Monthly Archives: April 2006

Immigrants or Migrants

I’ve been thinking about this for a while – and it occurs to me that a great many of the illegal immigrants (so-called) in this country are not immigrants, but migrants.

I remember as I was a youngster, my parents and grandparents referred occasionally to the “migrant” workers who worked in the Orange groves near my grandparents home. I understood them to mean some of the poor families who worked in the Orange groves in season and travelled to other areas of the state or country as there was need – picking fruit, ferns, vegetable crops, etc. These were folks who were known for what they did – it wasn’t meant as any kind of slur, it’s just who they were.

It has become apparent in the last few years that using the term “migrant” is apparently no longer PC – but I think it’s time we call a spade a spade and begin using the proper terminology.

The word “migrant” means someone who changes residency – usually to better their financial or living situation – but not particularly for any permanency. This means they go where pickins’ are best.

An immigrant is one who makes a permanent change of residency.

Now, it follows, that one who makes a permanent change of residency is probably someone who is working toward helping himself and his family in his new home – and to help positively impact the surroundings of his new home (whether we’re talking a neighborhood or a country). Thus I would contend that legal immigrants – that is those who have come through legal channels, are going to add value to the community and not be takers. In fact, in my experience with most of the legal immigrants I’ve met (either in person or through their writings) is that they are stronger patriots than most of my compatriots. They appreciate the opportunities which this country affords and they would not even *think* about accepting welfare. If they’re sending money “back home” to family, it’s generally with an eye toward helping those family members who are too old to immigrate or to help them to come to this country legally.

On the other hand, a migrant who has come into this country just because it is a land of opportunity, but who has no love for the country may and probably does accept welfare, medicaid, as well as sending money back to family and encouraging them to enter the country in the same manner in which they did. Can you imagine an illegal immigrant assisting anyone to come into the country legally? Not bloody likely.

There is a completely different mindset today than there was 100 years ago. I know I was and am blessed to have lived in this country all my life. I’m probably about a 12 generation native as most of my ancestors came over long before Ellis Island was established. But even 100 years ago the mindset was not about holding on fiercely to the old culture at the expense of the new.

The point really came home to my sister (and vicariously me) a few weeks ago. St. Patricks day fell on a “casual Friday” this year, so my sister wore her Irish Tee shirt to work in her primarily Hispanic office. She was stunned when several of her co-workers remarked to her “hey, we didn’t know you were Irish”. Her response I thought classic. “That’s because I’m an American” she said. Therein lies the crux of the matter, and the reason that we’re likely headed for another kind of civil war in this country – because while some of us haven’t forgotten our heritage, we consider ourselves first and foremost AMERICAN.

Those from other countries (whether legally or no) who think that they’re going to engender love and acceptance from those of us who’ve been here all our lives by requiring that we change to suit their needs (by learning their language or having their culture shoved down our throats) have got another think coming. This is not how you show love to your fellow countrymen.

But I digress – back to my original point. The word migrant is often used when talking about birds – migratory birds generally travel South in the winter (to more hospitable climes) and back North in the spring. Kind of “fair-weather” birds. D’ya see the parallel? And do you see that as long as we make this country always more hospitable than their own, they’ll never leave? Do you understand that those of us who love this country and are legal residents are supporting these illegals – not the other way ’round as the media would have you believe? I’d venture to say that these “migrant birds” are not only migrant – they’re predatory birds. Predators are opportunists – and these predators are picking us dry.

Cross posted at Left Brain Female.

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!

Why we DON’T want to vote for Democrats, even if we don’t vote for Republicans

Warbs asks “Why did I vote for you?” to the president and the republican party in general.

Why indeed, when they seem to be busily engaging in an orgy of self congratulation, cluelessness and fiscal excess not seen since Roman times.

an extended quotation:

“Let’s run down the laundry list of what Bush has done to screw up so far:

* Signed a blatantly unconstitutional campaign finance bill
* Increased federal government intrusion into education— without corresponding improvements like vouchers
* Created a bloated new medicare drug entitlement— all the while hiding its true estimated costs
* Threatened veto after veto, without following through on a single one
* Comported his entire administration as if it were a monarchy
* Supported the Patriot Act & domestic wiretapping— dramatically increasing the police power of the state
* Failed to respond to Katrina, one of the greatest natural disasters in recent history
* Imprisoned Americans without trial, counsel, judicial oversight, or even a hearing

That’s not even addressing Iraq, which is a whole different debate.

As Bartlett points out, Bush is the “conservative” president who said “We have a responsibility that when somebody hurts, government has got to move.”

Contrast that with Ronald Reagan: “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

George W. Bush has been described as a “big-government conservative”. Bush’s idea of government is that it doesn’t work, except when he’s holding the reins. His presidency, however, is better described by PJ O’Rourke: “The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it.”

