Monthly Archives: May 2009

Socially conservative sickos

It’s no secret that I harbor no love for the sorts of extreme social conservatives who’d like to shove their religious views up some orifice of mine, but social conservatives rejoicing about the murder of Dr. George Tiller take things to a new low. For those not aware, Tiller performed abortions and was shot at church in front of his wife.

Like cockroaches, “compassionate conservatives” are scurrying out from the cracks and crevices to celebrate this death. Balloon Juice is keeping track of the pro-murder statements over at Free Republic.

At The Next Right, diarist DebraJMSmith entitles her gloating rant: “Abortionist, George Tiller, Shot Dead!” (Update: This post has now been removed from the site)

“And I do not feel sorry for a family who loved a murderer,” she writes. “And I sure do NOT feel sorry for a church that had no problem allowing a murderer to attend.”

It’s to be noted that she also posts Alabama Judge Roy Moore’s poetry on her personal site. Moore recently had to distance himself from a supporter who wrote:

“We must clean up our education system which is indoctrinating our children through a multicultural mix of communism, Islam, New Age and anything that goes, except Christianity, which is now being portrayed as the enemy. Our forefathers founded America on God and his word. The enemy is now taking it away, but he can do it only if we remain apathetic and refuse to listen and act on the truth.”

Of course, Moore attracts supporters such as these when he writes legal opinions like this (emphasis added):

To disfavor practicing homosexuals in custody matters is not invidious discrimination, nor is it legislating personal morality. On the contrary, disfavoring practicing homosexuals in custody matters promotes the general welfare of the people of our State in accordance with our law, which is the duty of its public servants… The State carries the power of the sword, that is, the power to prohibit conduct with physical penalties, such as confinement and even execution. It must use that power to prevent the subversion of children toward this lifestyle, to not encourage a criminal lifestyle… Homosexual behavior is a ground for divorce, an act of sexual misconduct punishable as a crime in Alabama, a crime against nature, an inherent evil, and an act so heinous that it defies one’s ability to describe it. That is enough under the law to allow a court to consider such activity harmful to a child. To declare that homosexuality is harmful is not to make new law but to reaffirm the old; to say that it is not harmful is to experiment with people’s lives, particularly the lives of children.

One wonders how many more Roy Moore supporters will be celebrating the Tiller’s murder in public.  Certainly, a lot more of them will be celebrating in the closet. And Republicans can’t figure out why they are losing elections.

UPDATE: Here is some related sickness on Twitter.

Liberty Rock Friday: Hook in Mouth by Megadeth

md

Megadeth
Hook in Mouth
So Far, So Good, So What! (1988)

Music by D. Mustaine/D. Ellefson, Lyrics by D. Mustaine)

A cockroach in the concrete, courthouse tan and beady eyes.
A slouch with fallen arches, purging truths into great lies.
A little man with a big eraser, changing history
Procedures that hes programmed to, all he hears and sees.

Altering the facts and figures, events and every issue.
Make a person disappear, and no one will ever miss you.

Rewrites every story, every poem that ever was.
Eliminates incompetence, and those who break the laws.
Follow the instructions of the new ways evil book of rules.
Replacing rights with wrongs, the files and records in the schools.

You say youve got the answers, well who asked you anyway?
Ever think maybe it was meant to be this way?
Dont try to fool us, we know the worst is yet to come.
I believe my kingdom will come.

Chorus
F is for fighting, R is for red,
Ancestors blood in battles theyve shed.
E, we elect them, E, we eject them,
In the land of the free, and the home of the brave.
D, for your dying, O, your overture,
M, they will cover your grave with manure.
This spells out freedom, it means nothing to me,
As long as theres a P.M.R.C.

F is for fighting, R is for red,
Ancestors blood in battles theyve shed.
E, we elect them, E, we eject them,
In the land of the free and the home of the brave.
D, for your dying, O, your overture,
M is for money and you know what that cures.
This spells out freedom, it means nothing to me,
As long as theres a P.M.R.C.

Put your hand right up my shirt,
Pull the strings that make me work,
Jaws will part, words fall out,
Like a fish with hook in mouth.

Rewrites every story, every poem that ever was.
Eliminates incompetence, and those who break the laws.
Follow the instructions of the new ways evil book of rules.
Replacing rights with wrongs, the files and records in the schools.

Im not a fish
Im a man

Hook
In
Mouth

Does Sonia Sotomayor Believe that Some Individuals are More Equal than Others?

Perhaps we could chalk up President Obama’s SCOTUS nominee Sonia Sotomayor’s racially charged statement as a Bidenesque blunder if she had not made rulings as a judge which suggests that she does believe that some individuals are more equal than others. Ricci v. DeStefano is a case-in-point. Sotomayor joined the Second Circuit’s majority which concluded that Frank Ricci (a dyslexic white male) was not a victim of discrimination by the City of New Haven.

From Ricci v. DeStefano, UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT

“We affirm, substantially for the reasons stated in the thorough, thoughtful, and well-reasoned opinion of the court below. In this case, the Civil Service Board found itself in the unfortunate position of having no good alternatives. We are not unsympathetic to the plaintiffs’ expression of frustration. Mr. Ricci, for example, who is dyslexic, made intensive efforts that appear to have resulted in his scoring highly on one of the exams, only to have it invalidated. But it simply does not follow that he has a viable Title VII claim. To the contrary, because the Board, in refusing to validate the exams, was simply trying to fulfill its obligations under Title VII when confronted with test results that had a disproportionate racial impact, its actions were protected.”

