Monthly Archives: May 2007

Democrats Will “Aggressively Persue” Fairness Doctrine

The Democrats, according to the American Spectator, are going to aggressively persue the Fairness Doctrine.

The decision to press for re-establishment of the Fairness Doctrine now seems to have developed for two reasons. “First, [Democrats] failed on the radio airwaves with Air America, no one wanted to listen,” says a senior adviser to Pelosi. “Conservative radio is a huge threat and political advantage for Republicans and we have had to find a way to limit it. Second, it looks like the Republicans are going to have someone in the presidential race who has access to media in ways our folks don’t want, so we want to make sure the GOP has no advantages going into 2008.”

So basically, the Democrats admit that the goal of this bill is to eliminate any voice opposed to them. They’re also directly targeting Fred Thompson because of his role as an actor and his radio commentaries on ABC radio.

Who are the first targets of this purge:

According to another Democrat leadership aide, Pelosi and her team are focused on several targets in the fight, including Rush Limbaugh and the Salem Radio Network. In fact, Kucinich’s staff has begun investigating Salem, one of the fastest growing radio networks in the country, which features such popular — and highly rated — conservative hosts as Bill Bennett and Michael Medved, and Christian hosts such as Dr. Richard Land.

Basically, Commissars Pelosi and Kucinich are going after Rush Limbaugh and the Salem Radio Network for having impure thoughts.

I don’t know guys, what part of the First Amendment don’t you get.

h/t: QandO.

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.
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The Latest UN Funnies

The United Nations, in a show of solidarity with the free and prosperous nations of the world, and showing a commitment to reform has elected Zimbabwe to head the agency’s Commission on Sustainable Development.

The 53-member Commission on Sustainable Development voted 26-21 with three abstentions on the new chair, said Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado, vice chair of the commission. The chair traditionally rotates among regions of the world and it is Africa’s choice this year. The government of Zimbabwe has nominated Francis Nhema, the minister of environment and tourism, to chair the commission.

President Robert Mugabe, an 83-year-old who has ruled Zimbabwe since it gained independence from Britain in 1980, has been criticized by the West and domestic opponents for repression, corruption, acute food shortages and gross economic mismanagement that has driven inflation above 2,000 percent — the highest in the world. Mugabe has acknowledged that police used violent methods against opposition supporters.

So seizing farmland, ruining your nation’s economy, and starving your people gets you put in charge of the Commission on Sustainable Development. I’m guessing North Korea or Saudi Arabia are available to chair the Human Rights Commission.

And people still take this organization seriously….

h/t: QandO

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.

Beyond McCain-Feingold: Democrats to Regulate Grass Roots Lobbying Efforts

John Fund’s Opinion Journal article exposes the Democrats latest attempts to go even further than the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.

[T]he Democrats are frantically trying to pass legislation before Memorial Day. First on the agenda is a bill restricting lobbying, which is heading for the House floor with lightning speed. The House Judiciary Committee is expected to pass it tomorrow, sending it to the full House for a final vote next Tuesday or Wednesday.

When a bill moves that quickly, you can bet an someone will try to make some last-minute mischief. Hardly anyone objects to the legislation’s requirement that former lawmakers wait two years instead of one before lobbying Congress. Ditto with bans on lobbying by congressional spouses and restrictions on sitting members of Congress negotiating contracts with private entities for future employment.

I have to agree with Mr. Fund on that. When a bill races through congress this quickly, chances are its bad news. Let’s call this “exhibit A” for the Read the Bills Act (RTBA). The article continues:

But the legislation may be amended on the floor to restrict grassroots groups that encourage citizens to contact members of Congress. The amendment, pushed by Rep. Marty Meehan of Massachusetts, would require groups that organize such grassroots campaigns to register as “lobbyists” and file detailed quarterly reports on their donors and activities. The law would apply to any group that took in at least $100,000 in any given quarter for “paid communications campaigns” aimed at mobilizing the public.

