Monday, December 31, 2007

That time of the year

I'm never serious about making resolutions. I know I'm going to break them, so they are usually resolutions that won't hurt me if I do break them. By the same token, if I keep them, they won't help me much either.
That being said, here are some resolutions for Lift That Torch, Ring That Bell:
1. Lighten up. I have become so humorless on this blog that even when I'm trying to be funny, people take me seriously.
2. Post more photos. Photography pertains to freedom of expression, they make people happy, and there is a site in the Czech Republic that sells HP M415 cameras that has a link to my site, respecting the terms of my copyright limitations. I have recieved quite a few hits from that site, so I should do more of this:

Copyright (C)2007 by James Grady, Jr All original photos on this site were captured on a Hewlett-Packard HP M415 Digital Camera.

3. Plug other peoples' blogs more often. I don't always agree with these bloggers, but the blogosphere would be very boring if we all agreed. And, it would be very bland without them. Here are some blogs that I visit regularly: Rantings of a Sandmonkey
The Will To Exist
Coyote Blog
Whatever the current name of Jenn's Blog is.
Interdisciplinary World
There are more I like to visit. Some of them post even less often than I do but I have them all listed on my links list on the side bar.

4. Post more often.
5. But don't post irrelevent drivel just to post. Damn it's friggin' cold here!
Okay I already broke that one, but I needed an excuse to post that smiley.
I think I'll stop while I think I'm ahead.
Happy New Year Everyone!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Random rants about random Presidential candidates

I have an extreme distaste for trial lawyers. It was trial lawyers who robbed me of a very good career in electronics and the retirement benefits that went with it, for something that happened sixty years ago at the bequest of the government, and for which nobody who worked for that company, or administered it at the time I worked there, had any blame or responsibility. Trial lawyers are all about greed, and personal gain, often taking up to 60% of the jury awards for themselves. They have no conscious when it comes to taking jobs away from people and causing them to suffer as much as their clients.
John Edwards is one of these trial lawyers, who made hundreds of millions of dollars off of the victims of his lawsuits. He has made it clear that, if he would become President, he would continue to rob people of his jobs by attacking "Corporate America" with more taxes and regulations. He has made a personal precedent to put corporations out of business, and to help make the middle class as dependent on the Federal government as are many of the poor.
As a Libertarian, I think it is laudable that Ron Paul has exposed the public to Libertarian answers to social and economic issues, and has received an overwhelming positive reaction to such. However as far as foreign policy is concerned, Dr.Paul is either naive or totally ignorant. For one thing, he has said that it is "ridiculous that America would be attacked because we are too rich or too free." I agree with that statement, such a thought isn't only ridiculous, but is outright propaganda promulgated by the extreme left to make their "hate America first" point. What Paul is missing, when he addresses the war on terror this way, is that the fanatics who would attack America are not attacking us because we are too rich or too free, but because the majority of Americans and Europeans worship God on Saturdays and Sundays. These religious fanatics, such as Ayman Al Zawahiri and Osama Bin Ladin, have convinced their followers that in order for the Seventh Imam, the Islamic Messiah, to come to earth, that the earth must be cleansed of infidels, that is those who do not follow Sharia Law the way it is interpreted by the Wahadi school of thought. Ignoring this threat, or pulling out of the Middle East, as Dr. Paul suggests we do, will allow these extremists to gain power, possibly taking control of an entire nation in which they can expand their resources. Isolationism, Ron Paul's foreign policy, will not make them or their jihad go away.
A question I would like to ask Dr. Paul, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barak Obama, is based on the following scenario, which is a legitimate projection considering the situation in the Middle East:
If the United States leaves a weakened government in Iraq, Iran, Al Qaeda, Saudi Arabia, and other foreign powers will find it in their interest to support and step up insurgency in that country. Eventually, Iran will invade Iraq with Iraq's oil resources as its goal, and Saudi Arabia will join in battle against Iran. The Straits of Hormuz will undoubtably be closed, and there will be no Middle Eastern oil exported anywhere. To the above mentioned candidates, I ask:
"With practical energy alternatives twenty or thirty years down the road, with restrictions on domestic oil exploration and drilling, how do you propose to get groceries on the shelves of the markets with the severe oil shortage caused by the inevitable world war in the Middle East, and how will you respond to the wrath of the rest of the world putting the blame on America for creating the situation."
I will bet that they would not even be able to answer the question.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Modern Christmas Classic

Thanks to Poor Grrl Zone for digging this up! Most of us have heard this song on the radio, but I remember seeing this video when it first came out. I am still as touched by it now as I was then. It expresses, in a song, a Christmas message that transends generations.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Thanking the troops

It is my opinion that we can not thank our military members enough, especially this time of the year, when many of them are separated from their families. It doesn't matter if you support the mission in Iraq and Afghanistan or not, the troops deserve a thank you for putting their lives on the line for your right to support or oppose the war. They are doing this voluntarily--as there is no draft--and are doing it because they believe it is their call to duty. Military life is no picnic, war or no war--to serve means to give up many rights that so many of us take for granted.
This time of the year, many of us would like to thank our troops overseas by sending them a positive message appropriate to the Christmas and Channukah season. Due to the possibility of threatening or derogatory messages, the Post Office cannot deliver messages addressed "to any soldier," but there are many ways that have made it possible to express your thanks. Poor Grrl Zone has posted one way, putting up this link where one can sign in and have Seasonal greetings and thanks sent to our military troops. Exploration of many of the links on the sidebar of Lift That Torch, Ring That Bell (this blog) may also be useful in finding links to similar "Thank the Troops" sites.
Another interesting "Thank the Troops" initiative has been begun by The Gratitude Campaign, originating in Seattle, Washington, where ignorant politicians would not only have their constituents believe that all NASCAR fans are "toothless trailer trash," who are unwelcome in their city, but that everybody is against the Iraq mission and the troops should be treated as second class citizens at the best. Initiating a unique visual method of expressing gratitude, the originator of the movement explains how he came up with the idea:

For the past several years as I've been traveling around the country, I've been approaching soldiers in the airports and thanking them for serving for us. On several occasions I have noticed that it felt a little awkward for both of us. There are several reasons, some of which I am even just now learning as I produce this film and talk to more soldiers. But they have always appreciated being thanked, and I have always felt better having expressed my gratitude.

I started to think that it would be nice if civilians had a gesture or sign that they could use to say "thank you" quickly and easily without even having to approach. I did some research and found the sign that we are now using.

This is an idea that should catch on, and hopefully will become a major movement.
As a former military member myself, I can tell you how much gratitude is appreciated by those who are fighting for the cause of freedom. Aside from the devotion to duty, gratitude is the most important gift to receive from those for whom they are fighting.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The new neocons?

Watching the Democratic Party Iowa debates, the one thing that surprised me was that every candidate agreed that, as far as trade policy goes, the "neocons" are correct. Every single one of the candidates seemed to agree that trade agreements should be tied to human rights issues, as they were during the Reagan Administration. This is how regime change can best be accomplished, as it was the way the old USSR regime fell. Natan Sharanski's book, The Case For Democracy, has been read by George W. Busch, Condileeza Rice, and about everybody on their staffs and is acknowledged to be the "handbook" for foreign economic policy.
Apparently the Democratic Party candidates have read it as well, for some of them quoted directly from the book. Or perhaps quoted somebody they heard quoting from the book. Somebody like, perhaps, Dick Cheney?
They tried to make this sound like a different tack than that being taken by the State Department, but those who have been paying attention to the news know that, for one thing, there are presently ongoing negotiations that are precisely about human rights issues, with China and Pakistan in particular.
Perhaps they hope that we don't pay attention, or, just as likely, they just haven't been paying attention.
Theoretically, they have the foreign economics policy right, but listening to there proposals for the domestic policy, they all want to make the American citizenry more dependent on the government for their jobs and food. You can't have things both ways and say you are for freedom. But, that's politicians for you.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Criminal Intent

