Category Archives: Political Correctness

Who Wrote the Ron Paul Survival Report? Will He Do the Honorable Thing and Step Forward?

On the eve of the New Hampshire primary a staffer made allegations accusing Ron Paul of consorting and collaborating with racists. The first hint came with this interview on the Tucker Carlson show:

This was followed by an article published today:

Angry White Man: The bigoted past of Ron Paul. by James Kirchick

The thesis of the article is:

the newsletters I saw all had one thing in common: They were published under a banner containing Paul’s name, and the articles (except for one special edition of a newsletter that contained the byline of another writer) seem designed to create the impression that they were written by him–and reflected his views. What they reveal are decades worth of obsession with conspiracies, sympathy for the right-wing militia movement, and deeply held bigotry against blacks, Jews, and gays. In short, they suggest that Ron Paul is not the plain-speaking antiwar activist his supporters believe they are backing–but rather a member in good standing of some of the oldest and ugliest traditions in American politics.

Excerpts from the newsletter may be found here

Ron Paul’s campaign released a statement disowning much of the racist/homophobic content here:

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – In response to an article published by The New Republic, Ron Paul issued the following statement:
“The quotations in The New Republic article are not mine and do not represent what I believe or have ever believed. I have never uttered such words and denounce such small-minded thoughts.
“In fact, I have always agreed with Martin Luther King, Jr. that we should only be concerned with the content of a person’s character, not the color of their skin. As I stated on the floor of the U.S. House on April 20, 1999: ‘I rise in great respect for the courage and high ideals of Rosa Parks who stood steadfastly for the rights of individuals against unjust laws and oppressive governmental policies.’
“This story is old news and has been rehashed for over a decade. It’s once again being resurrected for obvious political reasons on the day of the New Hampshire primary.
“When I was out of Congress and practicing medicine full-time, a newsletter was published under my name that I did not edit. Several writers contributed to the product. For over a decade, I have publically taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name.”

While it is clear to me that Ron Paul did not write these newsletters, someone close to him did. The writing style is completely different from that of Ron Paul. Moreover, it is clear to me that the author views himself to be in the midst of an apocalyptic culture war. Based on Ron Paul’s easygoing reaction to support from with strippers and marijuana growers, it is clear to me that Ron Paul does not share this view.

The big question is, who wrote these letters? Ron Paul is, either out of shame or friendship, keeping the name(s) a secret. While there is a sort of honor to keeping a confidence regardless of the personal consequences, Ron Paul is risking taking the winds out of the sails of his movement at a critical juncture by doing so. I firmly believe that Ron Paul, while a gentlemen and a man of honor, is yet again the victim of extremely poor judgment of the character of his associates. His employment of Eric Dondero, his long association with Gary North all speak to this.

The time has come for the author of the newsletters, whoever he is, to step forward and take the heat. This author used Ron Paul’s name to advance his cultural agenda rather than Ron Paul’s economic agenda. The time has come for him to take responsibility for his actions and to publicly explain how these articles ended up with Ron Paul’s name on them. If Ron Paul approved of them, then fine, Ron Paul will justifiably suffer the consequences. But if, as I suspect, the author was taking advantage of the good doctor, honor demands that he set the record straight.

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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Iowa’s Pink Locker Room — Federal Issue?

Many years ago, coach Hayden Fry of the Iowa Hawkeyes chose to paint the visiting team’s locker room pink. In the world of big-time college football, he believed that putting his opponents into a pink locker room would pacify them and give the Hawkeyes a better chance for victory.

Such a sentiment, though, doesn’t quite fly in the “enlightened” world found on college campuses today:

A former University of Iowa law professor plans to file a Title IX complaint alleging the University of Iowa’s insistence to maintain Kinnick Stadium’s pink locker room is ‘‘a civil rights issue.’’

Jill Gaulding, who left Iowa in 2005 and practices law in Minnesota, led a protest Nov. 17 outside Kinnick Stadium and gathered signatures for a petition to change the locker room.

She said she plans to file the federal complaint ‘‘in the next several weeks.’’

‘‘I’m interested in asking the Office for Civil Rights to investigate, and if they find that there’s a problem — which I hope that they will — we’ll see what happens then,’’ she said.

In 1979, former Iowa Coach Hayden Fry painted the visiting locker room pink for two primary reasons. He claimed the color has a passive effect on opponents. And, according to his biography, ‘‘pink is a often found in girls’ bedrooms, and because of that some consider it a sissy color.’’

Gaulding contends the pink locker room represents a harmful message ‘‘because of the impact it can have in our brains.’’

So we’ll go crying to the feds. We’ll define ourselves by our surroundings, and if they’re not exactly how we think is fair, we’ll run to the authorities to “make the bad men stop”. Just think what impact that lesson will have in our brains!

The color of a locker room is not against any rule of football or the NCAA. For opposing players, it should be seen as a fair bit of “psychological warfare”, and addressed as such. For a good coach or a good team, it can be used as a motivating factor to beat the team that you’re facing. The coach, for example, could explain to his players that it’s a sign of Iowa’s disrespect, motivating them to prove themselves. Which is exactly what I think would be the response to this:

‘‘Well, ask a question of your readers about whether Iowa should hang a banner across the opposing team’s locker room that said you’re a bunch of sissies,’’ she said. ‘‘Because if you think there might be a problem with that, then you should agree that there might be a problem with the pink locker room.’’

Oppose it? I’m guessing any opposing coaches would love to walk into the locker room and see that. College football is a highly emotional game, and if you really want to get a 20-year-old testosterone-fueled athlete to give his all in a game, trying to attack his manhood is a pretty simple factor. As a Purdue fan, I would think that the Boilermakers would be motivated by such a banner, not cowed into submission.

There are a lot of lessons that our young people need to learn before they enter real life. I’d say one of the most important is that often the world doesn’t quite do exactly what you like, but that you should suck it up and win anyway. It may take the form of an opposing team having a pink locker room, or it may have to do with a coworker who tries to take credit for your accomplishments to further his own career at your expense. Running to the feds might get your locker room fixed, but it will make you look like a crybaby. Running to human resources might get your coworker reprimanded, but it will destroy the level of respect that most of your other coworkers have for you.

The feds have no place in this, although I can’t say they’ll keep their noses out of it. Barring any NCAA rules prohibiting this, it’s a question for the University of Iowa as to how to balance their desire for political correctness with their desire for football success. The school’s administration is not changing, and while I have no problem with social pressure being exerted on them to change (such as the protest this lady led to get it changed), but to put this in the hands of federal judges is downright ludicrous.

Should Governments Promote Religious Holidays?

A perennial question that comes up this time of the year is the question of how Christmas should be celebrated in public places, with a significant amount of anger and heated accusations being traded between proponents and opponents of the idea.

The Argument For

Christmas is a major part of American culture, especially since it was heavily commercialized in the late nineteenth century by nascent department stores and mail order businesses. Since the majority of the citizenry in nearly every polity on the local, state and federal levels that make up the United States are self-described Christians, governments universally make concessions to their holy day by refusing to conduct public business on or around that day. In order to maintain vital services, fire-fighters and police-men are paid bonuses for working on that day. Since governments are already marking this Christian holy day, since they are spending extra public monies for it, so why not go the extra step? After all, Christmas is a cheerful celebration marking birth and life, and God knows generally when the state shuts down business to mark an anniversary, it usually is about death; the day a war started or ended, or the day some war-maker was born or something.

