Category Archives: Doublespeak

Anyone Else Object to Being Called a “Human Resource”

Ahhh work, that most marvelous of pursuits that keeps food on the table.

Today was my first official day of work as a full time employee of Gigantomegabankcorp North America, where I have been a contractor for 26 months.

Going from Contractor to FTE means bennies, paid time off (25 days a year actually. Woo hoo), and job security (at least to the degree that it exists anywhere today).

I am officially classified as an “authorized homeworker or telecommuter”, for which I get to work at home; and the bank gets a tax credit, since I’m not out there every day clogging up the roads, and burning up the gas.

Nice deal all around eh?

However, for things such as receiving and filling out and submitting the 400 pages of HR paperwork, you kind of have to be in a physical office location.

…That’s not a joke or an exaggeration by the way. Between the general employment paperwork, Homeland Security paperwork, federal tax paperwork, Arizona tax paperwork, medical insurance, dental insurance, optical insurance, life insurance, AD&D, long term care coverage, healthcare savings account, 401k, employee stock purchase plan, employee credit card, employee checking, savings, and money market accounts, direct deposit, security forms, badge forms, non disclosure form, health and safety forms, electronic and information security forms, building safety forms, employee handbook acknowledgment, sexual harassment policy acknowledgment, terms of use acknowledgment, disciplinary procedures acknowledgment, environmental disclosures, and the checklists to keep track of them all; I had to deal with over 100 form pages requiring filling in, and approximately 300 pages of reference materials.

How is it we make money again?

Of course to fill all of this in, I had to get to the office at 8:30, meet an admin assistant so she could let me in to do my badge paperwork (my old contractor badge is officially no good; I had to get a visitor badge until they could issue me a new “team member” badge) so I could get my badge, and my two large “packets” (I use the term loosely as together they weigh about 5 lbs and are 3 inches thick) of reference materials and forms to fill out.

Amazingly enough, this is after a HUGE paperwork REDUCTION, and moving “most” of the HR, tax, wage, and benefit forms online.

Seriously.

Why exactly I had to go to the office to do this, when all I ended up doing was filling it all in while borrowing someone else’s cubicle, then dropping it into interoffice mail, and faxing copies of my homeland security form…

Oh wait….

..Riiiiiight

I have to do it in the office, so they can get a photocopy of my drivers license and social security card, witnessed by another employee for the homeland security form (Oh and the fax is insufficient, they have to have the hardcopy, but it has to be on file within three days, and it may be delayed so we had to fax it).

Remind me again how we make money… and why it is that we have a “homeland security” department, checking up on my work status?

…Riiiiiiight

Ahhh the joys of working for Gigantomegabankcorp North America in America today.

We ARE in America…

Aren’t we?

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

So-Called, Quote, Candidate McCain

Exhibit A, back in 2006:

I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected

Exhibit B, earlier this month:

We are now going to have the courts flooded with so-called, quote, Habeas Corpus suits against the government, whether it be about the diet, whether it be about the reading material.

Exhibit C, just a few days ago:

I trust the people and not the so-called economists to give the American people a little relief.

Sounds like what people have said about his meanness is true. He can’t seem to oppose a policy or a person without denigrating them using of language of ridicule.

I can only imagine how he’d blow his top if I told him what I thought of all his years of so-called national service in his Senate career.

The Real Reason Why Barack Obama is so Dangerous

I’m sure that like me, many of you have received e-mail forwards that Barack Obama is really a radical Muslim with the express intention of destroying America from the inside*. Snopes, truthorfiction.com, and others have done some fact checking about these e-mails and have found that most of these claims are completely false.

Barack Obama is not dangerous for these reasons. Barack Obama is dangerous because the way so many of the sheeple have fallen under his spell (including many in the MSM). Mark Morford’s article in The San Francisco Chronicle Is Obama an Enlightened Being? Is one frightening example of this:

Barack Obama isn’t really one of us. Not in the normal way, anyway.

[…]

No, it’s not merely his youthful vigor, or handsomeness, or even inspiring rhetoric. It is not fresh ideas or cool charisma or the fact that a black president will be historic and revolutionary in about a thousand different ways. It is something more. Even Bill Clinton, with all his effortless, winking charm, didn’t have what Obama has, which is a sort of powerful luminosity, a unique high-vibration integrity.

Dismiss it all you like, but I’ve heard from far too many enormously smart, wise, spiritually attuned people who’ve been intuitively blown away by Obama’s presence – not speeches, not policies, but sheer presence – to say it’s just a clever marketing ploy, a slick gambit carefully orchestrated by hotshot campaign organizers who, once Obama gets into office, will suddenly turn from perky optimists to vile soul-sucking lobbyist whores, with Obama as their suddenly evil, cackling overlord.

Here’s where it gets gooey. Many spiritually advanced people I know (not coweringly religious, mind you, but deeply spiritual) identify Obama as a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign policies or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet, of relating and connecting and engaging with this bizarre earthly experiment. These kinds of people actually help us evolve. They are philosophers and peacemakers of a very high order, and they speak not just to reason or emotion, but to the soul.

