Life and death: Hyperbole is a politician’s best friend

Not random enough

I’ve been non-watchdogging the political world for a few weeks, nay a month. I feels *sane* to be more productive rather than ranting about our continuous loss of freedoms. Freedoms wrought from us by an incompetent bureaucracy and powerful police state being erected in contempt of America’s history. We’re galloping into 2013, the Chinese year of the snake. Maybe the Gadsden flag will get dusted off for Tea Party 2.0. Wherein I expect some under-appreciated discontents will finally undigitize the revolution.

Mankind is currently having an identity crisis between eloquent promises of liberty-loving (mostly for themselves) and outright distaste for their fellow man (through their actions of edict and decree). Me? I’m just a programmer coding the shit out of PHP making glorious websites and sometimes issuing my own decree (this is one).

Maybe I’m a selfish prick too, just looking out for #1. Nah, I’ve somehow managed to rope others (ahem, dad) into helping us all tag-team the Revolution while I pretend to do that work thing in an office for pay, (and probably drink too much with coworkers and potential clients).

{cue laugh track with smattering of claps}

Colorado, COLORADO… oh sweet ***Colorado***

I hardly know you, but I’m concerned with your bureaucratic parasites sucking away the freedoms of guns, god and gold (and apparently ganja). Pretty soon they’ll be taking your whiskey away and then it’s back after the weed. How in the world would you fight that again without guns? You wouldn’t, so you shouldn’t back down now.

Dudes… are you smothering them with pot smoke, in which case okay kudos.

The Pueblo and Colorado Springs scene sucks my breath away. Not just because I’ve previously been bopping my head to Ohio’s Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Kid Cudi. But because with indifference and 5000ft altitude, we here also suck when we give them the power over our bodies and minds. But we’re not.

We have the resistance rising up out of antipathy, and it’s going to come from people like you and me, dontchaknow.

So I want you to wish deeply and….

aaaaaaaand…..

aaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnddddd…..

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNNDDDDDDDDD!!!!!….

….

…AND THAT’S WHY I TURNED OFF THE ADS AT HAMMER OF TRUTH.

{cue theme song, roll credits}

Seriously though, the rest of the editors around here suck, you’re all fired. Just kidding, maintain your post sitting there consuming Hammer of Truth instead of driving it while I was gone, but without ad revenue no one’s ever getting paid, ever… mwuahahahaha…. /our remaining readers are probably laughing at you

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U.S. Senate Passes a Budget; Now the Work Begins

For the first time in 4 years, the U.S. Senate has passed a budget, as opposed to a continuing appropriations resolution which authorizes government agencies to fund their agencies at the current level until either the resolution expires, or an appropriations bill is passed. Reuters reports, “The budget plan passed 50-49 at about 5 a.m. [on March 23] after a marathon voting session in the Democratic-controlled chamber. Four Democratic senators facing tough re-election campaigns in 2014 joined all the Senate Republicans in opposing the measure, which seeks to raise nearly $1 trillion in new tax revenues…”

The budget that passed through the Senate also includes a proposal, the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act, that would give States the ability to require businesses to collect sales tax on products imported into the State. This proposal, if it actually becomes part of the law, would obliterate the physical presence standard which has been upheld by the Supreme Court “to protect businesses and their customers from predatory tax administrators.”

The Senate version of the budget includes a dozen other amendments, many of which are not part of the budget passed by the House of Representatives. Among the more interesting proposal that were adopted, are a pair of amendments from the Senators from Oklahoma, James Inhofe & Tom Coburn. The purpose of the Inhofe amendment is “to uphold Second Amendment rights and prevent the United States from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty” while the purpose of the Coburn amendment is unknown, even after it was adopted by a vote of 62-37.

The Senate also rejected 33 amendments via roll-call vote, including two amendments from Sen. David Vitter “to end the mobile phone welfare program” and “to ensure election integrity by requiring a valid government-issued photographic ID for voting in federal elections.” A third amendment proposal from Sen. Vitter was passed and would “end ‘Too Big To Fail’ subsidies or funding advantage for Wall Street mega-banks (over $500 billion in total assets).”