What? The Democrats, the ones who claim that they support the First Amendment, want to regulate organizations which encourage ordinary citizens to write, e-mail, call, or fax their representatives in congress? I’m socked! This must be the “new direction” the Democrats were telling us about.

Among the groups that believe the Meehan proposal would trample on the First Amendment are the National Right to Life Committee and the American Civil Liberties Union. The idea goes too far even for Sen. John McCain, who voted to strip a similar provision from a Senate lobbying reform bill last January.

Surly Sen. McCain wasn’t really foolish enough to believe that his campaign finance bill would be the end of the restrictions of the First Amendment, was he? We now find ourselves on this slippery slope of censorship, where will it stop? Could the Robert’s Supreme Court reverse this disturbing trend?

The Supreme Court is set to rule next month on a case addressing precisely that issue, and Justice Samuel Alito may be more inclined to view McCain-Feingold skeptically than was Sandra Day O’Connor, who was part of a 5-4 majority upholding the law.

Wouldn’t that be novel: the Supreme Court upholding the U.S. Constitution while our elected officials refuse to fulfill their oaths.

Hat tip: Boortz

Dare to be Fair

Americans for Fair Taxation had an open contest to Fair Tax supporters called “Dare to be Fair” to create their own YouTube videos. This video did not make the cut for the top six videos (I suspect that the video is too long) but is very well produced and does a great job of making the case for the Fair Tax and answers the critics.

The second video was my favorite of the top six. It’s more humorous video (who thought the Fair Tax could be sexy?)

www.fairtax.org

Rudy Laughs At Habeas Corpus

Rudy Giuliani lets us all know what he thinks about Habeas Corpus. (Note, I am not endorsing Alex Jones, Infowars.com, or any of the kooky conspiracy theories Alex Jones espouses.)

UPDATE: The comments below say that Giuliani was laughing at the moron Chris Matthews. After rewatching the video, I have to agree 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.

Andrew Sullivan On Ron Paul

Some interesting comments over at The Daily Dish:

The condescension to and mockery of the sole Republican candidate who seems to care about individual liberty has begun to tick me off. Chris Matthews can be heard groaning “Oh, God,” after Paul spoke of the “original intent” of the Founders with respect to the Constitution.

(…)

I’m glad Paul’s supporters are fighting back on the web. He deserves more respect than he has gotten thus far, not least because compared to the pandering of his competitors, Paul actually seems to believe what he says. And what he says has more to do with conservatism than the crap the rest of them are peddling.

What’s interesting is that the rest of the GOP field is basically ignoring Paul. Right now, that seems to be a reasonable strategy given that I haven’t seen him pass 3% in any scientific poll conducted to date. If something clicks, though, and he starts polling in the double digits things could get interesting.

What is more interesting about Sullivan’s quote, though, is that it points out the extent to which the ideas of the Founding Fathers have become irrelevant to most of the Republican leadership. They may use the names of Washington and Jefferson in their speeches, but they don’t really believe in any of the ideas that either of those men or their contemporaries fought for.

Perhaps this is a radical proposition…

I was reading Michael Bane today, and he noted something that Sandy Froman (outgoing NRA president) wrote:

More Thoughts on the Supremes

I’m not the only one who’s feeling a bit queasy as Parker makes it was to the Supreme Court. This from my friend and former NRA President Sandy Froman, writing in World Net Daily:

If, on the other hand, the Supreme Court finds that the Second Amendment only grants states a collective right to arm National Guard units, then the consequences for the gun-rights movement could be disastrous. From that moment forward, Second Amendment rights for private citizens would be in serious jeopardy. Gun ownership could become a privilege, not a right (unless you live in a state where the state constitution contains a right to bear arms provision.)

Many millions of Americans, especially those in the middle of the political spectrum, tend to defer to the Supreme Court on constitutional questions. When the Supreme Court speaks on a matter, they tend to trust in its judgment and authority.

