Monthly Archives: February 2006

I Fell Over In Shock

After reading this article. What was so shocking? After all, there are quite a few states with flat income tax structures, and even quite a few states with no income tax. Well, two reasons really. First, Rhode Island has been, for quite a while, very anti economic liberty. And, this proposal was put forth by New England Democrats who, along with their California brethren, are about as far towards socialist as you can get in this country. They believe, heart and soul, that the government is here to provide “social justice” with “progressive” taxation and income redistribution schemes.

From the article:

House Democrats turned out en masse Thursday to support a massive tax reform package that will affect taxpayers from the top to the bottom of the economic scale.

The “Taxpayer Relief Act of 2006″ would give the richest Rhode Islanders the option of paying their taxes under the current system, which assesses 9.9 percent of their federal taxable income, or 7.5 percent of their adjusted gross income with no adjustments, deductions or tax credits. Over the course of five years, that 7.5 percent would be gradually reduced to 5.5 percent to bring it closer to the 5.3 percent currently paid by wealthy taxpayers in neighboring Massachusetts and the 5 percent tax in Connecticut.

Mmmmmm, I’m starting to get an idea of what’s going on here. How about you?

Lt. Gov. Charles Fogarty applauded the initiative, calling it “an excellent starting point on how we can make Rhode Island more competitive.

“When examining tax reform proposals,” Fogarty said, “we must consider two essential points: the need for a competitive tax system that is fair to all Rhode Islanders and maintaining the investment in important programs that protect our future and the health and well being of Rhode Islanders. While there are several areas where the state’s tax system can be reformed, the top priority must be property taxes, which continue to be well above the national average in Rhode Island and are severely overburdening homeowners and small businesses.”

In case you don’t know it, New Hampshire (a strongly libertarian state) has no income tax and Massachussets enacted a flat income tax two years ago (Teddy must have apoplexy). The problem Rhode Island faces is that they are not competitive with their neighboring states. So, small businesses and affluent residents are fleeing to Mass and NH. The whole concept of competitive government actually does work, you know. It’s tougher on the West coast with large states. But even here it works. One of the Liberty Papers contributors, Brad Warbiany, fled California because of its unstable budget, repressive tax structure and high cost of living. And he isn’t the only one, by a long shot. California is growing, but it’s not the middle class that’s growing. And RI has the same problem. So, they are going to try and fix it, because the loss to their neighboring states is clear and obvious. They are even proposing to enact sales tax holidays. My guess is that they lose significant business to Mass on their sales tax holidays.

It turns out that big government liberal ideology can, occasionally, be changed by reality smacking you in the face.

Security executive, work for Core Security, veteran, kids, dogs, cat, chickens, mortgage, bills. I like #liberty #InfoSec #scotch, #wine, #cigars, #travel, #baseball

Democracy and Islam Go Together?

Excerpts from a Forbes update on the Jyllands-Posten Mohammed cartoons brouhaha. Or, as Reason’s Hit and Run has called it, the “Intoonfada”. So, I pulled out a few excerpts, and my reactions, just for you. :-)

Saudi Arabia’s top cleric called on the world’s Muslims to reject apologies for the “slanderous” caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed and demanded the authors and publishers of the cartoons be tried and punished, Saudi newspapers reported Saturday.

Hmmm, when’s the last time you heard the Pope demand that the author of a cartoon that was against the teachings of the Catholic Church be tried and punished? Yeah, the Pope would love to have censorship that prevented anyone from saying anything he doesn’t like, but he is not living in an autocracy were something gets said only if the government approves. If you think the government doesn’t want this published, because you are used to the West, you need to re-evaluate how things work in Saudi Arabia. If these folks actually supported liberal, western ideas, then the cleric would have never called for such a trial. If they were at least moderate then they would also call for trials and punishment for the Iranian “holocaust contest”.

Arab governments, Muslim clerics and newspaper columnists have been urging calm in past days, fearing that recent weeks of violence have only increased anti-Islamic sentiment in the West.