Reuters reports the White House welcomed the Senate move, with White House spokesman Jay Carney stating, “Today, the Senate passed a budget plan that will create jobs and cut the deficit in a balanced way. Now it is time for our leaders to come together to find common ground. The president has put a plan on the table that reflects compromise, and he will continue to work with both sides to see if there is an opportunity to reach a solution to our budget challenges.”

Not only is the budget a challenge, finding compromise between the two House & Senate budget will be a challenge, as well. The Senate budget would “reduce deficits by $1.85 trillion over 10 years through an equal mix of tax increases and spending cuts.” While the House budget “seeks $4.6 trillion in savings over the same period without raising new taxes.”

Whether a compromise can be reached is yet to be seen, and once again there is a threat of “government shut down” with the Treasury expected to exhaust its borrowing capacity around late July or early August. I don’t really expect a budget to be passed, and can safely predict that the House and Senate will pass a continuing resolution at the last minute to continue funding the wars, theft and oppression committed by the federal government.

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Rand Paul wins CPAC 2013 straw poll

Big ups to the torch-bearer Paul, winner of the 2013 CPAC Presidential Straw Poll:

Today, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC 2013) concluded with Senator Rand Paul winning the CPAC Straw Poll. The Straw Poll was sponsored by The Washington Times and conducted by Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates.

Today’s 40th Annual National CPAC was a high-energy three-day conference bracketed by dynamic remarks by top regional and national conservative leaders.

In first place, Rand Paul secured 25% percent of the vote by registered CPAC attendees, followed by Senator Marco Rubio at 23% percent. Former Senator Rick Santorum received 8% percent of the vote, closely followed by Governor Chris Christie with 7% percent and Representative Paul Ryan with 6% percent.

Speaking of straws, apparently Rubio did a better job of podium drinking on the job this go around:

Let me tell you what the stakes are. Because the stakes are not just America. The stakes are bigger than that. [thank you. never in the history of the world has water been so popular. I appreciate that.].

Let’s start the Senator Rubio game, when he talks about water: you have to pick up your drink from the floor and slowly sip it.

Also, we are totally not implying that Rubio drinks on the job.

In contrast, Rand Paul seems to also have his faux pas moments of style (wearing cargo shorts with a suit top is certainly not one of them, endorsing Mitt Romney assuredly was), but he beats Rubio hands down n the categories of substance and genuineness. Senator Paul is also the tea party favorite and certainly what remains of the Ron Paul Revolution’s best shot at the White House in 2016. Maybe if Rubio would toe the libertarian line more often, his brand of mostly boring republican glass-eyed charm would be an asset.

Let’s take a moment to commemorate the great news that they both stomped the fuck out of Chris Christie and Rick “Spreading” Santorum and elevated a known libertarian and what is probably an honest to god conservative. That’s some great news showing the sanity of CPAC voters (who I assume are an accurate cross-section of the entire Republican Party and not just people off the street).

Congrats to all of them though, I’m sure it’s going to be tough staying positive once the dramatic theater of primary campaigning forces everyone to become an asshole to the enemy opposition.

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Secret Spying by the Government Means “No Standing, for You!”

Many civil rights advocates have long-known that the federal government had a secret spy program in place. Matt Sledge from HuffingtonPost reports, “Journalists and human rights advocates worried they are being swept up in an electronic dragnet cannot challenge the U.S. government’s secretive warrantless wiretapping program.” On March 12, the US Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling in the case of Clapper v. Amnesty International USA that the plaintiffs lacked legal standing.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his opinion, the plaintiffs’ argument that they have the standing to challenge the program was based on a “highly speculative fear.” He also wrote they “have no actual knowledge of the Government’s … targeting practices,” and “can only speculate as to how the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence will exercise their discretion in determining which communications to target.”

