $1 million dollars to study spending $700 million for a very wealthy owner and his very wealthy players.
These are the same Democrats who claim that they are for the working man. What a sick joke. All corporate welfare is bad, but building stadiums for rich owners and their players is the worst form of corporate welfare.
These past few weeks have provided an unfortunate opportunity to discuss inflation. The dollar index has reached new all-time lows. The total money supply, M3, as calculated by private sources, is growing at a disturbing 17% rate. The Fed is pumping dollars into the economy at an alarming rate. Just recently the Fed announced new loan auctions totaling $100 billion. That is new money created from thin air. If these money auctions, combined with the bailout of Bear Stearns, continue to be the trend, we are in for some economic stormy weather. The explanation lies in understanding the basics of money, and why it is dangerous to give government and big banks control over it.
First, money is not wealth, in and of itself. You cannot create more wealth simply by creating more money. Wall Street bankers cry out for more liquidity, but what is really needed is more value behind the dollar. But the value, unfortunately, isn't there.
You see, the Fed creates new money and uses it to purchase securities from banks. Flush with funds, these banks seek to put this money to use. During the Fed's expansionary period, much of this money went to home loans. Through a combination of federal government inducements to lend to risky borrowers, and the Fed's supply of easy money, the housing bubble took shape. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were encouraged to purchase and securitize mortgages, while investors, buoyed by implicit government backing, rushed to provide funding. Money that could have been invested in more productive, less risky sectors of the economy was thereby malinvested in subprime mortgage loans.
The implicit guarantee from the Fed is quickly becoming explicit, as those institutions deemed "too big to fail" are bailed out at taxpayer expense. Wall Street made a killing during the housing bubble, reaping record profits. Now that the bubble has burst, these same firms are trying to dump their losses on the taxpayers. This approach requires more money creation, and therefore debasement of all dollars in circulation.
The Federal Reserve, a quasi-government entity, should not be creating money or determining interest rates, as this causes malinvestment and excessive debt to accumulate. Centrally planned, government manipulated economies always fail eventually. The collapse of communism and the failure of socialism should have made this apparent. Even the most educated, well-intentioned central planners cannot plan the market better than the market itself. Those that understand economics best, understand this reality.
In free markets, both success and failure are options. If government interventions prevent businesses, like Bear Stearns, from failing, then it is not truly a free market. As painful as it might be for Wall Street, banks, even big ones, must be allowed to fail.
The end game for this policy of monetary inflation is that the money in your bank account loses purchasing power. So, by keeping failing banks afloat, the Fed punishes those who have lived frugally and saved. The power to create money is a power that should never be granted to government. As we can plainly see today, the Fed has abused this power, and taxpayers are paying the price.
Never ever does the misguided media present this point of view.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Schools are becoming a place to instruct our youth that they shouldn't think for themselves and that they must learn to submit to authority at all times. A three day suspension for buying candy? What a sick joke.
The school has backed down:
Superintendent Reginald Mayo said in a statement late Wednesday that he and principal Eleanor Turner met with Michael Sheridan's parents and that Turner decided to clear the boy's record and restore him to his post.
The New Haven school system banned candy sales in 2003 as part of a districtwide school wellness policy, school spokeswoman Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo said.
“Our intentions are to use it only in tactical situations as an extra set of eyes,” said police department spokesman Juan Villalba.
“We intend to use this to benefit us in carrying out our mission,” he added, saying the wingless Honeywell aircraft, which fits into a backpack and is capable of vertical takeoff and landing, seems ideally suited for use by SWAT teams in hostage situations or dealing with “barricaded subjects.”
Miami-Dade police are not alone, however.
Taking their lead from the U.S. military, which has used drones in Iraq and Afghanistan for years, law enforcement agencies across the country have voiced a growing interest in using drones for domestic crime-fighting missions.
Known in the aerospace industry as UAVs, for unmanned aerial vehicles, drones have been under development for decades in the United States.
The CIA acknowledges that it developed a dragonfly-sized UAV known as the “Insectohopter” for laser-guided spy operations as long ago as the 1970s.
And other advanced work on robotic flyers has clearly been under way for quite some time.
“The FBI is experimenting with a variety of unmanned aerial vehicles,” said Marcus Thomas, an assistant director of the bureau’s Operational Technology Division.
“At this point they have been used mainly for search and rescue missions,” he added. “It certainly is an up-and-coming technology and the FBI is researching additional uses for UAVs.”
Security cameras are becoming common place, how long until flying drones will be common in order to "protect. us? Will we ever be able to escape big brother's watchful eye?
Monday, March 24, 2008
Five years ago last week, the US military's "shock and awe" campaign lit up the Baghdad sky. Five years later, with hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and nearly four thousand Americans dead, we should pause and reflect on just what has been gained and what has been lost.
From the beginning, the march to war was paved with false assumptions and lies. Senior administration officials claimed repeatedly that Iraq was somehow responsible for the attacks of September 11, 2001. They claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. They manipulated the fear of the American people after 9/11 to further a war agenda that they had been planning years before that attack. The mainstream media was complicit in this war propaganda.
Nearly ten years ago, long before 9/11, I requested the time in opposition to the fateful Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, where I then stated on the Floor of the House of Representatives, "I see this piece of legislation as essentially being a declaration of virtual war. It is giving the President tremendous powers to pursue war efforts against a sovereign Nation." Less than five years later we were invading Iraq.
Five years into the invasion and occupation of Iraq , untold hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are dead; some two million Iraqis have fled the country as refugees; and the Iraqi Christian community – one of the oldest in the world – has been decimated more completely than even under the Ottoman occupation or the rule of Saddam Hussein.
On the US side, nearly four thousand Americans have lost their lives fighting in Iraq and many thousands more are horribly wounded. Our own senior military officers warn that our military is nearly broken by the strain of the Iraq occupation. The Veterans Administration is overwhelmed by the volume of disability claims from Iraq war veterans.
A study by Nobel Prize economist Joseph Stiglitz concludes that the cost of the war in Iraq could be at least $3 trillion. The economic consequences of our enormous expenditure in Iraq are beginning to make themselves known as we fall into recession and possibly worse.
Iraq war supporters claim that the "surge" of additional US troops into Iraq has been a resounding success. I am not so confident. Under the "surge" policy the United States military has trained and equipped with deadly weapons those Iraqi militia members against whom they were fighting just months ago. I fear by arming and equipping opposing militias we are just setting the stage for a more tragic and dangerous explosion of violence, possibly aimed at US troops in Iraq . There is no indication that the Iraqi government has made any political progress whatsoever.
The sooner we withdraw the better. The invasion and continued US occupation has strengthened both Iran and Al-Qaeda in the region. Continuing down the road of a failed policy will only cost more money we do not have and more lives that should not be sacrificed. Interventionism has produced one disaster after another. It is time we return to a non-interventionist foreign policy that emphasizes peaceful trade and travel and no entangling alliances. We can begin by withdrawing from Iraq immediately.
This really sums up what a absolute total disaster this war has been and just how short sighted the neo-cons are. Nothing good has come from this war and nothing ever will. Ron Paul also rightly chastises the misguided media for their cheerleader role in the build up to the war.
The Republican leadership and unfortunately most of the Republican voters seem to have bought into this disaster. They are quite willing to have a man like John McCain be their standard bearer. McCain has consistently violated limited/small government principles throughout his career. Whether it is gun control, taxes, free speech (McCain Feingold)or federal involvement in education.
Yet, he is acceptable because he is a war monger and an interventionist. Republicans have sold their souls for this failed policy of the neo-cons. They seem to be blind to how this policy violates the ideal of limited government in so many ways. The war has brought a huge deficit, more government intrusion into our lives, weakened our military and soiled our reputation.