Bush could have been defeated in 2004. In many ways, I wish he would have. Not by Kerry, of course. I don’t see how the Democrats could have their fingers so far from the pulse that they nominated so uncharismatic and vacillating that he couldn’t beat a weak Bush. If the Democrats had nominated someone who had come out with an understanding of at least finishing the job in Iraq, I would have voted for him.

With a pro-war Democrat in office, we might have had a chance at Bush’s only redeeming quality, coupled with the best feature of Clinton’s final 6 years: gridlock. We might have seen the Republican Congress start acting like Republicans, fighting spending. Instead, we’ve been stuck with a Congress who wants to send pork back home, coupled with a president too scared to rebuke members of his own party. Republicans have all three branches of government locked up, and they spend their time trying to act like Democrats. What’s worse? They have such little experience administering and creating welfare programs, that they’ve screwed up every attempt at doing so (i.e. Medicare Part D). It’s gotten so bad, that I DON’T EVEN WANT Social Security privatization if it comes from this batch of Republicans, because I know they’ll be serving the needs of investment bankers, not me.

The last several years have seen complete mismanagement of government. Just as PJ O’Rourke predicted. 2006 and 2008 are going to be a big wake-up call for the Republican party, and I, for one, think it’s about damn time.”

So why did Bush get re-elected then?

Well, how about the fact that Kerry was nearly the worst possible candidate? How about the fact that the democrats didn’t particularly WANT Kerry (or any other dem candidate who presented themselves) to win?

I’m not saying they deliberately threw the election, it’s just that the dems didnt particularly want to win in 2004; much like the republicans in nominating Bob Dole in ‘96. Sure they knew Dole was going to lose, hell they knew ANY republican was going to lose; so why not give Dole his last shot, and lets make sure that Clinton is around to boner up everything and increase the republican majority.

The Dems wanted the same thing, and it looks like they may get it. What they wanted, was to improve their congressional position, because it is the house of representatives contingent that actually controls the democratic party (along with their “fringe” donor element). The best thing for the democratic congressional contingent has been the hostile to republicans press, and G.W.B. as president.

The congresscritters knew Kerry was a loser, after all they worked with the guy (he was one of my senators much of my life and I certainly knew). They also knew that he would be horrible for them in the mid terms if he won.

Did they throw it? No, they just picked the worst candidate from the field (welllll, other than Dean or Kucinich) , counted on him to lose, and counted on GW to make a huge ass of himself after the election (which he did like clockwork); thus improve their position for the midterms, and making it easier to put someone they actually want to get behind with full effort in for ‘08.

That said, honestly, I think if the republicans put up any halfway acceptable candidate, the “I will not vote for a democrat for president until this war is won” demographic will be enough to keep the presidency in Republican hands.

I’m a dedicated libertarian minarchist, and I’ll be voting with that demographic, because giving the reins to ANY democrat is even worse than if we were to have another GWB in office next term.

Not only that, I think congress is going to get spanked; but the reps will still hold a (thin) majority in both houses this midterm. If that happens, I’m willing to bet that a lot of congresscritters will newly descover the religion of restraint.

And no, I will never vote for a democratic president again, so long as the democratic party remotely resembles what it does today; because not only do you get a president, but you get a whole administration and executive branch.

What do I mean by that? Well the damage Bill Clinton did in his 8 years is utterly phenomenal if you’ve seen it from the inside. Because its all “inside baseball” stuff the general public doesnt see it, but I think a democratic president and republican congress would do more FAR more damage than a democratic congress would do with a republican president.

The problem isn’t the president, it’s the folks the President and his party appoint to the administration who truly believe in statism, socialism, and democratic political opportunism.

Although people always think of executive power, they don’t really understand what it means.

In legislative matters the president in not very much more than a figurehead; but when it comes to executive matters; basically the execution and enforcement of that legislation, and of the beurocracy of running the country; the president, and more improtantly the presidents party, is supreme.

I mean that literally in that the supreme court and congress can’t easily strike down what are called “adminsitrative procedures”; basically the means by which the executive departments choose to go about their business; even if those procedures might violate the law, or in some ways the constitution. Nor can they interefere with most appointments and promotions.

It’s a separation of powers issue, and it has been a HUGE sticking point recently for the ATF and congress, as well as the IRS.

Whether Clinton did anything or not due to gridlock, the damage his adminsitration did to the country as a whole through the civil service and executive beurocracy was ENORMOUS.

I myself was a junior officer in the Air Force, and I decided it was better that I take a buyout package, than continue serving under that president while he was so busy dismantling my service. I personally know of hundreds just like me who made the same choice, and there were literaly thousands more. In fact well over a hundred thousand more. People with 2 to 10 years of service who simply gave up on serving while under Clinton, because he made it that bad.