In a Libertarian Utopia, there would be no national borders. People would be able to travel freely from country to country and have the same job and business opportunities in one country as they do in another.
But we do not live in a Libertarian Utopia, and there is no country in the world that has open borders. An open border has to be a two-way affair, where one can find needs and opportunities with equal ease on either side. An open border is not a one way portal.
It is not a matter of temporary security that there are immigration laws and criteria for crossing an international border, but one of preservation. In a free society, these laws and rules are neither xenophobic nor racist, but are to ensure that a person is not entering a country to escape prosecution for a crime, or to commit a crime. A person who crosses a border legally is either a tourist or a legitimate immigrant, while a person who sneaks across a border is an invader.
A person who is in a country illegally and who works or otherwise establishes commerce in that country is doing so illegally. Any money or material goods that person takes or earns is in an underground economy that is outside the law, whether that person pays taxes or not. Therefore, if such money that the person has procured illegally is used in a transaction, that transaction is also illegal.
Ideally each state should have the sovereign right to its own laws and regulations, but the fact is that a person who crossed an international border illegally is still a criminal in any state. If states such as North Carolina and Arkansas accept tuition fees from border incursionists, then the transaction is illegal.
What I am saying here is that it is wrong to favor those who came into the country illegally over those who did the paperwork and made the necessary arrangements to come into the country. A person who lives in Colorado, and is a legal resident, would have to pay out of state tuition to go to school in Arkansas, yet a person who is in the country as a result of a border incursion not only can pay the tuition with illicitly procured money, but can do so at the reduced rate given to residents of the state of Arkansas.
Granted there are unjust laws in this country, but ignoring a law does not negate it. Negation of an unjust law must be done within a court of law or by legislation. Making a law to create a loophole around a law is not negation, as it does not directly repeal the law for which the loophole was created. In effect, the state government of Arkansas, by accepting tuition money from a criminal at large, is guilty of harboring a criminal.
Immigration laws are not racist. They do not distinguish between the nationality or race of any persons who wish to enter the country. It is more racist to assume that immigration laws apply only to certain people. In this case, "political correctness" is criminal.

Friday, December 07, 2007


A fanatical tyrant had dreams of making his country the most powerful in the world. He saw the United States as an obstacle to achieving those dreams~the only nation that had a navy strong enough to prevent him from taking over the entire Pacific Ocean.
On December 7, 1940, the US Navy had the backbone of its Pacific Fleet tethered at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. That was the day Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States, and the Pacific fleet was virtually destroyed in the massive bombing raid. 2,388 Americans were killed in the raid, and 1,178 were wounded.
Today, we remember the event which launched us into the deadliest war in American history, and we honor those who were serving their country on that day and lost their lives. In addition, we remember those families who lost husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers in that fatal raid.

It is also a day to honor those who today still put their lives on the line in service to their country.
Photo credits: Top Rottnest
Bottom: Letters to David Irving

Monday, December 03, 2007

Democracy works, for now.

By a narrow margin, Venezuelan voters defeated President Hugo Chavez's referendum to make drastic changes to Venezuela's constitution. In addition to effectively making Chavez president for life, the referendum would have increased Chavez's control over the economy and local elections, according to Frank Bajak of the Associated Press:
The defeated reform package would have created new types of communal property, let Chavez handpick local leaders under a redrawn political map and suspended civil liberties during extended states of emergency.

The defeat of the referendum does mean that there are still people in Venezuela who believe in free market, property ownership, and freedom of the press, and who are not afraid to express their views at the ballot box.
It does not mean, however, that Chavez's agenda has been weakened. He is still El Jefe until 2012, during which time he will hold the power he needs to consolidate his authority as Dictator.
As Daniel Duquanel, of Pajamas Media writes:
The bad news is that Venezuela wakes up on Monday with its same problems and even less of an idea of what to do about them.

Now that the constitutional project of Chavez, which was the centerpiece of the “five motors of the revolution towards socialism,” he announced last December has tanked – nobody knows what he will do. In earlier statements he had implied that a NO victory might force him to start already looking for a successor. Indeed, the extreme personalization of the campaign in its last three weeks turned the vote into a plebiscite on Chavez and the loss considerably complicates considerably his stay in office.

Yet, Chavez still holds a few key cards in his hand.

He controls all the established powers of the country, including all but two statehouses, and even presides over a National Assembly which is 98% at his service, and still enjoys considerable personal support in the population.

Now Duquanel and other observers are being very careful about not being labled as "alarmist," while the mainstream media, and even members of the US State Department are optimistically acting as if democracy will hold its course in Venezuela.
But there are some causes for alarm about the future of democracy in that country. Chavez has made it clear that he would follow in the footsteps of Fidel Castro. If he is sincere about his ambitions, we should not be surprised to see some government sponsored violence in Venezuela before the next elections in October.
Shortly before Sunday's elections, this Associated Press article quoted Chavez as follows:
"He who says he supports Chavez but votes 'no' is a traitor, a true traitor," the president told an arena packed with red-clad representatives of pro-Chavez local community councils. "He's against me, against the revolution and against the people."

So, with these words alone, Chavez has incited his followers to violence against the opposition. He has already shut down what he considers "opposition" news services, and other pogroms can't be too far behind.
Dequanel writes:
The debt owed by the Venezuelan opposition to the dissident student movement is enormous. Perhaps it was crucial on Sunday night to avoid any large scale fraud as they went to vote late and stayed for the counting. The opposition has very little chance to control or even to use to some advantage this vibrant movement which is fast reshaping the political agenda of the country.

Now the opposition has been given a brief window of opportunity to come up with a real message. Let’s see what they will do with that.

This is the kind of stuff a dictator hates to see. If history were to repeat itself, if Chavez were to follow in the footsteps of Castro and other tyrants, these dissidents will be silenced in the following ways:
First, crimes of violence against these dissidents will be ignored by the government. Vigilante groups of Chavistas--Chavez supporters will be encouraged to commit violence against the dissidents.
Next, the government crackdowns against opposition demonstrations will increase in authority and violence, and there will be bloodshed acted upon the demonstraters by military crowd control squads.
And, as a result of that, opposition leaders will be arrested "for their own safety" and imprisoned indefinitely. Any backlash to such actions by the government will be met with even more political incarceration.
This is how tyrants of Chavez's ilk have reacted to opposition throughout history, and there is no reason to expect that Chavez wouldn't act in kind.
I am not hoping that this happens, I am pointing out that this should be expected. What I hope for is similar to the hope Dequanel expresses summing up his article:

This could go a long way to restore some degree of civility and political respect which is totally missing in Venezuela today. That is also where the dissenting student movement could come in: they have shown that the leaders of the future are already here and running. Unencumbered by past faults or current incompetence and cheap ideology, they might have a very bright future sooner than expected.

But I wouldn't count on that.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving is for everyone.

It is sad to me that a small segment of the population feels excluded from the celebration of Thanksgiving Day. Even sadder is the fact that these people feel excluded because they want to. You tell them "Happy Thanksgiving," and they act offended and snap "I don't celebrate the death of the Indians."
The fact is that Thanksgiving Day is a day set aside for giving thanks for what we cherish, not about what happened two or three hundred years ago. Though it is important to remember our history--and I say "our history" because I am five generations removed from a Pequod American--what happened in the early days is irrelevent to what we are doing now.
Rather than lamenting what has happened in the past, we should be thankful for what we are and what we have today. The only thing that can oppress us in this country is our own negative feelings about society. Set aside politics and racial pride for just one day, and focus, instead, on the blessings you have today.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Political Correctness deemed bad for children

So you think Dennis Kucinich is the right man for the White House? Or maybe Ron Paul is your choice? Do you honestly believe that Rosie O'Donnell is right about 9-11? Chances are you watched too much Sesame Street.
According to this article in Sunday's New York Times Magazine, the show that was known for spreading the message of political correctness to youngsters has been deemed "suitable for adults only."
That is the warning printed on the packaging of the new DVD release of the first two seasons of the venerated PBS children's program. The PC police have pointed out several problems with the show that they did not notice as children. Oh my God, were they actually drinking whole milk? Why was Oscar the Grouch's obvious depression untreated? These are questions that would never cross the mind of the four year old watching the show, but it was right there on the television! Never mind that the characters were imaginary, or that they were portrayed by puppets, but a gay couple like Bert and Ernie living in a decrepit apartment sends the wrong message, according to the PC police. They should know, they grew up watching the show and look at them now.
So, whether it's an oxymoron or a self-fulfilling prophecy, the message to liberals now is don't let your children grow up to be like you.
Or, as Tyler Grey of Radar Online writes:
Why, Gen-X'er, did you become a flannel-wearing faux liberal, trusting (in theory) of the good will of your Socialistically like-minded fellow citizens but actually rendered cynical by a much grimmer reality you encountered in adult life?