Argument Against #1

Of course, a substantial minority of Christians don’t celebrate Christmas as it actually has little to do with Christianity itself. Jesus was not born anywhere near the Winter Solstice. The earliest recorded celebration of Christmas on or about the winter solstice as a Christian holiday occurred in Egypt. Their worship of the holiday bears a strong resemblance to the celebration of the resurrection of Osiris, which were also celebrated on the winter solstice. It is very clear that the leaders of the late Roman Empire folded the popular festival of Saturnalia into the new imperial Christian religion. Much like Jews making a big deal about Hanukkah, and black Americans celebrating Kwanzaa, it is clear that the early Christians made up the holiday to basically have an excuse to participate in the holidays of the non-Christian cultures they were embedded within. The Christians who don’t celebrate Christmas and view its observance as a heresy, are quite understandably upset to see it promoted anywhere. This would have included many of the colonists in new England. As frequent Reason Hit and Run commenter joe observed:

Here is Massachusetts, they had a fight a few years ago about whether the Town of Lexington should be paying to put a nativity scene on the town common. One of the arguments often made was, “What would the Minutemen say if they found out we couldn’t have a nativity scene for Christmas?”

The desired answer was, they would be aghast at the hostility of the government towards Christianity.

The correct answer was, they would be aghast at such a blatant display of papist idolatry, and smash it to bits with the butts of their muskets.

Why should people be forced to pay for blasphemy?

Argument Against #2

Some people pay taxes but don’t like to see the money spent on things that they don’t like, including Christmas celebrations. The reason they don’t approve is immaterial, perhaps they are not Christian, perhaps they are but think that Christmas should be a private matter. These folks are, of course, aghast at the misuse of money. It is one thing to compel people to pay for a good like fire-prevention. It is another to force people to pay for something frivolous like a manger scene. They want their tax money spent on other things, perhaps ensuring that children have adequate health care or for more policemen or better radios for firefighters. If they were in charge the public monies would go to those things and not be frittered away on displays.

Argument Against #3

Of course, a significant number of people aren’t Christian, yet they too have their own ways of celebrating the Winter Solstice. Why shouldn’t they have their traditions celebrated as well? Where should one draw the line? At having the 49% of the population who are non-believers subsidize to 51% who are? 25%? 5%?

Again, why should a man be forced to pay for another religion’s celebrations?

Christmas at Disney-world: Where’s the Controversy?

“Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?” [asked Inspector Gregory]

“To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.” [answered Holmes]

“The dog did nothing in the night-time.”

“That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes.

Every year, Disney-world has a massive extravaganza in celebration of Christmas. This celebration elicits little or no controversy. People don’t file lawsuits or get in shouting matches over their choices of how to celebrate the holiday. Why is that? It’s not that a single individual or sect owns the property. Disney’s board of directors answer to the shareholders, and there are millions of shareholders who own Disney, more than the thousands of voting taxpayers living in Lexington, MA. Surely there must be atheists, Jews, or people opposed to ostentatious displays of Christmas cheer in their ranks. Why do these millions not get angry while a mere ten thousand or so get into shouting matches? The answer lies in the fact that people who are unhappy with Disney’s decision are free to end their involvement with the company. They can sell their shares. They can refuse to give their custom to Disney-world.

But when it comes to government, people are denied that freedom. In his wonderful 15+ hour Commentaries, Robert LeFevre recounts the story of an exchange he had with a town commissioner. At the time, he was a newspaperman, and he was asked to publish an announcement on behalf of the town government to the effect that a local park would be closed to public access on a certain night. The commissioner explained that they had invited a youth group from a neighboring town to have a party of some kind in the park. LeFevre, apparently feeling a little mischievous, challenged the commissioner and asked him by what right he could make such a decision. The commissioner explained that he had been appointed by the townspeople who collectively owned the park. “Aha” LeFevre said, “you see, I know something about the guests you have invited, and they are rough customers.” He told the commissioner that he feared the guests would damage the park, and as an owner he would be on the hook for repairs. Since he thought his ownership share in the park was about to become a liability, he told the commissioner that he would like to sell his share. The commissioner, of course was apoplectic at the idea; “you can’t sell your share!” he cried. Regardless or Robert LeFevre’s concerns, he was a prisoner. So long as he lived within the commissioner’s zone of control, he was yoked to the wagon of state, compelled to go where the commissioner directed it, and forced to yield his back to the commissioner’s whip. As LeFevre predicted, the guests caused a significant amount of damage to the park. The damage was repaired at cost to the taxpayers.

Government Action Inevitably Causes Conflict

By forcing people to bear the costs of government, government officials are setting people at each other’s throats. Rather than being a force for peace and civilization, the government becomes a divisive entity, weakening the bonds of fellowship. People who otherwise would get along and have good relations with each other find themselves driven into conflict.

If the fans of Christmas really which to honor the Prince of Peace, they should eschew government-funded displays in favor of privately funded ones. Otherwise they are nudging society in a more conflict-prone, violent direction.

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.

Liberty and Racial Discrimination: Responding to David Duke

An earlier post of mine concerning members of Stormfront who are publicly supporting Ron Paul generated some very heated responses and a number of comments from people who are part of various movements that are generally tarred as being racist. Some of them made some very good points, and others raised questions that I think warrant an answer. This post is intended to acknowledge the good points and to answer those questions, especially the ones which were raised by David Duke.

The first point was made by commenter Drena who said,

I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to equate modern white supremacists with Nazism. The Nazis were anti-capitalist, protectionist, and in favor of central economic planning. There is nothing to stop a white supremacists from actively supporting laissez-faire capitalism. It is quite a leap to assume that because a person who thinks that his race is superior to another race, that he is in favor of Nazi economics. Nazis were economic fascists who just happened to be white supremacists. Modern day white supremacists may be more sophisticated than you think.

This is true, to a point. It’s quite possible to be a person who discriminates racially, but because you respect the rights of others and refuse to aggress against the people against whom you discriminate against. And certainly, I don’t have any problem with such forms of racial discrimination. I consider it to be stupid, but a person can chose whom he or she does business with, and I won’t try to prevent him or her from exercising his or her freedoms in ways that I consider stupid.

I say it is possible, but does not seem to happen much in practice. People who wish to practice racial discrimination often want to practice aggression against those whom they don’t approve of. Sometimes it’s out of an unwillingness to respect the rights of the people whom they don’t like, such as the Stormfront poster who claimed that the only thing certain black members of Congress were good for was target practice. Often, though, it’s the result of the economic disadvantage that people practicing racial discrimination place themselves in.

Discrimination Defined

At this point, I should digress to define discrimination. A lot of people have no understanding what it is, other than being told that it is bad. Discrimination is the act of judging someone by a quality they possess.

When is Discrimination Economically Beneficial?

Now, some discrimination is justified. For example, if a person wanted to hire someone to prepare a new translation of the 1001 Nights from Arabic into Swahili, he would almost certainly refuse to hire anyone who didn’t speak both languages. This form of discrimination against people who do not speak both Swahili and Arabic is entirely appropriate.

When is Discrimination Economically Harmful?

On the other hand some forms of discrimination are economically disadvantageous; for example, if the person refused to consider any candidate who wasn’t blond haired and blue eyed, he would be discriminating against people for reasons that have nothing to do with their abilities to do the job.

Why is this harmful?