Right now, over 70 percent of Americans accept that the Second Amendment gives individual citizens the right to own private firearms. But if the Supreme Court were to say otherwise, you could expect that number to plummet. The next generation of lawyers, scholars, academics and even judges would all be taught as they were growing up that there is no constitutional right to own a gun. These people would shape public opinion and educate those coming after them, until eventually the percentage of Americans believing in the individual rights view might only be 20-30 percent of the population.

Frankly, I think I would rather see Congress strike down the D.C. law, which would automatically negate Parker…either that or have one more card-carrying conservative Justice on the high court.

Maybe I’m worrying needlessly about teh Court, probably the consequences of living with a lawyer for a long time.

It is important to note, the constitution does not GRANT us the right to keep and bear arms to defend ourselves, any more than it GRANTS us the right to practice our religion.

We have these rights inherently, as free men.

No law, or court ruling, or amendment can take away my right to defend myself, by force of arms if necessary; and I will actively resist the enforcement of such a law against me, with violence if necessary.

I am no second amendment absolutist. I recognize that violent felons, through their actions, have lost their right to bear arms. I recognize that people who are intoxicated or insane should not have access to arms. I believe that there should be limitations on the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction; and there should be storage and safety requirements for high explosives and poisons.

What I will not allow, ever, under any circumstances; is the government to disarm me without just cause; and no law arbitrarily disarming the populace could ever be just, under any circumstances.

There are 70-80 million gun owning household in this country; perhaps as many as 200 million people with guns in their homes. If only 1% of gun owners feel as I do thats at least 700,000 active resisters, perhaps as many as 2 million… and somehow I think it’s more than 1%.

The entire United States armed forces, and every cop in America couldn’t do it.

I’m no conspiracy nut, or separatist, or exilist or milita crazy etc… I’m a veteran, a husband, a father, a churchgoer and an upstanding member of my community.

I took an oath to defend my country, and my constitution, against all enemies foreign and domestic, and I intend to do so. Anyone who would pass or enforce such a law has become a domestic enemy of my country, and my constitution.

I WILL kill to defend my rights; and your rights; and everyone else’s rights. I will kill cops, I will kill soldiers, I will kill politicians; I will kill anyone who attempts to abrogate our fundamental rights in such a way; and I have no reservations about dying in the process.

Some things are worth dying for.

I am no radical; I simply recognize that the first step to mass extermination is disarmament; it has been in all cases in recorded history, and will continue to be so. History did not magically disappear, and change human nature with it, when world war two ended. The only proof against mass slaughter, genocide, and democide is an armed and educated populace. It always has been, and always will be.

I am not advocating the violent overthrow of the united states or it’s government; but I tell you right now, if the supreme court decides that we don’t have the right to bear arms in our own defense, against any who threaten us; then the second American revolution will be a heartbeat away.

Now, what I don’t understand, is why this is thought of as a radical proposition. To my mind, we should all feel this way.

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

Ron Paul – Terrorist?

“In general, [they] claim that the U.S. government is infringing on their individual rights, and/or that the government’s policies are criminal and immoral. [They] hold that the current government is violating the basic principles laid out by the U.S. Constitution”

No, the article is not about Ron Paul’s supporters, but rather the Alabama Department of Homeland Security’s warning about Domestic Terrorist groups. Once Chris Brunner started kicking up a fuss, the webpage was pulled, but nothing on the internet ever really disappears.

Snark aside, I am very concerned about a worrying trend; the conflating of opposition to the government with terrorism. In his book “Tower of Secrets” one of the senior agents in the KGB’s counterintelligence department detailed how the Soviet Union consciously conflated dissidence with Judaism. This was done to hinder the adoption of dissident views by tapping into the latent antisemitism in Russia. Today there is a powerful movement afoot to equate opposition to the government with being a terrorist or terrorist sympathizer. It was inevitable that such a demonization would occur. Nonetheless, I find it disturbing.