Jim Babka & Perry Willis from DownsizeDC explain that the Court made it’s decision “[b]ecause there is no evidence that the federal ‘government’ has directed such spying at the plaintiffs.” However, “The State asked for the power to do this kind of spying and to be allowed to keep it secret, therefore… we can assume that The State is doing this kind of spying, but… because the spying is a secret, the Court feels the plaintiffs lack specific cause or evidence for complaint.”

This is just one more case in which the government has given itself immunity from accountability. Babka & Willis conclude, “The State has just taken another step to establish its own illegitimacy. The Court here adds to the evidence that new forms of government should be erected. We continue to prefer reform, but we will add this latest abuse and usurpation to a case for the institution of new government.”

I don’t necessarily agree that there should be a new government instituted, at least not at the federal level. I would much prefer the federal government to simply vanish; then the people of each of the 50 States, 4 organized territories, 2 inhabited unorganized territories, and the Native Americans living in the 310 reservations would be able to decide for themselves what form of government they wish to have. I would further like to see jurisdictions that are no longer tied to geography, whereby each individual or family would be able to grant or withdraw consent from a particular “government” while not affecting the governmental choice of their neighbors. Such systems have existed in the past. In Medina during the time of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, “Pagans, Jews, and Muslims shared the same roads, traded in the same markets, and drank from the same wells. They were part of different social spheres, sharing no obligations to each other except those they contracted. Legal systems were not separated by territorial boundaries, as States are today. They existed right on top of one another, shifting according to consent, not jurisdiction.” Similar overlapping governments existed in Gaelic areas during the middle ages, and to a lesser extent in the United States before the New Deal when most people received social services from fraternal organizations or mutual aid societies. I believe these systems of overlapping governments could flourish in the near future due primarily to the advances in technology over the last 500 years.

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Holder’s “No” Is Not Acceptable

John McCain and Lindsey Graham  also showed their true colors this weekOn Wednesday March 6, Senator Rand Paul delayed the Senate confirmation of John Brennan as the new head of the CIA. He began his 13 hour filibuster, which was essentially a political show, by stating “I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan’s nomination for the CIA I will speak until I can no longer speak. I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court.” Paul added, The President says, he hasn’t killed anyone yet, and has no intention of killing Americans. But he might. Paul asks, “Is that enough? Are we satisfied by that? Are we so complacent with our rights that we would allow a President to say he might kill Americans? … No one person, no one politician should be allowed to judge the guilt, to charge an individual, to judge the guilt of an individual and to execute an individual. It goes against everything that we fundamentally believe in our country.”

After the filibuster, Attorney General Eric Holder, sent a letter to Rand Paul that reads: “It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: ‘Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?’ The answer to that question is no.”

Rand Paul found this answer to be acceptable, I do not! At first glance it appears that Eric Holder is saying the President can not kill an American on American soil. However, the statement deserves a closer look. The word combat can be both a noun and a verb. When used as a verb, combat is defined as “to fight or contend against; oppose vigorously.”

At this very moment, it could be construed that I am “engaged in combat” as I vigorously oppose the very existence of the federal government. I also vigorously oppose the the destruction of civil liberties, the foreign policy of the American government and the lack of fiscal responsibility. I contend that, based on the definition of combat as a verb, I, along with many thousands of others, could potentially be targets of domestic drone attacks. Despite the potential threat, I will not be silenced!

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Cody Quirk: ‘A continuing appeal to all Constitutionalists and Principled-Conservatives’

by Cody Quirk

I’ve recently heard that the National IAP is going to attempt to get on the ballot in Utah, despite the fact that the CP is already on the ballot in that state.

However, despite the personal help and involvement I have given to the National IAP on bipartisan matters, on this I cannot contribute, being that I am a member of the Constitution Party, and the leader of the Clarion Call To Unite Committee, for it would both create a conflict of interest for me and also be unfair of me to put one party’s interests above another party’s interests.