Effects on the ‘victim’

For the “victim” of the discrimination, a dark-haired job applicant, the harm is quite obvious, since he cannot get the job. In fact, if such discrimination is endemic, he would have to settle for a job that does not fully take advantage of his wealth-creation potential, and thus his earnings will be less, his life less-fulfilled, etc. I should point out, though, that our dark-haired translator is not truly a victim; he has not been aggressed against – rather, an employer has merely declined to hire him.

Effects on the ‘oppressor’

But what harm to the employer?

Well, in my blatantly contrived example, he has limited his pool of applicants dramatically – whereas there might be fifteen applicants in the city who know both languages, there might only be one or two blond ones. The two guys can charge a much higher price for doing the work than they could command competing against a larger pool of talent. Additionally, the blond guys might not be the best in the field, and the employer could end up producing a very poor quality translation, and have to sell fewer books at a lower cost, reducing the return on his investment.

Effects on the ‘beneficiary’ of the discrimination

What about the blond Arabic/Swahili translator? Well, he might get a cushy job, but if the discrimination is widespread, the economic inefficiencies described above means that he will pay more for goods of less quality than he would in a society that did not discriminate against non-blonde people.

Using Government to Evade Economic Costs

The disadvantage suffered by those who practice racial discrimination was the historical impetus behind many Jim Crow laws. A racist who refused to hire black laborers had to pay a premium for his labor, while his less picky competitor would pay a discount for black workers and be able to undercut the racist. These people, unable to compete without sacrificing their cherished desire to racially discriminate often call for laws to prevent their competitors from taking advantage of the untapped pool of workers.

Note that this only applies if the racial discrimination is unwarranted. If one’s race truly is a determinant of one’s abilities, than the guy who uses race as a determinant in deciding whether to do business with someone could be making a great decision. In such cases, the person who refused to racially discriminate would be the one at a competitive disadvantage. I personally feel that racial discrimination is, generally, a dumb idea, as evidenced by the many laws passed to promote segregation and racial discrimination throughout history (and not just in the U.S.).

Now these laws were acts of aggression against innocent people. Primarily these laws targeted the freedom of association preventing people from conducting business with whomever they wish, for example when a school is forbidden from hiring black teachers., or a businessman is forbidden from hiring a black foreman or a bus company is required to segregate its customers by race.

Make no mistake, these laws are collectivist. In the end, they force people to trade goods and services not with the partners they would prefer, but with other people selected for them by the state. It really does not matter that the selection is performed impersonally.

The Difference Between Modern ‘White-Nationalism’ and German Nazism

Which now brings me to a point made by many respondents who posted comments to the effect that they were not “white supremacists” but rather “white nationalists”, and that their views diverged very radically from that of the German NDASP (the original Nazi party). » Read more

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

Ron Paul and the Nazis: My Take

Lately there has been a great deal of brouhaha about Ron Paul’s support amongst white-supremacists and the, er, “racially aware” types that frequent Stormfront. Make no mistake, the support is real. Now, these guys support Ron Paul because they like his policies. The white supremacists are actually making a serious mistake in supporting Ron Paul; their conclusion that his policies are advantegous to the advance neo-Nazi cause is the result of very shallow thinking.

To a Nazi, Ron Paul’s policies at first seem great: he’s against the Federal Reserve banking cartel and against open borders.

The support for his Federal Reserve policy comes from the populism and anti-capital attitudes of the main forms of white-supremacism. Add to that the frisson from the meme “bankers = jews”, and the deluded idiots think that Ron Paul is going to strike a blow against race-enemies.

Then there’s Ron Paul’s opposition to open immigration. I think the Nazis view immigration, especially of hispanics, as a brown sea of untermenschen that are going to drown the white race or somesuch.

Thus they think that, in the current political environment, Ron Paul’s proposed courses of action and the white-supremacist desired courses of action are tangential.

It is clear to me that Ron Paul’s policies should be anathema to white-supremacists. The fact is to make the racist policies work, particularly one modeled on the National German Socialist Workers Party, you have to have a central bank, and you have to have a militant foreign policy and a government that confiscates property at a whim.

Ron Paul wrote a book that explains why he entered into politics, and what his goals are, and frankly any white-supremacist supporters are in for a nasty surprise:

I decided to run for Congress because of the disaster of wage and price controls imposed by the Nixon administration in 1971. When the stock market responded euphorically to the imposition of these controls and the closing of the gold window, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and many other big business groups gave enthusiastic support, I decided that someone in politics had to condemn the controls, and offer the alternative that could explain the past and give hope for the future: the Austrian economists’ defense of the free market. At the time I was convinced, like Ludwig von Mises, that no one could succeed in politics without serving the special interests of some politically powerful pressure group.

The book quotes extensively from Paul’s hero Ludwig von Mises’ comprehensive textbook on economics, Human Action:

Men must choose between the market economy and socialism. The state can preserve the market economy in protecting life, health, and private property against violent or fraudulent aggression; or it can itself control the conduct of all production activities. Some agency must determine what should be produced. If it is not the consumers by means of demand and supply on the market, it must be the government by compulsion.

and

Aggressive nationalism is the necessary derivative of the policies of interventionism and national planning. While laissez faire eliminates the causes of international conflict, government interference with business and socialism create conflicts for which no peaceful solution can be found. While under free trade and freedom of migration no individual is concerned about the territorial size of his country, under the protective measures of economic nationalism nearly every citizen has a substantial interest in these territorial issues. The enlargement of the territory subject to the sovereignty of his own government means material improvement for him or at least relief from restrictions which a foreign government has imposed upon his well-being. What has transformed the limited war between royal armies into total war, the clash between peoples, is not technicalities of military art, but the substitution of the welfare state for the laissez-faire state.

and finally,

Interventionism generates economic nationalism, and economic nationalism generates bellicosity. If men and commodities are prevented from crossing the borderlines, why should not the armies try to pave the way for them? . . . The root of the evil is not the construction of new, or dreadful weapons. It is the spirit of conquest.

The book makes it clear that Ron Paul is devoted to adopting the policies of Ludwig von Mises. What is the relationship of Ludwig von Mises to Nazism? Well, in Austria in the 1920’s and 30’s, Ludwig von Mises prevented the nation from adopting the economic platform of the NDASP. His speeches and essays were so devastatingly critical of Hitler’s economic policies that when the Nazis entered into Vienna one of the first things they did was to break into the offices of a the Jewish economist and confiscate his papers and books. Had he not wisely fled to Swizerland, they likely would have arrested and liquidated him. To the Nazis, Paul’s hero was an enemy to be eliminated if they ever could get their hands on him.

Should Ron Paul repudiate the support of Nazis, white supremacists, bull-dykes and Methodists,and return their money? I don’t think he needs to. Ron Paul has made it quite clear that he is advocating a set of principles and he is not seeking power for power’s sake. thus, I don’t think you will see him adopting Nazi policies in order to maintain his grip on power. On the other hand, it would probably be to his advantage to make light of their support in a humorous way, for example by saying something like “these guys must not have even glanced at my position papers if they think my policies will help their cause, but if they want to give me money to make a less-racist society, I’ll take it.”

Certainly, Ron Paul’s tireless advocacy of Misesian principles is a sufficient repudiation for me.

Update :

My response to some of the commenters, including Mr Duke is posted here.

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.

Saw this one coming

So, for the last few years, supporters of gay marriage have pretty much given up on the legislative route; and have been depending on judges to try and impose their agenda on the states.