Sesame Street. It totally f***ed you up.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veteran's Day

In Honor of those who have served their country, and in tribute to those who have given their lives in service to their country:

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Atrocity at Home

You're driving down the highway, and, up ahead you see flashing red and blue lights. The traffic slows to a standstill, and you wait in line, wondering if there are prison escapees or other criminal fugitives in the area. When you finally get to the roadblock, a man with a badge and a gun approaches your window, and says "Show me your license and registration, please."
As you collect the required documents the "public safety" officer takes a visual look around inside your car, and you realize that it is you they are looking for.
What, you may wonder, is the reason for this detention and search? Where is the probable cause?
The government charges that the probable cause is that you are driving a car, and that you might, therefore, be driving while intoxicated, under the influence, or that you may be using or transporting illegal or illicit substances in the passenger compartment of your vehicle.
Of course, the government may find probable cause in everything you do. If you are walking down the street, you may be eluding arrest, because, if you have nothing to hide, why aren't you driving a car? If you are living by yourself, you could be a social deviant. If you are living and breathing, you might plotting to kill someone. There is plenty of probable cause, when the criteria are so vague.
In the states--all but eleven--that utilize these sobriety check points, the ratio of actual DWI offenders to innocent detainees is approximately less than one in 800, according to Barry Noreen of the Colorado Springs Gazette.
Noreen comments on the questionable constitutionality of sobriety check points:
In 1990, the Supreme Court ruled that sobriety checkpoints are constitutional, and that remains the law of the land, even though the Fourth Amendment supposedly protects citizens from being detained without probable cause.

Is it conceivable the high court could be wrong? Remember, a unanimous court once upheld the internment camps for Americans of Japanese ancestry. In Plessy v. Ferguson, it created the “separate-but-equal” justification for racial segregation.
Sure, the Supreme Court could be wrong again.

In 1990, the court defended checkpoints where the average delay for innocent citizens was 25 seconds. Today, the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Web site says three minutes is an acceptable guideline.

It’s hardly reassuring that the Bill of Rights will be suspended for just three minutes.

The return to the State harvested from the sobriety check points is too low to justify the cost in time and money. Law enforcement resources are being mishandled in manning these check points.
Wouldn't it be easier to catch DWI offenders by patrolling traffic and looking for such tell-tale signs as excessive weaving, erratic turns, speeding, excessively slow driving, or running stop lights or stop signs? Just because a person is in a car, doesn't mean that he or she is irresponsible for his or her actions, any more than living and breathing means that we could commit a crime.

Friday, November 02, 2007

A must read--unsolicited review

I apologize to my readers for the lack of posts over the last few weeks. I have no excuse--there is plenty to write about, plenty of arguments to present, and lots of ideas to throw around.
I have come across an excellent blog titled "Interdisciplinary World" by Dr T. This is a blogger who I see as very like-minded to myself. His latest posts, on sexuality and politics and on fanaticism are very well written, and bring up some points that will give the reader some substantial food for thought.
Dr T. backs up every statement with well researched references, and his writing is articulate. Best of all, he posts every day, covering a myriad of subjects.
What sets him apart from other Libertarian bloggers can be seen in the statement of purpose in the header of his blog, which reads:
It is time we had an interdisciplinary world. It is time we created a society where all levels of thinking and society can work together – so the individual psychologies can live together in a more integrated society. Interdisciplinary thinking tries to promote environmentalism, capitalism, religion, heroic individualism, and families simultaneously. Beauty, truth, and ethics are united.

In every item he posts, Dr T applies this statement of purpose, tying every example to the community. He is, what we might call an "Objectivist," that is, an activist in the philosophy made popular by the late author Ayn Rand. Objectivism is a viable, important, and necessary alternative to socialism. He presents objectivism in a practical manner, in integrating it into the idea of an "interdisciplinary world."
This is a must read for anyone who reads and writes blogs, as well as anybody who is interested in ways to repair society. Whether you agree with him or not, Dr T will allow you to think about what you do believe.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Congress or Community?

It is a basic tenet of Libertarian philosophy that the best government for the smallest community is the smallest community. In the wake of the tragic California wildfires, we are seeing the truth of this belief in the evacuation centers, such as QualCom Stadium. In dealing with the misery of losing property and belongings, and of being displaced, we see a wonderful example of the human spirit and the power of the community coming together.
When a crisis arises in a community, it is human nature that the members of that community pull together, to help each other out. This is what happened at QualCom, in San Diego. Clowns and pets entertained the children, and people went out or their way to give children crayons and paper or coloring books to keep them busy, and to help lift their spirits.
The atmosphere was described by one reporter as being like a "street festival." People were helping people keep their minds off of their predicament, and spreading friendship, sympathy, and empathy. The citizens of the community took personal responsibility to do their part in making sure everybody found as much comfort as possible under the circumstances.
It wasn't a government agency that donated food, clothing, water and other items of need. It was that "evil corporate slavemaster," Wal-Mart/Sam's Club. Not only did they deliver goods to all of the evacuation centers, but they also donated one million dollars to the Red Cross for relief operations.
Nor was it a government agency that thought about the needs of the pets. Petco, another "Capitalistic oppressor," sent truckloads of pet food, snacks and medicine to the evacuation centers, ensuring that the beloved companions of the displaced families were taken care of as well.
Not to say that FEMA and the State of California didn't step up. Even while Senator Barbara Boxer was complaining that the War in Iraq prevented sufficient aid from being given where it was needed, California National Guardmen were being reassigned to State duty from their posts on the US-Mexico border, to aid in the firefighting and evacuation effort. FEMA obviously learned lessons from its mistakes during the Katrina disaster and was very efficient in implementing and coordinating the emergency actions operations. The day after Boxer blamed the forest fires on the Bush Administration, as any good Democratic Party politician should do, she ate her words, saying that the manpower and equipment available to the State of California was "sufficient."
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decided to do his part in helping the victims of the disaster by declaring that the wildfires, which have been fueled by the "Santa Ana" winds every year in the history of humankind, were caused by global warming, and that he would make sure that Congress would pass legislation dealing with the issue. This did give some comfort to those who refuse to admit that it may not have been a wise choice to build or buy a home in the fire prone area, for now they can blame their poor judgement on the natural cycle of the warming and cooling of the Earth. Even if we assume that industrialization is responsible for the acceleration of the natural cycles, Senator Reid is fifty years too late in promising legislation that, even if enacted this very minute, won't do much to help those who lost personal property and jobs in the fires. One might ask Senator Reid if it might have been a better idea to offer tax incentives to energy companies that research alternative fuels and energy, rather than taxing them out of the money needed to conduct such research.
When offered a choice, when needing help, between going to Congress or going to our neirghbors, the answer seems fairly obvious. The government has never given anybody the help they need in times of crises.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

This doesn't surprise me

Your Political Profile:

Overall: 60% Conservative, 40% Liberal

Social Issues: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

This puts me, overall, close to what the media refers to as a "Centrist," a label with which I could live happily, as long as socio-economic politics can be viewed on a two dimensional chart.


On such a chart, there is no room for "Libertarian" or its extreme opposite, "Statist." "Statist," a euphenism for "Authoritarian," could be the label applied to anyone who scores an overall rating of 100% as either a "Liberal" or a "Conservative", because such a rating either way implies that the quizee would place either the economy or personal choice completely in the hands of the government.
A more accurate political quiz could be found on the Advocates For Self Government page titled "The World's Smallest Political Quiz."
If the results obtained in the "How Liberal/Conservative Are You" quiz are similar to the ones displayed at the beginning of this post, they would be displayed in the "World's Smallest Political Quiz thusly:

This is called the "Nolan chart" devised by Dick Nolan, a co-founder of the Libertarian Party, as an illustration of what a Libertarian is compared to a Liberal or a Conservative.
I recommend taking both quizzes, you may be entertained, confused, dismayed, or surprised by the results, but, after all, it is educational.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Beware the Neotarian