Dissenting Judge Jose A. Cabranes (appointed by President Bill Clinton for what its worth) criticized the majority for failing to address the complex legal issues surrounding racial quotas in a meaningful way stating that the issues raised by Ricci were “far from well-settled.”

So where does this leave Sotomayor on Obama’s empathy test? Where is her empathy for a man, Mr. Ricci, who overcame his disabilities to pass the test which others (who did not have a disability) failed? Might Sotomayor ruled differently if the races were reversed? These are questions which deserve serious answers.

Fortunately for Mr. Ricci, his case will be decided by a Supreme Court which does not include Sonia Sotomayor among the Justices.

Security Theatre Of The Absurd

Hey Cougars? Want to flash those pearly whites and shiny disposition when that mid-20’s waiter flatters you by asking for your ID at the bar? Well, good luck in Virginia… Smiling is forbidden:

Few places in Virginia are as draining to the soul and as numbing to the buttocks as the branch offices of the Department of Motor Vehicles. And yet, until recently, smiling was still permitted there.

No more. As part of the DMV’s effort to develop super-secure driver’s licenses and foolproof identification cards, the agency has issued a smile ban, directing customers to adopt a “neutral expression” in their portraits, thereby extinguishing whatever happiness comes with finally hearing one’s number called.

The driver’s license photo, it seems, is destined to look like a mug shot.

DMV officials say the smile ban is for a good cause. The agency would like to develop a facial recognition system that could compare customers’ photographs over time to prevent fraud and identity theft. “The technology works best when the images are similar,” said DMV spokeswoman Pam Goheen. “To prepare for the possibility of future security enhancements, we’re asking customers to maintain a neutral expression.”

At a Manassas DMV branch yesterday, that translated to a simple directive: “Don’t smile.”

Now, this is unlikely to be an issue for me. Given how much I hate stupid bureaucracy, inefficiency, waiting in lines, and the government in general, I’m most certainly not smiling in my license photo. And given that I’m tall (and thus the picture is slightly shot from below), let’s just say that if the picture were used for the nightly news, it wouldn’t fit for their feel-good story.

Every time you see government security, it must be weighed against government control. For example, it has been shown and explained numerous times that the government no-fly list is useless at fighting terrorism, as a committed terrorist will quickly and easily have the means to get a useable fake credit card and ID — or fake boarding pass and real ID — to get through a checkpoint — as the checkpoint workers do not verify names against the list. Thus, the no-fly list becomes another huge government database that has the power to make your life miserable if you accidentally get on it but doesn’t actually enhance security in any meaningful way.

But you know what all this security does? It makes normal citizens, whose interaction with the government is already rare and painful, even more difficult. But instead of taking the proper lesson from this — that government is largely useless and their security is entirely for show — they come away with a different lesson. They believe that perhaps banning smiling in a photo is just what is necessary to keep us safe, and that they should do what the bureaucrats ask without question. They are learning the lesson that obeisance is the key to security, even though reason and evidence suggest otherwise. They learn that it is not necessarily personal vigilance that is required to be safe, but rather letting the government keep ever-closer tabs on us. And that’s the wrong mindset for a country that used to have the values of America.

Then, of course, the story takes its truly absurdist turn:

When asked how DMV employees are able to determine when customers might be smiling too much, Goheen explained that the process is automated. Naturally, the new software is programmed to reject attempts at exuberance or human warmth. “It will send an error message if it detects a non-neutral expression,” she said.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from science fiction, it’s that the only way that we can defeat the evil android invasion when AI is first invented is to be able to detect the androids amongst us based upon their inability to behave like a human. It appears the machines are already trying to detect whether or not we can behave like them.

Hat Tip: Balko @ Reason

The Signs of Inflation

Since Barack Obama has decided to continue down the path George Bush started down,  the path of Robert Mugabe and Friedrich Ebert, the United States economy will soon be facing all the problems associated with inflation.

Unfortunately, the effects of inflation are poorly popularized, meaning that most people have a very limited understanding of inflation.  As a result when confronted with symptoms of inflation people all to often pin the blame on other “causes” such as Jews or greedy white landowners.  These false accusations are heavily promoted by the ruling classes;  after all it’s better that the mob chase some Jews or hedge fund managers with pitch-forks than coming after the rulers who inflated the currency.

What Inflation Isn’t

The primary misconception of inflation is that it merely is the rise in prices.  The news media encourages people to believe this, reporting the inflation rate in the same way it reports on changes in the weather, as if it is some natural phenomenon over which people have no control.

Price increases are a result of inflation, yes.  However, inflation has the same relationship with price increases that war has with the number of burials per month at Arlington Cemetery.