No, the real truth is that the recent weeks of violence, first in France, and now over these cartoons, has opened people’s eyes to the reality of Middle Eastern and Islamic culture. They are seeing, often for the first time, a culture of oppression and intolerance. This is a culture that not only forbids gays to marry, but makes homosexuality a crime. A culture that stones women to death for infidelity, that allows men to rape their wives with no legal recourse. A culture that represses free speech, that openly calls for the destruction of the state of Israel and the genocide of the Jewish people. The so-called moderates want the same things, they just refrain from violence. They don’t condemn the violence, making them enablers of violence and extremism.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned the controversy over the cartoons has created unprecedented tension between the Islamic and Christian world.

The tension always existed, and always will, until one culture or the other triumphs. Why? Because the cultures are diametrically opposed, with completely different values. Western culture could tolerate the existence of Islamic culture, but Islam can never permantly tolerate the existence of a culture that holds values they cannot accept. People like al-Seedes, bin Laden, al-Zawahiri, Assad and the others understand that a free and open culture challenges their power in ways they can’t overcome. Which is why they have censorship and police states. Ultimately, when people are given a choice, they choose capitalism and liberalism.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono reiterated that many Muslims consider the cartoons an insult to their faith, but he called on Muslims to forgive those who have sincerely apologized.

“Reprinting the cartoons in order to make a point about free speech is an act of senseless brinkmanship,” he said in a commentary in the International Herald Tribune.

First, no one should apologize for these cartoons. Second, it’s only brinksmanship for the people enabling or inciting the violence, rather than calming it, which is just about every Islamic leader out there. Most Western governments have cravenly offered to surrender freedom of speech rather than confront religious totalitarianism.

“It is also a disservice to democracy. It sends a conflicting message to the Muslim community: that in a democracy it is permissible to offend Islam. This message damages efforts to prove that democracy and Islam go together.”

That is the message. In a liberal society the sacred cows get exposed, the emperor is told he has no clothes. This, of course, is extremely frightening to men who rule by protecting the sacred cows and pretending the emperor has beautiful, new clothes. They can never accept such a situation, because it will mean their loss of power.

Security executive, work for Core Security, veteran, kids, dogs, cat, chickens, mortgage, bills. I like #liberty #InfoSec #scotch, #wine, #cigars, #travel, #baseball

Don’t be evil? Ok, how about Politcially Biased?

I recieved this email a few hours back:

From: Google AdSense
to: me

Hello Christopher,

Our specialists have found that your account is not in compliance with
AdSense program policies. As a result, we have disabled your account.

We continually review all publishers according to our Terms and
Conditions and program policies, and we reserve the right to disable
publishers or sites that are not in compliance with our policies.

Sincerely,

The Google AdSense Team

Obviously I was somewhat puzzeled… but only somewhat. After all, others around the blogosphere have had problems with google inexplicably cutting them off, apparently for political reasons, and I’m generally more offensive to the lef tthan they are.

But I kept an open mind. I sent back a one line question:

From: Me
To: Google AdSense support

Sirs,

Can you tell me how my account is not in compliance with your policies?

And I recieved no response.

And I got kinda irritated, and then I got kinda mad; so a few minutes ago, I sent this out:

From: Chris Byrne Mailed-By: gmail.com
To: Google AdSense
Cc: Sergei@google.com, ESchmidt@google.com, LPage@google.com, MRivera@google.com, Press@google.com, mmayzel@google.com
Date: Feb 8, 2006 12:25 PM
Subject: Re: Google AdSense Account Disabled

Sirs,

Can you tell me how my account is not in compliance with your policies?

I sent that one question to you initially, and recieved no response. Now I am expanding my question.

I have reviewed your ad-sense policies, and I cannot find any point at which I am in violation, unless a subjective reviewer of the site found my content disagreeable politically.

If my account has been suspended because I present a different political view point than the reviewer of my site… well then you might have a small problem.

If you say that I am a hate site, a violent site, or a racist site, I can refute that conclusively; and will do so for anyone who asks. If you say that I have inappropriate content, I can refute that and will do so as well.