Yet I still respect and understand why the National IAP is doing this; while they are true constitutionalist patriots and have endorsed and contributed to the efforts of the CCTUC, as well as reached out to CP’ers in cooperation and friendship, they still need to represent and advance their interests for the time being, until the CCTUC finally calls all the parties together for a official sit-down meeting and work out an actual formula for unification.

But that said, my point I am making in this statement is this; I consider it sad and a unfortunate waste of resources when one constitutionalist party tries on get on the ballot while another constitutionalist party is already on the ballot in the same state; an example like this shows why we need to unite and to stop using money, time, and resources on something like this, when, in a unified national constitutionalist party, such money, time, and resources could instead go to building up and organizing that unified national party.

However, please do not take this criticism as being leveled against the National IAP; for they are good-intentioned patriots that will eventually play a very important part in organizing a unified party when we reach that point in due time.
This criticism is instead leveled at the years, even decades, of division that has existed among the constitutionalist and principled-conservative parties which is the main obstacle and reason why the CP, and especially the other parties have yet to elect candidates to major offices on a widespread scale- because of the splintering of resources and talents, which only make such efforts for the CP, the National IAP, and other parties vain and petty when attempting the same thing on their own, without any help or cooperation from the rival parties…

-to read the entire article, click here.

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Bradley Manning: “I Have a Clear Conscience”

Bradley Manning, the Army private who has been held in custody since May 26, 2010 on suspicion of leaking classified material to WikiLeaks, offered a plea bargain during a pretrial conference on February 28. Manning’s guilty plea to 10 lesser charges included possessing and willfully communicating to an unauthorized person all the main elements of the WikiLeaks disclosure. The UK Guardian reports, “That covered the so-called ‘collateral murder’ video of an Apache helicopter attack in Iraq; some US diplomatic cables including one of the early WikiLeaks publications the Reykjavik cable; portions of the Iraq and Afghanistan warlogs, some of the files on detainees in Guantanamo; and two intelligence memos.
These lesser charges each carry a two-year maximum sentence, committing Manning to a possible upper limit of 20 years in prison.”

An attorney who serves on the steering committee of the Bradley Manning Support Network wrote in an email, “Whether this plea helps him or not is not the critical issue. In fact, the government has already announced that they will be prosecuting him on the aiding the enemy and espionage charges, so it did not stop them from going forward with offenses that could result in life in prison for Manning.”

Reading from a prepared statement, Manning said he was not pressured by WikiLeaks to release the information and that he wanted to give the documents to The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Reuters, but they did not want what he had to offer. He also said the leaked information had “upset” or “disturbed” him, but did not contain anything he thought would harm the United States if it became public.

Regarding the Collateral Murder video, Manning said the “most alarming part to me was the seemingly delightful bloodlust,” and that those in the video “seemed to not value human life by referring to them as ‘dead bastards.’”

Manning added, “I was disturbed by the response to injured children… I wanted the American public to know that not everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan was a target that needed to be engaged and neutralized.” He also said, “I believe that if the general public … had access to the information … this could spark a domestic debate as to the role of the military and foreign policy in general,” and “I felt I accomplished something that would allow me to have a clear conscience.”

The attorney also wrote, “Manning obviously put his liberty in jeopardy in an act of conscience for the patriotic reason of trying to improve US foreign policy which has gotten horribly off-track.” The debate regarding “the role of the military and foreign policy” that Bradley Manning hoped to spark, has yet to take place. Hopefully his trial will be the catalyst for that debate.

note: You can see his full statement read in court here. The court has not allowed this to be released to the public, but an unofficial court reporter was able to make a transcript and publish it.

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The Myths and Realities of “The Marketplace Fairness Act”

The Marketplace Fairness Act is being bounced around once again, this is the proposal to allow States to require businesses to collect sales tax on all items sold via internet and catalog. The National Taxpayers Union reports several myths have cropped up about the bill and what it would do.