Those men would now be Majors through Colonels (promotable to general), and Sergeants first class through master sergeants (promotable to sergeants major).

These are the ranks within the military that truly get things done. They are also the ranks that have slots unfilled across the board in the combat arms fields (the loggies and supply guys are as always filled with career minded folks clogging up the middle ranks, but they dont have enough good people either).

You can’t build a sergeant major in less than 15 years. You can’t have a regiment or a brigade function well without a good sergeant major, and some good first sergeants. You can’t build a general in less than 20 years, or a colonel in less than 15 (and 15 is really pushing it); and you damn well can’t have a good brigade without a good brigade commander.

So there are literally thousands of men who would be Colonels, Generals, Sergeants Major, and Master Sergeants (not to mention the mid grades) right now if it weren’t for Clinton.

Eric is one of them in fact. So is Combat Controller (a frequent commenter). So are a whole hell of a lot of my friends, commentors, and co-bloggers. Heck I’d be right on the edge of Major myself (I made it to Captain in the reserves).

We can’t get those men back; they are needed, and we can’t replace them. That is only one small portion of the damage Clinton did to this country.

Then there’s all those decisions made in the executive departments by appointed functionaries. Every day they were building our government up, and tearing our citizens down.

Right now, 14 years later, these people appointed to low and mid level positions during Clinton, are taking that ideological view, and uing it to run our country into the ground. In particualr they are using it to push the government into near open war against it’s elected masters.

No, I will never again vote for another democrat.

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

The War on Drugs

I’ve never been a proponent of The War on Drugs™. For quite some time, a decade probably, I’ve been actively opposed to The War on Drugs. I’ve long believed that it is horribly corrosive of our individual rights and liberties, destructive to the relationship between the government and the citizens and creates an incredibly powerful, influential and violent set of criminal organizations. To make matters worse, it is not a “war” that can be won. This “war” is as ultimately unwinnable as the war against alcohol, aka Prohibition, was. It is unwinnable because the average citizen recognizes that it is nothing more, or less, than an attempt by do-gooding Mrs. Grundies and power hungry government bureaucrats to legislate what we may, or may not, do with our own bodies. If you want more thoughts along those lines, check out our full War on Drugs category on this blog.

This post is not intended to convince you of the ultimately loss of The War on Drugs™. Nor is it intended to convince that dictating what I may do with my own body is unconscionable if we are possessed of the rights to life, liberty and property. This post is intended to detail just a few, of the many, incredibly destructive events that occur because of this war. The destruction of our rights by agents of the government and the growth of massively powerful and violent criminal drug organizations. And one last thing to point out. Even a government as oppressive, intrusive and anti-liberty as the Soviet Union’s was could not win the Drug War. Keep that in mind as you read this. More government resources won’t help. In fact, given the horrific levels of addiction to alcohol in the old Soviet Union, they will probably make matters worse, not better.

Lest anyone think I’m simply a libertine who wants to get high, think again. It’s quite clear that these drugs are bad things, destructive of mind and body. The problem is, who gets to choose whether I will destroy my mind and body with cocaine? I’m continuously amazed that the same people who believe a woman should be able to choose whether to get an abortion, or not, the same people who believe in a “right to die”, are people who think it should be illegal for me to choose to smoke marijuana. Either my body is my own to do with as I please, or it is not.

By now many of us have heard of Eugene Siler, in Tennessee, but I think many more of us have not. Eugene Siler is part of the dregs of society, no doubt about it. Illiterate, poor, small time drug dealer in the past. Not a particularly nice guy. Although he’s certainly not as bad a person as some of the folks locked up in Guantanamo right now. Why mention that? Well, just keep in mind that Eugene has never tried to blow someone up because of their skin color, nationality or religion. Nor has he conspired with others to do anything like that. Or taken up arms against the US directly. Or any of the other things folks in Guantanamo have done. Yet, 5 employees of Tennessee law enforcement agencies, including 3 sworn police officers tortured and beat him for hours. They attempted to force him to sign a voluntary consent to search and seizure of his property. They hit him with their fists and guns. They threatened to use electric torture on his genitals. They threatened his wife and children. They abused him so badly that he was reduced to tears, begging them to stop. They tortured him far worse than any inmate at Guantanamo.

Think this might be made up? Fortunately for Eugene, his wife hid a tape recorder in the house and captured it all on tape for the permanent record. Want to see how your law enforcement deals with people they are involved with the drug trade? Read this transcript of Eugene Siler’s ordeal. Then compare it to Guantanamo. Which one should outrage you more?

Think this is just a fluke? You obviously didn’t hear about Cory Maye. Cory was sentenced to be executed after shooting a police officer who executed a no knock warrant of his home as part of a drug raid. Cory was not suspected of having anything to do with drugs, had no drugs in his possession and his sole crime was defending his home after someone broke in without identifying themselves. You might expect, considering those circumstances, that there would be no sentence, or a light one, not the death penalty.

