Monthly Archives: January 2009

Introducing the Obameter

According to PolitiFact.com, Barack Obama made 509 promises during the 2008 presidential campaign. How can we possibly keep track of 509 promises?

Fortunately, PolitiFact.com has introduced a new feature on their website called the Obameter. The Obameter compares the president’s actions to his campaign promises by tracking all 509 promises by placing each in the following categories: Promises Kept, Compromise, Promises Broken, Stalled, In the Works, and No Action.

So how is our newly minted president doing so far?

As of this writing with just over a week in office, President Obama has made good on 5 promises, compromised on 1, broken 0, stalled 1, has 17 in the works, and has taken no action on the remaining 485.

Of course, as a Libertarian, it’s my hope that the majority of President Obama’s promises are broken as most of his promises are at odds with the individual’s rights of life, liberty, and property. I have a feeling that many of his supporters will be very disappointed with his record of keeping his word by the time the 2012 campaign rolls around.

Open Thread — Don’t Tread On Me

Gadsden Info
I’m a bit of a fan of the Gadsden flag. I’ve got a 3′ x 5′ version from here. Back in the day, this was my old office.

So when I found out that there’s a designer clothing line centered around the Don’t Tread On Me logo, I was a bit intrigued.

But I started looking at their designs. There’s something that doesn’t quite turn me on about these… It seems as if it’s far more “hip” than it is authentic.

So what do you think? Is it a shameless ploy to capitalize on a long-standing tradition by catering to the “in-crowd”? Or is it a gateway that might bring people to the actual philosophy and history behind “Don’t Tread On Me”?

Treasury Bars Lobbyists From TARP II

Not sure how they intend to accomplish this, and the WaPo story suggests they’re not sure either:

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner issued new guidelines yesterday aimed at eliminating the influence of lobbyists on the $700 billion financial bailout program by restricting their contact with officials who are reviewing applications for money and deciding how to disburse it.

Treasury officials also will seek to limit political influence over the funds, saying they will use similar restrictions that forbid such influence in tax matters as a model. The department’s Office of Financial Stability will be required to certify to Congress that each government investment is based solely on objective criteria. As part of that effort, only banks recommended by their primary regulator will be eligible for capital investments.

Great, so lobbyists won’t have any more influence over TARP II than they will over our tax code. I feel better.

UPDATE 1/28 2 PM PST: Geithner follows this up by announcing an ex-Goldman Sachs lobbyist as his chief of staff. Hat Tip – Cafe Hayek.

Quote Of The Day

From Robert Gates:

Villagers need to “see that it’s their army that we’re helping. It’s not us kicking down their door. It’s an Afghan who’s kicking down their door”

Uhh, if the United States Army [or the local SWAT team] comes kicking down my door, I’ll probably be less upset than if, say, the Chinese army does so. But I’m still going to be pissed off about the whole matter.

How Quickly It Falls Apart

Iceland, not a nation known for political instability, may be in serious trouble:

Considering the devastating effects they experienced, the people of Iceland reacted to the economic crisis with relative calm in the weeks following the collapse of the krona and the failure of the country’s three major banks. Yes, there were rushes on grocery stores, and a black market for foreign currency sprang up through classified ads. Some even participated in protests on weekends. Still, there were no reports of unrestrained chaos.

Now, over three months after the banking failure, Iceland’s government has collapsed in reaction to mounting dissent. Geir Haarde, the Prime Minister, stepped down today after his party failed to meet the demands of the Social Democratic Alliance, its coalition partner.

Mr Haarde’s resignation comes amidst significant turbulence. Last week, Iceland experienced its first violent rally in decades, with police using tear gas for the first time since 1949.

There is a pretty major difference between America and Iceland…

…our problems are far larger than theirs.

Stimulating Michelle Malkin and Heritage

special-web-family-cost-ofMichelle Malkin brings our attention to a really good graphic from the Heritage Foundation pertaining to how the bailout will impact the typical family.

From Heritage:

Many people have trouble picturing such an enormous amount of money. To put it into perspective, $825 billion is worth approximately $10,520 for each family in the United States, or $22,445 for each family with children under the age of 18.

