Author Archives: Robert

You Gotta Love the <span style="font-style:italic;">far</span> Left

Paul Craig Roberts, writing for counterpunch, touches all the bases in grand polemical style. There are the requisite ad hominem attacks against Bush, Cheney, Israel and America’s other “puppets” in the Middle East.

Nothing new there, but I was struck by an interesting bit of hypocrisy. Compare this:

Fox “News,” which in fact is the most thorough-going dispenser of war propaganda since the Nazi Third Reich…

…with this:

The US breeds terrorism by its 60-year old buy levitra policy of interfering in the internal affairs of Muslim lands online casino games and ruling them through surrogates. The US assaults Muslim sensitivities with the export of “American culture,” a euphemism for sexual promiscuity. The US creates enormous animosity by appearing to exploit Muslim oil wealth and by turning a blind eye while Israel expropriates the West Bank.

If the counterpunch article isn’t a prime example of propaganda,

the word is meaningless.

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Legislative Lunacy

An old friend of mine (Jon, who really Cialis by mail ought to start blogging) sent this little gem of a story to me via e-mail.

A pro-pot group alleges that an Aurora police officer pulled over one of its members this week because he had a marijuana legalization sticker on the back of his vehicle.

[…]

The officer, who wasn't identified, allegedly told Wansing [the 25 year-old ”criminal”] that he wouldn't have been cited if he didn't have the sticker on his vehicle and that he didn't want his children to see such “trash.”

Nice…! It seems that Joe Cop is unaware

of the fact that, if marijuana legalization stickers are outlawed, only outlaws will display marijuana legalization stickers.

For more ludicrous lawmaking, see this and this.

Update: In a comment to this post, John Newman wrote: <span online pharmacy style="font-sty

le:italic”>”Let me guess, you think we can fix things through the political process.”

Well, according blackjack online to a somewhat suspect conspiracist website (it claims that 9/11 was planned by the US government and that the US is a police state), there’s a bill in New Hampshire, sponsored by Rep. Paul Hopfgarten, that was “proposed at the request of local Free Staters“.

The bill reads: “Any law enforcement officer, person acting as a law enforcement officer, or other public official who confiscates or attempts to confiscate lawfully carried or lawfully owned firearms in this state during a declared state of emergency shall be charged with a class A felony.”

So yeah, if the bill is signed into law, then clearly the political process will have been instrumental in restoring an important aspect of

individual liberty.

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Could this happen to &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;span style=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;font-style:italic;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;you&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/span&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;?

The War on Drugs is reminiscent of the tyranny that our forbearers revolted against. Hyperbole? I think not. There’s a horrible miscarriage of justice, which Radly Balko summarizes this way:

Cops mistakenly break down the door of a sleeping man, late at night, as part of drug raid. Turns out, the man wasn't named in the warrant, and wasn't a suspect. The man, frightened for himself and his 18-month old daughter, fires at an intruder who jumps into his bedroom after the door's been kicked in. Turns

out that the man, who is black, has killed the white son of the town's police chief. He's casino online/a> later convicted and sentenced to death by a white jury. The man has no criminal record, and police rather tellingly changed their story about drugs (rather, traces of viagra best price drugs) in his possession at the time of the raid.

…with liberty and justice for all?

Battlepanda has a round-up of blogs—of all persuasions—that shed light on this travesty. levaquin cipro Join the chorus so maybe, just maybe, those that support the criminalization of “drugs” will see the consequences of creeping authoritarianism.

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Renewing The Patriot Act

Despite their faults, the ACLU is quite rightly questioning the authority of the US Government where individual liberty is concerned. Specifically, they have been relentless in their opposition to the Patriot Act, legislation that all but ignores the Fourth Amendment and the Viagra online presumption of innocence.

Under the Patriot Act, the FBI can demand the disclosure of personal records about innocent people without getting approval from a judge. Simply by issuing a National Security Letter, the FBI can force Internet service providers, universities and other institutions to turn over customer records.

Even more disturbing, anyone who receives an NSL is gagged forever from telling anyone that the FBI demanded records. Secrecy surrounding NSLs has made it difficult for the public and Congress to know just how the FBI is using its new power.

What made the Congress and Bush think that they could just dispense with due process? buy viagra online purchase Yes, we’re at war with a casino network of psychos that don’t wear uniforms, but does that mean that we, US citizens, must forfeit the constitutionally

protected right to be secure in our persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures?