Sounds like a bunch of hippy dippy horse crap to me. I didn’t know we were electing a spiritual leader but to many people, apparently we are.

Let me be completely clear: I’m not arguing some sort of utopian revolution, a big global group hug with Obama as some sort of happy hippie camp counselor. I’m not saying the man’s going to swoop in like a superhero messiah and stop all wars and make the flowers grow and birds sing and solve world hunger and bring puppies to schoolchildren.

You could have fooled me! Which is it Mr. Morford? Is St. Obama going to raise our spiritual awareness and help us evolve or not?

Don’t buy any of it? Think that’s all a bunch of tofu-sucking New Agey bulls– and Obama is really a dangerously elitist political salesman whose inexperience will lead us further into darkness because, when you’re talking national politics, nothing, really, ever changes? I understand. I get it. I often believe it myself.

Not this time.

This is truly frightening. Mr. Morford has drunk the Kool-Aide and joined the throngs of others who faint in his very presence. It sure is going to be entertaining when Morford and his ilk wake up four years from now only to discover that Barack Obama was really “one of us” all along.

No, Barack Obama is not dangerous because he intends to make America an Islamic theocracy; he would do nothing of the sort. Obama has good intentions for America and he believes that his socialistic vision for America will change America for the better. But as we should all be aware, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

After Thought
This post reminds me of a song by Megadeth called “Symphony of Destruction” which was released during the 1992 campaign. Here are the lyrics:

You take a mortal man,
And put him in control
Watch him become a god,
Watch peoples heads aroll
Aroll…

/chorus/
Just like the pied piper
Led rats through the streets
We dance like marionettes,
Swaying to the symphony…
Of destruction

Acting like a robot,
Its metal brain corrodes.
You try to take its pulse,
Before the head explodes.
Explodes…

/chorus/

The earth starts to rumble
World powers fall
Awarring for the heavens,
A peaceful man stands tall
Tall…

/chorus/

I don’t know what Dave Mustaine (lead singer/backup guitarist and founder of Megadeth) thinks about Barack Obama, but the description of a “pied piper” is a perfect description of Obama in my mind. The sheeple love him. If the Republicans think they can win this campaign by frightening the American people into believing that Obama is a radical Muslim, they are very sadly mistaken. These idiotic “fist bump” and the “baby mama” comments are only going to make Obama seem like an even more sympathetic figure.

» Read more

Hillary Clinton: Second Amendment Defender?

The Hillary Clinton campaign has sent out mailers criticizing Barack Obama for trying to have it both ways on the Second Amendment. The mailer reads as follows:

These are all valid criticisms of Barack Obama; I have made some of these very criticisms myself (here, and here). But the source of these criticisms (Hillary Clinton) seems very strange to me. Barack Obama could very easily ask the same question: What does Hillary Clinton really believe?

Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t Hillary Clinton’s husband Bill Clinton sign the Brady Bill into law? Maybe this is another example of her disagreeing with the policies of her husband’s administration, such as with NAFTA (if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you).

Apparently, I’m not the only one who is skeptical of Hillary Clinton’s sudden bid to become the NRA’s next president (she might as well, she doesn’t have any realistic chance of winning the Democrat nomination for president). Ben Smith writes:

The piece [the mailer as shown above] is particularly striking coming from Clinton, who has been seen for most of her career as a firm advocate of gun control, but more recently has emerged — without dramatically shifting her stance on specific issues — as a defender of the Second Amendment who fondly recalled being taught to shoot by her grandfather in Scranton.

Hillary Clinton: Second Amendment Defender? How stupid does she really think we are?

President Bush Is A Liar And A Coward

On Thursday, President Bush decided to offer some encouragement to the troops in the war Afghanistan (a war he has often neglected in favor of his disastrous vanity project in Iraq) by offering this bon mot on his personal feelings about the mission and the service rendered by our armed forces:

I must say, I’m a little envious. If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed. It must be exciting for you … in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You’re really making history, and thanks.

Often this is the sort of wistful atta-boy mentality one will find stated in any number of mediums…old war movies,  recruiting posters, articles by crappy journalists, pro-war speeches by notable personalities, etc.  I’ve heard it myself a few times, usually whenever somebody I’ve recently met who’s never served in the military finds out that I’m a veteran and they’re trying to stretch a polite compliment into personal bonding.  Usually it’s not so much offensive as it is thoughtless, but it never ceases to grate on me nonetheless…partly because it smacks of sucking up (a character trait I can’t abide); partly because if you ask the follow-up question of why they didn’t follow through on their desire to serve their response is either an awkward silence or a string of transparent rationalizations that boil down to “I wasn’t actually considering it.” (exposing them as rather crappy and dishonest suck-ups); but mainly because I tend to have little patience with or respect for people who wholeheartedly rah-rah the idea of jumping quickly into any war so long as people other than themselves are the ones getting shot at. 