The Mechanics of Inflation

Inflation is the phenomenon where additional money is created.  In the case of the Unites States, the Federal Reserve purchases some asset, such as a United States Treasury Bond, paying by check.  The seller deposits the check in a bank, which then records the additional money as part of its demand deposits.  This is the moment where the inflation occurs.  The bank then loans out 80% of those deposits to borrowers. Those borrowers spend the loaned money. This spent money is deposited back into the banking system. The banks loan out another 80% of this latest round of deposits. This cycle of loaning out money which then spent and then deposited back into the banking systems continues until eventually an equilibrium is established where banks list $4.00 in outstanding loans for every dollar created when the Federal Reserve Bank wrote that first check.

The Math:

A mathematical calculation of the growth of the money supply when central banks create money out of thin air.

A mathematical analysis of the growth of the money supply when central banks create money out of thin air.

The people spending this newly created money bid up prices;  people selling stuff tend to sell stuff to the highest bidder, and the people holding the newly printed money are competing with other buyers to purchase the stuff they want.

The result is that this new money slowly disperses out through the economy, leaving higher prices in its wake.  The people who spend it first get the benefit of being able to buy stuff at pre-inflation prices, the people who spend it last do not.  The people who have access to the newly printed money are left better off, the people who don’t are left poorer.  Inflation invisibly and without much fuss transfers purchasing power from those who are not closely connected economically with the central bank to those who are.

Follow the Money

The price increases generally show themselves in the sectors of the economy where the new money is spent.  For example,  let’s say that President Obama directs the Secretary of the Treasury to sell a bond to generate the money needed to build yet another bridge over some stream in West Virginia named after Robert Byrd. The bond is purchased by the Federal Reserve Bank with newly printed money.  The money is spent by the Federal Government on tools and materials needed to build the bridge.  The price for cranes, hourly employment of road-crews, concrete and steel increases.

The Rise of the Ersatz Product

The other users of these raw materials find themselves struggling to buy the  supplies they need.  For example, a manufacturer of prefabricated steel sheds might find that he has to pay more to get the metal he needs.  He is caught in a squeeze; the price his customers are willing to pay has remained unchanged while his production costs have increased. The manufacturer can’t raise his prices, so naturally he decides to cut costs by attempting to reduce the amount of steel he uses by substitution or adulteration.  The end result, the steel shed might cost the same, but the quality of the steel, the strength of the steel, or its toughness will be inferior, resulting in a shoddier product.  Candy bars are packaged to look like their sizes are constant, while the volume of candy is reduced.  Houses are built less sturdily.  Automobiles are manufactured with lower quality steel, with engines that wear out more rapidly, etc.

The Rise in Prices

As the money percolates out through the economy, the people coming into possession of it bid up prices.  In fits and starts, at different rates in different sectors of the economy, the price levels go up.  People on a fixed income find themselves becoming poorer and poorer.  The unpredictability of  the price levels causes  accounting to become more uncertain.  Investments and projects that otherwise would be attempted are foregone.  A majority of the population is left poorer as a result of the inflation.

Increased Political Repression

These people naturally lobby for relief.  However the political classes that benefit from the inflation don’t want to stop,  and the people are too ignorant of economics to recognize the fact that it was the printing presses which caused their problems.  Instead the people attack profiteers or greedy manufacturers or the greedy bankers.  They call for price and wage controls, which if instituted, further wreck the economy.

People also try to abandon the unreliable monetary system for alternatives.  They try to do business in foreign currencies or even use commodities such as cigarettes or gold chains as money.  Governments typically react savagely, criminalizing attempts to do business using alternatives to the rapidly devaluing currency.

Stop Me Before I Inflate Again!

Typically, when a government or central bank engages in inflation, they find it hard to stop – the political incentives are too great to resist. They cannot fund their operations if they stop the printing presses. The more the economy falters, the more the tax-base is disrupted, the lower the productivity of the industrial base, the more dependent the elites are on the printing press to fund their lifestyles and the operations of the state.  In private, the central-bankers will admit that the currency debasement is wrecking the economy.  But the central-bankers’ fear of the negative personal consequences if they should stop inflating the currency overrides any impulse to do the right thing.

America’s Peculiar Institution

Some economists argue that since the Federal Reserve is not part of the U.S. government such a doomsday scenario cannot play out here.  They claim that the Federal Reserve, being independent, is immune to political pressure.  Yet throughout its existence it has acted to support the U.S. government; periodically, the Congress threatens to update or revise the Federal Reserve Act to mandate greater congressional oversight of the Fed’s operations and the ‘independent’ organization suddenly becomes quite accommodating.

Historically, the Federal Reserve has purchased only a small fraction of the bonds issued by the U.S. Treasury;  it didn’t have to – there were always sufficient buyers willing to buy Treasury Bonds to keep the U.S. government operating.  That is changing.  The U.S. government will have to borrow more than a trillion dollars a year to fund its operations.  At the same time the U.S. Government is borrowing at such unprecedented levels, the willingness of voluntary investors to purchase the bonds is collapsing.  If the Federal Reserve were passive, within a year or so we would see U.S. Treasury Bonds routinely going unsold at auctions. The Federal Reserve, inevitably, will begin purchasing those bonds to keep the U.S. government solvent.