Think of the implications of such arbitrarily assumed federal power. The FBI could, after having issued an NSL, search, seize, arrest and jail one indefinitely without providing an iota of proof in open court. Joe Stalin and Saddam might approve of this, but Bush?

There may yet be hope. According to an AP story, the House and Senate are negotiating a deal that will mitigate the injustice of NSLs.

The compromise CryptoLogic Operations Ltd operates Poker as a platform subscriber of Ongame Network Ltd, a registered license-holder of the Government of Gibraltar under a license (License No. also makes changes to national security letters, an investigative tool used by the FBI to compel businesses to turn over customer information without a court order or grand jury subpoena.

Under the agreement, the reauthorization specifies that an NSL can be reviewed by a court, and explicitly allows those who receive the letters to inform their lawyers about them.

While the changes are a step in the right direction, I’m not sure that those in Washington appreciate the potential danger of such legislation. For example, “the Bush administration contends that such consultation already is allowed, citing at least two court challenges to NSLs.” Nice try, Bush, but those two court challenges were raised after you signed that piece of crap into law!

Sigh…just remember, Mr. & Mrs. America, if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear…right?

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Leftists, in their own words

I am certainly no fan of progressive political theory, but it is instructive to know what, specifically, its proponents advocate. Fortunately, Washington Monthly’s blog, Political Animal (Kevin Drum), features a series of articles called The New Progressivism. The introduction of which reads in part:

Conservatives say they want to use choice (school vouchers, private accounts in Social Security) to shift power from government to individuals. We think that conservatives’ real aim is to shift more risk onto individuals in order to cut government, and that only liberals can deliver a choice revolution in government that people would actually want. But we also believe progressives should go a step further, with policies that shift power from corporations to individuals.

While clever, that type of rhetoric is very misleading. For

as Jefferson explained: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed…” The rights of which he spoke are life, liberty, [property] and the pursuit of happiness. That being the case, individuals posses the bulk of political power; a limited portion of which is merely lent to government, as delineated in the tenth amendment to the Constitution: The powers not delegated

to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. Therefore, it’s not as though political power belongs to government, as is implied by Drum.

The other bit of slippery verbiage in the introductory paragraph is the implication that “to shift more risk onto individuals in order to cut government” is somehow a bad thing. The truth is that with freedom comes risk; the cost of diverting risk from the individual to government is freedom itself, which is priceless. Additionally, there is the stated goal of formulating “policies that shift power from corporations to individuals”. On the surface this seems innocuous, for in a consumer-based market economy, individuals vote with their dollars and corporations ought not to be allowed to defraud the consuming public with impunity. But that’s not exactly what progressives mean by “shifting power from corporations to individuals”. Progressives see corporations (large and small) as a means to an end, i.e. corporations exist for the benefit of “the common good”, rather than to earn profits for investors. Think of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

One of the articles deals with Bush’s “ownership society”. In it, Paul Glastris attempts to show that choice is not as popular as one might think.

Americans love the idea of choice—in the abstract. But when faced with the actual choices conservatives present, they aren't buying. The reason is that conservatives have constructed choices that fail to take human nature into account. People like to have choices but feel quickly overwhelmed when they lack the information or expertise to decide confidently, and they turn downright negative when the choices themselves seem to put what they already have at risk. Conservatives were bound to make these mistakes because their very aim has been to transfer more risks from government to individuals so that government's size and expenditures can be cut. That's not a bargain most Americans will accept. They like choice just fine, but they won't trade security to get it.

Supposing, for the sake of argument, that human nature is risk averse, and that a majority would trade freedom for security. So what! The Constitution does not delegate to the government any authority to assume the ordinary risk of individuals. Furthermore, Constitutional protections of individual liberty are not (at least not legitimately) subject to popular vote…inherent rights are unalienable. Such rights not only inhere to those that cherish them, but also to those that would sell their freedom for

a type of servitude that masquerades as security.

Choice, then, can be a powerful tool to advance public ends as long as one ironic truth is recognized: People like having choice but often don't like to choose.

This concept is at the center of a brewing movement within public-policy circles, one that Cass Sunstein and Richard H. Thaler of the University of Chicago have affectionately, if cheekily, dubbed “libertarian paternalism.” The idea is for government to shape the choices people have so that the natural human tendency to avoid making a decision works to the individuals' and society's advantage.