I am an anarcho-capitalist living just west of Boston Massachussetts. I am married, have two children, and am trying to start my own computer consulting company.

Don Corleone: Libertarian ?

Law Professor Ilya Somin makes these interesting comments about the law and economics of The Godfather:

Everyone remembers Don Corleone’s famous saying that he’s going to make “an offer you can’t refuse.” But for some reason, people forget that the Don also said that “a lawyer with his brief case can steal more than a hundred men with guns” (Godfather, pbk. edition, 52). One of the recurring themes of the novel is that people turn to the Mafia for help because of the corrupt and self-serving nature of many political and legal institutions that systematically allowed elites to plunder the politically weak. Puzo recognized, as sociologist Diego Gambetta explained more systematically, that the Sicilian Mafia flourished because it provided better “protection” against crime and violations of property and contract rights than did the official authorities, who generally protected only the politically powerful elite. To a lesser extent, a similar dynamic enabled the America Mafia to emerge in Italian immigrant communities in the early 1900s, as Puzo vividly portrayed in his chapter on the rise of Don Corleone.

Puzo also shows how Prohibition and afterwards the War on Drugs, provided opportunities for organized crime to grow and flourish. It was Prohibition that enabled the Godfather to go from being an “ordinary . . . businessman” to a “great Don in the world of criminal enterprise” (pg. 213). And, of course, the great Mob war that forms the central plot of the book is a conflict over Don Corleone’s unwillingness to help other crime families expand into the illegal drug business.

Puzo further explains, as economists would predict, that Prohibition, laws banning gambling, the War on Drugs, and other legislation that creates black markets stimulates criminal violence in another way. Since bootleggers and drug dealers cannot go to court to enforce their contracts and other business arrangements, they often have little choice but to resort to private violence to do so. And, of course, a black market organization that starts off by providing “protective” defensive violence also has strong incentives to engage in aggression as well. This is what Puzo’s Mafia characters have in mind when they repeatedly say that their violent actions are just “business” and not “personal.” Puzo also shows how Prohibition, anti-gambling laws, and the War on Drugs stimulated police corruption. Captain McCluskey, the corrupt NYPD officer whom Michael kills, collects enormous bribes from criminals because he is in effect the gatekeeper of several highly lucrative illegal markets (gambling, drugs, prostitution).

The theme of the corrupt government official is further explored in The Godfather, Part II in the person of a Nevada Senator who attempts to extort money from the Corleone family in exchange for helping to get a casino license approved. In the end, he gets framed for murder but survives with the “help” of the Corleones. Later in that same movie, the Senate Committee investigating organized crime turns out to be under the control of Michael Corleone’s chief Mafia rival. And there’s a scene near the end of the first movie where Michael and Vito have this exchange:

“I never wanted this for you. I work my whole life–I don’t apologize–to take care of my family, and I refused to be a fool, dancing on the string held by all those bigshots. I don’t apologize–that’s my life–but I thought that, that when it was your time, that you would be the one to hold the string. Senator Corleone; Governor Corleone. [Michael: Another pezzonovante] Well, this wasn’t enough time, Michael. It wasn’t enough time. [Michael: We’ll get there, pop. We’ll get there.]”

Pezzovanate refers to the big shots holding the strings who, we’ve already learned engage in the same tactics as the criminal gangs. In other words, the politicians aren’t any better than the Mafia Dons.

As Somin points out, Mario Puzo clearly didn’t intend for The Godfather to be a political tract, but the themes of the corruption of state power are there anyway.

200 Innocent and Counting

Back in January I wrote a post about how our criminal justice system needs significant reform. A truly wonderful organization founded in 1992 called The Innocence Project is trying to bring about similar reforms I wrote about as well as a few others. Thanks in part to the efforts of The Innocence Project, 200 wrongfully convicted are now free. Of the 200 exonerated, 14 were on death row (This in itself is making me lean a lot more against the death penalty).