While part of that attitude is obviously due to my belief in the benefits of individual choice and my libertarian distrusts of the idealism of politicians and the wisdom of government planning, part of that dislike is very much a factor of realizing, from a personal perspective, just how destructive and long-lasting the damage of wars are…particularly wars that have little or no coherent purpose any more.  When Bush talks about the “fantastic experience on the frontlines” I don’t envision WWII Rangers scaling the cliffs of Normandy on D-Day or John Wayne gunning down swarms of Japanese troops on Iwo Jima, I think about what happens to those men and women Bush “envies” after the “glory” of combat is a distant memory to the uninvolved bystanders.  I think about one of my former soldiers whose marriage was falling apart after he re-deployed because his post-traumatic stress disorder made it almost impossible for him to relate to his wife and his nightmares of having to shoot a 12-year old kid in the face in Afghanistan wouldn’t let him sleep more than an hour or two a night, but who was scared of seeking psychiatric help because his previous unit punished people for doing so.  I think about my best friend Tom who’s racked with guilt because he, while trying to do a counter-fire mission in reaction to an insurgent attack, ended up dropping artillery rounds on an Iraqi family thanks to receiving a bad set of coordinates and a freakish wind change.  I think about the time that an officer who didn’t know anything about intel, and wasn’t in the mood to hear one of her NCOs point out that she was factually mistaken, cherry-picked one of my reports to authorize an A-10 strike that killed nine little kids and zero insurgents because she thought taking decisive action would look good on her rating.  And I look at the fact that, almost seven years down the road, we’ve still yet to accomplish the one primary goal we went to Afghanistan to accomplish, or to put forth any realistic strategy for “victory” Iraq (besides stalling tactics) and I wonder, “What was the point?”

I also think about the injured or disabled vets who come back from this war who will end up needing the assistance of the often substandard military medical system, sometimes for the rest of their lives.  Or the vets who will go undiagnosed for psychiatric problems and end up on the streets once they’re out of the service and aren’t the government’s “problem” anymore.  Or my cousin Mike, an infantryman in Vietnam, who, 40 years after serving, still struggles with a case of PTSD so severe that he can’t discuss what happened to him back then without having nightmares for a week now and which has made him the proud recipient of a couple of heart attacks.  And I wonder if that’s what the current generation has to look forward to in 40 years and whether it will all have been worth it for what we’ll have actually accomplished.  Somehow, I doubt it.

War is hell, and not just for the people who “deserve” it.  People like Bush, who has some rather odd impressions of combat and actually ducked the chance to serve in his generation’s “romantic” war (which would make his comment slightly less than honest) never seem to figure that out.  But then, why should they?  They’re rarely the ones with something to lose.  The same principle that Milton Friedman once applied to other peoples’ money also applies to other peoples’ lives…nobody will spend what’s yours as carefully as you do.  And nobody is as willing to avoid an unnecessary war as much as someone who understands what it actually costs.  Sadly, that’s wisdom rarely found among the ranks of the chickenhawks.

I Can’t Think Of A Catchy Title

I suppose the best way to describe myself would be to say that I have a problem with authority. I’ve always disliked when people told me what to do, even as a young child, and I’ve always preferred to find my own path through life and make my own decisions, even if it occasionally went against the conventional wisdom and sometimes worked to my short-term disadvantage. My dad said I inherited it from him, but that I’ve taken it to a whole new level. When I was young I wanted to be a journalist, until I got to college and realized that journalism was less about the search for objective truth than it was about writing the stories that best suited your employer’s interests, whether they were true or not (which didn’t sit well with me at all). So I drifted aimlessly through a couple of years of college as an indifferent (often drunk) student, unsure of what to do with myself until one of my fraternity brothers gave me a copy of “The Fountainhead” and I got hooked on the ideas that success and a refusal to conform to societal standards were not mutally exclusive, and that the greatest evil in the world was society and government’s failure to recognize or accept individuality and individual freedom as a strength, not a weakness. So I threw myself into studying politics and history, worked in a few political campaigns after college, had some success, and thought about doing a career in politics until I realized that most of the people I knew who had never had a career outside of politics had no comprehension of how the real world actually worked and tended to make a lot of bad, self-absorbed decisions that rarely helped the people they claimed to be representing.

That didn’t sit well with me either, so I decided to put any thoughts of going into politics on hold until I’d actually had a life and possibly a real career, and I spent the next couple of years drifting between a series of random yet educational jobs (debt collector, deliveryman, computer salesman, repo man, dairy worker) that taught me the value of hard work, personal responsibility and the financial benefits of dining at Taco John’s on Tuesday nights (2 tacos for a buck) when money got tight.