That’s not enough? How about the violence that is a daily part of life in Mexico because of the power that we provide to drug cartels. If you happen to have a subscription to The Wall Street Journal, read this editorial. If not, here’s a few details for you from the recent past.

The problem is particularly acute for America’s southern neighbor. Drug violence is spiraling throughout Mexico and innocents are paying the ultimate price. One target city is Nuevo Laredo where eight months ago Mexican federal authorities arrived to quell unprecedented cartel violence. Today the murder rate is up; the Mexican general who was in charge of restoring order has gone missing; the news media has suffered atrocious assaults, including a grenade attack; and there is concern that the government’s anti-drug units have been infiltrated.

Last month four federal intelligence officers were gunned down in the middle of the day near a school. That’s about the same time some 600 federal police were sent to the city as reinforcements.

The rest of Mexico is under siege as well. In February the police chief of an upscale district of Monterrey was gunned down. An April 21 report in the Los Angeles Times captured the attitude of the drug lords: “‘So that you learn to respect,’ read a message scrawled on a red sheet attached to a Guerrero state government building in Acapulco, where passers-by in the early morning hours discovered the heads of former Police Commander Mario Nunez Magana, 35, of the Municipal Preventive Police, and another man, who was not identified.”

And just how do you expect Mexicans to build their own country to the point where illegal immigration to the US is no longer the best option for the average Mexican when their country is overrun with this sort of violence. The reality is that many Latin American countries are at the mercy of drug cartels, including Mexico. Political observers expect drug cartels to have enough money and influence to be a force in the upcoming Mexican elections.

If all of this doesn’t sound like something out of 1920’s Prohibition to you, it should. And this is precisely why we ended Prohibition. It never stopped anyone from drinking. It simply made them into criminals. And provided the Mafia with obscene amounts of money. And law enforcement with obscene amounts of power and corruption.

80 years ago, Ludwig von Mises wrote in Liberalism:

It is an established fact that alcoholism, cocainism, and morphinism are deadly enemies of life, of health, and of the capacity for work and enjoyment; and a utilitarian must therefore consider them as vices. But this is far from demonstrating that the authorities must interpose to suppress these vices by commercial prohibitions, nor is it by any means evident that such intervention on the part of the government is really capable of suppressing them or that, even if this end could be attained, it might not therewith open up a Pandora’s box of other dangers, no less mischievous than alcoholism and morphinism.

The intervening years of Prohibition, first against alcohol, and then against every drug we don’t like except alcohol, have proved Mises right beyond his most pessimistic. The Supreme Court has ruled that police officers may use drug sniffing dogs to check your car after stopping you for speeding, with no reason to believe that you have drugs in your car. Special task forces to “combat drugs” have been set up that lead to corruption and degradation of our law enforcement officers. The story from Tennessee involved police officers assigned to such a task force. It has led to the seizure and sale of private property by the state even when there is no conviction for any criminal activity. Such seizure is a civil action, not a criminal action. It has led to the death sentence for a man who was only defending his home against unknown intruders in the middle of the night. The War on Drugs has completely corrupted our neighboring nation to the South. It has led to the creation of a Federal law enforcement agency which has only one mission, to fight the Drug War. Prohibition creates so much power and money that terrorist organizations have become involved in the drug trade. It has led to gun battles on the streets of our cities.

And every additional dollar spent on fighting drugs has done nothing to stop the violence and the corruption. In fact, although violent crime per capita has dropped considerably in this country, it has increased in the inner cities where drugs and drug gangs fight their battles for turf and profits. The use of drugs and alcohol has increased, not decreased. The import and sale of drugs to this country has increased ten fold since the 1950’s. Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, Guatemala, Panama and Colombia are virtually dominated by drug cartels.

This is a war we cannot win. Worse, it is a war we should not fight.

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

Why Did I Vote For You?

I just finished reading Impostor, Bruce Bartlett’s book slamming President Bush for failing to live up to anything resembling conservatism. When I first heard about the book, I worried a bit whether Bartlett was just breaking ranks to sell books. If you’re worried about the same, don’t be. Bartlett’s ire for Bush comes through loud and clear, and it is certainly heartfelt.

The book, coupled with Bush’s speech yesterday on “price gouging”, followed by yet another toothless veto threat, made me ask why I bothered to vote for him in the first place. I once had an answer for that. I began blogging days after the 2004 election, and when Britian’s Daily Mirror asked “How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?”, I answered:

Why doesn’t the rest of the world understand that we have weighed the evidence, considered our options, and perhaps 59,054,087 intelligent, rational adults decided that reelecting George W. Bush was the best option we had?