There seems to be a large number of American dissidents who blog under the category of "Libertarian," while sounding more like the "Radical Left." They focus not on Libertarian principles such as the repeal of the Federal Income Tax, getting out of and banning the UN, freedom of choice and personal responsibility, but rather on the single concept of initiation of force. That is, their own perception of initiation of force.
They support their views by ignoring historical fact, by twisting fact, and by manufacturing their own facts. For example, they will repeat endlessly that we are engaged in an "illegal," as in "undeclared," war even with this declaration of war sitting right in front of them. The measure, which became Public Law 105-338 when signed by President Clinton on October 31, 1998, listed twelve reasons to depose Saddam Hussein, and included details on the overthrow of Saddam and the reconstruction plans for after the overthrow.
Yet this law is ignored by the Neotarians, who claim that President Bush manufactured Saddam as an enemy of the United States.
They also come very close to the conspiracy throrists, who, without any factual support, claim that "9-11 was an inside job"
But their agenda has little to do with Libertarian thought. They consider the works of such great Libertarian figures as Natan Sharansky, or Andrei Sakharov as being "neoconservative." They are merely finding another direction from which to protest the war.
There are many Libertarians who are against the war, mostly for the huge amount of government spending it takes to run the war, and there are others, such as Neal Boortz, (and myself, for that matter) who believe the war is necessary to ensure free enterprise and the freedom of our own country, by drawing the line before it gets to our own shores. At any rate, most Libertarians agree that the war in Iraq will most likely be a non-issue by election time next year. Most Libertarian bloggers are busy addressing such issues as freedom of choice, freedom of expression, true free market, and prohibition, issues which we feel we can actually do something about in a practical manner.
Neotarians, on the other hand, continue to make things up in support of their own brand of reality.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

What many Libertarians are missing

Personal responsibility is the core of all Libertarian principles. Without personal responsibility, freedom becomes nothing more than anarchy, and any Libertarian society would dissolve into feudalism.
All Libertarians have their own ideas of freedom, and these are as personal as religion. Any Libertarian will find some point on which to differ from another Libertarian. To quote the crowd in Monty Python's The Life of Brian, "We are all individuals!"
There are basically two types of Libertarians, the pragmatic and the idealists. The pragmatic Libertarian tends to insert Libertarian principles into the system in a way that is compatible with the situation at hand. The idealist, on the other hand, is focused on the ideology of Libertarianism, and sees the only way of achieving a Libertarian society as being to have every principle injected into society at once.
Personal responsibility is more prevailant among the pragmatists, who split the population of the LP about 50-50 with the idealist. The pragmatist believes that Libertarian society can best be established from the bottom up, while the idealist believes that if it happens at the top, the rest of society will follow.
Personal responsibility means to fulfill one's obligations. To not fulfill our obligation as a country would seriously harm our evolution to a true free market economy. Our credibility would be lost to potential trading partners, and we could never again be taken seriously. The Libertarian idealists would do well to consider this.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Another Top Secret leak changes nothing

The publication of yet another top secret document in the Madrid, Spain daily newspaper, El Pais, Wednesday, resolves several questions, and negates several allegations held against President Bush by liberal politicians and media. The conversation took place between then Prime Minister of Spain, Jose Maria Aznar, President Bush, and Condoleeza Rice, on February 22, 2003, at Crawford, Texas.
Certainly, this transcript will be cherry picked, and certain elements taken out of context by isolationists and liberals, who will claim that this president plotted war. But a thorough reading of the document will show that President Bush would have much rather found a way to dispose of Saddam that excluded unilateral action or even war.
Aznar: Actually, the best success would be to win the game without firing a single shot when entering Baghdad.
Bush: To me, it would be the best outcome. I don’t want war. I know what war is like. I know the death and destruction they bring. I am the one who has to comfort the mothers and wives of the dead. Of course, for us [a diplomatic solution] would be the best one. Also, it would save 50 billion dollars.
We know that this statement will be ignored by those who have created for themselves a reality in which the President is a war monger who would attack a country before considering diplomatic means. It just doesn't make sense in their world. To acknowledge this statement would be to admit error, which they feel would weaken their position.
It is widely known that, later in March, Saddam was given a last chance to step down by accepting exile in China, which he refused, because, according to former Iraqi General Georges Sada, he didn't want to give up his money and oil. However, in February, Saddam Hussein was in negotiations with Egypt for an exile deal:
Bush: The Egyptians are talking with Saddam Hussein. It seems he has hinted he’d be willing to leave if he’s allowed to take 1 billion dollars and all the information on WMDs. Ghadaffi told Berlusconi that Saddam wants to leave. Mubarak tells us that in these circumstances there is a big chance that he’ll get killed.
...and all the information on WMDs? Wait a minute. The haters believe that there were no WMDs or research on such. This will be ignored in their assessment as easily as the banishment from Iraq of the UN weapons inspecters in November 2002. At that time, the inspection team had been given by Saddam a list of facilities they could enter to inspect. When they tried to enter one such facility, they were barred, being told that it had been removed from the list. There was something there that Saddam Hussein did not want the UN weapons inspecters to see, and the inspecters left Iraq shortly afterward, not knowing what it was.
President Bush revealed his views on the situation in this passage:
Bush: No guarantees. He’s a thief, a terrorist, a war criminal. Compared to Saddam, Milosevic would be a Mother Teresa. When we go in, we are going to discover many more crimes, and we’ll take him to the International Criminal Court at The Hague. Saddam Hussein believes he has escaped. He thinks that France and Germany have stopped the process of his prosecution. He also thinks that last week’s anti-war demonstrations [Saturday, February 15] protect him. And he believes I’m weakened. But people around him know that things are totally different. They know their future is in exile or in a coffin. This is why it’s so important to keep the pressure up. Ghaddafi is indirectly telling us that this is the only thing that can finish him. Saddam’s only strategy is delay, delay, delay.

There is no denying the fact that Bush wanted to put an end to Saddam's one way or the other. He had many more reasons to do so than just the information on WMDs.
Bush: We would like to act with the mandate of the UN. If we act militarily, we’ll do it with great precision and focus on our targets to as high a degree as possible. We’ll decimate the loyal troops, and the regular army will quickly know what it’s all about. We sent a very clear message to Saddam Hussein’s generals: we will treat them as war criminals. We know they have stocked big amounts of dynamite to blow up the bridges and other infrastructure, and the oil wells. We are planning to take control of those wells very soon. Also, the Saudis will help us by putting as much oil as necessary on the market. We are developing a very strong aid package. We can win without destruction. We are already working on the post-Saddam Iraq, and I think there’s a basis for a better future. Iraq has a good bureaucracy and a relatively strong civil society. It could be organized as a federation. Meanwhile we’re doing all we can to fulfill the political needs of our friends and allies...
... I’m guided by a historical sense of responsibility, as you are. When history judges us in a few years, I don’t want people wondering why Bush, Aznar, or Blair didn’t confront their responsibilities. At the end of the day, what people want is to enjoy freedom. A short time ago, in Romania, I was reminded of Ceaucescu’s example: it only took a woman to call him a liar for the whole regime to come crumbling down. It’s the irrepressible power of freedom. I’m convinced I’ll achieve the resolution.

When combined with other information we had at the time, this document gives us a better insight as to how we got to Iraq. The question now is how do we get out? Will we be successful in establishing a stable country, or will we be forced by the media and the haters to leave a nation that could easily be as much, if not more, of a threat to international trade and economy as Hussein's Iraq.
The transcript cited here can be found in its entirety at Pajamas Media, along with comments by Jose Guardia.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Would they have laughed?

Mahmoud Ahmadinijad, Iran's president found common ground with the students at Columbia University as he spoke about Science coming from God. Of course, he did, because we know Albert Einstein believed the same, as does Stephen Hawking, as do many Christians who are not on the Creationist fringe. Because we believe science is part of God, doesn't make us Islamic.
Once he did find common ground, he managed to avoid the questions he had been charged to answer by using rhetorical questions and talking about what amounted to political responsibility.
When he was asked if he called for the destruction of Israel, he refused to answer "Yes" or "No"
When he avoided the question of the murder of homosexuals in Iran, he denied that Iran had homosexuals. The students of Columbia laughed, finding mass murder hilarious. Would they have laughed if, say, President Bush had made that kind of statement about the United States?
While Mahmoud was speaking about the respect of women in Iran, and of the humanity of Iran's rulers, would they have swallowed that line of malarky if they had seen this video?
Warning: the video you see when clicking the above hypertext is extremely violent, and should not be viewed by children It depicts the stoning of two women in Iran, and I do not recommend it being viewed by anyone who may be emotionally effected by violence. I could only watch about seven minutes of it, and the images still haunt me. Click at your own risk.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Return of the Cold War?