While I have no problem with the concept of gay marriage (the state should not be involved in religious marriage; and any two people should be able to enter any civil contract they want); if we are in fact a nation of laws, effectively re-writing the laws through judicial activism (and yes, that is very explicitly what is happening) is both morally wrong (because it abrogates the process), and a practical disaster.

Leaving aside the moral argument, we need to address the consequences of living in a federal republic. Although gay marriage advocates have repeatedly insisted that instituting gay marriage on a state by state basis would not cause constitutional and interstate compact issues; anyone with any knowledge of interstate law, or the concept of federalism could see that argument is false on its face.

From the first legal same sex marriage in Massachusetts (and to a lesser extent civil unions in Vermont), there have been legal implications in other states. There are issues of marriage licenses in general being honored (full faith and credit), medical insurance, inheritance rights, property rights, medical control, and of course the big one: child custody.

Lawsuits have already been instituted in other states over all of these issues, in particular survivors rights; but ’til now a divorce case hasn’t hit the public eye.

Well, that just changed; and I wish I could say I didn’t see it coming, but I think we all did…


Married Gay Couple Seeks Right to Divorce in Rhode Island


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Associated press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A lesbian couple married in Massachusetts should have the same right as heterosexual couples to now divorce in Rhode Island, lawyers for the women told the state’s highest court on Tuesday.

Cassandra Ormiston and Margaret Chambers wed in 2004 soon after Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriages. They filed for divorce last year in their home state of Rhode Island, where the law is silent on whether same-sex marriages are legal.

It is believed to be the state’s first same-sex divorce case.

If the women can’t divorce in Rhode Island, their lawyers said the only legal avenue available to them would be for at least one to move to Massachusetts and live there long enough to obtain a divorce.

“It is an absolutely unfair burden,” Ormiston said outside court after Tuesday’s arguments before the Rhode Island Supreme Court. “It is a burden no one else is asked to bear, and it is something I will not do.”

Lawyers for the women told the Supreme Court the only question to consider was whether Rhode Island could recognize a valid same-sex marriage from another state for the sole purpose of granting a divorce petition.

They stressed the case has no bearing on whether gay couples could get married in Rhode Island, or on whether a same-sex marriage would be recognized for other purposes.

“You have a valid marriage in the state of Massachusetts,” Louis Pulner, an attorney for Chambers, told the justices. “No one is asking the court to address the question of whether such marriages would be valid in Rhode Island.”

In September 2006, a Massachusetts judge decided same-sex couples from Rhode Island could marry in Massachusetts because nothing in Rhode Island law specifically banned gay marriage. But the courts and the legislature in Rhode Island have not taken any action to recognize same-sex marriages performed in Massachusetts.

Attorney General Patrick Lynch earlier this year issued a nonbinding advisory opinion saying the state would recognize same-sex marriages performed in Massachusetts.

Nancy Palmisciano, a lawyer for Ormiston, said Rhode Island routinely treats as valid heterosexual marriages performed in other states and even in other countries. She said when she recently handled the divorce of a couple from China, no one questioned the validity of their marriage certificate issued there.

“Here we have two American women who have not been able to push their divorce forward because they happen to be members of the same sex,” Palmisciano said.

Chambers and Ormiston married in Fall River, Mass., in May 2004 in a ceremony solemnized by a justice of the peace. Massachusetts is the only state to legalize same-sex marriages.

Chambers filed for a divorce last October, citing irreconcilable differences.

Two months later, Rhode Island’s chief family court judge asked the state Supreme Court for guidance on whether he has the authority to handle a same-sex divorce. The court agreed to weigh in and invited Rhode Island’s legislative leaders, governor and state attorney general to submit legal briefs detailing their position.

The justices did not indicate when they would rule.

In this case, the justices are in a bit of a bind; because they can attempt to qualify their ruling all they want by declaring “we’ll give you a divorce, but that doesn’t mean you were ever really married”; but that isn’t going to fly.

Such a ruling would be ridiculous on its face, and would properly be struck down as arbitrary and capricious. There would be no valid legal principle to cover this tissue thin justification, and it would head to the supreme court as a giant mess.

Tough cases make bad law; and from where I’m sitting, this looks about like 10 year old shoeleather.

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

Penn & Teller Give al Qaeda the Finger

There has been much debate over what should be done with ground zero since the towers fell six years ago. Unfortunately, politics and political correctness has caused the WTC site to remain a giant hole in the ground. So what should be done with this hallowed ground? Build the “Freedom Tower,” turn it over to developers for retail space, or build a memorial that all the victims’ families can live with?

Penn & Teller addressed this issue on their Showtime series Bullshit! Their suggestion: if we really want to give al Qaeda the finger and honor the fallen, we should rebuild the WTC exactly the way it was before the attack. This would send the message to both our friends and foes that we Americans will continue to do what we do: live our lives, pursue our individual happiness, and not be intimidated by those who would endeavor to take that away from us.

Warning: This clip contains explicit language (but what else would you expect from a show called Bullshit!?)

UPDATE:
I should have checked the status of Ground Zero before posting; construction has already begun on the Freedom Tower. While the idea of rebuilding the WTC exactly as it was before the attack is now a moot point, Penn & Teller’s point about Americans returning to business as usual is not. We should continue to reflect on both the horrors and heroism of that fateful day but we should also move forward. The construction of the Freedom Tower might not be my preference but it is still better than leaving a giant crater in NYC.

One Man’s Freedom of Expression is Another Man’s Hate Crime

We seem to have strayed a long way from our valuing of free speech, perhaps best stated by Voltaire “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” In this age of political correctness, both the Right and the Left has bastardized the idea of free speech to a more politically correct attitude: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend your right to say it until someone else is offended.”

As I was driving in to work, I caught a couple of segments of The Mike Gallagher Show (a show I do not normally listen to). Gallagher brought up a case which happened at Pace University where a 23 year-old man by the name of Stanislav Shmulevich allegedly threw a Quran in a toilet on two separate occasions. The university originally reported the crime as an act of vandalism but later decided to report the act to the NYPD as a hate crime instead. I assumed that Gallagher would go on to criticize this as political correctness run amok but to my astonishment, he said that treating this act as a “hate crime” was completely appropriate. Gallagher went even further to say that certain acts such as desecrating a “holy book” (regardless of the faith), the American flag, or burning crosses should all be exempt from First Amendment protection. In his view, there are just some things which should be held sacred; those who commit “crimes” against what he or others consider “sacred” should be punished criminally.

Gallagher’s arguments got even weaker from there. Several callers challenged him on this notion and Gallagher would ask questions like (paraphrasing) “Should we consider it free speech when someone paints swastikas on a Jewish person’s home?” and “What about burning a cross in the lawn of an African American, is that free speech?” Perhaps his most absurd example was whether or not a person dressed in Nazi uniform goose stepping in a Jewish neighborhood should be protected by the First Amendment.

All of these questions can be easily answered if only we go back to the basic idea that each individual has the natural rights of life, liberty, and property (“your freedom ends where my nose begins”); nowhere in our Constitution is there a right to not be offended. Painting swastikas on a Jewish person’s home or burning a cross in an African American’s yard are both violations of these individuals’ right to property, and therefore, the perpetrator should be prosecuted on those grounds.

So, what about the racist bastard goose stepping in a Jewish neighborhood? Assuming the idiot does so on public property, s/he is protected by the First Amendment. Being an anti-Semitic moron, while infuriating to most sensible people, is not a crime nor should it be.