Protecting Yourself

In an inflationary economic regime, the formal economy is generally a suckers game.  To avoid being taken to the cleaners, consider doing the following:

  • Start or purchase a business making something in relatively widespread demand that is not likely to have price controls slapped on it.
  • Go into a profession where your skills will be in wide demand.
  • Learn how to fix broken things.
  • Cultivate circle of associates with whom you can engage in gray-market or black-market business deals.
  • Befriend a policeman or a judge! They can get you out of hot water should you get tagged for committing an economic ‘crime’.
  • Get to know local gold-dealers, particularly ones who buy and sell gold chains.
  • Learn how to defend yourself; police take time to respond, and are prone to prosecuting economic crimes when confronted by evidence of contraband.
  • Buy an old “Whip Inflation Now” button. It will be about as helpful as it was in the 1970’s

You don’t have to be helpless as the Democratic and Republican Party Apparatchiks loot the economy.  Prudent steps taken now can pay off in the coming dark years.

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.

Governments Collapsing In Tough Economy

In the Wall Street Journal today, an article is published that details how cities are disincorporating as a result of the declining economy. Cities are dissolving themselves in order to escape city union contracts, among other things.

As the recession batters city budgets around the U.S., some municipalities are considering the once-unthinkable option of dissolving themselves through “disincorporation.”

Benefits of this move vary from state to state. In some cases, dissolution allows residents to escape local taxes. In others, it saves the cost of local salaries and pensions. And residents may get services more cheaply after consolidating with a county.

In Mesa, Wash., a town of 500 residents about 250 miles east of Portland, Ore., city leaders have initiated talks with county officials about the potential regional impact of disincorporating. Mesa has been hit by a combination of the recession and lawsuits that threaten its depleted coffers, leaving few choices other than disincorporation, said Robert Koch, commissioner of Franklin County, where Mesa is located.

Two California towns, Rio Vista and Vallejo, have said they may need to disincorporate to address financial difficulties; Vallejo filed for bankruptcy protection last year. Civic leaders in Mountain View, Colo., have alerted residents that they are left with few options but to disincorporate because the town can’t afford to pay salaries and services.

Incorporation brings residents a local government with the ability to raise money through taxes and bond issuances. It also gives them more control of zoning decisions and development, and usually provides for local services such as trash pickup and police as well.

On the national level, the Federal government would simply cease to exist. You’re probably wondering that’s not possible. Well, given the extreme financial conditions of borrowing nearly 50 cents of every dollar spent, fighting two wars, having massive entitlements like Social Security and Medicaid that cannot be funded at current levels of taxation, having government expand at unparalleled levels, and the fact that Americans are already spending nearly half their income in taxes and other compliance costs as is; perhaps the Federal government may have to disincorporate.

The problem is cultural, we Americans have never learned to live within our means. That’s why we have the credit crunch and that’s why we have these outrageous government programs we can’t fund. We need to have a serious discussion about the role of government and how we should pay for it.

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.

California Supreme Court Upholds Proposition 8

After I listened to the oral arguments of the California Supreme Court’s hearing on Proposition 8 and gay marriage, it seemed pretty obvious that the Court would find, based on state law that had nothing to do with the gay marriage issue, that Proposition 8 was a proper amendment to the state Constitution.

And, it turns out I was correct:

The California Supreme Court upheld a ban on same-sex marriage today, ratifying a decision made by voters last year that runs counter to a growing trend of states allowing the practice.

The decision, however, preserves the 18,000 marriages performed between the court’s decision last May that same-sex marriage was lawful and the passage by voters in November of Proposition 8, which banned it. Supporters of the proposition argued that the marriages should no longer be recognized.

Today’s decision, written by Chief Justice Ronald M. George for a 6-to-1 majority, said that same-sex couples still have the right to civil unions, which gives them the ability to “choose one’s life partner and enter with that person into a committed, officially recognized, and protected family relationship that enjoys all of the constitutionally based incidents of marriage.” But the justices said that the voters had clearly expressed their will to limit the formality of marriage to heterosexual couples.

This is hardly the end of the issue for either the nation as a whole or California specifically. Despite the setback in California, same sex marriage is now the law in Iowa and Vermont, and is close to becoming law in New Hampshire. At the same time, the groundwork is already being laid for yet another referendum in California that would seek to overturn Proposition 8 — that is likely to be on the ballot in either 2010 or 2012 depending on how the petition drives go.

This is far from over.

Quote Of The Day

From our newly-named nominee to the Supreme Court:

I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.

Three problems with this:

1) Who is to say that the experiences I have, as a white male, aren’t rich?
2) Why do the proper adjudication of questions on law change based on the “richness of experience” of the judge?
3) What is a “better conclusion”? According to whom?

About the only way that such a statement makes sense is if you assume that the role of a judge is more “nuanced” than simply to apply the law dispassionately and predictably, but rather to enforce “social justice”. I am, of course, not surprised by such a conclusion from one of this administration’s nominees. But I’m a little surprised that it’s stated this blatantly.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall in the fights that Sotomayer will have with Clarence Thomas.

Hat Tip: Jonathan Wilde @ The Distributed Republic

Let’s get some freedom watched on Fox News

A bunch of us are trying to get Judge Andrew Napolitano’s online program Freedom Watch into a televised slot at Fox News. According to an e-mail I received from Judge Napolitano’s colleague Shelly Roche, the Fox producers are telling her the two most important things we can do are “flooding Fox with emails and showing high view counts on the videos.”