Some people claim that allowing States to require businesses from outside its jurisdiction to pay taxes for anything shipped into the jurisdiction is a “State’s Rights” issue. That is 100% false. The NTU reports “[g]iving states the power to collect sales taxes across their borders isn’t about states’ rights, it’s about state coercion. Governments would have fewer incentives to keep their own tax rates low, eroding the important federalist principle of tax competition.” Allowing States to tax items shipped into it could theoretically allow the States to tax those items at higher rates than items purchased within the State. Thus, harming any business that relies on online or catalog sales.

Other myths claim online stores receive a special tax loophole and that such a tax would “level the playing field.” Again, both are false. NTU reports the so-called loophole “is actually the physical presence standard, a firmly grounded constitutional doctrine the Supreme Court has upheld for decades to protect businesses and their customers from predatory tax administrators.” The bill would also “require remote sellers to collect sales tax on every item, it would force them to do so by a completely different and harsher set of rules than currently exist for brick-and-mortar sales… forcing online retailers to quiz each and every customer about their residency” in order to comply with more than 9,600 separate sales tax jurisdictions across the country. Does that sound like “fairness” to you?

The Marketplace Fairness Act is NOT fair and if enacted, there will be winners and losers. Among the losers are those customers who prefer to shop online where their purchases are mostly free from sales tax and those smaller companies who will find it difficult and/or expensive to comply. The winners will be the governments that will see an increase in tax revenue and the bigger online companies that will be able to fill the void left when the smaller companies either refuse to sale online or go out of business.

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Geeks and Hucksters: How we managed to kill innovation in the United States

Who Innovates?
Economist cover
This is a crucial question that more people should be asking. Clever people like Neal Stephenson, Peter Thiel, Tyler Cowen, and the editorial board of the Economist think that innovation is dying. Some of this is motivated by the “We were promised jetpacks!” resentments of baby boomers reaching a certain age, but they do have a point. Between 1900 and 1950 life was transformed. Airplanes, automobiles, electrification, washing machines and other technologies revolutionized home, work, and play. Other than the internet and telecoms, it is hard to point to any comparable changes since 1950. A number of theories have been floated to explain this, from the ridiculous one that there is nothing more to discover, to the more likely one that further discoveries may be harder. The worst suggestion is that the government somehow needs to do more. If only they would start funding more infrastructure, or come up with some grand plan like the moon shot, then we would start innovating again. None of these explanations are particularly satisfactory.

If you ask the question above, however, the problem becomes much simpler. Innovation requires two sorts of people. Politely, scientists and entrepreneurs, more informally geeks and hucksters. It is rare for these traits to be combined in a single person. When they are, that person tends to end up a household name like Edison or Jobs. Geekdom gets the respect it deserves. Scientific inquiry, pure and applied, is what gives us the technology that builds the future. Hucksters are less appreciated, which is a shame. It takes a visionary salesman to bring an innovation to the masses. Henry Ford would be the classic example. Automobiles were invented over a decade before he democratized them. As importantly, there were individual salespeople country-wide who brought this innovation forward. Another example would be VCRs. The technology was important, but the entrepreneurs throughout the country who were willing to set up video rental stores were vital. For innovation to occur you need a novelty, but you also need legions who are willing to take the risk of popularizing these novelties. You need geeks and hucksters.

These two classes of people are just as greedy as anyone else. A select few are really out to change the world, but most are willing to take a smaller degree of success if it is easier to come by. This makes sense, as the effort to truly create something new often ends in failure. Unfortunately, the United States has slowly built a system that increases the possibility of non-innovative success for both Geeks and Hucksters.

We have provided a sure thing to geeks in the state owned enterprise that is our financial industry. The financial and legal sectors have been sucking up our cognitive elites at an ever increasing pace for the past 20 years. A distressing amount of scientists and engineers end up in patent law. Our most promising mathematicians and computer scientists end up getting rich as spread-sheet jockeys in the hedge fund industry. The folks who should be dreaming up the future are making their millions and billions in pursuits with zero social value and a government guarantee.