While the fact that these individuals have regained their freedom is very good news, this also raises a whole lot of other questions. For these 200 individuals, there is the question of “now what?” meaning, what are they going to do with the rest of their lives and how do they reintegrate into society? Some states offer the wrongfully convicted compensation for time served while others won’t even apologize. Another question raised is “how many more are doing time for crimes they did not commit?” It’s not hard to imagine that these 200 cases are representative of a much larger number. Perhaps even more important questions are “how does this happen in our system which promises liberty and justice for all?” and “how do we fix the system?”

To the last two questions, The Innocence Project has found some answers. The top seven reasons why these individuals were convicted: eyewitness misidentification, unreliable or limited science, false confessions, forensic science fraud or misconduct, government misconduct, bad informants or “snitches,” bad lawyering, or a combination of these causes. While challenging, all of these causes can be reexamined and be reformed with some imagination and common sense.

The Innocence Project has some proposed solutions to these problems such as reforming the methods for eyewitness identification, interrogation reforms such as recording interrogations, preserving DNA and other evidence even after convictions, crime lab oversight, criminal justice reform commissions, and perhaps most importantly, exoneree compensation. If we demand justice for both the victims and the accused, none of these reforms should be too much to ask.

Recommended Reading: 200 Exonerated: Too Many Wrongfully Convicted [pdf]

Ron Paul Supporters = Poll Spammers ?

Back in March, I noted the controversy that had erupted over the fact that Pajamas Media had removed Ron Paul’s name from their online poll. As it turned out, several weeks later they put Paul back in the poll and he’s been consistently coming in first or second almost every week. Now, it’s becoming clear why they took him out in the first place:

In the last several days, in fact since the beginning of the Pajamas Media Straw Poll, PJM has received vastly more messages and phone calls from supporters of Ron Paul than from any other candidate, indeed from supporters of all the other candidates put together.

In recent days – after votes were deducted from Mr. Paul’s total because, among other things, someone voted for Mr. Paul over 229 times from one IP within 72 minutes – these messages and calls have become increasingly rude and abusive, even threatening.

The post goes on to quote from an email claiming to be from  Ron Paul’s campaign threatening more action if PJM continues to deduct obviously fraudulent “votes” from the poll. PJM responds:

We regret that Congressman Paul, a good and decent American with loyal motives and deeply held convictions, seems to have garnered among his supporters a small group for whom unethical conduct appears to be permissible if it gets him elected. We are certain he would disapprove of it.

Still, this behavior must stop immediately, as well as the rude and abusive messages we are receiving from these supporters. If they do not, Pajamas Media will have no choice but to remove Mr. Paul permanently from our poll. The choice is now in the hands of Mr. Paul’s supporters.

Quite honestly, whoever is doing this is acting in an incredibly juvenile manner. Spamming an online poll isn’t going to help Ron Paul get elected President one bit. If anything, it only tends to discredit those of us who support him because of his ideas, even if we recognize he has little chance of winning.

D.C. Appeals Court Refuses To Rehear Gun Ban Case

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals has refused to revisit the decision of a three-judge panel in Parker v. District of Columbia, the case that struck down the District of Columbia’s gun ban:

A federal appeals court in Washington yesterday let stand a ruling that struck down a restrictive D.C. ban on gun ownership, setting the stage for a potentially major constitutional battle over the Second Amendment in the Supreme Court.

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said at a news conference that he was “deeply disappointed” by the court’s decision not to reconsider the city’s arguments that the three-decades-old gun ban was constitutional. Fenty (D) said the city will now mull over whether to take the risk of pressing to defend the D.C. gun law before the Supreme Court or to rewrite gun regulations for keeping guns in private District homes.

(…)

Fenty and other officials had asked the full appeals court to review a ruling issued by a three-judge panel that struck down a part of the D.C. law that bars people from keeping handguns in homes. With its 6 to 4 vote to reject a hearing by the full court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit sped up the timetable for a showdown. Experts said that timetable favors gun rights advocates and the D.C. residents who first challenged the law.