If you don’t blog, but would like to see more libertarians on national television, please quickly e-mail Fox and let them know you’d like to see the Judge get his own TV slot.

If you’ve got a blog, you can help out even more. Details are here.

Introducing Liberty Rock

John Locke, the founding fathers, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman and the other names of great thinkers we quote often at The Liberty Papers are not the only ones who have written amazing works concerning philosophy, liberty, culture, and government. These issues do not even have to be addressed in the form of a book, newspaper article, or even a blog post but can exist in yet another form: music and poetry.

Take a look through your CD collection or your MP3 playlist. What do your favorite music artists have to say about the issues we address at The Liberty Papers? Do any of them seem to follow a coherent philosophy? Those who do not listen to much rock or heavy metal may not realize the types of weighty subjects which are addressed which other genre would not touch with a 20’ pole. Megadeth, for example, covers political and cultural issues ranging from censorship, to criminal justice, to genocide, to nuclear proliferation!*

I believe that the lyrics of some of these songs should be brought to a different audience. It’s for this reason that I believe that “Liberty Rock” should be a regular feature at The Liberty Papers (Fridays maybe?).

Because my most recent posts have been on the topic of police misconduct (and those who approve of the misconduct), it seems natural that this week’s selection I would choose Anthrax’s “I am the Law”.

I Am the Law

Written by: Joe Belladonna, Frank Bello, Charlie Benante, Scott Ian, and Dan Spitz

Fifteen years in the academy
He was like no cadet they’d ever seen
A man so hard, his veins bleed ice
And when he speaks he never says it twice
They call him Judge, his last name is Dredd
So break the law, and you wind up dead
Truth and justice are what he’s fighting for
Judge Dredd the man, he is the law
DROKK IT!

With gun and bike he rules the streets
And every perp he meets will taste defeat
Not even Death can overcome his might
Cause Dredd and Anderson, they won the fight
When the Sov’s started the Apocalypse war
Mega-City was bombed to the floor
Dredd resisted, and the judges fought back
Crushed the Sov’s with their counter-attack
DROKK IT!

Respect the badge – he earned it with his blood
Fear the gun – your sentence may be death because…
Chorus

I AM THE LAW!
And you won’t fuck around no more – I AM THE LAW
I judge the rich, I judge the poor – I AM THE LAW
Commit a crime I’ll lock the door – I AM THE LAW
Because in Mega-City… I AM THE LAW

In the cursed earth where mutants dwell
There is no law, just a living hell
Anarchy and chaos as the blood runs red
But this would change if it was up to Dredd
The book of law is the bible to him
And any crime committed is a sin
He keeps the peace with his law-giver
Judge, jury, and executioner
DROKK IT!

CRIME – The ultimate sin
Your iso-cube is waiting when he brings you in
LAW – It’s what he stands for
Crime’s his only enemy and he’s going to war

CRIME – The ultimate sin
Your ISO-cube is waiting when he brings you in
LAW – It’s what he stands for
Crime’s his only enemy and he’s going to war

Download the song here (legally) from Amazon

» Read more

Weird stuff happening today in Republicanville

This one isn’t too much of a shocker.  SC Governor Mark Sanford, who is often pretty good on most things (except for that little evolution thing, McCain endorsement, etc.), is taking Republicans in his own state to court.  Here’s the scoop:

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is suing his own attorney general and accusing state legislators of breaking the law as he continues to block his state from receiving federal bailout cash aimed at struggling schools.

The Republican’s federal lawsuit, posted online Thursday, says requiring him to take the money would violate the state and federal constitutions.

It “would require his agreement to these onerous federal educational mandates and unsustainable spending commitments, would further burden South Carolina’s economy and substantially increase the state’s debt in the future and therefore is contrary to the welfare of the people of South Carolina,” the governor said in his court filing, which also asks the court to block the money from heading to the state until it rules.

The lawsuit says the governor is the highest executive authority in the state and asks the federal court to declare the Legislature violated the South Carolina Constitution by requiring him to request the money.

“This is about balance of power,” Sanford, also chairman of the Republican Governors Association, said during a morning news conference.

Now Cato reports that former Representative and prez wannabe Tom “The Mexican Slayer” Tancredo wants to legalize drugs.  You may think you’ve just dropped a few hits of acid after reading this one:

Admitting that it may be “political suicide” former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo said its time to consider legalizing drugs.

He spoke Wednesday to the Lincoln Club of Colorado, a Republican group that’s been active in the state for 90 years. It’s the first time Tancredo has spoken on the drug issue. He ran for president in 2008 on an anti-illegal immigration platform that has brought him passionate support and criticism.

Tancredo noted that he has never used drugs, but said the war has failed.

“I am convinced that what we are doing is not working,” he said.

Tancredo told the group that the country has spent billions of dollars capturing, prosecuting and jailing drug dealers and users, but has little to show for it.

“It is now easier for a kid to get drugs at most schools in America that it is booze,” he said.

What’s next?  Are Dick Cheney and John Yoo going to hit the public speaking circuit to rail against torture?