One could argue that these above acts would be acts of intimidation and could warrant criminal prosecution (certainly in the first two examples would be prosecutable without “hate crimes” laws, the last example would still be a bit of a stretch) but I fail to see how desecrating a book which some people deem as “holy” even rises to this standard. There’s no question that desecrating a holy book is offensive to a great majority of people, but a crime? Thomas Jefferson found fault with much of the Bible and therefore proceeded to physically cut and paste the portions of the Bible that he found to be authentic to create his own interpretation of the Bible and discarded the rest. References to the virgin birth, the resurrection, angels, and other miracles were all omitted from the Jefferson Bible. Clearly, if someone like Gallagher knew of someone doing something like this today, he would regard this person as a hate criminal.

The whole purpose of the First Amendment is to protect speech that can be and often is offensive to the sensibilities of a person, a group, or even a majority. Popular speech does not need to be protected nearly as much. I might not like it if someone chooses to burn an American flag, desecrate a copy of Ayn Rand’s The Virtue of Selfishness, or wishes to write terrible things about me on a post I have written but unless such an individual does these things without threatening my life, liberty, or property, I have to put up with these things. It’s the price I pay for living in a free society and a price I am quite willing to pay.

Cross posted here at Fearless Philosophy for Free Minds

Related Posts:
The First Amendment Explained: Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses (Part 1 of 2)
The First Amendment Explained: Free Speech (Part 2 of 2)

The Woman Who Refuses to Submit

Cross-posted here at Fearless Philosophy for Free Minds

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one brave woman who refuses to submit to Islam. Ali grew up in a devout Muslim home in Somalia and witnessed the brutal treatment of women first hand. When her father arranged a marriage to a complete stranger to whom she would be required by Islamic tradition to obey his every command, Ali refused. Ali moved to Holland to pursue her own dreams (an act is strictly forbidden by the Koran).

After some time outside of Islamic culture and after the events of September 11, 2001, Ali rejected her religion of Islam in favor of reason (she is now an atheist). Since that time Ali has worked, at great personal risk, to educate the West of Islam’s subjugation of women and confront the politically correct Western media for its apologetic approach to her former religion.

In 2004, Ali co-produced a short movie with Theo Van Gogh entitled Submission to bring attention to the plight of women in the Islamic world. On November 2, 2004, Theo Van Gogh was murdered by a Muslim man who took offense to the blasphemous film. A note was found on Van Gogh’s body warning that Ali would be next.

Ali now lives under the protection of body guards in the U.S. but continues to speak out for the women who are victims of Islamic society. In April, her book Infidel hit the shelves (I just picked up the book myself; very fascinating what I have read so far).

The first of the 2 videos is a short interview with Ali where she explains the message she was trying to get across in Submission. The second video is the movie itself (Be patient, the video begins in Arabic with some non-English subtitles but the dialogue from that point on is mostly English).

Religious Zealot Fails To Remove Harry Potter From Schools

In Georgia, a holier than thou Christian by the name of Laura Malloy has tried, and failed, for the 5th time to remove Harry Potter from Gwinnett County government school library shelves. Malloy says the books cause children to embrace witchcraft:

A judge gave Laura Mallory 64 minutes Tuesday to argue why the Harry Potter books should be removed from school library shelves.

She didn’t convince him.

Superior Court Judge Ronnie Batchelor instead upheld a decision by the Gwinnett County public schools to reject Mallory’s request and keep the popular J.K. Rowling series in school libraries.

The hearing Tuesday marked the fifth defeat for the Loganville woman, who has children in the Gwinnett schools and who launched her anti-Potter crusade in 2005.

Mallory said she is considering filing “a brand-new case” in federal court and hiring a lawyer to represent her.

“One day, the truth about this is going to come out,” she said.

School system spokeswoman Sloan Roach said the Gwinnett school board is prepared for that possibility. “Obviously, we hope this is the end of it,” Roach said.

As for the argument that the Harry Potter books have gotten children interested in reading:

Supporters of Rowling’s books say the popular stories about boy wizard Potter encourage children to read. Mallory responded that wasn’t sufficient reason to allow the books to remain in school libraries. “I’m sure there are teenagers who read pornography, but that doesn’t make it right,” she said.

So Harry Potter is now equal to Playboy or Hustler…I’m not seeing the similarities.

Why does Ms. (since I know this probably irritates her) Mallory hate Harry Potter so much:

Mallory restated many of her previous complaints about the Harry Potter series. She argued the books lure children into practicing witchcraft. Mallory said the school board’s decision to offer the books in taxpayer-funded libraries violates the U.S. Constitution because, she claims, they promote the Wiccan religion. Mallory also argued the books are too violent for children.

Mallory has acknowledged that she hasn’t read any of the Harry Potter books in their entirety, but Tuesday she recited excerpts of at least three of the books to illustrate her points.

Mallory, sometimes breaking into tears, read testimony from a teenager who said reading the books led her to contemplate suicide. Quoting a counselor who testified at a previous hearing, Mallory said the Potter movies and books led one boy into high-risk behaviors, such as dangerous motorcycle stunts and bungee jumping.

So is Mallory bring this case because she’s a type that believes in separate church and state? Not quite:

“I have a dream that God will be welcomed back into our schools,” Mallory said.

So she wants to get rid of a book series that she alleges (with little merit if she knew anything about the Wiccan sect) promotes a religion in order to get her religious viewpoints in the government schools. What does the Bible say about hypocrites again?

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.

Point-Counterpoint

No, not the soon-to-be regular feature of this site, where one of us debates another one; this one is in response to some of the responses to yesterdays events.

Yesterday, a horrendous attack was carried out by a lone, crazed individual at Virgina Tech. 33 people (including the mass murderer) are dead, with dozens more wounded.

Though reports are conflicting, it seems the murderer did this with one hand gun, and a few spare magazines. No “assault” weapons were involved, and there were no “super high capacity” magazines… just the standard capacity magazines for the gun. Even if he were limited to 10 round magazines for the gun, he’d only need one, or at most two more, at $30 a piece, to achieve the same result.

No “assault weapons ban” would have stopped this mass murder.

He apparently purchased his gun legally, several months before.

No background check or waiting period would have stopped this mass murder.

It was initially thought that the murderer was a chinese national, who had acquired his guns illegally. This was plausible, because it is easier to buy a gun illegally in many areas, than it is legally.

No ban on handguns, or even all guns, would have stopped this mass murder.

The murderer apparently took his time, sought out specific locations, and blended in with the hysterical crowds when he wasn’t actively shooting. He waited three hours while the police and security searched for him; and when the students started moving again, he started shooting again.

No Police presence short of an armed and trained officer in every room, and at every intersection would have stopped this mass murder

Dozens of police spread out throughout the campus couldn’t find him, and couldn’t stop him when he got up and started shooting again. The police COULD NOT STOP HIM.

One prospective “victim”; a student, a teacher, an administrator; armed with a gun; could have stopped this mass murder.

Why could one student do it when the police couldn’t? Because the students were there all the time. They were there when the murderer stood up, took out his gun, and started shooting at the (disarmed by law, and university policy) victims.

In Virginia, about 150,000 people have CCW permits; and though there are no accurate statistics, it is estimated that out of a population of 7.5 million, at least 3 million are gun owners. Out of the almost 30,000 students and faculty at Virgina tech, there are at least several dozen, perhaps as many as several hundred CCW holders (I’ve known more than a couple personally) and several thousand gun owners.