I will also point to many sites that present anti-semitic, anti-american, and in general vile and disgusting propaganda; and yet they have ad-sense ads. I can show you sites that depict burning of american flags, and bibles, that have ad-sense ads. I can show you sites that are unapologetically pronographic, and have ad-sense ads.

I can only conclude that this action is motivated by political bias. It is my hope that suspending accounts that are politically opposed to a reviewers viewpoint is the action of a single employee and not general corporate policy.

You are of course a private company, and you may choose to allow your political biases to determine who you do business with; but if you do, be prepared to have all of your conservative and libertarian customers do the same.

If you cannot provide me with a legitimate reason for this account suspension, that is not motivated by a bias against my libertarian politics, my staunch advocacy of free speech regardless of it’s potential for offensiveness, or the right to keep and bear arms, then I will be going to the blogosphere and the media with this.

Finally, if you insist on closing my account, please forward the remaining outstanding balance due me. As I cannot log in to my account I can’t confirm how much it is, but when I checked yesterday it was only about $40.

Thank you,

Christopher J. Byrne IV

I wonder what the response will be.

Crossposted from The Anarchangel

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

Oh! The indignity!

All the bruhaha about the Mohammed cartoons has given me some food for thought. As a believer of Christianity and Christian tenants, there have been a number of cartoons that I’ve run across on the web that *I* personally find offensive. I would imagine that I’m not alone, and yes, there have certainly been some complaints registered over some of those images. Interesting to note is that these images generally make the rounds in less conservative circles – and among those who are more likely to find them amusing. Generally speaking, when offended by something I read or watch, I know that I can either drop it from my reading/watching list, or opt to continue to check it out (following that old maxium about keeping you friends close and your enemies closer).

I don’t recall, however, ever hearing such outrage over cartoons offensive to those of Christian beliefs. Which has really got me thinking. Political satire has historically been a great force for highlighting and even helping to hasten change. There are few other mediums where so much can be said with so few words – and I’m wondering if those who are so up-in-arms over this are naive enough to think that they can silence by protest the concepts which are now clearly out in the open?

I’m thinking that all the protest is actually a great thing – particularly in this day and age of technology. Pandora’s box has been opened – and I don’t see any way that this will ever get stuffed back in. Freedom of speech and expression is more free and open than in anytime in the history of the world – and I think it will ultimately be our saving grace.

Homeschooling Security Mom, Political Junkie, Believe in upholding the Constitution – and subscribe to the theory that gun control is the ability to hit your target!

PC Manifesto

Be sure to swing by the PC Manifesto v3.0.

Q: WHAT IS P.C.?

PC stands for Politically Correct. We of the Politically Correct philosophy believe in increasing a tolerance for a DIVERSITY of cultures, race, gender, ideology and alternate lifestyles. Politically Correctness is the only social and morally acceptable outlook. Anyone who disagrees with this philosophy is bigoted, biased, sexist, and/or closed-minded.

Security executive, work for Core Security, veteran, kids, dogs, cat, chickens, mortgage, bills. I like #liberty #InfoSec #scotch, #wine, #cigars, #travel, #baseball

“the freedom of speech, or of the press”

That phrase comes from the First Amendment. Here, for context, is the entirety of the 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.

On the whole, the amendment deals with the freedom of conscience, which, along with life and property, is one of the most fundamental rights inherent to being human. What is freedom of conscience? According to Wikipedia, it is:

the freedom of an individual to hold a viewpoint, or thought, regardless of anyone else’s view.

That, however, is only the beginning of it. For freedom of conscience to be meaningful, people must be able to live as their conscience demands. The First Amendment deals with several aspects of it, including freedom of belief, freedom of expression, and the freedom to push for change in government. All of these freedoms center around the individual, because conscience is a solely individual phenomenon. Makes sense so far, right?

» Read more

Why We Don’t Want Cooler Heads to Prevail

There appears to be a consensus building among the mainstream in the US and Western Europe that “cooler heads” need to prevail and the confrontation between Muslim extremists and the West over the cartoons published by the Jyllands-Posten needs to be brought under control. If the folks who think cooler heads need to prevail mean cooler, calmer, more rational folks in the Middle East, and other Muslim communities, then I’m in agreement.