Average spending for all family groups in the United States is similar to that of families with children. On average, families annually spend:

* $2,330 on apparel and services,
* $3,595 on health care,
* $4,322 on food at home, and
* $11,657 annually on shelter.

If all families were asked to equally shoulder the burden of the $825 billion “stimulus” package, it would be like asking them to take on an amount of debt equivalent to what they spend on food, clothing, and health care — or most of what they spend on shelter — for an entire year.

I’ve never noticed similar math or charts coming from Malkin or Heritage about a federal expenditure which is in the same general ball park: the current cost of the war in Iraq.

While I applaud both Malkin and Heritage for speaking out against the bailout, I find their general silence (there were some reasonable anti-Bush whispers from time to time) about Bush spending and Bush policy revealing. I’m sure they wouldn’t be so opposed to the bailout du jour if Bush and the previous Congress were still in power.

UPDATE: Here’s the most recent (IAW Drudge, at least) GOP statement on the latest bailout:

“The Democrat bill won’t stimulate anything but more government and more debt,” Representative Mike Pence of Indiana, chairman of the Republican conference, said Tuesday.

Sounds great so far — like something Ronald Reagan or damn near any libertarian might have said.

“The slow and wasteful spending in the House Democrat bill is a disservice to millions of Americans who want to see this Congress take immediate action to get this economy moving again.”

They just don’t get it.  The only “immediate action” thoughtful people want Congress to make is to dramatically cut spending — and then cut spending even more.  It doesn’t seem likely that Republicans will attempt this approach, though.

County Governments Across the Country to Target Citizens…

…with their own tax dollars.

It seems the “taxpayer-funded National Association of Counties (NACO) is currently seeking an applicant among whose duties will be to ‘combating anti-government/anti-tax efforts.'”

That would be sort of like stealing money from a friend in order to use that money to seduce his wife. Except I don’t know too many people who consider any level of government their friend.

Here’s the text of their craigslist advertisement:

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/npo/1002884345.html
Public Affairs Special Projects Coordinator (Washington, DC)
Reply to: resumes@naco.org [?]
Date: 2009-01-22, 9:53AM EST

A national association representing county governments is seeking a Public Affairs Special Projects Coordinator to work on two projects. One project seeks to reestablish a partnership between the federal government and America’s counties. The second will focus on developing a national strategy for combating anti-government/anti-tax efforts. The ideal candidate should have knowledge of county, state and federal governmental structure and interrelationships; experience at the federal or congressional level; experience running issue or public service campaigns; and excellent oral and written communication skills.
Send cover letter, resume and salary history to resumes@naco.org.
PostingID: 1002884345

Grover Norquist’s commentary regarding the latest incident of government power grabbers getting caught with their pants down:

“County-level elected officials who agree with taxpayers that it is wrong to use taxpayer money to fight against taxpayers should insist that NACO end this effort … Those county officials who do not want to be associated with using tax dollars this way should withdraw from NACO and have their dues refunded to taxpayers.”

Back to the premise I’ve been maintaining for years: the true political battle line is government vs. the people.

H/T to my old drinkin’ bud Robert Stacy McCain

Bush Was a Dictator – And the U.S. Government Is a Dictatorship

A dictator is a monarch who is both law-maker and law enforcer, who also acts as final judicial arbiter in cases, and is not legally liable for his actions.

By such a standard, George Bush was a dictator.  He claimed the power to ignore the legislature, and to arbitrarily rewrite the law – citing the U.S. Constitution’s appointment of the president as the “Commander in Chief” of the United States Army and U.S. Navy as justification.  If the Congress passed a law he didn’t like, he refused to enforce it.  If it failed to pass a law he liked, he enacted it anyway. He successfully suppressed the courts’ power of habeas corpus throughout most of his term, effectively wielding the power to seize anyone off the street and to detain them arbitrarily with no review.  And, despite his many violations of the law, he never faced any credible threat of legal sanction.

Many of his supporters argue that since George Bush stepped down willingly at the end of his term, he was no dictator.  But a what characterizes a dictatorial government is how the leader controls the government, not how he got into power or left it.  A Roman appointed to the office of Dictator during the years of the Republic had his term expire after only a year, yet during that year no-one would argue that during that year there was no dictatorship, even though they often stepped down willingly at the end of their term. Nor do they have to come to power through violent means: witness Adolf Hitler’s appointment as Fuhrer by the German Parliament via the Enabling Act, which was all nice and legal and regularly renewed by parliament.