McCain will lead the GOP to a disastrous defeat barring a major foul up by the Democrats.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Nowhere is McCain's chicanery and duplicity more jeopardous than in the area of the right to keep and bear arms. On issues relating to the Second Amendment, John McCain is a disaster! For example, the highly respected Gun Owners of America (GOA) rates McCain with a grade of F-. McCain's failing grade is well deserved.
John McCain sponsored an amendment to S. 1805 on March 2, 2004 that would outlaw the private sale of firearms at gun shows. According to GOA, the provision would effectively eliminate gun shows, because every member of an organization sponsoring a gun show could be imprisoned if the organization fails to notify each and every "person who attends the special firearms event of the requirements [under the Brady Law]."
John McCain also sponsored an Incumbent Protection provision to the so-called "Campaign Finance Reform" bill, which severely curtails the ability of outside groups (such as GOA) to communicate the actions of incumbent politicians to members and supporters prior to an election.
The GOA report of the 106th Congress reveals that out of 15 votes relating to the right to keep and bear arms, Senator John McCain voted favorably only 4 times. Put that into a percentage and McCain's pro-Second Amendment voting record is a pathetic 27%.
In addition, GOA warns that John McCain supported legislation that would force federal agents to increase efforts in arresting and convicting honest gun owners who may inadvertently violate one of the many federal anti-gun laws, which punish mere technicalities, such as gun possession.
For example, if John McCain's proposed legislation were to become law, a gun owner who travels with a gun through a school zone or who uses one of the family handguns to go target shooting with a 15-year old could be sent to prison. And a person who uses a gun for self-defense could be sent to prison for a mandatory minimum of five years.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Research scientist, author, and ethicist, Dr. Mary J. Ruwart, today announced that she would seek the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination. She is best known in the Libertarian Party circles for her libertarian primer, Healing Our World (2003 edition), which hit Amazon.com’s best-seller list in October 2005, reaching the #1 position in Amazon’s “Economic and Political Development” and “Practical Politics” categories.
Healing’s universal appeal is apparent from its prominent endorsers, including self-help notables Dr. Wayne Dyer and Harry Palmer; Nobel Peace Prize nominees, Frances Kendall and Leon Louw; world-renown nutritionist, Dr. Jonathan Wright; and Dr. Ron Paul, 1988 Libertarian Party presidential nominee and 2008 GOP presidential contender. Visions Magazine suggested that Healing “might be the most important book of the decade.” A free download of the 1993 version is available at www.ruwart.com.
Ruwart uses a wealth of historical examples to demonstrate that liberty eliminates poverty, protects the environment, deters crime, restores victims, penalizes discrimination, promotes peace, and encourages love of neighbor. Without ever using the word “rights,” Ruwart makes the moral and practical case for liberty compelling, not just to conservatives and rationalists, but to liberals, environmentalists, pragmatists, minorities, Christians, and those with a “New Age” orientation.
“Liberty benefits everyone, even those who think that they profit by today’s system,” Ruwart points out. “Our presidential nominee should be someone who can share the libertarian message with just about anyone in the space of a sound bite.”
Read more here.
Why worry, I mean it's done by the government, we can always trust the government. I mean is there any history of a government abusing people? Hitler and Stalin you say, yeah but that wasn't here in the good ol' USA.
The internment of Japanese Americans and the Tuskegee Experiment? Okay those were in America but it was in the ugly past. Certainly that type of thing would never happen again. After all the government is run by humans and humans are all wonderful and infallible. Right???
Couch's bill would require anyone who posts on a website to give the website their real name, address and e-mail address. Their full name would be used anytime a comment is posted. Any website operator who allowed anonymous posting would be fined $500 for the first incident and $1,000 for any further incidents.
What is the reason for Mr. Couch's proposed law? To prevent "online bullying." So Mr. Couch proposes to use the bullying power of the state to prevent online bullying?
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Mr.Couch should withdraw his bullying law now.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
The global financial system is in a deepening crisis, largely due to greedy gambles with complex financial derivatives. The bailout of Bear Stearns Cos., in which the Fed provided $30 billion loan to J.P. Morgan Chase to acquire the investment bank, is only the latest -- and probably not the last -- rescue mission from the central bank. Overall, the response of the Bernanke-led Federal Reserve to the global financial meltdown has been exceedingly simple: lower interest rates.
When a central bank lowers interest rates, it engages in an activity that is loaded with moral meaning. The jargon of the macroeconomist can be misleading. Lower interest rates are achieved by increasing the money supply, which is basically equivalent to “printing money out of thin air,” and selling it cheaply to the banking community (although technically it is now achieved by creating fictitious accounting entries).
The moral dimension becomes plainer if we consider a private person doing that. It is called fraud. Counterfeit money enriches the fraudster at the expense of the rest of the society. Creating more paper slips does not bring about more economic resources (production or consumption goods), but only serves to redistribute them. The counterfeiter immediately acquires additional money at his disposal, whereas the purchasing power of the money balances of the rest is slowly eroded.
Modern central banking claims to serve lofty goals: high employment, price stability, and economic growth. In fact, it only enriches those who run the system. Sometimes it is the national government. Consider, for instance, Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe with its well-over 1,000 percent (and rising) inflation rate.
In other instances, the central bank is a private entity serving the interests of the financial elite. This was true of most central banks historically, including the Bank of England (founded in 1694), which was only nationalized in 1946.
Unbeknownst to many, the 1913-founded U.S. Federal Reserve System also comes under this category. It is a private corporation owned by its member banks, about whose owners little is known. As a special privilege, the Fed has never undergone a complete independent audit, and it is claimed that it keeps some of its records secret.
One may also challenge the lofty goals of central banks. Inflation is largely caused by increasing the money supply. In consequence, inflation encourages living on debt and discourages prudence and thrift.
Moreover, by creating artificially low interest rates, central banks foster damaging boom-bust cycles, as economists Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek demonstrated. The dot.com bubble, which collapsed in 2000, and the real estate and overconsumption bubble, which is coming to an end today, are just the most recent examples.
So much for stability, economic growth, or high employment.
Then there is fractional-reserve banking, the use of demand deposit money in lending business. Many economists, including Milton Friedman and others at the University of Chicago in earlier decades, have identified it as the source of banking instability throughout modern times. Fractional-reserve banking was censured already by Roman jurists, who found it dishonest and legally unsound. Yet modern scholarship shows that it was precisely this instability that provided the justification for inflationary central banking.
The Founders of the United States grasped this. In his letters, Thomas Jefferson wrote numerous lines on the problem with unsound money. In an 1817 letter to Josephus B. Stuart, he noted the consequences of paper money: "That paper money has some advantages is admitted. But that its abuses also are inevitable and, by breaking up the measure of value, makes a lottery of all private property, cannot be denied.”
Jefferson likewise understood the problem with unsound banking. In a letter to John Taylor he said: "I sincerely believe\... that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity under the name of funding is but swindling futurity on a large scale." (1816)
These courageous words ring remarkably relevant today. The roots of the current crisis lay in the manipulation of the money of American citizens. More of that will not solve the problem. Will we have the courage to go to the heart of the matter?
Full article at the Acton Institute website.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
You can watch hours and hours of news, or read columns of print in most newspapers, and come away no wiser about the causes and prospects for the current financial turmoil.
Most journalists and TV talking heads don't really understand the subject, and those that do speak and write using so much jargon that the average person must feel he or she is trying to follow a conversation in ancient Hebrew.
We're going to try to cut through the jargon, and explain the situation as best we can, in plain English. If you find our explanation of value, please forward it to others.