We are told, over and over again, that al-Qaeda, Hamas, al-Zarqawi, Islamic Jihad, the Ba’athists of Iraq and Syria, the religious government of Iran and on and on don’t represent the majority of Muslims. That may be so, but we have no indication that is true. If it is true, why aren’t those other Muslims, the ones who respect life, property, other religions, free speech, etc. not standing up and demanding accountability? Those are the cooler heads that need to prevail. Folks like the people who wrote this apology need to begin to assert themselves. The writers of the apology are not happy that the media only sees the extremists. But, the reality is that it is only the extremists voicing their opinion. We’ve seen what happens when the people of a Muslim country take matters into their own hands, such as happened in Lebanon last year. Why aren’t we seeing that now?

I will suggest that these “cooler heads” are not going to be allowed to prevail. They know they aren’t, that in fact they will be beaten, stoned, shot or blown-up by those who control their culture right now. This is how the imams, mullahs and government officials of the Middle East maintain their power. These protests are orchestrated by them, passions are inflamed by a small elite that is bent on keeping, and expanding, their power. This small group, the one that doesn’t represent the majority of Muslims, is convinced that all they have to do is cow their own populace and threaten the decadent (in their eyes) West with violence to continue to win. Why are they convinced of this? Because we taught them, that’s why.

Imagine, if you will, that you live in the same house as someone who holds an opposing religious view from you. At some point, you say something that they find offensive. Instead of asking you politely to not express yourself that way, they burn a picture of you on the patio, chanting “Death to my roomie” and then pick up a baseball bat and threaten to hit you with it if you don’t apologize. Well, to you getting that upset over this incident just doesn’t make sense, so you apologize. It’s just a little thing, from your perspective, you’re not all that religious anyhow. So, you go ahead and apologize. Now, ask yourself what is likely to happen the next time you say something your housemate doesn’t like? Do you suppose your housemate, who clearly takes his religion a lot more seriously than you do, might come to you one day with the picture of you burning and his baseball bat and tell you that you have to convert to his religion now, or face the consequences? What happens when he gets upset because you are bringing home your girlfriend and sleeping together, and he considers that a sin in his religion?

This is what has been going on with Muslim extremists and the West for years. It’s a bit simplified, but essentially we bend over backwards to not upset them, for a wide variety of reasons. We’ve reached the point where we think no one should be offended, and if they are offended, we tend to think that the guy who said something is the one in the wrong, not the one offended by free speech. We have gone so far as to state things like “free speech doesn’t give you the right to insult someone else”, but that is just the point of free speech. Speech is not free if you are constrained to say only that which is acceptable to other people. The Vatican’s position on this, while admirably consistent, is not supportive of free speech. Nor is the position being taken by most of the Western governments.

We are, in fact, confirming what Osama bin Laden believes is true. All he has to do is continue to confront the West with violence and eventually we will surrender. Not because he is stronger physically, but because we are decadent and don’t have the will to fight for what we believe in. He believes, as do the other extremists confronting us, that they just have to keep pushing hard enough and we will roll over and show our belly to them.

If we treasure our liberties, our diverse cultures, our literary and historical traditions, we must stand fast in the face of the bullies who are threatening us with a baseball bat for offending them. If need be, we must defend ourselves against their threat of violence. We must, above all, recognize backing down in the face of this “outrage” in the Middle East is just a continuation of the appeasement we have practiced for two decades now and will just further embolden them.

Remember, if you begin censoring speech and writing and other forms of expression, at some point it will be your turn to be censored. Right now, you probably don’t care because you could care less about those cartoons. What happens when it’s your speech about something you do care about? Only then it’s too late, of course, you’ve already surrendered your liberty.

So, the bottom line is this. I do not wish to go out of my way to make things worse, but I refuse to cool off, or back down from the confrontation. I will stand firm. I will continue to talk about this. I will continue to post these cartoons they are so frightened of.