If just one of the students, faculty, or staff there that day were carrying a gun; they could have stopped this mass murder. It isn’t assured that they would have, but it’s damn well sure that without arms, they were nothing more than cowering victims.

Yesterday, in this post “Blue Girl” called this notion ridiculous, saying that private citizens who are not sworn law enforcement officers are the equivalent of Barney Pfife with his one bullet in his shirt… yosemite sam, backyard rambo, whatever ridiculous insult you want to pile on.

Essentially she (and some of her commenters) are saying “you are all incompetent, and mentally ill for thinking you could stop this. You are a danger to yourself and others, leave it to the professionals”. She (and some of her commenters); and in fact anti-gun sites and organizations around the world; went on to blame guns in general, the NRA, and gun owners for all “gun violence”; and to suggest that effective gun control could stop things like this from happening.

She is of course not isolated in this view; many people share it, in fact millions.

In this case, millions of people CAN be wrong. This view is patently ridiculous; and indicates a fundamental lack of maturity, and understanding about criminals, the insane, violence, and the effectiveness of both weapons, and weapons laws.

First, there is no such thing as “gun violence”, there is only “people violence” or “natural violence”. Guns are inanimate objects, that have no capability to act on their own. They are tools that individuals use, for good or ill; and have no inherent morality.

Second, and what I want to specifically address in this post however; is the idea that private gun owners are somehow incompetent and dangerous, and that police and other law enforcement officers are somehow more qualified, and better trained in firearms and their use.

This view is shared by MANY people, even many people who are otherwise not anti-gun. They believe that police officers are for the most part firearms experts, and highly trained in shooting.

Sadly, in most cases, this is not true. I don’t mean to denigrate the many fine law enforcement officers in this country; but most cops are not very good with guns; and most are sadly ignorant about them, both legally and technically.

Let’s do a little point-counterpoint here:

Point: I carry every day, all day.

Counterpoint: Most cops carry 8 hours a day (it amazes me that most cops don’t carry off duty).

Point: I carry a $2000 pistol, custom made for me, specifically to be incredibly accurate and reliable. I have several other pistols jsut as reliable (though perhaps not quite as accurate), and I can choose the appropriate pistol for the appropriate situation. I choose my supporting gear to specifically suit my personal, and situational needs.

Counterpoint: Most cops have one gun, often not well suited to their body, or shooting style. It is often maintained only in a basic fashion, and often worn or “loose” to the point of questionable accuracy. Because they are fired infrequently, it is difficult to judge reliability. Most cops are limited in their supporting equipment choices to that which the department issues.

Point: I extensively test all my ammunition options, select those that perform best, and then test those again to come up with an appropriate load which shoots accurately and reliably from my weapon, along with two backup loads.

Counterpoint: Most cops are limited to ammunition issued by their department, generally chosen based on cost; and may be limited to relatively ineffective chambering and loadings, because of cost, and political considerations.

Point: I have hundreds of hours of classroom training in small arms usage, and thousands of hours of range training. I have also delivered hundreds of hours of training to others. I try and take a training class at least every other year (more often if I can afford it), and up until recently was REQUIRED to do so every 4 years.

Counterpoint
: Most cops get 8-16 hours or so of classroom training at the beginning of their career, and if they are lucky 24 hours of range training. They then generally get no continuing classroom training with firearms throughout their careers, and at most 8 hours of range training per year (this is starting to improve in some departments).

Point: I shoot 500rds a week in a good month; every other week in a bad one.

Counterpoint: Most cops shoot less than 500 rounds per year… in fact many shoot less than 100 rounds a year. There are some law enforcement organizations which only require a 25 round qualification every other year.

Point
: I train to a standard of combat accuracy that requires the ability to put 5 shots into a 4” circle on a moving target at 10 yards (and I don’t always make it, but it’s always close).

Counterpoint: Most cops train to get 70% hits in a 16” x 18” oval

Point
: I train with a moving shooter, moving target, and both paper and reactive targets of varying sizes, at varying ranges, indoors and out; in varying weather conditions; strong and weak handed; and I include rapid reloading and malfunction drills in my training

Counterpoint
: Most cops “train” at a fixed range, with fixed lighting and weather conditions, a fixed target; and with little emphasis on reloads or malfunction clearance, using only “stock” shooting positions (though this is improving somewhat).

Point: I am not unusual in the community of shooters, in seeking and achieving this level of training and performance. There are 60,000 nationally ranked competitive practical pistol shooters, and many more non ranked shooters, across the various pistol shooting disciplines. There are several times that many competitive rifle shooters. Most of those people also carry concealed on a daily basis. Then there are the many thousands of students taking advanced pistol instruction every year.

Counterpoint: Of the 800,000 full time sworn law enforcement officers in the united states, not 1 in 100 is a “gun guy”; and most of those, are counted among the people I list above. They universally describe their competitive and other non-law enforcement training as many times better than that of their law enforcement agencies, and fellow officers.

So, really, who is Barney Pfife here?

What’s worse is, when anti-gun types ask me why I train so much (if they even bother); I tell them that I train because of people like this mass murderer. I tell them that I train, not because I want trouble, but because if trouble comes I don’t want to be unprepared for it. I’d rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

When presented with this perfectly valid justification, they say things like “you’re paranoid” or “you’re a wannabe hero”, “you can’t protect yourself”, “you’re more of a danger to the people around you” etc…

WHY?

… Because they don’t trust themselves, and project that distrust onto others. Because they are afraid. Because they want to believe that they don’t HAVE to have the responsibility of doing the same themselves, they don’t have to protect themselves, they don’t have to protect others around them. Because they want to believe that the cops can protect them.

Anything that threatens this view creates a violent emotional response in them.

In fact I can guarantee you that when the anti-gun, anti-responsiblity, anti-liberty types find this post; there will be violent emotional responses all over the place in comments

Oh… and one more thing.

Point
: It takes a large man an average of 1.7 seconds from a standing, apparently non threatening start, to cross 7 yards (21 feet), and execute a knife slash on another person (a trained shooter can draw and fire in 1.5 seconds – though it is difficult).

Counterpoint: The average 911 response time in this country is 8 minutes

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

We Should Make English The National Language

As any regular reader knows, I’m for nearly-unlimited immigration. Basically as long as you can certify that you’re not a felon in your home country, or have ties to terrorist organizations, I welcome you to come on over and work. But in one area, I go the exact opposite direction of most pro-immigration advocates. I want to see English declared America’s official language.

Now, I say that as someone who doesn’t have a bit of problem with the “Press 1 for English” messages on phone trees. Nor do I have a problem going into Mexican restaurants where the waiters barely understand me. As far as I’m concerned, if a restauranteur chooses to hire people who can’t speak English, he’d better be selling some darn good food. And I’ve found in many Mexican restaurants, the ones where barely anyone English tend to sell the best food. In fact, in order to make myself more able to communicate with people, I’m actually beginning to learn to speak Spanish. It will only make me more valuable to employers. Yet I still advocate for making English our official language.

I don’t see any reason, in a nation which is far overwhelmingly English-speaking, why our government can’t declare that all official government business will be conducted in English. As an example, I did a quick google search on “DMV Languages”, which took me to a site that explained that in the state of Connecticut, they offer written tests in 19 different languages. They offer the test in 32 languages in California.

Now, I fully support the rights of business owners to decide what language they conduct business in. After all, it is their determination how much cost they’re willing to undertake in order to cater to ridiculously small minorities. But when it comes to government, we’re supposedly the business owners. Do I want to use my tax dollars to have a driver’s license test printed in Hmong? There are some points where people should be expected to either learn the language, or provide a translator at their own cost to deal with the government.