Vladmir Putin's Russia has been flexing her military muscles, lately, by violating the air space of Finland, with bomber flyovers.
This may seem like a threat likened to that of the Soviet Union during the Cold War, but it is merely a reflection of what is happening inside the political mechanisms of that country.
With the ongoing emergence of the new Democratic Russia, the goings-ons inside the Kremlin have not changed much from the Soviet days. You have the same kinds of power struggles among the various departments of the government, and the added struggles among the various political parties. As Peter Rutland writes in Business Week, the Russian President does not want to be seen as a "lame duck," in his waning months as President. He wants to show the world, and, especially, the Russian people that his United Russia party has allowed Russia to return to its status as a world power. It is all for the sake of the Russian elections coming up next year.
Russia is dependent on trade with other nations. The Soviet Union fell, because America and other nations in the West, refused to conduct trade in technological goods with that country. Already far behind the rest of the world in technological development, the Soviet economy could not compete in world trade, so the economy bottomed out and the Soviet government disintegrated. Even with Russia's oil wealth, today, trade is still very important in keeping the economy healthy. Russian economists and Putin's cabinet surely understand that.
The bottom line is that the show of force is more for the benefit of the United Russia party than for the rest of the world. Russia can not burn bridges with the rest world, and slow the advancement of an economy that was only recently devastated by corruption and bad policy. According to the Russian constitution, Putin is limited to three terms, after which he must step down. He is obviously intending to remain in power, either by proxy or by constitutional loopholes, so it is important to him to maintain the image of Russian power.
So, there does not seem to be a desire to return to the Cold War. It is only Russian politics in action.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Tribute to "NASCAR Debbie" (revised and republished)

I only found out about this Sunday morning--an old friend of mine, and of everyone else who knew her, passed away August 14, suddenly and unexpectedly.
NASCAR Debbie was a petite woman--four foot nine and weighing not more than 90 lbs, but she had a heart as big as the world. Her personality was absolutely magnetic, and she always returned friendship with friendship. In her obituary, she was described as "eccentric," in a positive way, and she certainly was off center--unique as no other person could be. She seemed to see life as performance art, and she was an excellent performance artist.
With an IQ ranging in the top 1 percentile, she loved to mingle with us "slow" folks, and being in her company felt perfectly natural. She was funny, not with the usual jokes or one liners, but with a running commentary on life in general, and NASCAR Debbie could always make us laugh.
NASCAR Debbie was always kind, sweet, and generous. She literally lit up the room when she walked in, adorning the bar with appropriate decorations for every race and every Broncos game. A New York Jets fan, herself, she would hand out tissues to the Broncos fans after Denver lost a game. On the warm and fuzzy side, she would freely give hugs to those friends that needed one.
NASCAR Debbie was special to every one of her friends and family. "To know her is to love her" was a phrase that could be applied to her more than anyone else we knew.
NASCAR Debbie lived and breathed NASCAR. Her home was filled, wall to wall, shelf by shelf with Tony Stewart collectables and NASCAR paraphenelia. With the enthusiasm and excitement she exuded, she made watching the races on TV at the local watering hole a total experience--with her in the crowd, it was almost like being there.
It was NASCAR Debbie who kept me from drifting away from the sport after Dale Earnhardt's death in 2001. She got me interested in Smoke, more than I already was, and was instrumental in making me the fan I am today.
We had a falling out after 9/11/2001. It was my fault, because I suffer from PTSD, the events of that day produced issues that made me unbearable for her to be around. But, I will always cherish the times that Debbie and I had as friends, and she will always be a bright, shining light in my life. I never stopped loving her as a friend, and I never will.

New: I am asking for your help. I have a very limited income, carry no plastic, and have no PayPal account. The on-line guest book memorializing our dear, sweet friend is due to expire this Friday, September 22, unless it is sponsered for a year. If you could find it in your heart to help, please visit this link. It is not at all expensive, I just have no way to do it.

Update: The guestbook has been sponsored anonymously by a very kind and gracious NASCAR fan. God bless the sponsor and thank you everyone for your sympathy and understanding.

Who never saw this coming?

From Reuters:
Venezuela's Congress on Tuesday gave
preliminary approval to President Hugo Chavez's proposed
constitutional reform, which would lift term limits to help the
leftist leader cement his self-styled socialist revolution
Sandmonkey's comment:
And since he is a leftist leader and his revolution socialist in nature, he gets a free pass. If it was anyone else, people would call it what it really is: A dictatorship in the making. But it gets better.
(Continue Reuters)
Chavez last week presented reforms to end central bank
autonomy, increase state expropriation powers and give the
president direct control over monetary reserves in a move
critics called a "coup" to keep Chavez in power indefinitely.

The legislature, 100 percent controlled by Chavez allies,
will hold two more votes to fully ratify the changes, which
must be finally approved through a popular referendum that
legislators say they hope will take place in early December.

"We are reforming the constitution to solidify … the
socialist nation, the socialist state, the socialist
democracy," said Carlos Escarra, a legislator and
constitutional lawyer who helped draft the reforms.

He has already secured a firm grip on key state
institutions including the court system, the state oil company
and most state and local governments.

Now El Presidente is planning on taking over the private schools so that he may indoctrinate all school children to his brand of socialism. This means that there will be no teaching of any economic or political philosophy other than that of which Chavez approves:
Venezuelan officials defend the program at the Latin American Medical School — one in a handful of state-run colleges and universities that emphasize socialist ideology — as the new direction of Venezuelan higher education.

"We must train socially minded people to help the community, and that's why the revolution's socialist program is being implemented," said Zulay Campos, a member of a Bolivarian State Academic Commission that evaluates compliance with academic guidelines.

"If they attack us because we're indoctrinating, well yes, we're doing it, because those capitalist ideas that our young people have — and that have done so much damage to our people — must be eliminated," Campos said.

I believe somebody predicted this would happen.

Friday, September 14, 2007

My last post on Iraq--for now.

I seem to have become obsessed with what is happening in Iraq right now--while nearly every other blogger I read regularly is avoiding the subject. I genuinely do want to address other things that are important to me as a Libertarian, and as a citizen of this planet we call Earth. Everybody who reads my blog knows where I stand on the issue, while those who haven't read it yet will quickly and easily find out. Those who would agree with me already agree, while those who disagree with me will never see my point.
I have said just about all that I feel needs to be said on the subject.
One last thing--General Petreaus is not a political figure, no matter what certain Congress persons and Senators may think. He is just a guy who does his job, and does it well. When he delivered his report to Congress, he did not sugarcoat anything, he did not try to justify the American presence in Iraq, he only described what resources he had, what he has accomplished with those resources, what he needs, and what he can accomplish in the future. He is not running for office, he is not trying to get anybody elected or re-elected. He made it clear that he does not like to lose the lives of those with whom he has been entrusted. His job is to pick up pieces and make something out of them
The inserts, or blockquotes, in this post are taken from an article in The Daily Star--an English language e-newsletter from Lebanon--written by syndicated columnist David Ignatius, and titled "Petraeus' Iraq legacy is the real issue." It is a good read, and should be perused with an open mind.
When Petraeus was training the Iraqi Army, he liked to talk about "pop-ups" - the militia units that appear unexpectedly with charismatic commanders and more fighting zeal than the regular military. Unlike more rigid commanders, he was willing to go with the flow - to conform his strategy to these pop-up realities on the ground, rather than try to make things fit his own big picture. That's one of his strengths. He's basically winging it in Iraq - exploring what works and then going with it.

This is a good assessment of the man's character. He is there to get a job done, and is flexible enough to do that job under ever-changing circumstances. As the next paragraph of the article explains, he is not one who has decided to "stay the course" that was left to him:
This bottom-up style of Petraeus and his group represents a decisive break with the cocksure, top-down ethos of Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon - and with a military leadership that bought into Rumsfeld's idea that technology had transformed the nature of warfare itself. Nonsense, said the colonels who advised Petraeus, many of whom, like him, are on their third tours in Iraq. They have learned the hard way to be skeptical of big ideas.

To those who think General Patreaus' methods are the same that have already been tried in Iraq, and have failed, think again--the General and his staff seem to have rejected any idea to continue the strategies that have already been tried. I need say no more. Mr. Ignatius sums it up very well in the last three paragraphs of his article:

Petraeus and his team understand, too, that this war is about people - and helping them one by one to break the cycle of intimidation. When I asked Colonel H.R. McMaster, a key Petraeus adviser, to name a turning point in Anbar, he cited the day last February when Al-Qaeda deposited at a hospital in Ramadi an ice chest containing the severed heads of the children of several sheikhs who had been cooperating with the United States. Rather than submitting to this barbarous act, the enraged sheikhs deepened their alliance with the US military.