Far worse, and far more extensive, is the system we have set up for hucksters. From the time of the New Deal forward the federal government slowly constructed a system that made the real estate market more and more secure. The mortgage interest income tax deduction has inflated the price of property, and given everyone an incentive to purchase that inflated asset. Quasi-governmental organizations like Fannie Mae and an alphabet soup of agencies like the FHA have insured, purchased, and guaranteed house loans, further driving up the price of these assets. This system has not guaranteed success, of course, but it has created millions of better bets than, say, funding some bicycle repairmen in their latest attempt at a flying machine. These policies laid out a shortcut to the American dream.

This shortcut has come with costs. There was the 2007-2008 financial crisis we are all still recovering from. There is the truly fantastical notion that 10 grand of drywall should be worth a million dollars. There is the creation of an underclass that cannot afford the inflated costs of housing.

But what if the highest cost is one we can’t see? What if the Henry Ford of the 1980s never appeared because he was too busy building subdivisions? What if all the salespeople who would have been willing to take a risk on the new got realtor’s licenses instead? How many people who could have been angel investors are instead paying mortgages on second homes? What if the woman who should have invented the flying car made all the money she wanted with equity derivatives?

As Robert Heinlein said: “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch”.

Robert Morris thinks he has all the answers. He has written at some length on the Drug War and US foreign policy more of his work can be found here

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Yakety Yak and Blah, Blah, Blah: Words of Wisdom from the E̶m̶p̶e̶r̶o̶r̶ President

Oh, God! He opened with remarks about the Constitution.

Jobs are still down, and corporations are making profits. Boo!

Government will grow the middle class!

“If you work hard and meet your responsibilities…” you should do well. Even with our boots on your neck.

We can’t solve every problem…but in a few minutes, I want you to forget I said that.

The people are all about compromise…they dig it, I’m telling you. Government needs to do stuff. And we can’t do that unless we all agree that we need more laws. After all, up to this point, the laws have been pretty awesome. But we need more, and betters.

Spending cuts are a really bad idea…I mean, if we aren’t spending, why are we here?

Some of these people think that throwing money at problems won’t work. I say, YES IT WILL!

I’ve been beating on the wealthiest. And I’ve sort of gotten used to it. But gaffing the rich isn’t enough. We need to reform stuff. For example, even though I bash corporate greed, I haven’t done shit about the idiocy that is government subsidies to billion dollar corporations. This is ridiculous. Let’s reduce this absurdity slightly, and keep giving tax payer money to big pharma, but slightly less! Can I get an Amen???

We’re gonna have to make some jobs happen AND bring down the deficit—using nothing but coercive violence, the power of government, and of course, my Super Secret patent medicine.

My father knew this witch doctor in Kenya. Man, this guy stirred a hell broth like you wouldn’t believe. Now, I don’t remember all of it, but I think I can replicate it well enough to make some magic happen. And let’s face it; we need magic. First, we need some spider’s tear,s a couple of dragon scales, a cup of hot fat, and the Beatles White Album.

What’s that? Listen, I said the same thing back in my first term. If anyone has a better idea, my door’s always open. But what I won’t stand for is criticism of my methods, from those who don’t have any ideas of their own.

Taxes are awesome, but the tax code sucks. See, people are moving businesses overseas, and I figure it’s on account of all these forms. So if we can put it all on one page, I bet they’ll come flying back to the good ole’ US of A, even though we’re completely hostile toward business and choke expansion with regulation, and success with red tape.
Sometimes elected officials cause the crisis. But debt reduction isn’t as important as creating jobs. Man, I love saying that. But here’s the deal. We’re going to forego the Pledge of Allegiance from now on, cause I have a really cool platitude. Want to hear it? Too bad, it’s mine! Ha, ha. I’m kidding. But seriously, here it is:

Instead of the Pledge, were going to have every American ask themselves three questions every morning.

How do we attract more jobs to our shores?
How do we equip our people with the skills they need to get those jobs?
And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living.

Now the economists really dug my awesome American Jobs Act, and the last Congress was cool enough to pass some of that agenda. Now we need to get the rest done. Yeah, it’s all government action and stuff, but chillax, folks. It don’t cost nothin’!