While many people have been outraged by Bush’s arrogation of power, there was been no serious attempt by the judiciary and the legislature to rein him in.  The judiciary did, very late in the game, start to protest against his more outlandish legal theories justifying his unilateral actions, but for the most part they deferred to the president.  In Congress, a few gadflies started impeachment proceedings, but they never amounted to anything.  To the contrary, throughout his presidency the other branches bent over backward to defer to this claim of authority.

Since he has taken office, President Obama has been busy issuing new directives limiting the power that he and his subordinates claim.  Many see this as an end to the unitary executive.  But, this personal arrogation of power is very similar to the homeowner allowing a friend to crash on the couch.  It can be rescinded at any time.  In the absence of any movement in the legislature or the judiciary, it merely amounts to the dictator announcing his intention to stay his hand, rather than a permanent abdication of power.

Furthermore, he has continued legislating by fiat, the latest of which is his executive order designed to force improvements in fuel efficiency.  Regardless of  whether one feels that this is a good or bad idea,  one must admit that the power to enact such a major change in government policy, which will likely impose billions of dollars in compliance costs, when on the shoulders of one man, is dictatorial.

In many ways, the U.S. has become the most dangerous kind of dictatorship – a democratic one.  While dictators are often quite violent and, well, dictatorial, they sometimes  do to take a long view, since they expect to experience the long-term consequences of any misrule.  On occasion, dictators can even be pretty decent,  recognizing that a hands-off approach will increase their power far more quickly that a hands-on approach.  I can think of no better example of this phenomenon in action than that of Singapore.

In the U.S., on the other hand, the rulers can only expect to stay in office for less than a decade.  Rather than worrying about long term consequences, they are far more likely to be concerned about how to maximize their use of the office in the short period they hold it. Rather than worrying about the long term health of the nation, under a democratic (the system of government, not the political party) dictatorship of limited duration, we expect to see decisions that are focused on a smaller time scale.

When the Roman Republic collapsed and was replaced by the imperial system, the old forms of the republic were maintained.  The senate appointed consuls and voted on legislation.  However, for the next few centuries, political power resided in the hands of the Emperor, who was named Dictator by the Senate.  While early emperors like Augustus had fairly sound economic policies, the history of the empire is a sad tale of failed economic policies creating new crises, of poorly though out intervention begetting stronger interventions, each multiplying the devastation of the unintended consequences of its predecessor.

The republican system of government is not completely extinguished in the United States,  It is, however, all but dead.  Absent a dramatic sea-change in the attitude the American people towards their government, we will increasingly be at the mercy of popularly elected dictators, who are not restrained by any significant limitation on their powers.

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.

The Most Dangerous Phrase Strikes Again

Seriously, congresscritters are morons. There can be no other explanation.

Sadly, this is not the most idiotic, ridiculous, laughable, or embarrassingly stupid law ever proposed; but it’s close:

New Law Will Require Camera Phones to ‘Click’
Author: Michael Horton

A new bill is being introduced called, Camera Phone Predator Alert Act, which would require any mobile phone containing a digital camera to sound a tone whenever a photograph is taken with the camera’s phone. It would also prohibit such a phone from being equipped with a means of disabling or silencing the tone.

While its a good gesture, I do not believe having such a law would deter criminals from hacking their camera phones to take pictures in inappropriate ways. Also, the real criminals would not even use a camera phone but would probably use other devices such as a hidden camera. Regardless, at least with the bill signed into law it would allow prosecution and jail time for individuals that get caught with a camera phone that does not make the noise.

One question does remain, what if you have a camera phone that doesn’t make the noise at all or is suppressible? Would older phones still be covered under this new law?”

So, if my finger happens to be blocking the speaker, what then?

What if my phone breaks and the tone no longer works?

What about digital cameras; they’re quite small and easy to conceal?

What about deliberately hidden cameras, or novelty cameras that look like other things, will those be illegal as well?

Yet another example of one idiot… or given the subject matter probably thousands of idiots… saying to another idiot (one with power over us, god help us) “There ought to be a law”; the most dangerous phrase in the English language.