The current housing crisis, and all that flows from it, comes from two main sources, both deriving from Washington.
First, Congress passed something called the "Community Reinvestment Act" in 1977, resulting in the creation of bureaucratic regulations designed to encourage, or even compel, financial institutions to make loans to people with lower incomes. These regulations were then amended in 1995 and 2005 to create different rules for institutions of different sizes, so that various kinds of institutions would be better able to meet the government's goals for fostering home ownership in lower income communities.
Second, the Federal Reserve starting making loans available to the banking system at extremely low interest rates.
Third, steps one and two combined to make cheap housing loans available to people who could not have afforded or qualified for them before. This caused an increased demand for housing that sent home prices spiralling upward.
Fourth, mortgage lenders managed the risk involved in making these loans by selling their mortgages to other companies, which in turn thought that they were managing their own risk because they had a wide variety of mortgages, from many different types of borrowers, in their portfolio.
Fifth, these decisions about how to manage the increased risk created by the "Community Reinvestment Act" were all in error, because the Fed's policy of easy money had falsely inflated the value of ALL homes. This meant that good mortgages could not be used to manage the risk involved in questionable mortgages, because the value of ALL homes was falsely inflated.
Sixth, as with all inflationary booms, increases in home prices finally absorbed the increased purchasing power provided by the Fed, leading to a slow-down in home purchases. When this moment arrived everyone realized that the homes they had purchased weren't really worth what they had paid for them. The defaults and foreclosures then began, along with the collapse of the financial institutions that owned these unsound mortgages.
Now, the complicated, multi-part scenario described above has been simplified in popular reporting to just two words: sub-prime loans.
These two words, combined with the idea that lenders took advantage of poor unsuspecting customers, are supposed to explain everything. But this explanation is both simple and simply insufficient.
A study by the Mortgage Bankers Association tells the true story. In the third quarter of last year fixed rate mortgages accounted for 45% of foreclosures, while sub-prime ARMs accounted for only 43%.
It's not hard to understand why. Who wants to be on the hook for a mortgage that is tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars higher than the property is really worth? Rather than bear this burden, many borrowers are choosing to default, and walk away from their properties. This is especially happening with speculators who bought houses in order to "flip" them. To cope with these foreclosures . . .
Banks have offered their bad mortgages as collateral to borrow money from the Federal Reserve. The money the Fed lends through this process is created out of thin air. This has two shocking consequences. First, the Fed is coming to effectively own an increasing portion of America's stock of housing, and two, these Federal Reserve loans are inflating the money supply, causing prices
to rise all through the economy.
As the Fed creates more and more new dollars, the value of all the previously existing dollars declines. This forces people to seek ways to protect their accumulated wealth against the devaluing effects of monetary inflation. Thus . . .
People buy other currencies, causing the exchange value of the dollar to fall
They buy gold, pushing the price up above $1,000 an ounce
And they buy oil futures, driving up those prices too
But it gets worse . . .
Monetary inflation is making foreign investors reluctant to buy U.S. Treasury bonds. Who wants to hold bonds denominated in dollars when the Federal Reserve is reducing the value of the dollar?
The "London Telegraph" reports that foreign participation at a recent auction of U.S. Treasury bonds fell from 25% to less than 6%.
Sadly, there is every reason to expect this phenomenon to continue. This will leave the Federal government with only two options for funding its ever growing deficits. The government must either pay much more interest on its bonds, to compensate lenders for the monetary inflation, or it must sell its bonds to the Federal Reserve System, which will buy the bonds with yet more money created out of thin air, adding still more fuel to the inflationary fire.
The more the Federal government has to pay in interest, the larger the deficits will grow, or, the more it borrows from the Federal Reserve, the more it will have to pay in interest to private lenders. It's a vicious bind.
There is one thing the Federal government could do immediately to lessen this bind. It could cut spending to balance its budget, thereby reducing inflationary pressures. Please use our Unfunded Liabilities" campaign to ask Congress to do exactly that.
Use your personal comments to tell Congress that you know foreign participation in U.S. bond auctions is declining. Tell them you do not want them to sell their bonds to the Federal Reserve, thereby driving up the money supply. CONGRESS MUST BALANCE THE BUDGET NOW.
You can send your message here, at DownsizeDC.org .
Then, do one thing more. Send Congress a second message asking them to pass Ron Paul's "Honest Money" bills. Use your personal comments to tell Congress that you're aware that the current crisis was caused by a combination of the "Community Reinvestment Act" and the Federal Reserve's easy credit policy. Tell them you want Ron Paul's "Honest Money" bills to curb the ability of the Fed to inflate the money supply.
You can send that message here, at DownsizeDC.org.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Bruce Montague is an ordinary Canadian who has been charged under the Firearms Act. On September 11, 2004 Bruce was arrested and jailed for 11 days for violation of the licensing and registration terms of the Firearms Act. Police officers then conducted a 36 hour search of the Montague home, seizing and confiscating Bruce's firearms, ammunition and other property, including computers, binoculars, scopes and books.
What started this? Bruce is a model citizen with no criminal record, and has an excellent community and business reputation. But as a hunter and gunsmith from northern Ontario, Bruce Montague has boldly and actively opposed the Liberal government's illegitimate gun law by nonviolent public protest and peaceful non-compliance.
Remember this country was founded by men who took their guns from their homes and overthrew the government run by the British. Guns are the last protection against a tyrannical government. If you believe that any government, including ours, cannot become tyrannical, then you do not know history.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Two members of the city council are trying to stop the proposed ban:
Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th) said Thursday she joined her colleague, Ald. Helen Shiller (46th), in sandbagging the plastic bag ban at this week's City Council meeting because it would "criminalize legal conduct."
"Their position is there's no use to any of these bags other than for illegal purposes. But Ald. Shiller brought to their attention that people who do bead work buy beads in small bags. I mentioned that a lot of young girls have these intricate braids and that those beads also come in plastic bags," Lyle said.
"I've seen these little, bitty, tiny plastic bags. You know they're selling crack cocaine in it. But we've got enough laws we can't enforce. We don't want to make any more or criminalize legal conduct."
One can only hope these women prevail.
Full story here.
Does gambling become not harmful when it is government run and when the government gets the profits?
Does gambling only become addictive and harmful when run by a private entity?
Or could it just be that the government wants a monopoly on this?
Just another example of the hypocrisy of our fearless leaders in government.
However it is the not the whole story. Juries may also judge the law itself. The jury is one of our last protections against tyrannical law and an out of control government that only pays lip service to individual rights. Even though the state may prove that a defendant violated a law, a juror can determine that the law is unjust or violates the Constitution and find the defendant not guilty.
For example, a person suffering from cancer uses a medicinal substance that is illegal. The government proves the defendant used the substance and there is a law against the use of the substance. The jury can still find the defendant not guilty because the jury sees the law as unjust.
The jurors will never be told that they can find a law unjust and if they mention it while they are being interviewed by the prosecutor, they will probably be one of the people NOT chosen for the jury.
Thomas Jefferson said:
"I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution."
"To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions is a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy."
John Jay the first Chief Justice, of the US Supreme Court said:
"The jury has a right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy."
Lysander Spooner famous abolitionist said:
"For more than six hundred years--that is, since Magna Carta, in 1215, there has been no clearer principle of English or American constitutional law, than that, in criminal cases, it is not only the right and duty of juries to judge what are the facts, what is the law, and what was the moral intent of the accused; but that it is also their right, and their primary and paramount duty, to judge of the justice of the law, and to hold all laws invalid, that are, in their opinion, unjust or oppressive, and all persons guiltless in violating, or resisting the execution of, such laws."