We need to be honest about what's happening now in Iraq: Local solutions are better than no solutions; tribal power is better than terrorist intimidation; pop-ups can be better than the pre-planned models. But Petraeus' ad-hoc, ground-up security framework is not the same thing as stabilizing the country. In the time remaining, he has to pull things together as best he can - connect local successes to provincial and national institutions; extend the Sunni rebellion against extremists into the Shiite regions; break the control that Shiite militias now exert over the Interior Ministry and the police.

We do know how this is going to end: with US troops returning home. The question is what they will leave behind. It's likely to be a ragged, patchwork quilt, and there isn't much time left to stitch it together.

Careful what we wish for?

There is a definite plus to Dr. Ron Paul's candidacy for the Republican Presidential nomination; he is getting part of the Libertarian message out to a large segment of the voting public--substantially more than he did as a Libertarian Presidential Candidate in 1988. He is making his point on the Libertarian principles of non-initiation of force, the unconstitutionality of the Federal Income Tax, and the need to repeal the IRS, the need for smaller government, and the importance of free market capitalism in keeping our economy healthy. Every Libertarian, and most conservatives, agree that the United Nations is a useless, and needless entity that we, as a sovereign nation could do without. Dr. Paul has been very articulate on this subject.
I am certain that, given the opportunity, Ron Paul would make a statement declaring that all Federal lands and mineral rights should be sold to private ownership, where the decision on whether or not to drill for oil, cut timber, grow crops of the owner's choice, raise livestock, etc, is up to the owner of the property.
It would be good for us, the Libertarians, if Dr. Paul would address some other issues. We would be happy to hear him explain that the government has no right to legislate individual moral decisions, such as the personal choice of abortion, or to choose or not choose to consume or participate in marijuana, prostitution, gambling, alcohol, or other "vices" that should be a matter of personal responsibility. Of course, we know that in the Texas State Legislature, and in Congress, that Dr. Paul has voted for laws that would prosecute physicians who perform abortions, and his silence on the issue of prohibition is absolutely deafening.
Dr. Paul has also failed to address the participation of the AMA in the act of persuading legislators to limit individual rights, and the support that organization has expressed for "universal" health care. Being the politician he is, and owing his chosen vocation to the AMA, we can't expect that he would say much to criticise that organization.

Where are the solutions? It's easy to argue that open borders would eventually even out the world economy, provided that there is still a way to prevent the smuggling of weapons that could be used against the citizens of a country. An open border can not be a one way portal--in order for a border to be genuinely open, it has to go both ways. We should, for instance, just as easily be able to get a job with competitive wages in Mexico as it is for someone in Mexico to come here and get a desirable job. Ron Paul, or any other candidate for that matter, would do well to venture a proposal on how to create borders that are truly open.
The debate over how we got to Iraq has been discussed ad naseum. That discussion does not address the question of how do we fix it. Every scenario projected for the region in the event of a precipitous withdrawal of US military forces includes the genocide of Iraqi Sunnis and a large scale war between Farsi and Arab. Nuclear holocaust is another situation that could happen, if Israel sees a need to protect itself by green glassing the entire region. Ron Paul's solution is to "let it happen," but there are no other candidates who have any solution at all.
The problem here is, there can be no economy in any nation without energy, and, for at least the next twenty years, Mid East oil is a very important energy source. The Wahadi Fundamentalist Caliphate of Mesopotamia, envisioned by Bin Ladin and others, would not allow the trade of oil to any other nation, including Islamic nations, that does not subscribe to Wahadi Fundamentalism. The Mesopotamian Caliphate would detrimentally effect the economy of every nation in the world.
Any large scale war in the region would undoubtedly result in the closure of the Straits of Hormuz. This is an important sea lane necessary for trade not only for oil, but for technological and other goods important to the world economy. China has already declared that it would be military involved in the prevention of closure of that important trade route. Again, in this scenario all that can happen is an escalation of hostilities.
The bottom line here is that no other nation in the world would trust the United States as a trading partner if this country were responsible, by negligence, for either a large scale genocide, or a larger scale war over trade routes and energy.
Libertarian philosophy is a good thing if it can be applied in a practical manner. In order to be practical, it needs to be applied universally. This can happen, but not with an isolationist attitude. The entire world is not going to become Libertarian simultaneously, so Ron Paul, and his supporters, should keep this in mind.
The big minus is the answer to the question "what if Ron Paul won the Republican nomination?" The electorate tends to vote for what it knows, rather than for the unknown. A victory for Dr. Paul in the nomination race, would mean a victory for the Democratic Party in the presidential race. The American public is not ready to accept the entire Libertarian agenda, and would rather have double digit unemployment figures and socialized medicine than the prosperity Libertarianism promises. In the long run, the economic ruin that would be caused by a Democratic administration, coupled with a Democratic Congress, would create enough backlash to make Libertarianism the next logical step, but that same backlash could also translate to more of "they can't win, so don't bother voting for them." As Libertarians, concerning Ron Paul as a Republican candidate, we need to be careful what we wish for.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

What Purpose Does it Serve?

Even before General Petraeus delivered his report to Congress, he was being criticised for what he might say. MoveOn, a left wing extremist organization bought a discounted ($100K below the quoted rate) full page ad in the NY Times, which read as follows:
General Petreaus or General Betray us? Cooking the books for the White House.

Now, Jeffery Feldman, of the Huffington Post, claims that "Betray us," does not necessarily imply that the General is a "traitor," and that "cooking the books" does not necessarily imply that he is a "liar."
So, there you have it--MoveOn shelled out $65 grand to say nothing, which is something they should say more often.
Likewise, we can expect Democratic Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton to declare that, when she said, "I have to suspend my disbelief, (when listening to the report)," she was not calling the report a lie, nor was she calling the General a "liar."
Such statements do serve a purpose: Now, we know for certain that, when politicians talk about the war as if it were a political issue, they say nothing.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

For My Country on 9/11

9/11 Tribute: Kevin P. Connors (Re-published)

Kevin P. Connors, of Greenwich, Connecticut once bought a boat in which he planned to sail solo around the world. The boat sank off the coast of South America, and he survived that He survived because he was a winner who would not accept defeat. He loved challenges, and when the challenge of selecting a good investment for his clients at Euro Brokers wasn't enough, he went mountain climbing.
On September 11, 2001, Mr. Connors, a vice president at Euro Brokers in the World Trade Center, didn't even get a chance to face a challenge, when people whom he had never met decided he must die.
It is an honor to pay tribute to this shipwreck survivor, and, on the fifth anniversary of the tragedy, to honor him and the rest of the fallen. Kevin P. Connors, who was 55 years old, was a winner and a hero to his four brothers and his sister, and to those who knew and worked with him. May we all find peace in his memory.