In this election, we were faced with one very serious question. All others fell by the wayside. The question: Should we stand up and fight for what we thought was right in this world, or sit back with our “allies” and watch the threat grow?

I still believe today that given our external threats, Bush was the best candidate for dealing with those threats. I don’t believe that John Kerry would have been able to stand firm in the face of the world, to do what I believe is the right thing in the war on terror. Bush can do that. But he sure has bungled up everything else.

Actually, I shouldn’t completely say that. Bush did cut taxes, and I love tax cuts. But he missed the boat. Tax cuts, coupled with huge entitlement spending increases, is economic insanity. I’ve said before that I’m a supply-sider. I know that lower taxes spur economic growth, which will eventually raise more revenue for government. But at what point do huge deficits and skyrocketing entitlement spending turn into huge debt, requiring either inflation or a major tax increase to pay off?

Let’s run down the laundry list of what Bush has done to screw up so far:

  • Signed a blatantly unconstitutional campaign finance bill
  • Increased federal government intrusion into education— without corresponding improvements like vouchers
  • Created a bloated new medicare drug entitlement— all the while hiding its true estimated costs
  • Threatened veto after veto, without following through on a single one
  • Comported his entire administration as if it were a monarchy
  • Supported the Patriot Act & domestic wiretapping— dramatically increasing the police power of the state
  • Failed to respond to Katrina, one of the greatest natural disasters in recent history
  • Imprisoned Americans without trial, counsel, judicial oversight, or even a hearing

That’s not even addressing Iraq, which is a whole different debate.

As Bartlett points out, Bush is the “conservative” president who said “We have a responsibility that when somebody hurts, government has got to move.”

Contrast that with Ronald Reagan: “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

George W. Bush has been described as a “big-government conservative”. Bush’s idea of government is that it doesn’t work, except when he’s holding the reins. His presidency, however, is better described by PJ O’Rourke: “The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it.”

Bush could have been defeated in 2004. In many ways, I wish he would have. Not by Kerry, of course. I don’t see how the Democrats could have their fingers so far from the pulse that they nominated so uncharismatic and vacillating that he couldn’t beat a weak Bush. If the Democrats had nominated someone who had come out with an understanding of at least finishing the job in Iraq, I would have voted for him.

With a pro-war Democrat in office, we might have had a chance at Bush’s only redeeming quality, coupled with the best feature of Clinton’s final 6 years: gridlock. We might have seen the Republican Congress start acting like Republicans, fighting spending. Instead, we’ve been stuck with a Congress who wants to send pork back home, coupled with a president too scared to rebuke members of his own party. Republicans have all three branches of government locked up, and they spend their time trying to act like Democrats. What’s worse? They have such little experience administering and creating welfare programs, that they’ve screwed up every attempt at doing so (i.e. Medicare Part D). It’s gotten so bad, that I DON’T EVEN WANT Social Security privatization if it comes from this batch of Republicans, because I know they’ll be serving the needs of investment bankers, not me.

The last several years have seen complete mismanagement of government. Just as PJ O’Rourke predicted. 2006 and 2008 are going to be a big wake-up call for the Republican party, and I, for one, think it’s about damn time.

New Orleans Elections Liveblogging

Welcome to the New Orleans municipal elections liveblogging. Normally, most people wouldn’t care about the elections in the city of New Orleans. However, that changed on August 29, 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. That, combined with the incompetance of the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Orleans Parish Leeve Board, led to the destruction of nearly 80% of the city by flooding. Ever since then, the city has been in the national spotlight, this election is no different.

First of all, the turnout has been described as steady all day in most precincts. The absentee vote, while much higher than the last election in 2002, has been described as lower than expected. In addition, by all accounts, most attempts to bus evacuees back home were not successful.

The most watched race is the obviously the mayor’s race. The four major contenders are Mayor Ray Nagin, Lieutenant GovernorMitch Landrieu, businessman Ron Forman, and lawyer Rob Couhig (whom I’m supporting, although I do not live in New Orleans). I cannot even begin to guess who will be in the runoff because there are no reliable polls and no reliable estimates of how many people live in New Orleans.

The other races I’m watching are the City Council races. There are many corrupt and incompetant incumbants who need to be replaced if New Orleans will ever recover from Katrina. In addition, I will be watching the seven (that’s not a typo) assessor races to determine if there is any support for reforming the corrupt system of assessing property taxes in New Orleans. In the assessor races, there is a group of candidates running under something called the IQ Ticket (which stands for “I Quit”) whose platform is calling for all assessors to quit and give their salaries to hiring a professional assessment firm to do assessments and to support consolidating the seven assessor positions into one. These races are just as important as the mayor’s race.

So sit back and relax because the show really begins at 8PM Central when the polls close. I will be flipping back and forth between New Orleans’s four broadcast networks to give you the best election news I can.