The case involved the Wahkiakum School District, which in 1999 instituted a policy where students wanting to participate in school sports must agree to random urine testing for illicit or performance-enhancing drugs. A group of Wahkiakum High School parents, along with the American Civil Liberties Union sued the district over the policy.
The court stated in its ruling:
We cannot countenance random searches of public school student athletes with our article I, section 7 jurisprudence. As stated earlier, we require a warrant except for rare occasions, which we jealously and narrowly guard.
We decline to adopt a doctrine similar to the federal special needs exception in the context of randomly drug testing student athletes. In sum, no argument has been presented that would bring the random drug testing within any reasonable interpretation of the constitutionally required "authority of law."
The Washington State Constitution is different from the US Constitution. Article I Section 7 of the Washington Constitution reads
"No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law."
In addition, the Supreme Court of Washington ruled that:
"A student athlete has a genuine and fundamental privacy interest in controlling his or her own bodily functions, even if done in an enclosed stall, this is a significant intrusion on a student's fundamental right of privacy."
Doug Honig, a spokesman for the ACLU of Washington said:
"The justices concluded, as we had contended, that it violates the state Constitution to require a student to give their urine without any reason to believe they've done anything wrong."
So students in the State of Washington are protected from this intrusion on their privacy based on the State of Washington's Constitution. Of course, I firmly belief contrary to the erroneous rulings of the US Supreme Court that random drug testing is not Constitutional under the US Constitution either.
The US Supreme Court has a habit of finding all sorts of exceptions that grant the government more power than it was explicitly granted by the Constitution.
Friday, March 14, 2008
High Tide: The Ron Paul Revolution Continues
Grassroots effort stresses continuing the Ron Paul Revolution, restoring the spirit of freedom in the country and turning back the tide of sprawling foreign wars and disastrous economic policy
The High Tide could be a lifting anthem for the Ron Paul Revolution as it seeks ways to voice its message in the post-campaign era. The video features high quality 3-D animation and Dr. Ron Paul's voice. It's stunning imagery dramatically portrays the dark landscape of spreading wars and an unfolding economic wasteland that have resulted from bad policy.
It carries also the spirit of freedom that Ron Paul hoped his campaign would rekindle-- and in many ways already has-- as people across the country are now sparking debate over scaling back government power and following constitutionally-based policies.
Grassroots supporter Nate Evans (ArcFx, WeAreChange.org) donated months of work to put together the 3-D promo (click here for high quality) that will have to settle for underscoring the high-point of an unusual presidential campaign that has now receded from hopes of winning the GOP nomination. Nevertheless, the campaign succeeded in shedding light on the skewed policies of the phony candidates who shared the stage with him. His disenfranchisement in polls, electronic voting and media coverage demonstrated the manipulation over so-called free elections.
Ron Paul recently conceded that "convention victory" had been lost, but that the fight would continue. “Many victories have been achieved due to your hard work and enthusiasm,” said Paul.
“I don’t mind playing a key role in the revolution, but it has to be more than a Ron Paul revolution,” he said. Somehow, that is reflected in this animated video that transcends the mere man Ron Paul is individually and elevates instead the ideas and history his policy is based upon.
So, what will be the high mark of the Ron Paul Revolution, in their campaign for the presidency? What is its the lasting impact, and in what form will it continue?
Paul urges the continuation of meet-up groups, and even campaign races in effort to gain more delegates and take small victories where they are still available in the election, if only to stretch the political muscle for a future contest.
“At the rate our economy is slipping, we will likely see the disintegration of the American empire,” said Paul. “Today’s events should be seen as a tremendous opportunity to change our country for the good.”
The Ron Paul Revolution intends to make an lasting impression when it will march together in Washington. Which direction that will take us, is the next step.
Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to address the House tonight about the budget because there has been a lot of concern expressed here today on both sides of the aisle about the kind of financial trouble we're in. And there's no doubt about that. But sometimes I think we go back and forth spending more time blaming each other rather than dealing with the real problem.
One of the contentions I've had about the budget is that we look at it as an accounting problem rather than a philosophy problem because the spending occurs because of what we accept as the proper role of government. And right now, it's assumed by the country as well as the Congress that the proper role of government is to run our lives, run the economy, run the welfare state, and police the world. And all of a sudden, it puts a lot of pressure on the budget.
Today, the national debt is going up almost $600 billion. And the economy is getting weaker, there's no doubt about it. We're in a recession, it's going to get much worse, which means that the deficit is going to get a lot worse. And I'm predicting within a couple of years, it will not surprise me one bit to see the national debt, the national obligation for future generations to rise in 1 year three-quarters of $1 trillion. And that is a very possible number.
And like it has been expressed so often today, we need to do something about it. The question is, what are we going to do about it? One side says, it seems like, well, if we just raise taxes, we're going to solve the problem. The other side says, well, all we have to do is get rid of the earmarks. Well, that argument, I think, falls short, too, because you can vote to cut all the earmarks, but it doesn't cut any spending, it just delivers the authority to spend the money to the executive branch. I think the job of the Congress is to earmark the money. It's our obligation to tell people how the money is spent.
And those who think that we can solve this problem by just getting rid of earmarks, they never talk about the earmarks overseas, the hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars we spend overseas. We earmark them to certain countries, into building military buildings overseas. What about the earmark for the embassy in Iraq? It has cost $1 billion. That's an earmark. But the side that said that we can solve this problem by cutting earmarks never talks about these earmarks.
Just think of the earmarks in the military budget. I mean, billions. And what do we do? We finally elect a different Congress to deal with some of these supplementals and emergency spending that we don't have the guts to put on the budget, so we elect a new Congress. And what do we do? We have the continuation, in all the budgets presented today, we're still going to finance the war as an off-budget emergency item. We're not being honest with ourselves. And we pretend that the problem is there, and that if you talk about it, it's going to go away.
The way I see it is there's only one way that we're going to attack this, and that is, decide what our government ought to be doing. And the Constitution is very clear, the government ought to preserve our liberties and give us a strong national defense. It shouldn't run our lives, it shouldn't run the economy, it shouldn't police the world. We're not supposed to be the policemen of the world. But everybody talks about it.
And both sides of the aisle have no hesitation to spend every cent the executive branch asked for to run a war that was never declared. We now spend $1 trillion a year going up, this year it's going to go over $1 trillion to run the operations overseas. That means all the foreign aid and all the military, $1 trillion to do things we shouldn't be doing.
They interviewed 3,400 military personnel just recently, military leaders, and 82 percent of them said our military is weaker today than it was 5 years ago. So, all of this money spent and all this policing in the world, and all this deficit.
And financially we're coming down. I mean, just today the dollar went down 1.2 percent in one day, after this steady erosion. It comes from the fact of deficits. And why does that hurt the dollar? Because we don't have enough money. We don't tax enough. We can't tax anymore. People are overtaxed. We can't borrow anymore because interest rates will go up. So, we print the money. And the more money you print, the further the dollar goes down, and then everything goes up in price. So it's a cycle that's coming to an end.
The value of the dollar is really telling the whole story. We've overextended ourselves because we do not challenge the whole notion of what we ought to be doing here and what our government ought to be all about because we have drifted so far from the original intent of the Constitution. There is no hesitation, there are debates that go on here endlessly. One side of the aisle says, well, we need more and more money for the military; we can't cut one single cent on overseas expenditure. And the other side says, oh, no, we can't cut the entitlements. And then there's an agreement, we raise both.
My idea is to have a strong national defense and to get this budget under control. Reject the notion that we need to run an empire; we can't afford it, it's going to come down, it always comes down. It has come down all throughout history because eventually the currency is destroyed.