Not My Kind

Republican candidate for the Presidential nomination, Congressman Ron Paul, presents himself as a libertarian, and is favored by roughly 50% of the Libertarian Party members. He is, however, not my kind of Libertarian.
My kind of Libertarian is pragmatic, rather than a blind follower of the Faith in Libertarian principles. The pragmatic Libertarian is no less a believer in Libertarian principles than is the Ivory Tower Libertarian, but the pragmatic is inclined to apply those principles within the tolerance of the situation in question.
Dr. Paul fails to acknowledge the facts. He tries to shove the Libertarian principles down our throats, without consideration of the situation. He defends his views by citing the crackpot 9/11 conspiracy theorists when talking about his opposition to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is, in fact, a politician, not a statesman, as can be seen in his Wikipedia entry. In fact, he was the only professional politician ever to run for office as a Libertarian. It should be remembered that, when he ran for President in 1988, he received the lowest national vote count in the history of the Libertarian Party. It should also be remembered that, after the 1988 elections, he was heavily criticised by Libertarians for improperly representing the Libertarian principles.
Where would Dr. Paul draw the line of defense against those who do us harm? Would he actually wait until there is another invasion of our sovereignty, in which thousands of innocent citizens are killed? It is true that, if Saddam had been left alone, we would not be fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq, but, where would we be fighting them? Our enemy, which is waging a continuing war against us, is not a foreign country. Our enemy is a population of men who follow an extremely radical religious philosophy, in which the only way to reach Paradise is to murder those who do not follow their particular brand of religion. They have no borders. If we were to wait for them to come to us, the toll in human lives would be catastrophic. Dr. Paul's isolationist philosophy would ensure that such a toll would be taken. The pragmatic Libertarian is not an isolationist.
Dr. Paul does not represent all of the Libertarian principles. He is an ardent prohibitionist. On the issue of abortion, he would like to return to the days of back alley butchers.
Libertarian philosophy can not be imposed from the top down--it must work its way up from the individual and the smallest possible community.
Neal Boortz, who literally wrote the book on the Fair Tax Initiative, is my kind of Libertarian. He understands that preserving the future of our way of life is not the "temporary" security of which Ben Franklin spoke. Walter E. Williams, who often writes about the need of the individual to take personal responsibility in order to earn and preserve our natural rights, is my kind of Libertarian.
Gary Johnson was elected Governor of New Mexico in 1994 and served in that office for the full two terms allowed by that state's constitution. As Governor, he was an outstanding example of how the pragmatic Libertarian operates within the practical situation. He successfully repealed New Mexico's prohibition of package liquors on Sunday, which resulted in a dramatic drop in DWI/DUI incidents in that state. After he granted permission for a Native American clan in New Mexico to open a casino on its reservation/property, the Federal government sought an injunction against the opening of that casino. Governor Johnson successfully stood against the Feds, in the name of states' rights and property rights, and the injunction was dropped. He allowed homosexual partnerships to be legally recognized in New Mexico. While not able to repeal New Mexico's income tax, he reduced spending while creating tax incentives for commercial ventures in New Mexico, dramatically improving that state's economy--a policy that was continued by Governor Bill Richardson. Amid severe criticism from both Democratic and Republican politicians, Governor Johnson brought the question of marijuana prohibition to the forefront. Johnson did all this with very little experience in politics. He is not, by any means, a professional politician. Gary Johnson, of course, is my kind of Libertarian.
The Libertarian Party has been trying to shake the image of the "Ivory Tower Libertarian Crackpot" for many years. Dr. Paul has, in the Republican Party Presidential nomination debates, presented himself as just that. Libertarians would do well to ignore his bid for the Presidency.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Glamour Girl

Because I felt the need to post a picture on this blog. I present Clansi, a cat who knows how to pose.

This also gives me the opportunity to recommend Riotcats, a photo blog with a clever and humorous twist for cat lovers.
While I'm on the subject of humor, I will remind the readers, that if you don't like what you read on my blog, I recommend you use The Pornolizer, with the warning that it is for mature audiences only. Try it, you'll like it.

An alternative translation


The following is a summary of the highlights of Osama Bin Ladin's latest video-taped speech, as translated, poorly, by our own Sheik Aywan Yobudi:

One morning I woke up and discovered I had grey hair. As the world's most feared terrorist leader, I begain feeling as if I no longer had control over the jihad. I felt like I was getting too old, and for three years I lacked the confidence to make new videos.
Then, I discovered Just For Men. I used it, and after only five minutes, the gray was gone. My confidence returned, and I could score chicks again. In fact I am so confident that I have decided to announce my candidacy for the office of the President of the United States.
"What," you ask, "can Osama do for me as President?"
I will tell you what I can do for you as President:
Your Congress has not done as they have promised and removed the American armed forces from Iraq. As President, I will make sure that Congress keeps their promise, and then I will have their feet and hands removed before I have them stoned and their heads removed...
Your economy is failing, with a class separation between the rich and the poor. As President, I will make sure there is no class separation among the dhimmis. I will take all the money and give it to the Wahadi Sect of Islam, and to the jihad, and I will keep the rest...
Taxes are making you poor, but, remember, as dhimmis you can not own property or a business, and you may keep only enough money to keep yourself fed, so you will not have to worry about taxes if I am President...
In America, you have crime caused by the partaking of alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and scantily clad women. As your President, I will invoke Sharia Law, and there will be no partaking of alcohol, tobacco, or drugs, and there will be no scantily clad women except for those I wish for myself...
In America you have no choices--you have to be all that you can be. As your President, I can offer you many choices...
You can convert to the Wahadi Sect of Islam and live and die in the Glory of Allah...
You can convert to Islam as a heretic and die by Sharia Law, which means you will have your hands and feet removed, then you will be stoned, then you will be hanged, then you will be stoned again, then you will have your head removed, and then you will be stoned one more time...
You can be as you are and live in the dirt and in servitude as dhimmis...
Or you can remain as you are and refuse dhimmi status and be infidels, which means you will be stoned and then you...oh, you know what it means.
So, as your President I will be the only one who can help America find its way...
Thank-you, good night, and Death to America.
Oh, and remember--it's Osama not Obama.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Dilemma

The Democratic Party has spent so much time politicising the Iraq War, they find themselves in a bit of a quandary. General Petreaeus, the coalition commander in Iraq, is due to report to Congress, next week, on the progress of the reinforcement strategy in the conflict. It is expected that there will be good news and bad news.
The good news will most likely be that the "surge" is working; Anbar Province, an Al Qaeda stronghold less than six months ago, is nearly cleansed of the insurgents, the Iraqi military is stepping up and is more able to carry out operations on their own, and violence in Baghdad has declined over the last six months.
This good news is bad news for the Democratic Majority in Congress, and they are already planning ways to spin it, as pointed out by Libertarian radio personality Neal Boortz.
Boortz reports that, if there is good news, the Democrats will spin it as being "Bush's report," and therefore compromised. They will embrace and emphasize the bad news--that the Iraqi Government isn't meeting its benchmarks--using it as an excuse to surrender. There are other Democratic members of Congress who will say success means we can pull out of Iraq, now.
The sad part is that many of these politicians understand the need for success in Iraq, but they have dug themselves into a hole filled with denial and ignorance. If they don't understand the need for success, they haven't been listening to Al Qaeda leaders who have said that Iraq is the main battleground for Al Qaeda. They do not understand that victory over Al Qaeda in Iraq is important, not just to Iraq and America, but to the entire region.
Michael Ledeen, the author of The Iranian Timebomb, points out in his book, and explains in his blog, that the dangerous and deadly Iranian Supreme Council can be overthrown from within Iran, much like what happened in the Soviet Union, unless we fail in Iraq. Failure in Iraq will be touted as a victory by the Iranian mullahs, and regime change there will be much harder. If a regime change without war can be effected in Iran, it will prevent a future war over Iran's nuclear weapons, and, possibly, nuclear conflict between Israel and Iran.
Success in Iraq is important, because it will show the people of Iran that they can trust the Americans for help, rather than seeing us as cowards and quitters, as the mullahs characterize us.
But the Democratic politicians won't acknowledge this. Nor will they acknowledge that, if the US leaves Iraq prematurely, that there will be millions of Iraqis killed, that there will likely be a much more widespread war in the region involving Iran and Saudi Arabia five to ten years down the road, and that the entire world would be cut off from the oil resources of the region.
The Democrats know that history will hold them responsible for the disaster, which is part of the dilemma they face. They cannot answer such questions as "how will we react to the Iraqi genocide," or "how will Western civilization survive without Middle Eastern Oil," or, even, "how do we prevent Iran from building a nuclear bomb?"
Like it or not, the future of the world depends on what happens in Iraq. Everything is tied to that conflict. It is time that Congress should stop politicising the war and get on with the issues they really need to work on. Otherwise they can only dig their way in deeper.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Future Pundit?

With over 9 million hits, I know just about everybody has seen this, but here it is again:

Please click here, if you can't view the video.

A couple of days ago, there was a pundit on one of the news channels, either FNC or CNN--I apologize for not remembering his name--who was discussing Michael Vick's guilty plea. He tried desparately to tie Vick's problems to the policies of the Bush Administration, saying, "Bad apples are falling from the trees, and that wouldn't be happening if our freedoms weren't so restricted by the (Iraq) war and the Patriot Act."
I'm sure if the gentleman had had more air time, he would have attempted to blame Bush for Lindsey Lohan and Britney Spears as well.
Yet this type of illogic seems to be very common nowadays, with people jumping to conclusions that no rational mind could reach.
The Democratic Party is probably planning, at this moment, to run Miss Teen South Carolina for Congress in 2010. If she doesn't get elected, she will be in high demand as a political "expert." It wouldn't surprise me at all.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Why Do We Have Laws?