UPDATE: Here’s some Tancredo video on the topic, courtesy of Stoner Jesus.

What Does it Really Mean to Respect Law Enforcement?

I know some who read my posts regarding police misconduct might not believe me when I say respect the police and the dangerous job they do. I believe that the police misconduct I write about generally are exceptions to the rule that most individuals in law enforcement do their jobs with the highest degree of integrity.

I respect those who are entrusted to “serve and protect” our communities from violent criminals but I also realize that they too are human which means they are capable of making bad choices or being corrupted as anyone else. At a minimum, the police should be held to the same standard as anyone else; I would argue that they should be held to an even higher standard than anyone else.*

What does it say about a respectful attitude toward law enforcement when seemingly a majority of people say that due to the “danger” surrounding such a hazardous occupation, that it’s okay to beat a surrendered, unarmed, or even unconscious person (see video below) senseless because of the “adrenaline” or “emotion” that comes with a dangerous pursuit? Does this show greater or lesser respect for the police?

I believe we should expect more not less than “how the average person would react under similar circumstances” from the police.

If I had a badge and gun, how would I have reacted if one of my friends was almost run over by a fleeing suspect?

The truth of the matter is I don’t know. I don’t know because I have never been confronted with a similar situation. I have not been trained on how to handle the kinds of situations police officers sometimes encounter.

The police, however, do not have this excuse. The officers who beat the unconscious person in Alabama were all veterans. Based on their training and experience, they should have known better.

The general consensus I’ve found on the message boards around the internet on this police chase is that because of the suspect’s actions, he “got what he deserved” and that these officers should not have lost their jobs, let alone be charged criminally.

Most seem to mistake criticism for the police as support for the suspect so let me say this one time: What the suspect did was stupid and put many lives in danger. The suspect should be charged for any and all crimes he committed and should be forced to pay restitution to anyone who was injured or damaged property as a result of his actions.**

The alleged crimes of the suspect and the police are two entirely separate matters which should be treated as two separate trials.

If the police are charged with the responsibility to enforce the law than it stands to reason that they cannot simultaneously violate the law and enforce the law with their actions. If ordinary citizens took it upon themselves to use unnecessary force to the point of brutality, we would call these people vigilantes or criminals. Why then do we make an exception when individuals who happen to wear uniforms do the same thing? We should not be defending these actions we should be condemning them as it is these individuals who disrespect the dignity, the professionalism, and honor of law enforcement as a whole!

» Read more

Help put Freedom Watch on Fox News Channel

While I rarely simply cut-and-paste an entire campaign or party e-mail to a blog post, this one deserves to be an exception to the rule:

Help put a libertarian news program on the Fox News Channel!

Dear Libertarian activists,

Thank you so much! Because of your support, the show “Freedom Watch” is finally being considered for an open time slot on Fox news.

You know what that means? A Libertarian television show would be on mainstream media!

Finally a show that reflects the attitudes and opinions of people like you and I who care about personal and economic liberties.

Right now there is an open time slot and Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show, “Freedom Watch” has been put forth as a possible filler for it.

But, there’s one stipulation. I just got off the phone with the producer and I heard they will make the decision so we need to bump up the number of views on the show as much as we can, AND we need as many people as possible to write an email to Fox to request it get on air.

Can you please help?

Here’s the link to the show:

http://tinyurl.com/qcumjb

It’s time for the Libertarians to go MAINSTREAM!

Send them an email here and we can get this show on air!

yourcomments@foxnews.com

Here’s a sample email you can cut and paste:

To Whom it May concern:

I am writing today to request that Judge Napolitano’s “Freedom Watch” be given a chance to be aired on Fox News Channel.

There are so many people out there I believe that would watch it because there just aren’t any shows that really cater to independent minded people like me who care about things like personal and economic freedom.

Having a show like this on television would really be exciting and I would definitely watch it and get my friends and family to watch it too. Fox would be opening up a whole new market and bring in lots of new viewers! Please put it on air!

Thank you!

Again thank you all so much for all you do for liberty,

Sincerely,

Austin Petersen
Director of Outreach
Libertarian National Committee


Let Us Fail

California’s in a world of hurt, exacerbated by the fact that we didn’t offer to give the state a whole bunch more money during our ballot propositions yesterday. There are a lot of reasons for our pain, but it really comes down to a state that never quite understood TANSTAAFL. They’ve been sold the lie that government can do everything they desire, and all of it “with NO MONEY DOWN!!!” Now the bill is due, and there’s going to be some trouble.

But the question is where we go from here. And I can tell you that there is going to be a cry to go to Washington DC, because the government of California is “too big to fail”. I’m not going to be one of the voices calling for this, but as Megan McArdle points out, there are quite a few who will:

There is a surprisingly sizeable blogger contingent arguing that we have to bail them out because however regrettable the events that lead here, we now have no choice. But actually, we do have a choice: we could let them go bankrupt. And we probably should.

If Uncle Sugar bails out California, California will not fix its problems. Perhaps you want Obama to make it fix the problems, using the same competence, power, and can-do spirit with which he has repaired all the holes in the banking and auto manufacturing sectors. But Obama is not in a good position to do this. California Democrats are a huge part of his governing coalition. All Obama can do is shovel money into the bottomless pit of California’s political system.