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 Latest Torture Allegation: “One of them took my penis in his hand and began to make a cut…”

“They cut off my clothes with some sort of doctor’s scalpel.  I was totally naked…

“…One of them took my penis in his hand and began to make a cut.  He did it once, and then stood still for maybe a minute…  …watched my reaction.  It was an agony, crying, trying desperately to suppress my feelings…   …but I was screaming.”

That’s from a video interview I just found at Boing Boing.  Here’s a bit of their description:

In this Boing Boing video episode, we are introduced to Binyam Ahmed Mohamed, an Ethiopian man in his thirties (ACLU bio and a detailed report about his case here). Mr. Mohamed survived extraordinary rendition, secret detention, and torture by the U.S. government working with various other governments worldwide.

The story of what he endured, which included horrific sexual violence during interrogation, was painful for us to watch in the studio, when we were editing this preview piece. But all of us on the BB Video team felt like this was an incredibly important story for the world to hear, and we were grateful for the ability to draw greater attention to the story at this time.

There is a bit of detail about the effectiveness of torture, too.

“They say, ‘This is the story that Washington wants.’ It was about a dirty bomb. I was meant to steal the parts and build it with Jose Padilla in New York. I did not even know what a dirty bomb was at first.”

As late as this evening, the Weekly Standard was still justifying torture.

This Army veteran of over a decade feels physically ill at the moment.

Here’s the video:

Rush Limbaugh Proposes $540 Billion Corporate Welfare Package

rushtime Move over McCain-Feingold, McCain-Kennedy and McCain-Lieberman.  We’ve now got the Limbaugh-Obama Bipartisan Economic Recovery Package (AKA LOBERP, pronounced like “low burp”).  Here’s the description provided over at The Next Right:

Mine is a genuine compromise.  So let’s look at how the vote came out, shall we?  Fifty-three percent of voters in this country — we’ll say, for the sake of this proposal, 53% of Americans — voted for Obama.  Forty-six percent voted for Senator McCain, and 1% voted for wackos.  Let’s give the remaining 1% to President Obama, so let’s say that 54% voted for President Obama and 46% voted for Senator McCain.  As a way to bring the country together and at the same time determine the most effective way to deal with recessions, under the Obama-Limbaugh Stimulus Plan of 2009, $540 billion of the one trillion will be spent on infrastructure as defined by President Obama and the Democrats.  The remaining $460 billion, or 46% that voted for Senator McCain, will be directed towards tax cuts, as determined by me.

Let’s take a quick look at what really happens when the Doctor of Democracy and the Messiah decide to fiscally copulate.  Either Limbaugh is actually dumb enough to believe that Congress will actually deliver that $460 billion is returned to our own wallets, or he is nefarious enough to ensure that the tax cuts would go where he directs.  Of course, there would be no conflict-of-interest for someone to be holding the strings to a $460 billion government purse while also collecting advertising revenue for his radio program.

Then of course, by proposing this plan, we now have evidence that Limbaugh is endorsing a $540 billion stimulus package and he trusts President Obama and the Democrats to define (so long as it is infrastructure related) how it will be spent.

One might think that a self-described fiscal conservative would have the testicular fortitude to say ALL federal bailouts are bad.  He could have said something along the lines of “zero dollars for increased government spending.”  “Not one dime for corporate welfare” would have been acceptable, too.  He could have at least spoken out against deficit spending.  Instead of arguing on principle, he decided to give President Obama and the Dems $540 billion dollars out of wallets — and the wallets of our children and our grandchildren.

Rush Limbaugh currently wants control over 54 percent of this booty in the latest episode of the federal spending orgy.  He’s joined with the mainstream media and the Democrats who think that bailouts are sexy.  Rush, you can voluntarily give Obama as much money as you like out of your wallet.  Convince your ditto-heads to mail in the rest of the trillion bucks. Don’t even think about playing grab ass with my wallet, though.

UPDATE for the ditto heads: Rush Limbaugh spews erroneous conclusions, crap and conjecture on a daily basis. He calls it “entertainment.” I thought I’d give it a shot, too. And what better target could be found for some specious speculation than el Rushbo himself?