Security executive, work for Core Security, veteran, kids, dogs, cat, chickens, mortgage, bills. I like #liberty #InfoSec #scotch, #wine, #cigars, #travel, #baseball

Anarchist’s Unite!

Once upon a time, when I was in the midst of creating the Life, Liberty and Property community, I considered calling it Anarchists Unite! as a joke. Other folks convinced me that I would turn people off with that name for the community, people who wouldn’t get the joke, so I didn’t use that name. But, I’ve always wanted to use it, somehow, within the community.

Without further ado, then, Jon Henke of QandO is trying to get a group of technically skilled volunteers together to build a web portal and forum to bring libertarian minded folk together. If you’re interested, drop by QandO and let Jon know how you can help.

Security executive, work for Core Security, veteran, kids, dogs, cat, chickens, mortgage, bills. I like #liberty #InfoSec #scotch, #wine, #cigars, #travel, #baseball

Round-up of Cartoon Craziness

Hold The Mayo makes some good points in Cartoon Critics about the reality of what we will find in Middle Eastern cultures. What we definitely won’t find is a secular, liberal society that tolerates those who are different and encourages diversity. Instead, we find the medieval society that the West left behind during The Enlightenment.

Lisa, at Liberal Common Sense, highlights some of the violent reactions and the Vatican’s reaction. The Vatican is, essentially, saying a pox on both your houses. The middle road doesn’t work between Liberal and Medieval society. It’s time to choose which you believe in.

Catallarchy’s Patri Friedman points out the hypocrisy of protecting one set of sensibilities and not another. He’s right, of course. But which issue and behavior is more dangerous to liberty?

Stuart Richards, from Hammer of Truth, gives the Muslim rioters the same answer I did: “Get over it”. He also wonders if we live in Iran now. I’m wondering myself.

Instapundit, who actually doesn’t need my links to bring him readers, has lots of coverage of the whole affair. This entry is good, and there’s lots of good links.

The Voice of Treason has a good editorial on the topic. Treason says, “And while we all sit here and fiddle with words, embassies in Damascus are burning.”

And, if you’re interested, the international version of the Jyllands-Posten, the paper that ignited the whole controversy, can be found here.

Last, but certainly not least, Mark Steyn writes a piece that makes some excellent points. A lot of folks are quoting this piece, but I think they are focusing on the wrong set of points in it. Here’s the important bit:

Very few societies are genuinely multicultural. Most are bicultural: On the one hand, there are folks who are black, white, gay, straight, pre-op transsexual, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, worshippers of global-warming doom-mongers, and they rub along as best they can. And on the other hand are folks who do not accept the give-and-take, the rough-and-tumble of a “diverse” “tolerant” society, and, when one gently raises the matter of their intolerance, they threaten to kill you, which makes the question somewhat moot.

Security executive, work for Core Security, veteran, kids, dogs, cat, chickens, mortgage, bills. I like #liberty #InfoSec #scotch, #wine, #cigars, #travel, #baseball

Over the Top

No, not the WWI command given to soldiers when they left the trenches to charge into the machine guns. I’m talking about the reaction of Muslims to the cartoons published by a Danish newspaper last September. As I’ve discussed earlier, the reactions of violence and anger have proved the point of the cartoons that portray Islam as a violent religion. The violence has escalated from protests and individual gunmen, or small groups, seeking out Danes and Norwegians to kidnap, to rioters burning the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Syria. On a side note, I would suggest that anyone who thinks those riots were not allowed, even encouraged, by the Syrian government hasn’t paid much attention to reality in the Middle East.

First, a piece of advice to Muslims. Stop worrying so much about what someone who doesn’t believe in your religion does. After all, if your religion is true, those cartoonists have committed blasphemy and will pay the price for their sin. In the meantime, it doesn’t hurt you at all. They have not caused you to violate your religion, nor even urged you to. So, chill out. Or, as another religion’s teachings say, worry about the stick in your eye before worrying about the sliver in mine. Because, if your religion is actually one of peace, you are violating it with the riots, attacks, and destruction of property that you are committing.