The problem is that government isn’t forced into conducting business in multiple languages in order to meet true market demand. They do so when some local representative’s constituents (usually in an ethnic enclave) demand of that representative that they make a change, and the folks in the state legislature have no incentive to oppose the demand. It’s not that they engage in a cost-benefit analysis to see if they’ll be spending tax dollars efficiently, because they don’t have a market to benefit from. One of the downsides of having a government is that it can set certain terms unilaterally, but they refrain from doing so where it will mean efficiency and cost reductions in their processes. Government isn’t exactly good at customer service anyway, so why don’t we at least try to cut the cost?

Political Correctness Run Amok

This time, in Great Britain:

Schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils, a Government backed study has revealed.

It found some teachers are reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting students whose beliefs include Holocaust denial.

And, its not just 20th Century history that is getting ignored in the name of being solicitous to ethnic sensitivity:

There is also resistance to tackling the 11th century Crusades – where Christians fought Muslim armies for control of Jerusalem – because lessons often contradict what is taught in local mosques.

Because, you know, the 11th Century was just yesterday.

Elimination of discriminating thought – The Modern “Liberal”

I’m generally not just a linker, but… you absolutely MUST watch this:

I’ve been saying this for years, but never this well, and never to this kind of audience.

Here’s his blog post explaining the concept.

Here’s a rough and partial transcript (after the fold):
» Read more

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

Somebody’s Gotta Say It (Book Review)

(Cross posted here at Fearless Philosophy for Free Minds)

As a regular listener of The Neal Boortz Show, I find this book every bit as hard-hitting, insensitive, informative, and entertaining as his show. The High Priest of the Painful Truth pulls no punches in his assault on ignorance whether from the Right, the Left, or Center. The Libertarian Party (the party that most closely reflects his views) is even skewered on a number of fronts.

It’s difficult to know how people who do not listen to his show will respond. You will likely find this book near books with a conservative political bent but conservatives who expect to find yet another book which relentlessly attacks the Left while keeping their sacred cows protected will be sorely disappointed. While Boortz dedicates a significant portion of the book to the lunacy of the Left, the Right is criticized for pushing their religious anti-science agenda on the American public (especially in government schools), their homophobia, and their continuous chipping away at the limited government platform they claim to embrace.

Boortz has many targets in this book but none receive more of his ire than government schools. Teacher’s unions exist solely to keep mediocre to incompetent teachers in a job; they will fight tooth and nail to prevent any kind of competition from private schools. But government schools are even more harmful that what we can see on the surface. Want to know why the American public has lost its love for freedom in exchange for security from an ever expanding government? According to Boortz, government schools are to blame. Government schools teach school children from a very young age that government is good and is the solution to every problem. There is even a chapter dedicated to how school children learn their first lesson in communism. Have you ever taken your child to the store and bought school supplies on a list only to have the teacher take those supplies away from your child to be donated to the class? If you don’t believe this to be a big deal consider the lesson your child is learning: he or she must give up his or her private property (school supplies in this case) for “the greater good” of the whole society (the classroom in this case).

Is it any coincidence that most Americans erroneously believe that America’s government is a democracy rather than a constitutional representative republic? Is it any coincidence that most Americans don’t know the difference or know why this distinction is important? Boortz contends that this is not by accident but by design. The purpose of government schools is not to educate students but to indoctrinate them into obedient citizens subjects.

Eventually, these school children grow up to be voters (Did I mention that the author finds no constitutional guarantee to the right to vote? Sounds crazy but once you read his arguments and consult the U.S. Constitution, he makes a compelling case). After thirteen years of government indoctrination, many of these adults see no problem with wealth redistribution, the welfare state, the nanny state, and have no genuine appreciation for liberty. This makes it very easy for politicians to pander to the American public to meet all of these needs which far too many people believe to be birthrights. Those who believe this the most tend to vote Democrat which leads me to his chapter “The Democrats’ Secret Plan for America.”

Boortz mockingly calls the Democrat plan a “secret plan” because of how Democrats typically scare various constituencies about Republican secret plans to kick old people into the street, burn black churches, and starve babies. Much of the secret plan is no secret at all however. So what do the Democrats have in store for America should they retain congress and win the presidency? According to the author we can expect the entire tax burden to be shifted to the wealthy, imputed income (which would put most all home owners in a higher tax bracket), place caps on income for those who “make too much,” add taxes to 401k and other investment vehicles which are not currently taxed, womb to the tomb universal government healthcare, the reinstatement of the “fairness doctrine” (which would effectively put an end to talk radio), the repeal of the Second Amendment, and several other such wet dreams of the far Left. If you don’t read any other chapter in this book, read this chapter.

Certainly, this book isn’t one which will leave the reader thinking “Its morning in America” but it does offer a fair amount of humor, positive solutions (such as what should be taught in government schools; provides his own citizenship test), and an inside peek of the talk radio business. Boortz opens the book by introducing himself, his interests and how he got into talk radio (under rather tragic circumstances). Even in the chapters that contain a discouraging outlook have a healthy dose of humor. But if you are overly outraged after reading the chapter about government funded art or the Democrat Party’s war on the individual, skip to “Chasing Cats” or “Terrorizing the Mailroom.” I won’t give away what these chapters are about but I assure you that you are in for a good belly laugh (that Boortz is quite the prankster).

Somebody’s Gotta Say It is a refreshingly honest, sober view of the body politic, American culture, and state of our world. Boortz presents a variety of original controversial ideas on a variety of issues. Such proposals would certainly make the political debate more productive if not more interesting (a number of these proposals can be found toward the end of the book in a chapter entitled “No Way in Hell.”). I highly recommend this book for anyone who is not easily offended. Anyone who is easily offended should skip this book in favor of a selection from the Oprah Book Club.

Christian Pharmacists And Muslim Cashiers

Just a question. Is there any moral difference between these two?

Muslim cashiers won’t ring up pork products

So Dsouza was taken aback when the cashier – who had on the traditional headscarf worn by many Muslim women – refused to swipe the bacon through the checkout scanner.

“She made me scan the bacon. Then she opened the bag and made me put it in the bag,” said Dsouza, 53. “It made me wonder why this person took a job as a cashier.”

In the latest example of religious beliefs creating tension in the workplace, some Muslims in the Twin Cities are adhering to a strict interpretation of the Koran that prohibits the handling of pork products.

Instead of swiping the items themselves, they are asking non-Muslim employees or shoppers to do it for them.

Some pharmacists say no to filling birth-control prescriptions

An increasing number of pharmacists around the country are refusing to fill prescriptions for birth-control and morning-after pills, saying that dispensing the medications violates their personal moral or religious beliefs.

“There are pharmacists who will only give birth-control pills to a woman if she’s married. There are pharmacists who mistakenly believe contraception is a form of abortion and refuse to [dispense] it to anyone,” said Adam Sonfield of the Alan Guttmacher Institute in New York, which tracks reproductive issues. “There are even cases of pharmacists holding prescriptions hostage, where they won’t even transfer it to another pharmacy when time is of the essence.”

Perhaps it’s just me, but I don’t see any difference between these actions. Can anyone see any logical rational to stand up for one while denouncing the other?