They Sold Us The Rope… Too Bad They’re Tied To The Other End

I’ve pointed out the old saying — “If you owe the bank $5,000 and can’t pay, you have a problem. If you owe the bank $5,000,000,000 and can’t pay, the bank has a problem.”

Well, the bank has a problem:

What he might have said was that the nations funding the majority of America’s public debt — most notably the Chinese, Japanese and the Saudis — need to be prepared to sacrifice. They have to fund America’s annual trillion-dollar deficits for the foreseeable future. These creditor nations, who already own trillions of dollars of U.S. government debt, are the only entities capable of underwriting the spending that Mr. Obama envisions and that U.S. citizens demand.

These nations, in other words, must never use the money to buy other assets or fund domestic spending initiatives for their own people. When the old Treasury bills mature, they can do nothing with the money except buy new ones. To do otherwise would implode the market for U.S. Treasurys (sending U.S. interest rates much higher) and start a run on the dollar. (If foreign central banks become net sellers of Treasurys, the demand for dollars needed to buy them would plummet.)

In sum, our creditors must give up all hope of accessing the principal, and may be compensated only by the paltry 2%-3% yield our bonds currently deliver.

So as a spin on the old [perhaps mis-attributed] Lenin quote about rope, the Chinese, Japanese and Saudis sold us the rope to hang ourselves. But we tricked them. We paid for that rope with nothing.

We may be hanging ourselves, but the other end of that rope is still tied to them with our dollars — if we go down, they’re coming with.

Maybe this is just one of my more pessimistic days, but I think that we’re actually reaching a major tipping point. I don’t know what that will entail, but it won’t be pretty. You can only sweep the dust under the rug for so long; eventually you trip over the big bump in the rug.

Hat Tip: Reason Hit&Run

MV = Py

So, as evidence that I’ve never taken a true macroeconomics course, today was the first time I’ve ever seen this equation…

M – Monetary base
V – Velocity of money
P – Price level
y – Real GDP

People have asked my how I can claim the Fed/Treas are inflating when P and y are decreasing, and it’s all about V…

So I saw this comment over at Econlog today, and it deserves a response:

MV=Py, so V’s decreased lately caused by decreasing P and y. If we feed M steroid, how sure are we that y will go up more than P?

I think that’s backwards. V is decreasing which is CAUSING the decrease in P and y. It’s not the other way around.

V, in my limited understanding of the world, appears to be pretty closely act as the debt-fueled consumption loop we embarked on during the housing bubble. Asset prices rose, so we took on debt against those assets, used it to bid up prices, causing asset prices to rise, causing more debt, etc etc. V was expanding, and that expansion fueled huge increases in P and y.

When the housing bubble burst, the credit markets (V) went with it. Housing dropped. The Dow dropped. Oil dropped. Housing was demand-driven, but the drop in oil prices was far too large to be attributed to demand destruction. With M being (relatively) constant, and y being (relatively) constant, the two most mobile factors were V and P, and I think the drop in V caused the drop in P, not the other way around.

So the commenters question — “if we feed M steroids”, what will happen? — seems to assume that V is a minor factor, not a major factor, in the equation. I think this is exactly backwards, as V is far more mobile of a factor than M.

And that belies that point that we’ve started feeding M steroids, but haven’t seen the resultant rise in P or y yet! As fast as the Fed/Treas is trying to increase M, V is dropping faster. But if V is a very mobile — rather than sticky — factor, once it increases to a more normalized level acting on a much larger M suggests that P will explode.

This, anyway, is how I see this playing out. The Fed/Treas is setting the stage for hyperinflation, and once the economy starts to gather up “confidence” it will be too late to stop it. But, again, I’m not an economist — and although I felt like I understood the concepts at stake — today was the first time I’ve ever seen this equation. So if anyone can possibly assuage my fears, please tell me why.

Dumbass and Authoritarians Among Us

Here are a few choice comments in response to a recent post where I argued that Ramos and Compean should not receive presidential pardons. I was aware that this was a very unpopular position to take (even among libertarians) but I was stunned and disturbed by the tone of some of the comments. I’ll let these comments speak for themselves.

It is my hope, to all you ACLU types, that an illegal drug running pimp dosn’t stop at your place of residence. After all the drug lord was only looking to put food on his families table.