As I’ve said before, taking this to the Supreme Court does have risks for both sides, but the consequences of a victory for gun rights at that level would be felt around the nation.

Green Mountain Senate Punishes Utility For Producing Too Much Green Energy

I stumbled across this little tempest in a tea-pot going up in Vermont. I have a lot of affection for the state – away from the cities, they are a pretty self-reliant, likeable people. Plus, the manager of this fine store tried to sell me a rifle when I was 12 years old (my parents, being fanatical supporters of victim disarmament, refused his offer).

Vermont politics is pretty distressing, since it is in many ways a very socialist state. I won’t go into all the reasons (especially since I don’t understand them all), but it is a bizarre result of New Yorkers in the cities interacting with locals who are xenophobic about outsiders.

This article highlights one of those bizarre situations. There is a nuclear power plant in Vermont. Like all nuclear power plants, it is the product of the political economy, simultaneously subsidized and taxed by various governmental agencies, its fortunes weakly coupled with the free-market.

Recently the state senate was considering an attempt to make Vermont more “green”. In effect, some state senators feel that their neighbors use too much energy, and want to stop them. Rather than going after the consumers, though, they want to make it more expensive for everyone to purchase electricity. So, they want to tax energy producers.

Of course, telling people who live through the cold winters of Vermont that they should use less heat and light might get those people angry at the senators. The senators, though, decided to use an old political trick, one which can get people to support policies that harm them directly. They fan feelings of jealousy and envy: » Read more

I am an anarcho-capitalist living just west of Boston Massachussetts. I am married, have two children, and am trying to start my own computer consulting company.

Paul Wolfowitz Does The World A Favor

Apparently, the little scandal he’s involved in is leading some to think that the World Bank may be irreparably harmed:

The leadership crisis engulfing the World Bank began with talk of favoritism for a girlfriend and ill feeling about the Iraq war. But as the bank’s board this week considers the fate of President Paul D. Wolfowitz, the ethics controversy has swelled into a test of who controls the institution and its future relevance in battling global poverty.

The outcome could determine whether governments from Berlin to Buenos Aires would be willing to contribute new funds in support of the bank’s mission.

“There’s a real danger because of this Wolfowitz stuff that donors are going to find a reason not to give,” said Elizabeth Stuart, senior policy adviser for Oxfam International, an anti-poverty group in Washington.

Is it asking too much to hope that this organization that has done more to harm the world’s poor than help them just simply goes away ? Probably, but any damage Wolfowitz does, albeit unintentionally, will be good enough.

Reparations For Guam: Insanity Squared

Fellow contributor Jason Pye notes on his personal blog this absolutely insane piece of legislation:

The Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act is scheduled to be considered and voted on in the House Committee on Natural Resources this week. This is the first stop on its way through the legislative process in the 110th Congress. This version of HR 1595 is the very same version of the bill that was prepared to go the House floor last year, but never made it there before adjournment of the 109th Congress.

The bill would authorize payment of claims to surviving spouses and children of those who died during the occupation, to survivors of the occupation who suffered injuries who were forced to labor and who were interned, and to surviving spouses and children of those who survived the occupation but have since passed away. There are no changes in terms of the proposed claims amounts and categories of claimants from the bill that was reported out of the House Committee on Resources and the House Committee on the Judiciary in the 109th Congress.

To make things perfectly clear, the power that occupied Guam during World War II was the Empire of Japan. And, while I appreciate the loyalty of the citizens of Guam during the occupation, the truth of the matter is that any suffering that they experienced is the responsibility of Japan, not the United States. Moreover, and to be completely frank about it, Guam has benefited over the past sixty years or so from the American military presence there and from its status as an American territory.

Quite honestly, if anyone owes the citizens of Guam reparations for what they had to endure during the war, it’s Japan, not the United States.