After awhile, however, the desire to see the world (and the need for a more consistent and slightly larger paycheck) convinced me to join the Army, where I spent ten years traveling around the world on the government dime working as an intelligence analyst. I generally enjoyed my time in the military, despite the aforementioned problem with authority (which wasn’t as much of an issue in the military as many people might think it would be), and I got to see that the decisions our political leaders make were sometimes frivolous, often ill-informed, and always had unforeseen repercussions down the road…especially on the soldiers tasked with implementing those decisions. I was fortunate enough to spend most of my 10 years in the military doing jobs I enjoyed, traveling to countries that I always wanted to see (Scotland is the greatest place in the world to hang out, Afghanistan is very underrated) and working with people I liked and respected, until I finally decided that at 35 it was time to move into a job where I didn’t have the threat of relocation lying over my head every two or three years, where I didn’t have to worry about my friends being blown up, and where I didn’t have to work in any capacity for George W. Bush.

I work now for a financial company in Kansas where I’m responsible for overseeing, pricing and maintaining farms, commercial and residential properties, mineral assets, insurance policies, annuities, etc. In my spare time I like to read books on economics, history, and politics (I’m preparing to tackle Murray Rothbard’s “Man, Economy & State” and Von Mises’ “Human Action”…should take me about a year at the rate I’m currently finishing books), watch movies, and destroy posers on “Halo 3″ (where I’m signed in under “UCrawford” for anyone interested in taking a shot at me some time). I used to play rugby until age, inconsistent conditioning, and a string of gradually worsening injuries finally convinced me to quit. I’m a rabid fan of the Kansas Jayhawks in general and their basketball and football programs in particular and I’m also a devoted fan of the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals. I’m also fond of going online and debating/picking fights with people on the merits of the philosophy of individual freedom…sometimes to the point of being an asshole (but hopefully a reasonably well-informed asshole). I’ve been a big fan of The Liberty Papers ever since finding it online, I respect the body of work they’ve put out, and I’m honored that Brad Warbiany invited me to join his jolly band of freedom fighters. So cheers, Brad, and to everyone else I look forward to reaching consensus or locking horns with you in the near future.

More on Obama’s Doublespeak

Last week I wrote a post about how Barack Obama was trying to have it both ways on the Second Amendment. Ken Blackwell at Townhall.com, however, believes that Obama’s doublespeak about the Second Amendment (among some of Obama’s other statements) reveals a disturbing pattern in his attitudes about individual rights and a host of other issues:

Yet while Mr. Obama says he supports your Second Amendment rights, he also says he supports that gun ban. He went on to say that local governments should be able to enact any gun control laws they consider necessary to end gun violence, and that any such measures are constitutional.
What kind of gun rights does he supposedly support? What kind of “right” do you have, when the government can completely rob you of 100% of the exercise of that right, anytime they decide they have a good reason?

That’s like saying you have the right to worship as you choose, but the government has the power to ban attending church. Or that you have the right to free speech, but that government has the power to stop you from speaking about any subject it wants. Or that you have the right against unreasonable searches and seizures, but that anything the government wants to search at your house is automatically reasonable.

A right that the government can completely take away at any time is no right at all.

So to say that the Second Amendment means you can own guns, but that the city where you live can ban all gun ownership, then you have no Second Amendment rights at all.

I truly hope that someone will have an opportunity to ask Obama if he really believes that local governments can toss aside the Constitution whenever convenient (though I have a hard time believing that Obama would restrict federal agents to the Constitution while giving local law enforcement carte blanche to violate basic civil liberties of citizens). As if doublespeak on the Constitution wasn’t enough, we can expect doublespeak on many other issues which concern such issues as the economy, terrorism, and growing government.

The article continues:

This is what Americans could expect from a President Obama. He’ll wax eloquent about your rights, but then say government can take away whatever part of them—or all of them—that it wants.

It’s the disturbing pattern that’s starting to emerge of Mr. Obama announcing a principle or a goal, then endorsing policies that are the exact opposite of what would promote that principle or goal. It’s political-doublespeak. It’s Orwellian. In fact, it’s Clintonian.

Look for this pattern across the board. This is how he’ll empower private markets, by increasing government control. He’ll preserve our private-market healthcare system, by having government take it over. He’ll lower taxes, by raising them. He’ll cut government, by increasing government spending. He’ll create jobs, by raising taxes and fees on business […]

I’m sure there will be even more Obama doublespeak as the campaign wears on. I wouldn’t be too surprised if he proposed a new cabinet level position such as The Ministry Department of Truth.

Obama Tries to Have it Both Ways on the Second Amendment

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Barack Obama said Friday that the country must do “whatever it takes” to eradicate gun violence following a campus shooting in his home state, but he believes in an individual’s right to bear arms.

Obama said he spoke to Northern Illinois University’s president Friday morning by phone and offered whatever help his Senate office could provide in the investigation and improving campus security. The Democratic presidential candidate spoke about the Illinois shooting to reporters while campaigning in neighboring Wisconsin.

The senator, a former constitutional law instructor, said some scholars argue the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees gun ownerships only to militias, but he believes it grants individual gun rights.

When I ran across the headline’s article “Obama supports individual gun rights” in The Rocky Mountain News, I knew I had to read further. So far, so good…so what:

“I think there is an individual right to bear arms, but it’s subject to commonsense regulation” like background checks, [Obama] said during a news conference.”