We're in 130 countries. We have 700 bases. Our military now is in worse shape than it was 5 years ago, according to our military. So it's time we look at the strategic, the philosophic problems. And I will say, unless we do this, this will end badly. It's going to end with a major economic crisis. It's going to be worldwide, and we here at home will suffer, not only economically but inevitably. Under these conditions the people lose their liberty, and our liberties are being eroded every single day that we're here.
So, yes, we take an oath to obey and uphold the Constitution against foreign and domestic. But we're domestic, and we should protect our rights and our budget and the greatness of this country.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
The Philosophy of Liberty is a flash animation based of what is now the epilogue of Ken Schoolland's book, "The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible." It began in 1992 as a Russian translation of the book was being published. The publisher Dmitry Costygin informed Ken that few people in Russia even knew what 'property' or 'taxes' were, and Ken responded by writing an introduction that described the philosophy of his book. It became so popular that it now appears as the epilogue in every language edition (40+ and counting), and it inspired Kerry Pearson (aka Lux Lucre) to create a flash animation.
In the early 1970s when I helped found Greenpeace, I believed that nuclear energy was synonymous with nuclear holocaust, as did most of my compatriots. Thirty years on, my views have changed, and the rest of the environmental movement needs to update its views, too, because nuclear energy may just be the energy source that can save our planet from another possible disaster: catastrophic climate change.
Look at it this way: More than 600 coal-fired electric plants in the United States produce 36 percent of U.S. emissions -- or nearly 10 percent of global emissions -- of CO2, the primary greenhouse gas responsible for climate change. Nuclear energy is the only large-scale, cost-effective energy source that can reduce these emissions while continuing to satisfy a growing demand for power. And these days it can do so safely.
Today, there are 103 nuclear reactors quietly delivering just 20 percent of America's electricity. Eighty percent of the people living within 10 miles of these plants approve of them (that's not including the nuclear workers). Although I don't live near a nuclear plant, I am now squarely in their camp.
And I am not alone among seasoned environmental activists in changing my mind on this subject. British atmospheric scientist James Lovelock, father of the Gaia theory, believes that nuclear energy is the only way to avoid catastrophic climate change. Stewart Brand, founder of the "Whole Earth Catalog," says the environmental movement must embrace nuclear energy to wean ourselves from fossil fuels. On occasion, such opinions have been met with excommunication from the anti-nuclear priesthood: The late British Bishop Hugh Montefiore, founder and director of Friends of the Earth, was forced to resign from the group's board after he wrote a pro-nuclear article in a church newsletter.
Wind and solar power have their place, but because they are intermittent and unpredictable they simply can't replace big baseload plants such as coal, nuclear and hydroelectric. Natural gas, a fossil fuel, is too expensive already, and its price is too volatile to risk building big baseload plants. Given that hydroelectric resources are built pretty much to capacity, nuclear is, by elimination, the only viable substitute for coal.
That's not to say that there aren't real problems -- as well as various myths -- associated with nuclear energy. Each concern deserves careful consideration:
·Myth: Nuclear energy is expensive.
It is in fact one of the least expensive energy sources. In 2004, the average cost of producing nuclear energy in the United States was less than two cents per kilowatt-hour, comparable with coal and hydroelectric. Advances in technology will bring the cost down further in the future.
·Myth: Nuclear plants are not safe.
Although Three Mile Island was a success story, the accident at Chernobyl, 20 years ago this month, was not. But Chernobyl was an accident waiting to happen. This early model of Soviet reactor had no containment vessel, was an inherently bad design and its operators literally blew it up. The multi-agency U.N. Chernobyl Forum reported last year that 56 deaths could be directly attributed to the accident, most of those from radiation or burns suffered while fighting the fire. Tragic as those deaths were, they pale in comparison to the more than 5,000 coal-mining deaths that occur worldwide every year. No one has died of a radiation-related accident in the history of the U.S. civilian nuclear reactor program. (And although hundreds of uranium mine workers did die from radiation exposure underground in the early years of that industry, that problem was long ago corrected.)
·Myth: Nuclear waste will be dangerous for thousands of years.
Within 40 years, used fuel has less than one-thousandth of the radioactivity it had when it was removed from the reactor. And it is incorrect to call it waste, because 95 percent of the potential energy is still contained in the used fuel after the first cycle. Now that the United States has removed the ban on recycling used fuel, it will be possible to use that energy and to greatly reduce the amount of waste that needs treatment and disposal. Last month, Japan joined France, Britain and Russia in the nuclear-fuel-recycling business. The United States will not be far behind.
Full article here.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
This was prompted by last fall's Hannah Montana concert which sold out right away because of automated ticket buying.
Great the government is now going to protect our "right" to buy Hannah Montana tickets. Again, maybe this is an issue that businesses like Ticketmaster should work out. And gee maybe this wouldn't happen if people resisted the urge to buy tickets that are way over priced by scalpers.
A proposed law currently making its way through the Florida legislature might help you with what can be an embarrassing problem. Here's the bottom line, the bill would be a mandate that all eating establishment must have enough toilet paper when you go into the restroom.
The only problem is the bill doesn't dictate how much toilet paper is "enough."
State Senator Victor Crist, a Republican from Tampa, felt the problem was so important, a law must be passed to protect the backsides of anyone in Florida. The measure will also try to regulate the cleanliness of restrooms in eating establishments.
So are we going to toilet paper cops now? What is next, a law mandating that restaurant food taste good?
The market will tale care of restaurants that have consistently filthy restrooms and lack in toilet paper. These restaurants will lose customers and go out of business.
Now if we could only figure out how to get the politicians to go out of business.
Please note what Mr.Tucker has to say about nuclear power and nuclear waste in Europe. I never understand why this isn't brought up more often. Nuclear power is much, much more prevelant thoroughout Europe, yet Europe which is also much more densely populated than the US doesn't have a nuclear storage problem. Read the article to find out why.
Nuclear or Terrestrial Energy
There is one other form of alternative energy often mistakenly grouped with solar: geothermal energy. Geothermal is produced when the natural heat of the earth comes in contact with groundwater. This can produce geysers and “fumaroles”—steam leaks that are now being harnessed to produce electricity.
Where does this heat come from? Temperatures at the earth’s core reach 7,000 degrees Centigrade, hotter than the surface of the sun. Some of this heat comes from gravitational pressures and the leftover heat from the collisions of astral particles that led to the formation of the earth. But at least half of it (we don’t know the precise percentage) comes from the radioactive breakdown of thorium and uranium within the earth’s mantle. This is “terrestrial energy,” and a nuclear reactor is simply the same process carried out in a controlled environment. In order to harness terrestrial energy in the form of uranium isotopes, we mine it, bring it to the surface, concentrate it, and initiate a chain reaction that releases stored energy in the form of heat—the very same process as that used to harness solar energy from coal.
When Albert Einstein signed the letter to President Roosevelt informing him of the discovery of nuclear energy, he turned to some fellow scientists and said: “For the first time mankind will be using energy not derived from the sun.” This possibility emerged in 1905, when Einstein posited that energy and matter are different forms of the same thing and that energy could be converted to matter and matter to energy (as reflected in the famous equation E = mc2). The co-efficient, c2, is the speed of light squared, which is a very, very large number. What it signifies is that a very, very small amount of matter can be converted into a very, very large amount of energy. This is good news in terms of our energy needs and the environment. It means that the amount of fuel required to produce an equivalent amount of energy is now approximately two million times smaller.