Rudy Giuliani: Give Me A Nation And I’ll Rebuild It

Rudy Giuliani gave the commencement speech at The Citadel this past weekend and it sketches out a foreign policy that, to say the least, raises questions:

(Charleston, S.C.) — Republican Presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani on Saturday called for boosting the Army by another 35,000 troops, saying the nation must project strength and better handle the aftermath of war.

“I believe America needs at least 10 new combat brigades above the additions that are already proposed by President Bush and are already in the budget,” the former New York City mayor told a class of 438 cadets during a commencement speech at The Citadel, a public military college.

The following night, Giuliani spoke at a Heritage Foundation event and, as reported by Reason Magazine’s David Weigel, said the following:

Maybe we have to start thinking about some kind of hybrid organization of our military and our civilian agencies of the government. There’s a lot here that the Justice Department can bring to bear in places like Iraq and if we have to do another Iraq in the future. There’s a lot of skills that the Commerce Department can bring to bear, the Treasury Department, and a lot of our private businesses. This nation needs to get started again. Maybe we didn’t see that because this idea of nation-building is not one you want to undertake lightly. But whether we wanted to or not, it’s now our responsibity. We’ve got to get it done right.

As I’ve mentioned before, this is one of the many things about Giuliani that concerns me. The line between military and civilian control, or between the legislature and the executive, doesn’t seem to matter. As long as the job gets done.

That may sound great on the campaign stump, but the consequences of a policy like that for the future should concern anyone who believes in limited government.

Save The Planet ! Kill The Humans !

That’s what one radical environmentalist, a guy by the name of Paul Watson, is saying:

We should not be living in human communities that enclose tiny preserved ecosystems within them. Human communities should be maintained in small population enclaves within linked wilderness ecosystems. No human community should be larger than 20,000 people and separated from other communities by wilderness areas. Communication systems can link the communities.

In other words, people should be placed in parks within ecosystems instead of parks placed in human communities. We need vast areas of the planet where humans do not live at all and where other species are free to evolve without human interference.

We need to radically and intelligently reduce human populations to fewer than one billion. We need to eliminate nationalism and tribalism and become Earthlings. And as Earthlings, we need to recognize that all the other species that live on this planet are also fellow citizens and also Earthlings. This is a planet of incredible diversity of life-forms; it is not a planet of one species as many of us believe.

We need to stop burning fossil fuels and utilize only wind, water, and solar power with all generation of power coming from individual or small community units like windmills, waterwheels, and solar panels.

Sea transportation should be by sail. The big clippers were the finest ships ever built and sufficient to our needs. Air transportation should be by solar powered blimps when air transportation is necessary.

All consumption should be local. No food products need to be transported over hundreds of miles to market. All commercial fishing should be abolished. If local communities need to fish the fish should be caught individually by hand.

And if you doubted just how hardcore Paul Watson is, consider this:

Paul Watson is one of the fathers of environmental terrorism. The group he founded and leads, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS), is a pirate organization that sails around the world, terrorizing fishermen. Wearing a long bowie knife and carrying AK-47s on board, he threatens to ram any ship that won’t give in to his demands. Watson was a founder of Greenpeace, but the group banished him in 1977 in disapproval of his violent tactics. He is a board member of the Sierra Club.

(…)

Watson is a misanthrope who has said that “earthworms are far more valuable than people.”

And, unlike people, earthworms can’t blog about just how much of a nut you are.

H/T: Mises Economic Blog

Politics, The Constitution, And Voting Rights For D.C.

There is a small, but increasingly vocal, group of Republicans who have spoken out in favor of the bill currently pending before the Senate that would give the District of Columbia a vote in the House of Representatives. As I’ve mentioned before, one of the chief sponsors of the bill in the House was a Republican, Tom Davis of Virginia, and 22 of his fellow Republicans voted with him. In the Senate, Orrin Hatch, and apparently his collegue from Utah Robert Bennett, have announced support for the Senate version of the bill.