He said he would support federal legislation based on a California law that would facilitate immediate tracing of bullets used in a crime. He said even though the California law was passed over the strong objection of the National Rifle Association, he thinks it’s the type of law that gun owners and crime victims can get behind.

To be honest, I don’t know anything about this particular policy [if anyone can give me a Cliff’s Notes version, please fill me in]. Being able to trace bullets used in a crime back to a particular firearm…I thought this was already an accepted, common practice? I must be missing something; clearly if the NRA is opposed to this policy maybe we should look at it.

So Obama believes that the right to bear arms is an individual right (more than we can say about most Democrats) but also believes in “common sense regulation.” Surely, Obama would not consider the D.C. gun ban to be common sense…or would he?

Although Obama supports gun control, while campaigning in gun-friendly Idaho earlier this month, he said he does not intend to take away people’s guns.

At his news conference, he voiced support for the District of Columbia’s ban on handguns, which is scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court next month.

“The notion that somehow local jurisdictions can’t initiate gun safety laws to deal with gang bangers and random shootings on the street isn’t born [sic] out by our Constitution,” Obama said.

Now I’m really confused! The only thing I can figure is that Obama’s views on gun rights are based on what he thinks his supporters want to hear at any given moment (in other words, he’s being a politician). Obama’s comments also reveal a fundamental misunderstanding about the Constitution on his part. The right to bear arms, or any of the other rights found in the Constitution for that matter, are not “born out” of the Constitution; the Constitution merely recognizes individual rights which already exist.

Given these seemingly contradictory statements, one wonders what policies an Obama administration would support and what sort of judicial appointments Obama would make with regard to the 2nd Amendment.

***Correction***

Brad pointed out that the journalist likely misinterpreted Obama’s statement:

The notion that somehow local jurisdictions can’t initiate gun safety laws to deal with gang bangers and random shootings on the street isn’t born [sic] out by our Constitution.

What Obama likely meant was “borne out by our Constitution” meaning “supported by our Constitution” rather than “born of our Constitution.” While Brad and I both disagree with Obama on this point even as he likely intended it, I think it’s important that we try to represent the senator’s remarks accurately.

Elsewhere in the article there was this:

The senator, a former constitutional law instructor, said some scholars argue the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees gun ownerships only to militias, but he believes it grants individual gun rights.

Here again, it’s the journalist’s interpretation (Nedra Pickler in this case) of what she thought Obama said. Hopefully, Obama knows better since he is a former constitutional law instructor (though I’m sure that there are many constitutional law instructors who actually do believe the Constitution grants rights rather than recognizes their existence). The only way to determine if the journalist correctly interpreted Obama’s speech would be to find a transcript of the speech. So far, I have been unable to find one but when I do I will link the transcript to this post so readers can decide for themselves whether Pickler’s interpretation of Obama’s speech is correct or not.

Al-Qaeda’s “Number Three Man” Killed…Again

I think this brings us up to seven or eight “number threes” killed in the al-Qaeda hierachy since 2001.  Must be a hell of a corporate flow chart they have.  I wonder what country the next guy will be situated in when our government decides to “promote” him.  Somehow I think it will end up being whatever country the president’s taking the most criticism on that particular day.

 Update:  According to the updated version of CNN’s story on the death of al-Qaeda “number three” Abu Laith al-Libi:

In October, the U.S. military’s anti-terror Combined Joint Task Force-82 announced rewards ranging from $20,000 to $200,000 for al-Libi and 11 other mid-level Taliban and al Qaeda leaders.  The military distributed posters and billboards with pictures and names of the insurgents around eastern Afghanistan.  Al-Libi and the others were described at the time by CJTF-82 spokesman Maj. Chris Belcher as “mid-level bad guys.” (emphasis mine)

Translation:  “Mid-level” is not generally a classification for a high-value target, which means there’s pretty much no difference between al-Qaeda’s recently deceased “number three man” and a couple dozen other schmucks running around out there on the AF/PAK border except that the military and the press happened to have a photo and a name for this guy.

I Can’t Think Of A Catchy Title

I suppose the best way to describe myself would be to say that I have a problem with authority. I’ve always disliked when people told me what to do, even as a young child, and I’ve always preferred to find my own path through life and make my own decisions, even if it occasionally went against the conventional wisdom and sometimes worked to my short-term disadvantage. My dad said I inherited it from him, but that I’ve taken it to a whole new level. When I was young I wanted to be a journalist, until I got to college and realized that journalism was less about the search for objective truth than it was about writing the stories that best suited your employer’s interests, whether they were true or not (which didn’t sit well with me at all). So I drifted aimlessly through a couple of years of college as an indifferent (often drunk) student, unsure of what to do with myself until one of my fraternity brothers gave me a copy of “The Fountainhead” and I got hooked on the ideas that success and a refusal to conform to societal standards were not mutally exclusive, and that the greatest evil in the world was society and government’s failure to recognize or accept individuality and individual freedom as a strength, not a weakness. So I threw myself into studying politics and history, worked in a few political campaigns after college, had some success, and thought about doing a career in politics until I realized that most of the people I knew who had never had a career outside of politics had no comprehension of how the real world actually worked and tended to make a lot of bad, self-absorbed decisions that rarely helped the people they claimed to be representing.