Who cares if he was shot in the A$$, once again what does that prove. It proves he was shot in the A$$. So what!!! You insane pot smokin, red diaper doper babies would take the illegals side. After all his culture is far superior to ours. Why wouldn’t we want him and his countries poverty, corruption, sewage fertalizer, rampid drunk driving, rapes, and MS 13 here. It would make things so much better here. We have gone from the melting pot to the chamber pot thanks to all you ilk.

Comment by Michael — January 8, 2009 @ 3:59 pm

oh..and…too bad they didn’t blow the slimeball’s brains out! The ONLY crime Ramos and Campeon are ‘guilty’ of is not being better shots! How about this: Give them raises, Give them promotions, and teach them to shoot STRAIGHTER!

Comment by Petra — January 17, 2009 @ 10:01 pm

WAAAAA Get over it, they should have killed the dam drug dealer, They did make a mistake but with the Green card the DEMOCRAPS gave to Davila to yet again bring drugs to the USA again, not as an illegal but as a resident alien, wich is worse? I dont get you guys. No drug dealer is ever without a weapon of some sort.

In cases where there are drugs in the quantities like this case, “judge, jury, and executioner” is fine with me.

Comment by John — January 19, 2009 @ 7:22 pm

Brian, I’m guessing you work in a very safe, predictable environment, free from any real dangers. I know I do. That is why I can’t imagine what these BP agents go through on a daily basis.

There are very real dangers they face every day, and that certainly colors their world and perception of interfacing with other people. I personally am relieved that Pres Bush has commuted their sentences, and like a previous poster, am saddened only that he did not fully pardon them. They ARE heroes. They protect our country daily from scum bag, law breaking thugs that don’t care one bit for a civilzed society complete with rules and humanity.

Against the law to shoot unarmed criminals?!? So every criminal out there that can outrun the police should be allowed to just “run away” from authority to freedom, just because he doesn’t carry a gun? Ridiculous. That’s ok though, because I know there are BP agents out there along with thousands of other brave soldiers of freedom protecting our borders who continue to do their jobs to keep us safe, despite whiny verbally abusive pansies like you sitting in your safe little world sipping your cosmopolitans and spewing liberal rhetoric around like so much poison.

By the way, if you want to call me to talk politics, you won’t need to “press 1? for English. This is America; English IS OUR LANGUAGE. If you want any other language, go the Hell back to your own country!

Comment by Dennis — January 19, 2009 @ 10:47 pm

I say shoot these lazy bastards [illegal immigrants] BEFORE they infect us. What’s the problem with that? I don’t see any. And YES, pot is illegal. I don’t care how innocuous you think it may be to smoke it – it’s ILLEGAL. And smuggling it into the country is illegal and needs to be answered with any force necessary to stop it. BTW, I think many drugs that are now illegal should be legal, but until they are anyone who knowingly is involved with ANY aspect of drug use or trafficking does not deserve any sympathy or benefit of the doubt. He drove a truck into our country with 750 lbs of marijuana in it. That’s a fact and he’s an idiot. I wish the BP agents would have been a better shot and made a fatal shot.

Comment by Dennis — January 20, 2009 @ 5:26 am

Here was another response, this time to the follow-up post I wrote after President Bush commuted Ramos and Compean’s sentences.

Yet another example of the idiotic media “journalists” who publish opinion as fact. You disgust me. Here’s hoping you also have a “close encounter” with the drug smuggling illegal MY U.S. border patrol agents shot.

Comment by Daphne — January 20, 2009 @ 7:06 am

Apparently I’m not the only one at The Liberty Papers who attracts authoritarian loons. Stephen* Gordon had one commenter who doesn’t seem to be too concerned about the possibility that average Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights were routinely violated during the Bush Administration:

I’m always amused by those who fret over privacy. Just exactly what are these people afraid of? What could the Feds possibly learn that they would even care about? Do people really believe that those overworked surveilance people have the slightest interest in what some yokel in Kansas is doing? Paranoia seems to almost a national disease in this country. No wonder we can’t compete in the world – we’re worried about meaningless crap and ignore what’s important.

Comment by kent beuchert — January 22, 2009 @ 1:03 pm

So you may ask: “So you have some nutty people posting nutty comments on your posts…what’s the big deal?” The big deal is that these people vote in elections and serve on juries! Is it really any wonder we find ourselves losing more and more of our liberties? This is the mentality we are fighting against.