Consider: At an average 1,000 megawatt coal plant, a train with 110 railroad cars, each loaded with 20 tons of coal, arrives every five days. Each carload will provide 20 minutes of electricity. When burned, one ton of coal will throw three tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. We now burn 1 billion tons of coal a year—up from 500 million tons in 1976. This coal produces 40 percent of our greenhouse gases and 20 percent of the world’s carbon emissions.
By contrast, consider a 1000 megawatt nuclear reactor. Every two years a fleet of flatbed trucks pulls up to the reactor to deliver a load of fuel rods. These rods are only mildly radio-active and can be handled with gloves. They will be loaded into the reactor, where they will remain for six years (only one-third of the rods are replaced at each refueling). The replaced rods will be removed and transferred to a storage pool inside the containment structure, where they can remain indefinitely (three feet of water blocks the radiation). There is no exhaust, no carbon emissions, no sulfur sludge to be carted away hourly and heaped into vast dumps. There is no release into the environment. The fuel rods come out looking exactly as they did going in, except that they are now more highly radioactive. There is no air pollution, no water pollution, and no ground pollution.
Objections to Nuclear Energy
What are the potential problems with nuclear power?
First, some fear that a nuclear reactor might explode. But this is impossible. Natural uranium is made of two isotopes—U-235 and U-238 (the latter having three more neutrons). Both are radioactive—meaning they are constantly breaking down into slightly smaller atoms—but only U-235 is fissile, meaning it will split almost in half with a much larger release of energy. Because U-235 is more highly radioactive, it has almost all broken down already, so that it now makes up only seven-tenths of a percent of the world’s natural uranium. In order to set off a chain reaction, natural uranium must be “enriched” so that U-235 makes up a larger percentage. Reactor grade uranium—which will simmer enough to produce a little heat—is three percent U-235. In order to get to bomb grade uranium—the kind that will explode—uranium must be enriched to 90 percent U-235. Given this fact, there is simply no way that a reactor can explode.
On the other hand, a reactor can “melt down.” This is what happened at Three Mile Island. A valve stuck open and a series of mistakes led the operators to think the core was overflowing when it was actually short of cooling water. They further drained the core and about a third of the core melted from the excess heat. But did this result in a nuclear catastrophe? Hardly. The public was disconcerted because no one was sure what was happening. But in the end the melted fuel stayed within the reactor vessel. Critics had predicted a “China syndrome” where the molten core would melt through the steel vessel, then through the concrete containment structure, then down into the earth where it would hit groundwater, causing a steam explosion that would spray radioactive material across a huge area. In fact, the only radioactive debris was a puff of steam that emitted the same radiation as a single chest x-ray. Three Mile Island was an industrial accident. It bankrupted the utility, but no one was injured.
This of course was not the case in Chernobyl, where the Soviet designers didn’t even bother building a concrete containment structure around the reactor vessel. Then in 1986, two teams of operators became involved in a tussle over use of the reactor and ended up overheating the core, which set fire to the carbon moderator that facilitates the chain reaction. (American reactors don’t use carbon moderators.) The result was a four-day fire that spewed radioactive debris around the world. More fallout fell on Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, from Chernobyl than from Three Mile Island. With proper construction such a thing could never happen.
Another objection to nuclear power is the supposed waste it produces. But this is a mischaracterization. A spent fuel rod is 95 percent U-238. This is the same material we can find in a shovel full of dirt from our back yards. Of the remaining five percent, most is useful, but small amounts should probably be placed in a repository such as Yucca Mountain. The useful parts—uranium-235 and plutonium (a manmade element produced from U-238)—can be recycled as fuel. In fact, we are currently recycling plutonium from Russian nuclear missiles. Of the 20 percent of our power that comes from nuclear sources, half is produced from recycled Russian bombs. Many of the remaining isotopes are useful in industry or radiological medicine—now used in 40 percent of all medical procedures. It is only cesium-137 and strontium-90, which have half-lives of 28 and 30 years, respectively, that need to be stored in protective areas.
Unfortunately, federal regulations require all radioactive byproducts of nuclear power plants to be disposed of in a nuclear waste repository. As a result, more than 98 percent of what will go into Yucca Mountain is either natural uranium or useful material. Why are we wasting so much effort on such a needless task? Because in 1977, President Carter decided to outlaw nuclear recycling. The fear then was that other countries would steal our plutonium to make nuclear bombs. (India had just purloined plutonium from a Canadian-built reactor to make its bomb.) This has turned out to be a false alarm. Countries that have built bombs have either drawn plutonium from their own reactors or—as Iran is trying to do now—enriched their own uranium. Canada, Britain, France and Russia are all recycling their nuclear fuel. France has produced 80 percent of its electricity with nuclear power for the last 25 years. It stores all its high-level “nuclear waste” in a single room at Le Havre.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Salvia is a cheap and easily obtainable plant from Mexico "...that some fear could be the next marijuana." Salvia is smoked, chewed, or made into a tea. Like marijuana no deaths have resulted from overdosing on Salvia.
I wonder if Mr. Atkins drinks alcohol? How many people overdose on alcohol each and every day?
Students who drop out are high risk," said Sen. Charles Wiger, Senate Education Committee chairman and bill sponsor. "(Dropping out is) costly to the individual, but it's also costly to the state in terms of lost productivity."
"We should not have a law that gives students a reason to drop out," St. Paul Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen said, telling committee members the story of a fourth grader who had plans to drop out at age 16.
Carstarphen and Wiger cited research by the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Excellent Education that found that high school dropouts in 2007 cost the state nearly $3.9 billion in lost wages, taxes and productivity over their lifetimes.
Ah yes, the real reason behind the bill! The damn kids are going to cost the almighty state money! How dare they, don't they understand they are here to serve the government?
Where do these kids get off thinking they should be able to make some choices for themselves. So what if school bores them and that they would rather be learning a trade or working a job before deciding what to study. It's time they learned to sit down, shut up and do as big brother tells them.
Full story here.
However there is another theory about oil, this theory was postulated by scientists in the Soviet Union. This theory is called the Abiotic Oil Theory.
From the newsletter "What We Now Know":
As it turns out, the assumption that oil is a non-renewable fossil fuel has not gone unchallenged. Though seldom heard, there is a competing theory, namely that oil is abiotic, i.e. produced inorganically, as a result of natural processes deep within the earth.
This theory answers one of the most nagging questions about the origin of oil. A 1974 article in the Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists put it this way: "All giant [oil] fields are most logically explained by inorganic theory because simple calculations of potential hydrocarbon contents shows that organic materials are too few to supply the volumes of petroleum involved." A 1999 Wall Street Journal article concurred, stating that most geologists, "are hard-pressed to explain why the world's greatest oil pool, the Middle East, has more than doubled its reserves in the past 20 years, despite [the] intense exploitation and relatively few new discoveries. It would take a pretty big pile of dead dinosaurs and prehistoric plants to account for the estimated 660 billion barrels of oil in the region, notes Norman Hyne, a professor at the University of Tulsa."
The abiotic theory has been around for over half a century and is little known in this country, for the simple reason that the bulk of the research was conducted in the old Soviet Union, and most of the papers are in Russian. It received some striking support in the U.S. in 1999, however. The aforementioned Wall Street Journal article told the story:
"Something mysterious is going on at Eugene Island 300. Production at the oil field, deep in the Gulf of Mexico off the Coast of Louisiana, was supposed to have declined years ago. [Discovered in 1973, its] output peaked at about 15,000 barrels a day. By 1989, production had slowed to about 4,000 barrels a day. Then suddenly... Eugene Island's fortunes reversed... [It] is now producing 13,000 barrels a day, and probable reserves have rocketed to more than 400 million barrels from 60 million."