That didn’t sit well with me either, so I decided to put any thoughts of going into politics on hold until I’d actually had a life and possibly a real career, and I spent the next couple of years drifting between a series of random yet educational jobs (debt collector, deliveryman, computer salesman, repo man, dairy worker) that taught me the value of hard work, personal responsibility and the financial benefits of dining at Taco John’s on Tuesday nights (2 tacos for a buck) when money got tight.

After awhile, however, the desire to see the world (and the need for a more consistent and slightly larger paycheck) convinced me to join the Army, where I spent ten years traveling around the world on the government dime working as an intelligence analyst. I generally enjoyed my time in the military, despite the aforementioned problem with authority (which wasn’t as much of an issue in the military as many people might think it would be), and I got to see that the decisions our political leaders make were sometimes frivolous, often ill-informed, and always had unforeseen repercussions down the road…especially on the soldiers tasked with implementing those decisions. I was fortunate enough to spend most of my 10 years in the military doing jobs I enjoyed, traveling to countries that I always wanted to see (Scotland is the greatest place in the world to hang out, Afghanistan is very underrated) and working with people I liked and respected, until I finally decided that at 35 it was time to move into a job where I didn’t have the threat of relocation lying over my head every two or three years, where I didn’t have to worry about my friends being blown up, and where I didn’t have to work in any capacity for George W. Bush.

I work now for a financial company in Kansas where I’m responsible for overseeing, pricing and maintaining farms, commercial and residential properties, mineral assets, insurance policies, annuities, etc. In my spare time I like to read books on economics, history, and politics (I’m preparing to tackle Murray Rothbard’s “Man, Economy & State” and Von Mises’ “Human Action”…should take me about a year at the rate I’m currently finishing books), watch movies, and destroy posers on “Halo 3″ (where I’m signed in under “UCrawford” for anyone interested in taking a shot at me some time). I used to play rugby until age, inconsistent conditioning, and a string of gradually worsening injuries finally convinced me to quit. I’m a rabid fan of the Kansas Jayhawks in general and their basketball and football programs in particular and I’m also a devoted fan of the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals. I’m also fond of going online and debating/picking fights with people on the merits of the philosophy of individual freedom…sometimes to the point of being an asshole (but hopefully a reasonably well-informed asshole). I’ve been a big fan of The Liberty Papers ever since finding it online, I respect the body of work they’ve put out, and I’m honored that Brad Warbiany invited me to join his jolly band of freedom fighters. So cheers, Brad, and to everyone else I look forward to reaching consensus or locking horns with you in the near future.

Federal Driver’s Licenses: The Government’s New Plan To Screw Up Your Life

The brainiacs who’ve made air travel almost as fun as a 10-hour Coca-Cola enema have unveiled their new master plan for creating an efficient security system…federally mandated drivers licenses for everybody under the age of 50, which all states will be forced to comply with by 2011, whether they’re capable or doing so or not, if the Department of Homeland Security gets its way.  The rationalization for this plan, of course, is the same as that for any authoritarian program…a centrally mandated, controlled, and issued driver’s license will make it more difficult for con artists, drug traffickers, illegal immigrants, or terrorists to gain access to identification that could compromise our security. 

What goes unsaid, of course, is that such a program will inevitably make it more difficult for everyone else to get a driver’s license as well.  Do you like the two-hour wait at your state DMV every time you have to renew your driver’s license?  You can bet it’s going to be longer once every application has to run through a federal database that’s responsible for processing 50 times as many applications which will need to be cross-checked against watchlists of known terrorists, criminals, or illegal aliens.  Considering how flawlessly this approach has worked for the FAA with their no-fly lists, I’m finding it a little hard to believe that the process will run more efficiently or effectively than it does now, or that you’ll be getting your new driver’s license back on the same day that you’ve applied for it (as you can now).  Especially since the systems and processes the feds use to cross-reference are notoriously buggy.

Of course now if you go to the DMV and the computers are down, the inconveniences are relatively minimal.  You may have to come back the next day and endure another two hour wait, and you have to be a bit more careful about any traffic violations lest you get busted for driving on an expired license but you’ll generally be able to go about your life relatively freely.  Under the feds’ new program, however, if you aren’t able to procure your license for reasons beyond your control, or if you’re actually denied a license you won’t be able to enter a federal building, board an airplane, open a bank account, buy a gun, vote, verify your identity when using a credit or debit card, or do anything else that’s significantly affiliated with the federal government.  Basically, the Real ID program will effectively strip anyone who doesn’t have a federally-issued ID card of their citizenship or ability to even function in everyday society.