The paternalistic disposition of progressives, however well-intentioned, does not justify the immoral use of coercion that is inexorably linked to the implementation of entitlement programs—those that purport to help the helpless. That is, governments don’t run on sweetness and light; governments need funds, which are seized through force and/or prednisone 20mg side effects the threat of force. And when laws are passed to benefit some at the expense of others, the liberty of all is diminished.

But the cost of progressive policies is not limited to lost liberty and the seizure of property and wealth. There are hidden costs as well, such as: higher unemployment due to the over-regulation of business (e.g. “living wage” laws, Kyoto Protocol, etc.), lessened purchasing power resulting from excessive tax rates and a general lack of motivation that stems from a disincentive to be self-reliant. After all, the government has—so the thinking goes—an endless reservoir of resources with which to supply one’s every need. buy real viagra online This, of course, is belied by how the social democracies of Europe are fairing with their grand progressive experiment. And if leftists succeed, America will travel the same miserable path.

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Diminution of Personal Responsibility

After reading an article by Doug Monroe, a senior editor at Creative Loafing (a lefty rag in Atlanta), I was reminded of the old Southern populism and classism that has recently been obscured by the “redness” that accompanied the election of G.W. Bush.

For well over a century, the South was dominated by the Democrat Party. Remember? You know…there was that whole secession thing, which resulted in war, followed by decades of legalized racial discrimination. Now, it might be a stretch, but one could argue that an impetus for the aforementioned mistreatment of the “non-white” population was, in part, to reduce competition by immorally using “free labor” and denigrating potential competitors. For just as slavery enriched the plantation owners (and their heirs) by eliminating labor costs, segregation during the Industrial Revolution prohibited Blacks (by and large) from accessing education and employment opportunities.

At this point, however, Blacks thrive in the South and in Atlanta in particular. The institutionalized racism has been virtually eradicated. That said though, the class-envy of Southern Democrats is alive and well, as Doug Monroe demagogically illustrates:

In other communities, the crent working for Wal-Mart in 2002. And Wal-Mart's numbers are way out of line when you bring other companies into the picture. The No. 2 company on the list, Publix, had only 734 children of employees on PeachCare. The average PeachCare recipient costs $1,274 a year. If you multiply that by Wal-Mart's 10,261, you get a total of more than $13 million in health care You agree that we shall not be liable to you or to any third party for any modification, suspension or discontinuance of the Web construction-jobs.info , or any part of portion thereof. costs borne by Georgia taxpayers.

First of all, notice that Mr. Monroe failed to include the total number of Publix employees in Georgia. Instead, he simply mentioned the number children benefiting from PeachCare. I suppose the actual ratio, as compared to that of Wal-Mart, was unimportant. Beyond that, the implication that Wal-Mart is obligated to insure its employees, and thereby forcing the Chip cialis state to use public funds for private medical care, is, in a word, ridiculous.

“That is a type of reverse welfare or corporate welfare,” says former Gov. Roy Barnes, now an attorney in Marietta. “I provide insurance for my employees. Why shouldn't [Wal-Mart] be providing it?”

Huh? With a statement like that, is there any wonder why Barnes was the first Democrat Governor to be defeated since Reconstruction?

A union that represents retail workers recently blasted Wal-Mart's deadbeat approach to employee health care at a state Capitol news conference. The United Food and Commercial Workers International is among the many unions whose organizing efforts have been swatted aside by the retail giant.

“The Wal-Mart model is to save as much money as it possibly can for the consumer, but it's saving money on the one hand and taking it out of- junk we didn't need in the first place.

Priceless…lefties salivating at the imagined possibility of the demise of a corporation that employs tens of thousands of “low skilled workers”, so that we can return to viagra cheap generic the bad-old-days of yesteryear, when healthcare was not even on the radar, unlike say, survival. Furthermore, small-town Southern life was fraught with wide-spread poverty and the subjugation of those not lucky enough to be born white and male. But even though I happen to be both white and male, I advocate progress and personal responsibility…despite my Southern heritage.

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Why &amp;amp;amp;lt;span style=&amp;amp;amp;quot;font-style:italic;&amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;gt;progressives&amp;amp;amp;lt;/span&amp;amp;amp;gt; really aren’t

The so-called progressives of whom I speak are actually collectivists, in that they abhor individualism and individual rights, insofar as such are symbolic of self-reliance. Generally, they think in terms of all-for-one and one-for-all. What’s more, they’re not satisfied with a mutual and voluntary communal arraignment. No, self-styled progressives seek to use the police power of the state to coerce others—those who cherish personal responsibility and freedom from tyranny—to fund their utopian welfare state. There are many such neo-liberal voices; e.g. the usual suspects.