8PM: Polls closed in New Orleans. WWL-TV is reporting about 50% turnout citywide.

8:05 PM: No results yet.

8:15 PM: Still no results. Normally in a Louisiana election, results start coming immediately.

8:21 PM: First results from two precincts being reported by WVUE-TV: Ron Forman in the lead with Mitch Landrieu in second. The precincts are in Lakeview, a white Republican conservative middle class stronghold.

8:26 PM: With three precincts in, Ray Nagin is now in the lead with Ron Forman in second.

8:33 PM: The precincts reporting in now are mostly black and went against Nagin in 2002. This time around, Nagin is doing much better in those precincts and the threat of Tom Watson and Mitch Landrieu to siphon off black votes is apparently not materializing right now. Nagin is back in the lead with Landrieu coming in second with eight precincts reporting.

8:39 PM: Secretary of State Al Ater is holding a press conference. I’m going to hold off on posting more results until many more precincts come in. Ater is calling the election a success with only one technical problem, a polling station that lost power for 30 minutes.

8:45 PM: In the Council at Large race, a pattern is developing where the only major contenders are incumbant Oliver Thomas, Councilwoman for District C Jacquelyn Clarkson, and former New Orleans Saints executive Arnie Fielkow.

8:52 PM: First mega-precinct expected shortly, from New Orleans East.

8:55 PM: Rob Couhig is only at 14% with 8% precincts in. However, Landrieu, Nagin, and Forman are polling around at 27-26%. Couhig must make up this deficit in Algiers and Lakeview or he’s finished.

9:01 PM: I’m noticing another disturbing trend in the City Council and Assessor races, the incumbants are either winning or in position to go into the runoff.

9:11 PM: With 78% of the precincts in at City Council District E (New Orleans East), incumbant Cynthia Willard-Lewis is leading with over 60% of the vote. I think we can safely call this one for the incumbant with no runoff.

9:20 PM: WWL-TV is doing a report on the demographic breakdown of the precincts. Basically, Ron Forman is not doing well in his base in Uptown (which is being won by Mitch Landrieu). Ray Nagin is winning in the flooded areas and 66% of the black vote. However, Rob Couhig’s base in Algiers and Lakeview is not reporting in yet. Forman and Landrieu are battling for the white vote in Uptown and the one precinct in Lakeview that has reported in.

9:30 PM: With one-third of the precincts in, it’s looking like that Ray Nagin and Mitch Landrieu are beginning to pull away from Ron Forman and Rob Couhig. Couhig is hurting Forman among whites, but it’s not Couhig’s fault that Forman was such a horrible candidate.

9:32 PM: Correction about the District E race, only 16% of precincts are in.

9:38 PM: It’s looking that an IQ candidate is going to be victorious tonight, in Assessor District 6, IQ candidate Nancy Marshall is leading the race with 55% with 84% of precincts in.

9:44 PM: First race officially called. Civil District Clerk of Court Dale Atkins has been reelected with 82%.

9:51 PM: Nagin and Landrieu continue to pull away with 59% of the precincts.

9:52 PM: WWL-TV is calling the mayor’s race. Mayor Ray Nagin and Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu are going to be in the runoff. It’s an open question whether or not Couhig’s and Forman’s numbers combined would have made a difference.

9:58 PM: Both Criminal and Civil Sherrif races have been called with the incumbants winning overwhelming victories in both cases.

10:01 PM: Council District A race has been called with Councilman Jay Batt and challenger Shelley Medura going into a runoff.

10:06 PM: Claude Mauberret, who’s family has held the 2nd District Assessorship for over 100 years has won election.

10:10 PM: Oliver Thomas has won his Council at Large seat outright. Arnie Fielkow and Jacquelyn Clarkson will be going into runoff for the second at large seat.

10:12 PM: Incumbant District 3 Assessor Erroll Williams has won reelection. As has District 7 Assessor Henry Heaton.

10:14 PM: Ron Forman has conceded defeat.

10:15 PM: City Council District B race is going into a runoff. Incumbant Reene Gill Pratt and challenger Stacy Head are going to faceoff in the runoff.

10:21 PM: City Councilwomen Cynthia Hedge-Morrell (District D) and Cynthia Willard-Lewis (District E) have won reelection. At this point, Rob Couhig’s and Ron Forman’s combined vote of 27% would not have been enough to get in to the runoff. Mitch Landrieu has 29% and Ray Nagin has 38%.

10:34 PM: Nagin is speaking…and gloating.

10:39 PM: I’ll go ahead and call the District 5 Assessor’s race for the incumbant in that race, Tom Arnold.

10:47 PM: I’m not even going to even bother finishing liveblogging. The corrupt and incompetant New Orleans status quo has won and won big tonight. Most incumbants have been reelected or are going into the runoff. Mitch Landrieu is no real alternative to Ray Nagin. New Orleans has sealed its own fate tonight, which is going to go down as the worst night since August 29, 2005. May God help us all.