In the meantime, we in the West need to stand firm. Messages like the Washington Post is reporting need to stop:

“The right to freedom of thought and expression . . . cannot entail the right to offend the religious sentiment of believers,” the Vatican said in a statement.

That’s complete bull. If you can’t offend the sacred cows and the naked emperor then you don’t have freedom of expression. Of course, I’m sure that the Vatican would like to have the ability to control thought and speech as they did in the past.

In the United States, major newspapers, including The Washington Post, chose not to reprint the images on grounds they would give offense.

So, you have de facto surrendered your freedom of expression. Of course, this is just a more public variant of something that has been going on for a while now. According to reports I’ve read in the past, the movie studio that produced “The Sum of All Fears” changed the plot from Palestinian terrorsts getting a nuclear weapon to white supremacists because of pressure brought to bear by Muslim groups. So much for artistic freedom.

Freedom of speech means that I can say whatever I please, publicly, no matter whether it is offensive, racist, inflammatory, or anything else that people don’t like. To suggest that there should be limits on what I say or write in order to avoid offense to another is to suggest that I should not be free to speak. The choice, and the responsibility, must be mine, else the freedom does not exist.

To the couple of commenters on this entry who suggested that the cartoons are racist, I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. Racism is the belief that race or ethnicity accounts for differences in the character of people or their ability to do something. It is about discriminating based on someone’s ethnic group. These cartoons may be anti-religion, but they do nothing to single out someone for their race, or suggest that any ethnic group is inferior to another. Of course, your charges of racism are a convenient strawman to attack this, and is an attempt to deny the truth that the reactions of Muslims supports the satire of the cartoons in the first place. It is also an ad hominem attack, an attempt to discredit the message by attacking the messenger. If you can make the cartoonists out to be racists you will, you hope, avoid dealing with the message. It’s a trap that ultimately discredits you. Deal with the message.

Security executive, work for Core Security, veteran, kids, dogs, cat, chickens, mortgage, bills. I like #liberty #InfoSec #scotch, #wine, #cigars, #travel, #baseball

Feds Find Something Else To Screwup

There was a story in Wednesday’s USA Today about Congress voting to spend $750 million over five years to build “healthy marriages”. Apparently people are sitting around waiting for a version of FEMA for marriages. The religious conservatives are going to love this proposal, but I don’t. This is a waste of taxpayer money that could be spent on things like the War on Terror and Katrina recovery. In addition, where is the Constitutional justification for such a program?

Also given the Federal government’s trackrecord with programs such as Social Security, the Postal Monopoly, FEMA, HUD, Medicaid, the Department of Energy, NASA, are we sure we want the Federal government taking an increased role in building marriages? The intergration of marriage and state is the biggest threat to marriage. Therefore the solution is to return marriage to the control of religious institutions and allow them to decide who can get married and what marriage is, not funding Federal marriage counseling. Meanwhile, the state should be reserved to performing civil unions to ensure couples get the legal benefits of marriage. Of course we wouldn’t be having the discussion of who gets what benefits if government wasn’t so big.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at IJ Review.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

U.S. Government Surrenders

Well, the country that supposedly champions life, liberty and property has surrendered. Or, at least, our government has tucked its tail and run. They remind me of Sir Robin-the-not-quite-so-brave-as-Sir-Launcelot in Monty Python and the Holy Grail: “…when danger reared its ugly head he bravely turned his tail and fled…”

From this Reuters story we find out that a U.S. State Department had this to say (emphasis added in bold):

These cartoons are indeed offensive to the belief of Muslims,” State Department spokesman Kurtis Cooper said in answer to a question. “We all fully recognize and respect freedom of the press and expression but it must be coupled with press responsibility. Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is not acceptable.”

Translation: Say whatever you want as long as it is politically correct, inoffensive and bland. And remember that responsibility thing when you talk about the U.S. government. Oh yeah, don’t talk bad about Christians either. Or anyone else that might be upset by it.

The U.S. Government is empowered by the people of the United States to adhere to the U.S. Constitution, including this:

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.

Instead, we are surrendering in a most cowardly fashion to a bunch of whiny children throwing a tantrum.