The problem with collectivist ideology—beyond being morally indefensible—is that it does not work in practice. Ultimately, it turns individuals into wards of the state, rather than creating a truly egalitarian society. As pboettke of The Austrian Economists puts it: “When the State oversteps its bounds and constrains or chooses for us, we loose the capacity to live a self-governing life.”

I’m actually an advocate of egalitarianism. That is, I favor full equality for everyone, with respect to individual rights and treatment under law. However, I adamantly oppose the forced equality of stuff, which utilizes wealth redistribution and other such tools that deplete liberty. Roderick T. Long explains it this way:

But to ignore or mask the violence upon which

socioeconomic legislation necessarily rests is to acquiesce in the unconscionable subordination and subjection that such violence embodies. It is to treat those subordinated and subjected as mere means to the ends of those doing the subordinating, and thus to assume a legitimate inequality in power and jurisdiction between the two groups. The libertarian revulsion against such arrogant presumption is ipso facto an egalitarian impulse. Those Chip cialis who feel no such revulsion should not expect their egalitarian credentials to pass unquestioned; they may revere equality in theory, but they fail to recognize it in practice.

Coercion is the means, but what are the ends of progressives? Their purported goal is to achieve a classless society, where poverty is eradicated and—perhaps more importantly—the accumulation of wealth by individuals will cease. A strong centralized government—according to statists—is necessary to bring this to pass. Theoretically, state officials would be democratically elected and utterly selfless. But in practice, such a society inevitably devolves, resulting in two distinct and very unequal classes: the ruling elite and the impoverished masses. To be sure, there are exceptions. Some have slightly more resources (relatively speaking), but like the rest, they are subjects of the state; they are by no means free citizens.

A notable current example is the ironically named Peoples Republic of China, whose Marxian revolution has certainly not lived up to its billing. Such is the subject of a balanced analysis of China’s social experiment at Monthly Review.

The political apparatus that was used to destroy old inequalities had itself given rise to a new set of inequalities. The power of the state was supposed to be wielded in the interests of the working people, to be sure. But in fact, the subordinate working classes were at best to be the dependent beneficiaries of a paternalistic bureaucracy—not to mention that such hard-won benefits can be easily taken away as political circumstances may change, as recent developments in China have so clearly demonstrated.

In a similar vein, Eric points out that free people participating in free markets is a large part of the solution to the problems attendant to disparate socioeconomic classes.

In fact, this continuous characterization of upper, middle and lower class is part of the problem. Our economic system is one of the most classless in the world, although the imposition of socialist and quasi-socialist government programs is having the effect of stratifying the classes more and more firmly.

It would seem, then, that the goals of modern liberals (e.g. state run healthcare, individual transfer payments, increased government pensions, etc.) are actually regressive. For the motivation of America’s founders was to move how much cialis away from tyranny and towards greater individual liberty and personal responsibility. Therefore, in light of numerous historical examples, true progress is exemplified by increased freedom for individuals, rather than its antithesis, which flows from collectivism.

[cross-posted at Eric’s Grumbles]

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Robert: a thumbnail sketch

I, along with my co-contributors, recognize that liberty inheres to the generic viagra individual; liberty is not that which is granted by governments or benevolent rulers. It's as an individual that I think and act, with the full understanding that I, alone, am responsible for the consequences of my thoughts and actions. In light of that, it is incumbent upon me to cultivate a set of core principles—guided by ethics and morals—by which to govern my life. But don’t misunderstand, I’m not speaking of moralism, but rather morality. Among other things, that is what informs my world-view, my political philosophy, etc.

I’m not real fond of any of our major political parties, but I have, in the recent past, held my nose and

voted Republican. However, the way things look at present, I’m seriously thinking of voting for gridlock. It may be the best short-term solution to the problem of ever-evaporating individual liberties.

While I happen to be a Christian, I'm somewhat atypical. My beliefs are inconsistent with the religious right, as well as the religious left. In short, I’m not a proselytizer, so suffice it to say: my faith will rarely, if ever,

be the subject of my posts on this particular blog.

I’m happily divorced and the single father of three kids: Kelsey, Levi and Amaris. I’m viagra or cialis a residential architect, primarily focusing on the various classical European styles; those of the 17th through the 19th centuries.

One more thing. I just want to emphasize the fact that I own my life…who owns you?

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