Perhaps the people who oppose Real ID are being unfair and overly paranoid, but considering that the Bush’s new Czar of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, issues absolute gibberish like this…

“We worked very closely with the states in terms of developing a plan that I think will be inexpensive, reasonable to implement and produce the results,” he said. “This is a win-win. As long as people use driver’s licenses to identify themselves for whatever reason there’s no reason for those licenses to be easily counterfeited or tampered with.”

…to explain his position, somehow I don’t think that their fears are that insane, especially since the creation of an identification card that cannot be forged is about as likely as the ability to corporeally exist without occupying space.  And spending the better part of ten years watching my own little section of the federal government (the U.S. Army) screw up even the most basic of background checks has led me to believe that the feds are generally incapable of handling and should rarely, if ever, be entrusted with this sort of authority.

Update:  A commenter who expanded on this on his own site raised one very valid point that I think merits highlighting: 

It’s funny.  They keep calling it a “driver’s license,” but they never mention anything about driving.

Update 2:  Apparently 17 states have already objected to the Real ID plan. 

I Can’t Think Of A Catchy Title

I suppose the best way to describe myself would be to say that I have a problem with authority. I’ve always disliked when people told me what to do, even as a young child, and I’ve always preferred to find my own path through life and make my own decisions, even if it occasionally went against the conventional wisdom and sometimes worked to my short-term disadvantage. My dad said I inherited it from him, but that I’ve taken it to a whole new level. When I was young I wanted to be a journalist, until I got to college and realized that journalism was less about the search for objective truth than it was about writing the stories that best suited your employer’s interests, whether they were true or not (which didn’t sit well with me at all). So I drifted aimlessly through a couple of years of college as an indifferent (often drunk) student, unsure of what to do with myself until one of my fraternity brothers gave me a copy of “The Fountainhead” and I got hooked on the ideas that success and a refusal to conform to societal standards were not mutally exclusive, and that the greatest evil in the world was society and government’s failure to recognize or accept individuality and individual freedom as a strength, not a weakness. So I threw myself into studying politics and history, worked in a few political campaigns after college, had some success, and thought about doing a career in politics until I realized that most of the people I knew who had never had a career outside of politics had no comprehension of how the real world actually worked and tended to make a lot of bad, self-absorbed decisions that rarely helped the people they claimed to be representing.

That didn’t sit well with me either, so I decided to put any thoughts of going into politics on hold until I’d actually had a life and possibly a real career, and I spent the next couple of years drifting between a series of random yet educational jobs (debt collector, deliveryman, computer salesman, repo man, dairy worker) that taught me the value of hard work, personal responsibility and the financial benefits of dining at Taco John’s on Tuesday nights (2 tacos for a buck) when money got tight.

After awhile, however, the desire to see the world (and the need for a more consistent and slightly larger paycheck) convinced me to join the Army, where I spent ten years traveling around the world on the government dime working as an intelligence analyst. I generally enjoyed my time in the military, despite the aforementioned problem with authority (which wasn’t as much of an issue in the military as many people might think it would be), and I got to see that the decisions our political leaders make were sometimes frivolous, often ill-informed, and always had unforeseen repercussions down the road…especially on the soldiers tasked with implementing those decisions. I was fortunate enough to spend most of my 10 years in the military doing jobs I enjoyed, traveling to countries that I always wanted to see (Scotland is the greatest place in the world to hang out, Afghanistan is very underrated) and working with people I liked and respected, until I finally decided that at 35 it was time to move into a job where I didn’t have the threat of relocation lying over my head every two or three years, where I didn’t have to worry about my friends being blown up, and where I didn’t have to work in any capacity for George W. Bush.

I work now for a financial company in Kansas where I’m responsible for overseeing, pricing and maintaining farms, commercial and residential properties, mineral assets, insurance policies, annuities, etc. In my spare time I like to read books on economics, history, and politics (I’m preparing to tackle Murray Rothbard’s “Man, Economy & State” and Von Mises’ “Human Action”…should take me about a year at the rate I’m currently finishing books), watch movies, and destroy posers on “Halo 3″ (where I’m signed in under “UCrawford” for anyone interested in taking a shot at me some time). I used to play rugby until age, inconsistent conditioning, and a string of gradually worsening injuries finally convinced me to quit. I’m a rabid fan of the Kansas Jayhawks in general and their basketball and football programs in particular and I’m also a devoted fan of the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals. I’m also fond of going online and debating/picking fights with people on the merits of the philosophy of individual freedom…sometimes to the point of being an asshole (but hopefully a reasonably well-informed asshole). I’ve been a big fan of The Liberty Papers ever since finding it online, I respect the body of work they’ve put out, and I’m honored that Brad Warbiany invited me to join his jolly band of freedom fighters. So cheers, Brad, and to everyone else I look forward to reaching consensus or locking horns with you in the near future.