Security executive, work for Core Security, veteran, kids, dogs, cat, chickens, mortgage, bills. I like #liberty #InfoSec #scotch, #wine, #cigars, #travel, #baseball

Too Damn Bad

Now, I’m starting to get mad. I’m sick and tired of people telling me I have to keep my mouth shut and not say something because other people might be offended. From Reuters:

“Freedom of satire that offends the feelings of others becomes an abuse, and here we are talking about nothing less than the feelings of entire peoples who have seen their supreme symbols affected,” he told the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

It’s not abuse. Being responsible about freedom of speech means accepting the consequences of saying something. It doesn’t mean keeping my mouth shut because I might hurt your feelings. Knowledge is power. Forcing people to keep their knowledge isolated by muzzling their speech takes their power away and collects it in the hands of the few. Whether that few is the Catholic church, Muslim priests or Presidents and Prime Ministers. I refuse to shut up. I will not take those cartoons down. If someone is offended, that is their issue. I accept the fact that they may be offended, I’m sorry that they are offended, but I will not stop because of that.

Aside from all of that, could someone explain to me, aside from being courteous and polite, why I have to follow the rules of a religion I am not an adherent of? If I were in an Islamic church, I would not do something that was against their religion. Same goes for a Catholic church. But, I’m neither Islamic, nor in their church. I am under no obligation to adhere to their religious law. Am I?

Security executive, work for Core Security, veteran, kids, dogs, cat, chickens, mortgage, bills. I like #liberty #InfoSec #scotch, #wine, #cigars, #travel, #baseball

The Danish/Norwegian Cartoon Craziness

I had planned on writing a big post on this topic. But, I’m not quite motivated to write it yet. But I’m still thinking about it. And wondering how anyone can not see the violent and oppressive nature of the Middle Eastern culture. Sure, the cartoons weren’t all that nice and would make you upset, if they were about your religion. But, let’s be bluntly honest. I don’t recall a time during my life when Christians, Buddhists, Jews or Hindus reacted, in general, with the level of anger and violence that Muslims are reacting with in response to this editorial cartoon. In fact, their reactions merely proved the cartoonists to have valuable insight (they depicted Islam’s prophet, Mohammed, in ways that indicate he and his religion are violent ones).

The French press has shown that they don’t have the gumption to be a free and independent press, there have already been two editors fired over this. The Danish and Norwegian press are hanging tough, at least so far, which is great. The AP refused to print the cartoons because they deemed them to be offensive. Many Muslims are claiming that this is similar to the behavior of the German press in the 1930’s, when Jews were constantly depicted as evil because they were Jewish. The difference, of course, is that Jews weren’t beheading kidnapped hostages on camera, blowing up civilians in local marketplaces, flying planes into buildings, blowing up airplanes and so forth. If you don’t want to be perceived as violent, don’t act with violence.

There’s a lot more that I could write, so many things are brought to light by this incident. And I’ll try to get to it soon.

Update: Because the American press is unwilling to exercise their freedoms for fear they might offend someone (in other words, they have surrendered), I am publishing the cartoons here.

Offensive Islamic Cartoon #1

Offensive Islamic Cartoon #2

Security executive, work for Core Security, veteran, kids, dogs, cat, chickens, mortgage, bills. I like #liberty #InfoSec #scotch, #wine, #cigars, #travel, #baseball

The President Shall ….

“[The President] shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” —Article II, Sec. 3, U.S. Constitution

Nice to see that the President has read that portion of the Constitution. Even if he fails to understand that the US Government doesn’t actually have the Constitutional authority to do many of the things he wants to do. Many folks in Life, Liberty and Property reviewed the State of the Union address. Here’s a round up of some of their thoughts.

Perry Eidelbus

Combs Spouts Off

Louisiana Libertarian

Two from Below the Beltway – The Real State of the Union and Just in Case You Missed It

Enjoy!

Security executive, work for Core Security, veteran, kids, dogs, cat, chickens, mortgage, bills. I like #liberty #InfoSec #scotch, #wine, #cigars, #travel, #baseball
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