Perhaps more intriguing, "scientists studying the field say the crude coming out of the pipe is of a geological age quite different from the oil that gushed 10 years ago," a disparity that the Journal explains by quoting Thomas Gold, a professor emeritus at Cornell University. "[O]il is actually a renewable, primordial syrup continually manufactured by the Earth under ultrahot conditions and tremendous pressures. As [it] migrates toward the surface, it is attacked by bacteria, making it appear to have an organic origin dating back to the dinosaurs." Also quoted was Dr. Jean Whelan, a senior researcher at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who studied Eugene Island 330. Formerly a firm believer in the fossil fuel theory, her researches convinced her that the alternative is correct. "Now, she says, 'I believe there is a huge system of oil just migrating' deep underground."
Further backing for the abiotic theory is found in the work of geologist J. F. Kenney of the Gas Resources Corporation. Nature summarized his findings in 2002: "[Kenney's team] mimicked conditions more than 100 kilometers below the earth's surface by heating marble, iron oxide and water to around 1,500° C and 50,000 times atmospheric pressure. They produced traces of methane, the main constituent of natural gas, and octane, the hydrocarbon molecule that makes petrol. A mathematical model of the process suggests that, apart from methane, none of the ingredients of petroleum could form at depths less than 100 kilometers."
As Kenney himself has written, "Beginning in 1964, Soviet scientists carried out extensive theoretical statistical thermodynamic analysis which established explicitly that the hypothesis of evolution of hydrocarbon molecules (except methane) from biogenic ones in the temperature and pressure regime of the Earth's near-surface crust was glaringly in violation of the second law of thermodynamics." As for the practical consequences, he adds, "The [abiotic] theory is presently applied extensively throughout the former U.S.S.R. as the guiding perspective for petroleum exploration and... there are presently more than 80 oil and gas fields in the Caspian district alone which were explored and developed by applying [this] theory and which produce from the crystalline basement rock [i.e. where there could be no organic source for a fossil fuel]."
Monday, March 10, 2008
"Filthy storyteller, despot, liar, thief, braggart, buffoon, usurper, monster, old scoundrel, perjurer, swindler, tyrant, field-butcher, land pirate..."
The politicians' stirring phrases are meant to keep our eyes averted from the reality of war -- to make us imagine heroic young men marching in parades, winning glorious battles, and bringing peace and democracy to the world.
But war is something quite different from that.
It is your children or your grandchildren dying before they're even fully adults, or being maimed or mentally scarred for life. It is your brothers and sisters being taught to kill other people -- and to hate people who are just like themselves and who don't want to kill anyone either. It is your children seeing their buddies' limbs blown off their bodies.
It is hundreds of thousands of human beings dying years before their time. It is millions of people separated forever from the ones they loved.
It is the destruction of homes for which people worked for decades. It is the end of careers that meant as much to others as your career means to you.
It is the imposition of heavy taxes on you and on other Americans and on people in other countries -- taxes that remain long after the war is over. It is the suppression of free speech and the jailing of people who criticize the government.
It is the imposition of slavery by forcing young men to serve in the military.
It is goading the public to hate foreign people and races -- whether Arabs or Japanese or Cubans. It is numbing our sensibilities to cruelties inflicted on foreigners.
It is cheering at the news of foreign pilots killed in their planes, of young men blown to bits while trapped inside tanks, of sailors drowned at sea.
Other tragedies inevitably trail in the wake of war. Politicians lie even more than usual. Secrecy and cover-ups become the rule rather than the exception. The press becomes even less reliable.
War is genocide, torture, cruelty, propaganda, dishonesty, and slavery.
War is the worst obscenity government can inflict upon its subjects. It makes every other political crime -- corruption, bribery, favoritism, vote-buying, graft, dishonesty -- seem petty.
Harry Browne (June 17, 1933 – March 1, 2006) was an American libertarian writer, politician, and free-market investment analyst. He was a U.S. Presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party in 1996 and 2000.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
“How a politician stands on the Second Amendment tells you how he or she views you as an individual… as a trustworthy and productive citizen, or as part of an unruly crowd that needs to be lorded over, controlled, supervised, and taken care of.”
Rep. Suzanna Gratia Hupp of Texas
“Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.”
—Mahatma Gandhi (Autobiography, by M.K. Gandhi, p.446)
The following is an NRA video about gun control in Canada. I'm not a big fan of the NRA, not because I favor control, I most certainly oppose gun control. Rather my understanding is that the NRA has compromised on the right to bear arms for years. That is why I post links to the Gun Owners of America and Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, but not the NRA.
From the Canadian government:
With the passage of the 1995 Firearms Act, Canada established a national registry of all firearms and their owners.
The Act required Canadian gun owners to apply for a license by January 1, 2001, from the Canadian Firearms Centre, a branch of the Justice Department, and register their guns with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) by the beginning of 2003. Associated amendments to the Criminal Code in 1996 increased the penalties for using firearms to commit crimes and for the illegal trafficking and smuggling of guns.
The registration of all handguns has been required by federal law since 1934, and since 1968 permits to carry them have been restricted to a few specific circumstances, for example, use in target practice or competition, protection in extreme cases where police protection isn't adequate, and in certain jobs, such as transporting large amounts of cash or other valuables. Fully automatic weapons have been banned since 1977. The new law extends the registration requirement to unrestricted long guns such as shotguns and rifles and adds short-barrelled handguns and those discharging 25- or 32-calibre cartridges to the list of prohibited weapons.
Some quotes from supporters of gun control:
"A system of licensing and registration is the perfect device to deny gun ownership to the bourgeoisie."
—Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
“The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed the subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty.”
—Adolf Hitler (H.R. Trevor-Roper, Hitler’s Table Talks 1941-1944)
Do you think the U.S., or U.N. forces, should have moved into Baghdad?
Because if we'd gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn't have been anybody else with us. There would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait were willing to invade Iraq.
Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down Saddam Hussein's government, then what are you going to put in its place? That's a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq, you could very easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off: part of it, the Syrians would like to have to the west, part of it -- eastern Iraq -- the Iranians would like to claim, they fought over it for eight years. In the north you've got the Kurds, and if the Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey.
It's a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq.
The other thing was casualties. Everyone was impressed with the fact we were able to do our job with as few casualties as we had. But for the 146 Americans killed in action, and for their families -- it wasn't a cheap war. And the question for the president, in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad, took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein, was how many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth?
Our judgment was, not very many, and I think we got it right.
Okay, this interview is from 1994 and Cheney is talking about the 1991 Gulf War, but exactly what changed? Saddam was a brutal dictator in 1991 just as he was in 2003. The reality is that he was a much bigger threat to his neighbors in 1991 than he was in 2003.
The Neocons wanted permanent bases in the Middle East in order to project American military power in the region. This is all part of the Neocon philosophy, America should be the power in the world and should shape the future of the world. American bases in Saudi Arabia were causing problems for the Saudis and needed to be moved.
As anyone who has read in any depth on the subject knows, there was no connection between Iraq and 9/11. The 9/11 attacks just gave the Neocons a convenient excuse to put their plan into action.
First here is the straight unedited interview:
Here is that same interview edited for effect:
Saturday, March 8, 2008
"Is the Revolution Over or Just Beginning?
"Reports that Ron Paul has quit the Presidential Race remind me of Mark Twain's famous quote, 'Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.' The Ron Paul Presidential campaign continues albeit at a different pace.
"What does that mean?
"Ron Paul will continue to contest the remaining primaries. Ron Paul's name will be on all the remaining state ballots.
"Ron Paul volunteers are encouraged to become precinct captains, delegates to state and national conventions, and to try pass Constitutional proposals to each state's Republican platform.