Double-Speak Definition Of The Day

Today’s double-speak is: “Al-Qaeda’s Number 3 Man”

A hierarchical description applied to a member of an organization that has no clearly defined hierarchy beyond the top two members.  This term is popular with the current administration whenever they kill a probable terrorist whose body the military was able to identify in a timely fashion and who had enough of a profile with the media so that his death was notable (i.e. “The death of (insert deceased’s name) represents a turning point in our efforts here in (insert country name) because he was al-Qaeda’s number 3 man.”) despite the tendency of said individual’s death to have little to no meaningful impact on our efforts in the Global War On Terror.  Also used to diffuse criticism of human rights violations committed by the U.S. government against detainees by attaching a superficial sense of importance or urgency to the information said interrogation suspect possesses (e.g. Sheikh Khalid Mohammad), despite a continuing inability of the government to demonstrate that said human rights abuses provided any tangible benefits in regards to the Global War on Terror beyond getting people off the President’s back.

I Can’t Think Of A Catchy Title

I suppose the best way to describe myself would be to say that I have a problem with authority. I’ve always disliked when people told me what to do, even as a young child, and I’ve always preferred to find my own path through life and make my own decisions, even if it occasionally went against the conventional wisdom and sometimes worked to my short-term disadvantage. My dad said I inherited it from him, but that I’ve taken it to a whole new level. When I was young I wanted to be a journalist, until I got to college and realized that journalism was less about the search for objective truth than it was about writing the stories that best suited your employer’s interests, whether they were true or not (which didn’t sit well with me at all). So I drifted aimlessly through a couple of years of college as an indifferent (often drunk) student, unsure of what to do with myself until one of my fraternity brothers gave me a copy of “The Fountainhead” and I got hooked on the ideas that success and a refusal to conform to societal standards were not mutally exclusive, and that the greatest evil in the world was society and government’s failure to recognize or accept individuality and individual freedom as a strength, not a weakness. So I threw myself into studying politics and history, worked in a few political campaigns after college, had some success, and thought about doing a career in politics until I realized that most of the people I knew who had never had a career outside of politics had no comprehension of how the real world actually worked and tended to make a lot of bad, self-absorbed decisions that rarely helped the people they claimed to be representing.

That didn’t sit well with me either, so I decided to put any thoughts of going into politics on hold until I’d actually had a life and possibly a real career, and I spent the next couple of years drifting between a series of random yet educational jobs (debt collector, deliveryman, computer salesman, repo man, dairy worker) that taught me the value of hard work, personal responsibility and the financial benefits of dining at Taco John’s on Tuesday nights (2 tacos for a buck) when money got tight.

After awhile, however, the desire to see the world (and the need for a more consistent and slightly larger paycheck) convinced me to join the Army, where I spent ten years traveling around the world on the government dime working as an intelligence analyst. I generally enjoyed my time in the military, despite the aforementioned problem with authority (which wasn’t as much of an issue in the military as many people might think it would be), and I got to see that the decisions our political leaders make were sometimes frivolous, often ill-informed, and always had unforeseen repercussions down the road…especially on the soldiers tasked with implementing those decisions. I was fortunate enough to spend most of my 10 years in the military doing jobs I enjoyed, traveling to countries that I always wanted to see (Scotland is the greatest place in the world to hang out, Afghanistan is very underrated) and working with people I liked and respected, until I finally decided that at 35 it was time to move into a job where I didn’t have the threat of relocation lying over my head every two or three years, where I didn’t have to worry about my friends being blown up, and where I didn’t have to work in any capacity for George W. Bush.

I work now for a financial company in Kansas where I’m responsible for overseeing, pricing and maintaining farms, commercial and residential properties, mineral assets, insurance policies, annuities, etc. In my spare time I like to read books on economics, history, and politics (I’m preparing to tackle Murray Rothbard’s “Man, Economy & State” and Von Mises’ “Human Action”…should take me about a year at the rate I’m currently finishing books), watch movies, and destroy posers on “Halo 3″ (where I’m signed in under “UCrawford” for anyone interested in taking a shot at me some time). I used to play rugby until age, inconsistent conditioning, and a string of gradually worsening injuries finally convinced me to quit. I’m a rabid fan of the Kansas Jayhawks in general and their basketball and football programs in particular and I’m also a devoted fan of the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals. I’m also fond of going online and debating/picking fights with people on the merits of the philosophy of individual freedom…sometimes to the point of being an asshole (but hopefully a reasonably well-informed asshole). I’ve been a big fan of The Liberty Papers ever since finding it online, I respect the body of work they’ve put out, and I’m honored that Brad Warbiany invited me to join his jolly band of freedom fighters. So cheers, Brad, and to everyone else I look forward to reaching consensus or locking horns with you in the near future.

Doublespeak Definition Of The Day

Today’s word is bipartisan:

The word is used to describe a situation where two parties have ideas that are so atrocious individually that they could never be supported, but so important to the parties that they cannot be abandoned. Thus the parties compromise and both get what they want. The Republicans get what they want, and the Democrats get what they want, and the taxpayer gets the bill.

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