If California is bailed out by Washington, it will simply be another way to prop up a system that is fundamentally broken. California has spent decades building up the unsustainable and crushing tax & spending burden we now have. Income taxes are high (9.55% for most people above $40K), sales taxes are high, fees and regulations are high. About the only thing we have that isn’t high is property tax, and Sacramento keeps trying to change that.

Fundamentally, we need to be taught a lesson. We need to finally understand that you simply cannot live in perpetual deficit. Arnold Schwarzeneggar recently explained why:

“This is the harsh reality of the crisis we face. Sacramento is not Washington [DC]… We cannot print money.”

Maybe, just maybe, if we fail it will teach us a lesson. It will teach us that money doesn’t grow on trees, and that there is an economic limit to your ability to act in constant deficit. It will teach us that the abnormal — not the normal — scenario is one of constantly printing your way out of problems. Maybe, just maybe, it will restore some semblance of welcome economic sanity to California.

But I doubt it. Obama will find a way to paper over the problems, we’ll play kick the can because Sacramento is “too big to fail”, and wait until this becomes a problem so large that only a national collapse of our entire monetary system will teach us a lesson.

I need to start taking my piles of spare change to CoinStar — paper money will heat my house a lot better than coinage.

Which is the best libertarian insult: libbieloon, libtard, or losertarian?

Over at The Next Right, I made the point that the GOP needs libertarians more than libertarians need the GOP.  While I went into greater detail, this sums up the key theme of the posting:

Libertarians are used to wandering in the wilderness like political nomads.  We know we’ll be called upon from time to time to act as tour guides in order to lead the Republican leadership towards some safe small-government oasis or waterhole of individual liberty.  We don’t even need maps or compasses, as the routes are permanently etched within our minds.  Being tough and hearty political travelers, another forty years in the wilderness doesn’t scare us all that much. […]

Without enough allies to fight the Democrats or even the skills to find the path to small government and individual freedom, the current Republican leadership may not be destined to forty years in the wilderness.  Without libertarian assistance, they may not even make it to the next oasis.
With or without the GOP, libertarians will somehow survive.  Can the GOP survive without libertarians?

While I included criticism of libertarians from folks like Mike Huckabee and Lindsey Graham in the posting, I didn’t expect to see Michael Medved style insults thrown into the comment section.  Here are a few gems:

  • Despite having bad things to say about him, I agree with the Huckster about the “heartless, callous, soulless” bit. Please accept the fact that we aren’t going to ever become a libertarian paradise like Somalia, and move on.
  • Libertarian bashing is deserved, long overdue. They need it!
  • Here’s the real GOP deal for LibbieLoons… if you agree with the Party’s core principles on smaller govt, lower taxes, strong natl defense and JackKemp’s Opportunity Society, come on board!  If you don’t and –like RonPaul– want to abdicate the Free World to the IslamoFascists, then take a hike or return to that land of electoral wonders and political groundswells (not), the LibbieLoon party.
  • GOP needs to put a boot to the disloyal, back-stabbing LibbieLoons and send em packing –not make the GOP over into LibbieLoonLand Part Deux.
  • I’m surprised you didn’t get the memo… it was sent to the LibbieLoon headquarters
  • Does this mean that the bloggers on thenextright.com will stop calling libertarians “libtards”?
  • lib-tards  … is an insult to LIBERALS. If you want to insult Libertarians, you call em Loser-tarians or something like that.
  • call them what they really are: LibbieLoon-atics.
  • Oh… and they have to hog-tie BobBarr and DOCTORCrazyUncleRon together and parade them through the town square as our newest VillageIdiots.
  • It’s why no one deserves the LibbieLoons and the GOP sure as heck doesn’t need ‘em.

“Losertarian” is getting pretty stale and I’m getting a bit burned out on “libtard.”  LibbieLoon seems a welcome addition to the invectives being tossed about by folks obviously incapable of reason.

Don’t Apologize For Funny

Comedy is hard. Really, really hard. Funny requires stepping outside the box — saying something a bit unexpected. There are a lot of ways to screw it up, and often what sounds funny in your head is not so funny when a listener hears it. There’s a reason why many actors say that comedy acting is a lot harder than drama acting.

Comedy and politics is even more difficult, because you have a pretty significant group of people just salivating over the chance to vilify and embarrass you if what you say is at the least bit unfunny.

So I’m not going to criticize Anderson Cooper for this. It’s funny.

Gergen: “They still haven’t found their voice, Anderson. This happens to a minority party after it’s lost a couple of bad elections, but they’re searching for their voice.”

Cooper: “It’s hard to talk when you’re teabagging.”

There are a lot of reasons why that’s funny, but key is that Mr Highbrow Serious Reporter-man Anderson Cooper went for a scrotum joke. If Bill Maher or Jon Stewart said it, it would be expected and might get a chuckle. To see that from Anderson Cooper, though, is priceless. And he deadpans it! It would be too easy to try to play it up, to try to emphasize the line. If it were Rachel Maddow, she’d have said it with that annoying smirk and ruined the joke.

This was funny. It’s a shame he apologized.