We have some cool jobs we lost coming back home. Don’t ask me why that is, that’s not important. But it’s cool, right? Yeah, it’s all tax breaks and other favoritism/corporatism, but still. Cool stuff. Listen, even Apple is going to start making the only computer that’s as cool as I am, right here in America! Sweet, huh? Almost as sweet as the sweetheart deal they got to agree to it. But let’s stay positive.

More corporatism is right around the corner. Whatever the reason jobs are leaving, whatever non-government cause it may have been, whatever gloabalization issue favored by the GOP led to this economic blight, we have an awesome opportunity—closed warehouses. And what do you do with closed warehouses? You turn that frown upside down and offer a great deal to businesses if they’ll j̶o̶i̶n̶ ̶m̶e̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶w̶e̶ ̶c̶a̶n̶ ̶r̶u̶l̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶g̶a̶l̶a̶x̶y̶ ̶a̶s̶ ̶f̶a̶t̶h̶e̶r̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶s̶o̶n̶ team up with cabinet level government and we can make some hubs for high tech stuff. See? Government again! W00T!

If we double down on state funded cool ideas, we can grow a human liver in the beak of a penguin, which, oddly enough, can produce more oil than anyplace on earth…wait. Huh? These are Biden’s notes. Sorry.

The crazy weather is all manmade stuff. And if we don’t cut the AC on, it’s going to get too hot and rain more. Here’s the deal, folks: if Congress won’t do what I want, I’ll do it myself. I know, I know I don’t have the legal authority for any such thing. But if I start looking around, I’ll use the term “Executive Order,” which metaphysically alters reality and lets me do whatever I wish.

High gas prices suck. Now I’m not about to remedy that by suggesting a slashing of gasoline taxes, hell no. I need that money to fund the greta ideas contained in the budgets we keep missing by a trillion dollars, or so.

OK, enough about action and planning. Let’s get some applause for flowery platitudes. You game? Sweet.
Let’s all promise to stop wasting stuff. Let’s say, I dunno, only waste half the energy you do now. Whattayasay?

Now business need stuff, and so do our kids. Let’s make everything better. Government can! Hells yeah!

The housing market is roaring back. But families can’t refinance, and the banks are holding the market hostage. There greedy bankers just don’t want to make any money. I know it sounds strange, but that’s our reality. Homeowners with perfect credit and an amazingly low debt to income ration can’t get the banks to agree to hugely profitable loans. This just won’t do. So what we’re going to do is encourage these people who can’t refinance a chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing. Doesn’t that sound great? Send me the bill on this strange, drunken proposition and I’ll sight it immediately [cue applause signal]!

“Why would we be against that?”

Study after study shows that the earlier kids strt to learn, the better educated they’ll be. [Camera tree on Arnie Duncan, please. And tell him to nod in a slow, dramatic way]. 

Every dollar we don’t have that we can invest in education will save us seven dollars down the road by reducing bad stuff, even crime. It works. So let’s do it. It’s only a dollar, and no one spends a dollar responsibly like government.

I have some good ideas about how to improve education, and fortunately, the only thing required to implement these things is money, and we’ve got plenty of that—the printing presses are running 25 hours a day. Now, I know some of you think that’s impossible. You’ve obviously forgotten who I am.

I’m going to yammer on now abut the middle class and how important it is. I would like to suggest that young people reach even higher, but as I’ve already angered and alienated everyone above middle class, I doubt those closer to the top want any new members I sent upstairs, so we’ll just focus on “the middle class.” This is doubly important because test groups love it when I say “middle class.” So, until that changes, I’m going to be saying it a lot. Even absent a plan, they clicked those “approval” buttons every time I said it. “climate change” tested pretty well too.

Now, we’ve done great on immigration reform, and we’re going to keep on keeping on. We’re going to do this and that, and not mention the welfare state that makes immigration such a problematic issue. Middle class.