One of the worst arguments against ending prohibition I have ever heard came a few weeks ago, during a discussion of the subject between Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo Rivera. O'Reilly, an ardent prohibitionist, blurted out, "If we legalize murder, then we could shoot more people."
Now, before we jump to the conclusion that O'Reilly is a homicidal psychopath who would murder people if there weren't a law, it must be understood that he is actually a paranoid sociopath who bellieves there should be a law governing every aspect of our lives, from what we watch on television or listen to on the radio to the top salary corporate officers should be paid. O'Reilly seems to be one who believes that
we are basically evil, and will do harm to others or ourselves unless everything we do is strictly regulated. He truly believes that laws prevent crime.
He is, of course, wrong, as are so many others. From the very beginnings of civilization, when it was discovered that it is better to ally with others rather than killing or stealing from them whenever encountered, it has been deeply ingrained in our very Being that it is wrong to kill, rape, or steal from others, or otherwise trespass on the person or property of others. We know, in our very Spirit, or, if one is an Atheist, in our deepest subconscious, that these are crimes against Nature, and that repercussions are inevitable.
There are, however, a small percentage of those in society who are missing the basic moral reasoning most of us possess. These individuals do not have the ability to consider the consequences of their actions. In the earliest times, they were taken out of society by retributive actions by the family or clan leadership of the wronged. Thus were the laws of Nature enforced--to every action, a reaction; an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life. With the advancement of civilization came the rule of law.
There are two kinds of laws--just and unjust. Just laws are those that establish a code for dealing with criminal acts against Nature. Unjust laws are those that create new crimes and are therefore, in themselves, crimes against nature.
Laws, traditionally, were never intended to create or prevent crime--we know that, law or no law, crimes are committed. Rather, laws were created in order to set a code by which retribution could be realized without leaving it in the hands of those who may kill the wrong person or wrongfully accuse others. Laws could be said to keep the peace by setting an order of punishment or retribution, thus preventing large scale family feuds or clan wars. In modern civilization, laws for crimes against Nature are necessary to remove the social and/or Spiritual devients and depraved who commit crimes from society.
As civilization grew, so did government. Laws became a tool for adding more wealth to governmental coffers, or for controlling the thoughts and actions of the general populace. At various times, in various societies, it has been a crime to be a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, or a Buddhist. Property of those individuals or societies were confiscated by the governments which outlawed their religions, and the practitioners were often tortured before they were killed. Such laws are, in themselves crimes against Nature in that they attempt to suppress the natural tendency of our kind to find Spiritual growth and strength. Nature Itself has enacted retribution against those governments which had such laws--most of those governments have fallen, and those that continue to suppress the Natural inclination toward the Spiritual, will inevitably fall. Law or no law, these religions have perservered and serve the Spiritual needs of the majority of the Earth's human population, while the governments that have enacted laws against Nature serve nothing.
Toward the end of the Nineteenth Century A.D., governments began to realize the value of demonizing so-called vices and creating "victimless" crimes against them. Under such laws, government coffers could be vastly increased by confiscating property, exacting fines, and by receiving pay-offs and campaign contributions from the crime lords whom the laws enabled.
The demonization of alcoholic beverages culminated in 1929, when an ammendment to the Constitution of the United States was passed and it became illegal to purchase, sell, possess, manufacture, or transport such products within the United States. Subsequently, individuals who were missing the Natural awareness of right or wrong rose in power as they sold the "illegal" products to the masses, and murdered those who would compete with them or prevent them from plying their trade. Politicians happily accepted bribes, kickbacks, and contributions from these individuals, and the Federal government gladly confiscated property and exacted fines from those who chose not to pay such bribes. The law did not prevent people from imbibing alcoholic beverages, it only created more crime. By 1934, the crime and corruption rates had become so high, and the civil disobedience of the general alcohol consuming public had become so widespread, that the government had no choice but to repeal the prohibition ammendment.
To backtrack somewhat, the earliest known by-product of agricultural cultivation is beer. As civilizations grew, the water supplies became poisoned, with bacteria, viruses, and harmful parasites, so distilled and fermented beverages became a necessary alternative to water. Wine frequently appears in the oldest of scriptures and writings of nearly every culture. Even where water was palatable, the value of alcoholic beverages in the social context was well known. The main reason alcohol prohibition did not work is because alcoholic beverage, in most cultures, have become a part of human nature.
Vices which traditionally do not involve murder, theft or rape, such as the use of psychotropic drugs for recreation and meditation purposes, are also part of Nature, having been used from the earliest times of civilization by shamans and others to increase the depth of thought. It is human nature to seek ways of looking at things in different ways, or to induce Spiritual awareness or awakening. Marijuana has long been a medium for doing so. In addition, marijuana has been used for various medicinal purposes, and to this day is an accepted therapy for eating disorders and glaucoma, as well as its use in pain distraction therapy.
It must be noted here that the use of either alcohol or marijuana should be in moderation and with prudence. Self-responsibility is the key phrase here, and over use of any substance is unnacceptable. Operating a vehicle or machinery while under the influence is unnacceptable, as is attempting to work in potentially dangerous or hazardous situations.
After alcohol prohibition was repealed, there was a loss of income for those who had profited from the underground economy prohibition had created. The demonization of marijuana had begun long before, with claims that it caused people to steal, that it incited young people to have sex, thus being a contributor to unwanted teen pregnancy, that it made "black men desire white women," all scientifically unfounded. The financial aspects of alcohol prohibition had served well--families such as the Kennedys who profitied from the prohibition are still financially and politically powerful today--so it was easy to create a new prohibition. Marijuana use was not as widespread as alcohol use, so there would not be as much backlash by the general public. The Controlled Substance Act of 1936 began a prohibition which is still in effect today.
As in the case of alcohol prohibition, the marijuana prohibition has created an underground economy rooted in violence and anti-social behavior. Likewise, the government gains wealth through confiscation of personal property and fines. It is estimated that nearly eighty million Americans use marijuana, which only increases the strength of the underground economy as long as prohibition is in effect. Law enforcement officers are constantly placed in life threatening situations, as was the case in the gang wars of the early 1930's. The kickbacks, however, are different in that they are indirect. There is no proof that our politicians are being corrupted by the drug lords directly, so we can not imply that there is such corruption. However, there is still much money to be made legitimately under prohibition--manufacturers who produce law enforcement technology have much at stake in prohibition, and they can influence votes and campaign donations. No matter what else happens in the world, politicians can always take a stand by decrying the horrors of drugs being sold to and used by children. They disregard the fact that if there were no prohibition, the distribution of marijuana could be better controlled and less likely to fall into the hands of children. To all appearances, the financial gain realized by continuing prohibition is worth more than dealing with the victimization created by prohibition.
But Nature always corrects Itself. After more than seventy years of prohibition, more people use marijuana now than ever. Voters in nearly every state that have had legalization of medical marijuana on a ballot have passed such laws, even in the face of severe opposition from the Federal government. It is not a matter of if, but of when the marijuana prohibition is repealed. Common sense and Natural law will eventually prevail.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Please use some facts

I love to argue, and will do so on any point for which I can find facts that back up my argument. I believe that everyone has the right to his or her opinion, and I encourage expression of opinion on this site, whether I agree with it or not. The thing is, if you are only using conjecture and hearsay to back your comments--"facts" that would never stand up in court, for example--there is nothing for me to argue about. Just a thought I had to clear...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

More fallout from Pelosi's "Mission of Diplomacy"

Yes, I know that this subject is now weeks old, but we still see comments on the subject that tell us that many people are missing the point. It doesn't matter if the congressperson is Republican or Democratic, when he or she takes it into his or her hands to try to create new foreign relations, that person is undermining the duties and policies of the State Department, and crossing the boundaries of Constitutional separation of powers.
For those who think no harm is done, please read this article from the Reform Party of Syria. Nancy's posturing to try to prove a point harmed more than just US diplomatic relations.
For those who are unfamiliar with the RPS, this is the statement from the "About" page on their site:

Reform Party of Syria (RPS) is a US-based Syrian opposition party to the Assad regime that has emerged as a result of September 11.

The party is governed by secular, peace committed American-Syrians, Euro-Syrians, and native Syrians who are determined to see that a "New Syria" is reborn that embraces real democratic and economic reforms.

RPS believes that political despotism, economic deprivation, and social stagnation in the Middle East have contributed significantly to the increase in domestic and international terrorism and to an Arab public policy that dilutes the goodwill the US harbors for democratic values in the Middle East.

RPS embraces accountability and transparency, human rights and freedom of expression, full diploamtic rlations with democratic Lebanon, and peaceful co-existence with ALL of our neighbors.

RPS leadership is consistent with the rich social mosaic of Syria, which includes Kurds, Alawites, Christians, Druze in addition to women who will play an important part in the future of Syria.

The RPS mission statement may be found here