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.

Only Because it’s Government

Man Wins Case After Firing Over Confederate Flag

When I saw the headline, I was expecting my diatribe to take a different route. I thought he was fired from a private employer for the issue, and expected to launch into a private-property, I-can-hire-and-fire-who-I-want-because-that’s-freedom rant. But it appears all is well.

A man who was fired by the city of Tampa for refusing to remove his Confederate flag license plate has settled a lawsuit against the city.

Larry Carpenter will receive $4,500. But Carpenter, an employee in good standing for six years, won’t get his job back as a traffic maintenance specialist.

The paper reported that Carpenter’s case began in January 2002, when his boss told him to remove the tag because someone had complained. Carpenter would not follow the order to remove the tag, so he was repeatedly disciplined. His discipline included negative comments on his annual evaluation, suspension without pay on three occasions and then firing in September 2002, The Tampa Tribune reported.

Now, I’m no fan of the “South will rise again” types. But I don’t think that’s what this is about. It’s about an employer’s right to hire and fire based on some simple ideological standards, and whether or not something that one employee might find “offensive” is grounds for a firing. In private business, it’s up to the employer to choose. But when it comes to the government, I think there is a higher standard.

The government is to hold people equal before the law. Absent written regulations regarding this behavior (which did not harass, only offended), to take one person’s feeling of being offended over another person’s right to free speech is unacceptable.

Carnival of Liberty XLI

Hard to believe, but we’ve reached the 41st Carnival of Liberty, which is hosted this week at Left Brain Female. Thanks to Kay for hosting and all the contributors for participating.

Next week’s Carnival of Liberty will be hosted at Peter Porcupine, who also hosted in February, so get those submissions in ! If you’d like to host the Carnival of Liberty at your blog, there are currently two slots left, one in June and one in July. I can start giving August dates as well if there’s demand for it. Follow this link for the current hosting schedule.

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Another Quote on Taxation

Before the amendment was passed allowing the income tax, Richard Byrd said:

“A hand from Washington will be stretched out and placed upon every man’s business; the eye of the federal inspector will be in every man’s counting house…. The law will of necessity have inquisical features, it will provide penalties, it will create complicated machinery. Under it, men will be hauled into courts distant from their homes. Heavy fines imposed by distant and unfamiliar tribunals will constantly menace the taxpayer. An army of federal inspectors, spies, and detectives will descend upon the state.”
— Richard E. Byrd
(1888-1947) Polar explorer, Virginia House Speaker
Source: 1910, predicting the consequences of a federal income tax

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Quotes from Reagan

Ronald Reagan had a way of asking important questions in ways that people understood. Here’s three on the government’s power to tax.

Are you entitled to the fruits of your labor or does government have some presumptive right to spend and spend and spend?

Clearly George W. Bush has not listening to the Reagan/Goldwater wing of the Republican Party. Just because he cut taxes doesn’t mean we don’t have to pay for the spending. It just means we are deferring pay for it to another day.

Have we the courage and the will to face up to the immorality and discrimination of the progressive tax, and demand a return to traditional proportionate taxation? … Today in our country the tax collector’s share is 37 cents of every dollar earned. Freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp.

Don’t you ever wonder why the actually wealthy folks in this country don’t want to get rid of progressive taxation?

The federal government has taken too much tax money from the people, too much authority from the states, and too much liberty with the Constitution.

The best one sentence summation of the Federal government from 1936 to the present I’ve ever read!

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

Where Markets Beat Government — and Vice Versa

I checked out Perry’s site the other day, and ran across this post on Wal-Mart. It looks like Wal-Mart is opening its doors again in New Orleans, while Congress is still pointing fingers. It got me thinking: why is it that we see for-profit businesses flocking to the area, while FEMA is still trying to figure out where to park their beautiful trailers?

I originally wanted to issue a snark-filled rant on why government is inefficient, bloated, and ineffectual. But this, combined with Massachusetts’ insanity, calls for something a little better. I’m not an anarcho-capitalist. I realize that there are places where government can get necessary things done that the market cannot. It is only when we ask it to do things it is not suited for that we run into problems.

Bear in mind, this is an off-the-cuff treatise, so I welcome comments pointing out all the places I am wrong.

I see there being a few major types of services provided by the government and markets:

1. Distributed provider, distributed user: This would fit the mold of most day-to-day interactions. When you go to buy lunch, you have a wide range of choices. Purveyors of those products can sell to anybody; there are few long-term interactions.