On a more positive note, there were also some very well-reasoned arguments by others who responded to these posts. “Brian” (from the first post) was relentlessly attacked for defending the crazy notion that suspects should be considered “innocent until proven guilty.” It’s my hope that there are a few more Brians out there than this small sample of random, (mostly) anonymous, fools.

» Read more

Bailouts Are Not Sexy

Photo credit TopNews.in

Photo credit TopNews.in

Extreme obesity could be defined as an abnormally large accumulation of body fat. Consequences of obesity include illness, disability and death. While treatment options vary (i.e. dieting, liposuction, medications, surgery), increasing caloric, fatty or carbohydrate intake clearly isn’t the correct solution. In other words, you aren’t going to shed 10,631,467,593,243.45 pounds by consuming a 7,940,000,000,000.00 calorie cake.

Marie Antionette was known as Madame Déficit because the “people blamed her for the bad economics in the country and claimed that she alone was the one to have spent all the money on her own pleasures.”

The still controversial statement “let them eat cake” is often attributed to Antoinette. It seems that both the previous and current administrations and Congresses want to distribute bread to the masses while bailing out (or even nationalizing) the major corporate bakeries. Unfortunately, local mom-and-pop bakeries aren’t “too big to fail,” so many of them will indeed fail because of the political preference for corporate courtiers. History is filled with examples of financial crises caused by excessive government spending.  History is indeed repeating itself now, as it also did during the reign of Louis XVI.

In the meantime, corporate welfare is neither sexy nor healthy. Why the mainstream media refuses to paint an accurate picture of our federal extravagance is beyond me. Hopefully, this photograph will help illustrate the fact that the only thing a stimulus package will ever stimulate is an ever-increasing appetite for even more stimulus packages.

Two Legal Standards in VA: One for the Cops and One for the People

From Pete Eyre of Bureaucrash:

This past Friday afternoon when coming home from work I noticed a cop car parked in a no parking zone. I contemplated just walking by to start enjoying some down time but concluded that if I don’t speak up, even against such trivial law-breaking, who else would?

As you’ll see in the video below, despite having received a complaint by a citizen (me) the responding officer failed to hold his fellow officer to the same standard that he stated he would if a civilian engaged in similar activity. And rather than apologizing for blatantly breaking the law, the officer who parked in the no parking zone thanked me by following me on foot – actions that unsurprisingly made me just a bit uncomfortable.

I share this video to document not just this situation but the mindset that unfortunately is all-too prevalent in policing today. And to hopefully help hold accountability those who swear an oath to uphold the law but who in practice – at least in this case – are willing to not only flaunt that law but intimidate those who question them.

Here’s the video:

The “Oklahoma 3″ Set Free, Paul Jacob Responds

Oklahoma’s political prisoners have been set free!

Left to Right: Paul Jacob, Susan Johnson, and Rick Carpenter A.K.A. "The Oklahoma 3"

Left to Right: Paul Jacob, Susan Johnson, and Rick Carpenter A.K.A. The Oklahoma 3

Paul Jacob released the following statement in response to the charges being dismissed on January 22, 2009:

Today is a great day for justice, for freedom of speech and the right to petition one’s government. It is a great day for Rick Carpenter, Susan Johnson, and me—now known as the Oklahoma Three.

The charges brought against us by the attorney general have now been dismissed. They should never have been brought in the first place. We did not break the law and, as we all now know, the law itself is unconstitutional.

Our prosecution has sadly had a chilling effect on Oklahomans, who want to reform their government and to hold it accountable through the petition process. My goal throughout this ordeal has been to encourage Oklahomans and Americans everywhere not to let their rights be eroded through fear and intimidation. Today we have won a victory.

But the battle to protect citizen rights is far from over.

As President of Citizens in Charge, I look forward to working with all Americans to see the voter initiative process triumph over attacks from politicians. The will of the people should always prevail over the desires of politicians.

Related Posts:
Paul Jacob, Susan Johnson, and Rick Carpenter: Oklahoma’s Political Prisoners
Paul Jacob Tells his Story at the Libertarian National Convention

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