Video below:

Comment of the Day : “So I’m an Ass” Edition

Re: Presenting the Latest Nominees for the Ramos-Compean Medal of Valor

You are a real piece of work. Keep drinking the Kool-aid. Do you even know what you are speaking about? Apparently you enjoy your drugs and despise anyone who would delay your supply from reaching. That is the only logical reason why you would come to the defense of a drug runner. And a drug runner who used the border pass given to him by our government to make a delivery. Sir, you are an Ass.

Comment by Tim Martinez — May 19, 2009 @ 6:09 am

I would try to respond but I’m way too busy drinking the Kool-aid and being a stoned ass.

Fixing California Finances — Ignore The Voters!

California is not a well-governed state. But for a long time, I heavily blamed the voters on that one. After all, they did stupid things like voting for a $9B bond issue to start a high-speed rail line in the middle of a horrendous deficit.

But perhaps I spoke too soon. Yes, California voters are more than willing to vote for huge spending to be financed by bonds. That’s a big problem, if the spending (and thus the bonds) occur. But if Tim Cavanaugh of Reason is correct, it’s not the problem I once thought. Why not? The state isn’t spending the money:

One favorite trick for avoiding disaster at the level of state budgets is to keep authorized expenditures cooped up by never writing the checks. This practice can go on for years or decades, depending on the lobbying power of the people who stand to gain from the spending. A former California budget director once set my mind at ease when I asked about the hundreds of billions of dollars in bonded debt the ballot-initiative mobocracy has committed the state to. It turned out that only a small portion of those bonds had been issued. (And it’s pretty stunning to consider that the Golden State’s fiscal self-destruction would be even worse if anybody took an interest in honoring the will of the voters.)

So, that is good one one front. The state has shielded us from some of the stupidity inherent in democracy.

But there’s another worse aspect. The state has spent us into oblivion even without the voters’ help! I used to think it was a competition between idiotic direct democracy voters and idiotic gerrymandered politicos in an effort to bankrupt the state. It turns out I was wrong — the politicos want to hoard all the “glory” for themselves!

One Proper Way To Confront a Government Official

On this website, we have a category called “Dumbasses & Authoritarians” that is a grab bag of stories about really dumb or vicious government officials. Typically, the posts that are assigned to that category detail some government official who is making everything worse via his actions. No, not every post gets assigned to that category, just the actually egregious stuff.

When you read one of those posts, what emotion do you feel? Typically, people feel anger or outrage. Odds are that you have fantasized about slapping one of those jerks about, screaming at him, or squeezing his neck until your pain stops. This desire to punish these people is understandable but counterproductive, because there is little chance of convincing a government official of the error of his ways by calling him things like ‘traitor’, ‘moron’, ‘toady’ etc.

Rather, the way to change a government official’s heart is to convince him that it is in his best interest to do the right thing. To that end, I want to republish a letter written by someone named jeff that was posted on freekeene.com

The Honorable Edward J. Burke,
Judge of the Keene District Court
P.O. Box 364
Keene, NH 03431-0364
Dear Judge Burke:

I would like to bring to your attention information related to the case of Sam Dodson.

As you are probably aware, Mr. Dodson has been held as “John Doe” in Cheshire County Department of Corrections for the past 4 weeks. Per your order, he will remain there indefinitely unless he consents to give his name and address. During this time Mr. Dodson has been on a hunger strike in order to gain sympathy and publicity for his cause. He has lost 20 lbs.

It is my understanding that the Department of Corrections knows his legal name and address.

It is difficult to predict the time it takes to die from starvation, but a reasonable estimate based on Mr. Dodson’s situation shows a 50% chance that he will die within the next week, rising to near certainty about 4 weeks from now.

What you probably do not know is that in the intervening weeks there has been a growing tide of sympathy for Mr. Dodson’s situation. Initially blog posts and opinion articles with an immature tone, these have matured into a full-fledged campaign of sympathy for the plight of what I believe to be an innocent man. To take one example, Mr. Dodson’s supporters recently sent a well-worded press release to over 500 (!) news organizations around the country. Blog posts and articles are now numerous on the web.

If Mr. Dodson should die in jail, every aspect of the case will be brought out for public inspection, including his original charges, your court orders, and the jail house conditions that led to his death.

I understand that people should show proper judicial respect, but Mr. Dodson’s case appears to be a point of pride with vanishingly small value.

I urge you to consider whether it would be better to concede the point, and in so doing let the matter slowly dissipate.

Note the calm appeal to the judge’s humanity, the appeals to his self interest, and the acknowledgment of why the judge has thrown Sam into jail indefinitely. Nor does it sacrifice principle. It is an attempt to open a negotiation that is to the benefit of the judge, Sam Dodson and Jeff.

The letter was not successful; Sam still rots in a prison cell in New Hampshire, a modern day Giles Corey. However, that letter is a thousand times more likely to succeed than a diatribe, or a threatening letter, or a campaign of harassment and intimidation.

While Jeff could have dashed off an angry, emotionally satisfying letter that took only a minute or two to write, he took the time to pen a thoughtful letter that was written with the judge’s thoughts, beliefs and goals in mind. It is that intelligent and disciplined activism that has the greatest chance of carrying the day.

When advocating for liberty, please keep this in mind.

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.
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