"For example, volunteers in each state should try to attach amendments such as the following: Republicans believe that war should only be fought after a proper Declaration of War by Congress. Another possible platform idea is that: Republican Congressmen are expected to vote against any federal budget, Republican or Democrat, that is not balanced.
"Want to have some fun? Just imagine the fun when the debate begins on these ideas.
"Is Ron Paul still campaigning for president? Yes. Ron Paul has tentative plans to campaign in Pennsylvania and Kentucky. Ron Paul will also likely appear in other states that have remaining primaries.
"The press is reporting that Ron Paul has quit the race. This is not true. Ron Paul's video simply acknowledges that the campaign will continue but will also transform into additional activities such as education and supporting other candidates.
"In Kentucky we just held precinct conventions and Ron Paul Republicans won hundreds of precinct captains. In Kyle Texas, Craig Young upset the establishment choice for Republican County Chairman.
"The Ron Paul Revolution lives on. Victory comes in many forms. Help shape what the Ron Paul revolution becomes."
I am a Ron Paul delegate to my Congressional and State Conventions and I will be supporting Ron Paul and the Revolution.
The Obvious Truths of Private Property
March 7, 2008
Even the obvious needs defenders.
It is obvious that private property rights are vitally important. It is obvious that markets in property encourage development where development is desired. It is just as obvious that a lot of the progress that has happened in America over its two hundred year-plus history can be accounted to the very fact that we’ve had private property rights.
But, it is also obvious that one can become wealthy by theft, especially if the government is on your side. In localities all across the land, governments take land from some and give it to others. To “develop.”
And it’s not a socialistic scheme concocted by crackpot utopians. It flows right out of the eminent domain clause of the Constitution — as an abuse.
And it has its defenders. They say that, without using eminent domain to engage in big development projects, cities would die.
Nonsense. Right? Yes. And, if real-world logic can’t convince you of the obvious, consult real-world data. A study done by the Institute for Justice — a report called “Doomsday? No Way: Economic Trends and Post-Kelo Eminent Domain Reform” — shows clear evidence that development occurs rather naturally when private property rights are consistently defended. The study compared states with and without such eminent domain abuses.
And it defended the obvious. Freedom is better than theft.
From the Associated Press:
A pair of Albany teenagers suspended for "gang-related behavior" because they were wearing crucifixes say they were only wearing gifts from their mothers.
Jaime Salazar, 14, his friend Marco Castro, 16, were suspended from South Albany High School recently after they refused to put away the crucifixes they were wearing around their necks.
Salazar said Principal Chris Equinoa saw his necklace and told him to put it away. "I was like, why?" Salazar said. "He says it's related to gangs."
Salazar said he argued and was sent to the office. Instead, he went home. Later, he received a note saying he had been suspended for five days for "defiance and gang-related behavior."
Castro, a junior, was suspended for three days after refusing to take off a string of milky rosary beads, with a crucifix and a tiny picture of the Virgin Mary, that he was wearing around his neck. His mother gave it to him, he said.
Equinoa said religious items are not banned. But, as principal, he reserves the right to ask a student to remove, or cover up, any item he feels could indicate gang affiliation even a crucifix.
The school district backs him up.
Instead of putting efforts into dealing with those who actually cause harm, schools put forth efforts to fight anything that may appear to be a problem.
Friday, March 7, 2008
"We're putting up with the federal government on so many fronts, and nearly every month they come out with another hare-brained scheme ... to tell us that our life is going to be better if we just buckle under on some other kind of rule or regulation. And we usually just play along for a while. We ignore 'em for as long as we can. We try not to bring it to a head but if it comes to a head we found that it's best to tell them to go to Hell and run the state the way you want to run your state.
Unfortunately this time around they've really got a hare-brained scheme, this is the way it works... almost all those hijackers on 9/11 would have qualified for a Real ID."
I want to hug Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer. Love it, tell the Feds to go to hell! Yeah!
Tiny plastic bags used to sell small quantities of heroin, crack cocaine, marijuana and other drugs would be banned in Chicago, under a crackdown advanced Tuesday by a City Council committee.
Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd) persuaded the Health Committee to ban possession of "self-sealing plastic bags under two inches in either height or width," after picking up 15 of the bags on a recent Sunday afternoon stroll through a West Side park.
Lt. Kevin Navarro, commanding officer of the Chicago Police Department's Narcotics and Gang Unit, said the ordinance will be an "important tool" to go after grocery stores, health food stores and other businesses. The bags are used by the thousand to sell small quantities of drugs at $10 or $20 a bag.
Navarro referred to the plastic bags as "Marketing 101 for the drug dealers." Many of them have symbols, allowing drug users to ask for "Superman" or "Blue Dolphin" instead of the drug itself, he said.
Prior to the final vote, Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) expressed concern about arresting innocent people. He noted that extra buttons that come with suits, shirts and blouses -- and jewelry that's been repaired -- come in similar plastic bags.
Burnett was reassured by language that states "one reasonably should know that such items will be or are being used" to package, transfer, deliver or store a controlled substance. Violators would be punished by a $1,500 fine.
Health Committee Chairman Ed Smith (28th) said the ban is part of a desperate effort to stop what he called "the most destructive force" in Chicago neighborhoods.
"We need to use every measure that we possibly can to stop it because it is destroying our kids,"
Idiot politicians. So you ban small plastic bags. Do you really, really think that will stop the drug trade? If you do, what exactly are you smoking? All this does is put honest law abiding citizens and businesses at risk of being fined and arrested.
In addition we will now give the criminals another avenue to make money. Yes we will now have the illegal trade in small plastic bags. There will be gun battles, with innocents killed, over bag territory.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Health Department Commissioner Sanne Magnan said today that:
"It's time for the curtain to come down on this play of theatrics and get on with the business of protecting Minnesotans from the harms of secondhand smoke,"
Yes, thank goodness the health department has stepped in. I mean how could I ever protect myself if it wasn't for the government.
I mean could we expect anyone to take responsibility for themselves and not patronize bars where smoking occurs?
I just wish the health department would step up and ban loud music in bars and at concerts. We need to protect the hearing of workers at these establishments!!!
The smoking ban with Orwellian name "The Freedom to Breathe Act", as if breathing was not allowed before, establishes fines of up to $10,000 for bars or restaurants that allow smoking.
Sounding like a local commissar, Magnan said her agency would work to "educate" bars on the law before imposing penalties. Yes, send the scofflaws to reeducation camps, a wonderful idea from our communist friends. Like the bar owners really don't understand the law.
This is where we are headed if we don't stop and turn it around. The drug war, the nanny state, and the security state all lead to more government power and less personal freedom. The foundation of the police state has been laid and the superstructure is now under construction in America. Unfortunately most Americans are oblivious and even worse, supportive of the construction.
They keep on turning out for politicians like Hillary Clinton, John McCain and yes, Barack Obama. Their styles may differ, their emphasis may differ but they all support increasing the size and the power of the government. As the government gets more powerful, the individual is weakened.
Real ID, internal checkpoints, ID required to fly, eavesdropping without a warrant, no knock raids and on and on. All are hallmarks of a police state, yet most Americans don't care or actually support these measures.
"Find out just what the people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." - Frederick Douglass
Those states who do not seek an extension by March 31, will have their citizens subjected to secondary screening by TSA agents, beginning May 11, 2008 before being allowed to board an airplane in the US.
Real ID is a National ID card and just another of the many steps being enacted on the road to making the USA a police state.
For more information on Real ID see:
Last Chance to Stop National ID
DHS Suggests a REAL ID Could be Necessary for Medicine