Dishonesty and Dishonor

Top US General Calls Homosexuality Immoral
By Al Pessin
Pentagon
13 March 2007

The top U.S. military officer has said homosexuality is immoral, sparking renewed controversy about the status of homosexuals in the U.S. military. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from the Pentagon.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, told the Chicago Tribune newspaper the military ban on homosexuals should continue, because homosexuality is immoral. The newspaper posted audio from the interview on its Web site.

PACE: “I believe that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral, and that we should not condone immoral acts.”

General Pace told the Tribune that to officially allow homosexuals to serve in the military would be an endorsement of immoral activity. He said the military should not endorse any immoral acts, mentioning specifically homosexuality and extra-marital affairs, which are also against military regulations. General Pace endorsed the current policy, under which homosexuals serve by keeping their sexual orientation a secret.

Okay now, first off, I’m saying this as a man who is both Catholic, and a veteran; Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is offensive, insulting to all men and women who wear the uniform, gay or straight, and it should be ended one way or another.

The military is no place for mealy mouthing and careful parsing of statements for political correctness… or rather it shouldn’t be, but all too often it is.

Whatever you think of homosexuality, you can’t deny that DADT is a moral, social, and disciplinary disgrace of epic proportions.

Now, again as both a Catholic and a veteran, the idea that someone should be banned from serving their country because a general believes their private sexual behavior is immoral, is ludicrous. If his morality is coming from his Christianity he should know he is in no position to judge, that’s Gods job.

We ban adultery in the military, not because it is immoral, but because it is dishonorable. It is the betrayal of a sacred oath, and if a man will betray his marriage vows, might he not betray his service oath as well?

There is nothing inherently dishonorable about homosexuality; but we force gay men and women into being dishonorable, ever day that they serve in silence.

Hell, I’m willing to bet MY private sexual behavior would GREATLY disturb Gen. Pace as well; and I’m a happily married man with two kids, who honorably served my country.

The fact of the matter is, there are thousands upon thousands of gay men and women serving honorably in the armed forces today; there always have been and there always will be. To tacitly accept their honorable service, and then insist that they dishonor themselves by being closeted is a shameful stain on OUR honor, as service members, as veterans, and as a nation.

Freedom of conscience is among our highest freedoms, and forced denial of self is an abuse of that freedom.

Hell, I knew for a fact that I was serving with gay service members; and was friends with several serving gays and lesbians who were quite candid about their sexual orientation, with friends only. It didn’t effect their job, and it didn’t make them poor service members; but it very definitely effected their souls.

It made me ashamed to have to accept this policy. IT IS WRONG.

Now, as to whether gays SHOULD be allowed to openly serve, I am of mixed mind on that.

The primary official concern, and logic behind the official ban, is that gays serving with straights will result in inappropriate sexual behavior.

To my mind, so long as we set and enforce appropriate standards of behavior and discipline, and severely punish anyone who does not abide by those standards, be they gay or straight, I don’t care who my buddy wants to have sex with (even if it’s me).

Implicit in the banning of gays, while we allow men and women to serve together; is the assumption that gay men, and lesbian women will be less able to control themselves around other service members they are attracted to than straight service members. I find this implied assertion to be quite offensive; and disrespectful to ALL service members not just gays and lesbians.

The fact of the matter is, the rules say keep it in your pants (or if you don’t for gods sakes don’t let it screw up the job). If we can expect straight folks to do it, we can expect gay folks to do it.

I’m not saying there aren’t issues here. There will always be elements of anti-gay sentiment in the military; especially in the hypermasculine culture that pervades most of the military (and I don’t necessarily think that culture is inappropriate much of the time); but so what, there are idiots currently serving who also hate women, Muslims, Jews, Hispanics, Blacks, Arabs, and every other identity group out there (note the caps).

Then there’s the people who say “What about AIDS and other STDs that homosexuals are at higher risk for? In the barracks environment, in training, and in combat, there is a lot of close contact, potentially with with bodily fluids, as well as transfusions and the like”.

Well, yes that’s true, but the fact is that every service member can be required to have an AIDS test every six months, and probably SHOULD be, straight or gay. As I was getting out I believe they were instituting regular screening for many STDs, and they have been testing for Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and Hepatitis with every physical, for as long as such test have existed.

Hell, you can’t even say that gay men are at a much greater risk here, because soldiers, sailors, and airmen as a class, are about the most promiscuous people on the planet (I know, I was one of them), as well as frequent patrons of prostitutes, who are the highest risk group for sexually transmitted diseases by far.

After over a decade of exclusion, we now allow gay men with clear AIDS tests to give blood in the civvy world (presuming they don’t have other risk factors like a high number of partners etc…); and we require a standard of behavior in or service members higher than society requires for gay men as a whole, so I reject this argument as specious.

All that said, I think this whole thing is one gigantic social mess. Hell, we’ve screwed up the military trying to integrate women, and still haven’t managed to do so successfully for over 60 years of trying (since the inception of the Womens Army Corps nurses serving near the front in WW2).

And I’m not saying women shouldn’t be allowed to serve either. I’m of the opinion that anyone who can meet the standards of a combat soldier should be allowed to serve in combat. That those standards be the same for all genders, sexual preferences, races, creeds or any other thing. Everybody has to pass the same test no matter what, and that test is predicated on what makes a good soldier, not what the average of the lowest performing group can pass (which is how womens PFT standards were developed by the by).

My point is however, that even given the position of women in our society, as the now dominant cultural force (and if you don’t think that’s true, you haven’t watched much network TV or been on a university campus recently – lucky you); we STILL can’t get integrating them into our military forces right. Integrating open homosexuality is a lot more controversial and difficult socially than women.

Then there’s the fact that the service environment engenders a lot of very unguarded and intimate social contact, with communal quarters, showers etc… Some raise the entirely valid point that you wouldn’t force a woman to shower with a man, nor should you force straight men to shower with gay men who might have sexual interest in them

I don’t agree with that point in it’s entirety, but I do see the issue; and I don’t think the solution is separate accommodation for gay and straight (That would be just ridiculous, and nearly impossible to do in a combat zone anyway). Hell, I don’t even think we should have separate accommodation for men and women out in the field. If women want to play with the boys they should shower with the boys… but that’s neither here nor their.

The armed forces are not the place for social experimentation, and forcing such a change in the middle of a war is beyond stupidity.

My thought is that “don’t ask don’t tell” is insulting and shameful to all concerned; that anyone currently serving who is gay should be allowed to come out of the closet should they choose to do so, but we should avoid at all costs treating gays as a protected class etc… etc…

I just don’t know how to do it.

Honestly, I don’t think we can do it right now. I don’t think it’s far off, but I don’t think it’s this year, or next year.

UPDATE:

WASHINGTON — Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed mild regret Tuesday for voicing his belief that homosexual acts are “immoral,” but he stopped short of an apology as gay rights groups and a powerful Republican senator rebuked the general for the comments he made to the Chicago Tribune.

As critics fired rhetorical volleys, Pace issued a statement expressing regret that he had put so much stress on the morality issue when he defended the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on gays serving openly in the military during a Monday interview with the Tribune’s editorial board.

“In expressing my support for the current policy, I also offered some personal opinions about moral conduct,” Pace said in his statement. “I should have focused more on my support of the policy and less on my personal moral views.”

Well, although I disagree with him, Ill say I respect the man all the more for saying this, in this way. He didn’t cave to pressure to apologize for his personal views; but he acknowledged that it was entirely inappropriate for him to have expressed his personal views in the context of military policy.

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

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