And, now, apparently, Jack Kemp is prowling the halls of Congress arguing in favor of the bill:

Several Republicans who have switched sides on D.C. voting rights in recent weeks said that Kemp persuaded them to focus on this as the premier civil rights question of the day.

“I would like someday for African Americans to feel more at home in the Republican Party than they have in the past 70 years,” said Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana. “I cannot believe the Founders intended to deny 550,000 Americans representation.”

They didn’t. Frankly, they never really intended for the Federal City to become a major metropolitan area to begin with. Certainly, outside of the so-called Federal Core in downtown D.C., most of the city is engaged in business that has little to do with actually running (as opposed to influencing) the Federal Government. That’s why retrocession of the non-Federal parts of the city to Maryland is what ultimiately makes the most sense.

What the Founders certaintly didn’t intend, though, is for legislators to ignore the Constitution, which is exactly what Kemp and Davis are asking them to do:

Kemp points to Republican opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act as the moment when his party lost the bulk of its black support, and he warns against a repeat performance. “Members say, ‘Well, black people in L.A. don’t care about this,’ ” Kemp says of his conversations with lawmakers. “Let me tell you, African Americans know that Washington, D.C., is a majority-black city with an African American mayor. This is one of the last chances the Republicans have to be a truly national party.”

Jack, you’ve been preaching this gospel for almost 30 years now. And yet every single good idea you had, from tax cuts to enterprise zones, was shot down by the Democratic Party. Why, then, are you playing into their hands now ? Do you really think that giving D.C. a vote in Congress is going to attract more African-Americans to the Republican Party ? If you do, you’re kidding yourself.

For the many Republicans who still believe that the Constitution poses an impassable barrier, Davis has one plea: Let the courts decide. And he has a delicious tool of persuasion, a strongly argued brief in favor of the constitutionality of a D.C. vote written by former special prosecutor Kenneth W. Starr and law professor Viet D. Dinh, who helped write the USA Patriot Act. Both are conservative scholars who draw deep respect from Republicans.

“I talk to members of Congress about this and they literally walk away, saying the bill is unconstitutional. Unconstitutional? They voted for the Patriot Act!” Kemp says. “A presidential veto on this would consign the Republican Party in perpetuity to 8 to 10 percent of the black vote.”

So for the sake of a few votes, Jack Kemp is willing to sacrifice the Constitution and convince legislators to vote for something they know to be unconstitutional. It makes one wonder just what kind of Republican Party will be left when he’s done.

Originally posted at Below The Beltway

Footloose In The Big Apple

Picture yourself at a swanky bar in New York City. It’s about 1am and there’s a jazz trio in the far corner playing something romantic. Sounds nice, huh ? Well, you better not be thinking about taking your partner’s hand and getting up and dancing, because it’s illegal to dance in a bar in New York City:

(CBS/AP) NEW YORK You can listen to the music in a New York City bar, but you better not begin tapping your feet because it could lead to dancing.

A state appeals court ruled that an 80-year-old law banning dancing in New York City bars, restaurants and certain clubs is legal.

The state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division ruled that the city’s Cabaret Law permits dancing only in places that have a license.

The Gotham West Coast Swing Club and several people filed a lawsuit complaining that because the Cabaret Law barred them from dancing with other people, it illegally infringed on their right of free expression.

The appeals court disagreed, saying recreational dancing is not a form of expression protected by the federal or state constitutions.

It isn’t mentioned in the linked story, but a story about the same case from last year provides what the city claims is justification for what any sensible person would consider an insane law:

City law department spokeswoman Kate Ahlers said the judge’s ruling was “a confirmation of the city’s efforts to protect residential communities from disruptions attributed to some cabarets.”

That’s the Nanny State for you. Protecting you from all that is evil about the tango.

H/T: Radley Balko

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