2. Single-provider, distributed user: This would fit things such as roads, sewers, police, military, courts, etc. In these types of interactions, there action between the provider and the user is often severed. In the case of roads/sewers/etc, it is common that an individual homeowner or driver could not contract with a provider to build a new sewer system or road to service them. Often, maintenance of these services are paid for by some sort of taxation, and only occasionally by a true “user fee” arrangement. Courts, police, and military are even more so, because there is not often a true link between what police or courts do for those who aren’t currently the victim or perpetrators of crimes, but they offer a sort of “blanket of protection” for everyone. Again, the link is fairly severed between provider and user.

3. Specialty provider, specific user: This is a tough category. In this, I place things such as medical care, which often is difficult to procure in a true competitive environment (outside of general-practitioner care), and is highly tailored to the specific user. There may be 3 hospitals in a close area, but only one specialist in the field you need. This may also include education and other services, where the relationship between a specific provider and user is difficult to break. For example, when you put your child into a school, you don’t want to have to change that school without good reason, because of the relationships your child generates with classmates/teachers/etc. Last, it includes such things as insurance, where acute costs are very high and risk may need to be pooled.

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The first case is a place where markets always beat government, hands down. Government action, nearly by definition, is one of monopoly, and monopolies are known for poor efficiency. They don’t innovate to serve their customers, they don’t bring costs down through competition, and they have no reason to do either. This one is so obvious that it needs no further discussion.

The second case is the poster child for government action. This is the one agreed upon by everyone except the anarcho-capitalists. There is a little point of distinction on things like roads (the “pure” libertarian will ask for them to be privatized), but I’m going to gloss over that. I chose sewers but left out other utilities for a reason, as well. Without getting too heavily into it, there are certain “common carrier” services that form a bit of a gray area. Electrical or gas service doesn’t lend itself quite to competition very well, due to the extremely high infrastructure costs in service. Georgia’s take on natural gas, however, is one where the actual distribution of gas is centralized, but you have your choice of “service company” to sell you that gas. It blends some of the benefits of competition without the drawback of requiring multiple companies to lay redundant infrastructure. But in most “common carrier” utilities, some sort of government action is required, as local government is typically granting monopolistic licenses to providers. The cases of courts, police, and military, however, are specialized enough where we leave government to provide these directly. This is the one case where we grant a monopoly on initiating force, and choose to keep that power in the hands of government we control with our vote.

So I think we can all agree that communist Russia showed us how dangerous it is to let the first case be provided solely by government. And I think we can look post-communist Russia to see how lack of infrastructure and legitimate courts/police/military to protect the rule of law will lead to anarchy and rule by the strong.

But the third case is problematic. This is a case where it is easy for politicians to advocate government action, and easy to dupe unsuspecting voters into agreeing to it. Usually, they play to emotions. It is always hard to watch people go without adequate medical care or education. It is far too easy to go from watching this to thinking that it simply shouldn’t happen, and therefore the government should take over and provide the service. But while this is different than the first case, it is still not a place where government monopoly works. Our current educational system is evidence of that. In the case of medical care, nobody wants to see people lose their entire livelihood due to high medical costs. But the proper way to pool risk is with insurance. Just as we would not ask the government to provide flood insurance, car insurance, or homeowners insurance, medical insurance is not for the government to pay. It would help, of course, for the government to end its policies which make it nearly impossible for individuals to provide their own coverage reasonably cheaply, but that’s a whole different debate. Again, look at education. Education would be much better provided in this country if we returned to a competitive market, with parents paying for school directly, and (at best) a safety-net program to help the poor. When even the NYT is realizing that vouchers work, it is obvious that we need to change our strategies.

As I said, there are times when government action is the best way to get something done. Those cases are few and far between, and in all of them I suggest making the services controlled as locally as possible, to allow a “market in governments” to form. Just as people choose which business to patronize, and should be able to choose which school to patronize, the experience of federalism and local control allow people to choose which local government to patronize. This will allow people to choose local government based upon the ability of government to provide necessary services, and allow competing localities to learn through competition how to be more efficient. You can ask states like Massachusetts (the only state in the union to lose gross population year-to-year) just how important this is.

But where government action is not efficient (almost everywhere), we need to make sure our policies are designed to facilitate the working of a market, not impede it.

Jail Her

This week, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney struck a Capital Hill Police Officer after she was stopped from going metal detectors in a House office building that she did not work in. Yesterday, the Capital Hill Police planned to issue an arrest warrant for McKinney. McKinney then had a press conference where she claimed the police officer was a racist, a sexist, and an evil conservative.

McKinney should be thrown in jail to send the message that no one is above the law. One of the biggest problems we have in this country is that we have become a nation that is controlled by the Rule of Men, not the Rule of Law. The jailing of McKinney both for striking the police officer and for evading the metal detectors will be a small step to returning to the Rule of Law. Finally, perhaps Congress will think about the various security exceptions they give themselves and do away with them.

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.