But wait, there’s more. FedGov is going to legislate away sex discrimination. We know better than employers do how to compensate employees, so we’re going further dictate salary issues with respect to sex. Speaking of wages, we’re going to force businesses to fire employees they can’t afford. Government should be able to help the poorest Americans, who are all too stupid to make the decision to take a job making less money that we think they should accept. Let’s raise the minimum wage to $9 per hour! [cue applause].

(On to the military. Everyone loves that)

America will complete it’s never-defined mission, and fulfill her vague objectives in Afghanistan. Those goals will be completed here pretty soon, and I can now predict that that war will be over shortly.

We’re going to keep kicking terror ass, and killing those who want to expel our occupying forces. But I promise you, we’re going to do so in a way that reflect our values. We may kill Americans without trial, evidence, or oversight, but we will be transparent and follow the law while doing so.

Speaking of attacks, hackers re a problem, and it’s a frightening one. This issue is so serious that I signed another of those Executive Orders that I pretend grant me some ill-defined authority to do stuff I agree with.

We also need free trade, and if there’s one way to ensure such trade with our European partners, it’s with reams of government red tape.

America must remain a beacon of hope, and an example to the rest of the world. Government equals freedom. That’s our example. That’s what we can dictate to the world.

Syria has murdered its own people n a way somehow different than we do. This is terrible and cannot be tolerated. We must show the world the right way to murder one’s own citizens, lest the do it wrong. Middle class.

Men aren’t volunteering to go die for vague purposes in far away lands. Maybe women won’t shrink from the challenge. American women have proven themselves, and they are ready to go die for Big Government in pursuit of neocon goals. [Cue applause]

On to the gun issue…Newtown

We need to embrace changes and put forth common sense proposals that would not have done a thing to prevent the tragedy that served as the catalyst for this conversation. Criminals continue to ply their violent trade in places with the strongest gun control laws in the country. So we need more. In fact, in suggesting these new laws, I am ignoring the existing laws of the Constitution.You see, the law doesn’t matter nearly as much as feel good speeches and suggestions for legislation that won’t solve a thing. Climate change.

Goodnight. God bless you, God bless Climate change, and God bless the middle class of the United States of America.

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Postal Monopoly and Saturday Delivery

The Postmaster General recently announced that the United States Postal Service will be ending Saturday delivery of first-class mail by August of 2013. Many people are upset at this cut in service. But few people are asking the real question: why does the United States Postal Service have a monopoly on delivery of first-class mail?

In 1844, Lysander Spooner wrote:

“1. …The power of Congress, then, is simply ‘to establish post-offices and post roads,’ of their own-not to interfere with those established by others.
2. The constitution expresses, neither in terms, nor by necessary implication, any prohibition upon the establishment of mails, post-offices and post roads, by the states or individuals.
3. The constitution expresses, neither in terms, nor by necessary implication, any surrender, on the part of the people, of their own natural rights to establish mails, post offices, or post-roads, at pleasure.
4. The simple grant of an authority, whether to an individual or a government, to do a particular act, gives the grantee no authority to forbid others to do acts of the same kind.”

That same year, Spooner opened the American Letter Mail Company to directly challenge the postal monopoly. Spooner’s mail service had post offices in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Boston, and advertised his service to “transmit letters daily from each city to the others – twice a day between New York and Philadelphia. Postage 6 1/4 cents per each half-ounce, payable in advance always. Stamps 20 for a dollar.”

One year into business, Spooner had forced the Post Office to lower rates for first-class mail and newspapers would “be sent free for any distance up to a 30-mile radius of the place of publication.” Spooner decided to dig in his heels and lowered his own rates to continue competing with the Post Office.

“So the battle of law and loopholes continued,” wrote Lucille J. Goodyear, “In 1851, Congress again lowered rates and simultaneously enacted a law to protect the government’s monopoly on the distribution of mail. Whereas threats of jail had not fazed or dampened Spooner’s zeal in the fight, the latter move by Congress forced him into defeat… his great battle had ended and his company was disbanded.”

I share Spooner’s belief that just because Congress has assumed the right to operate a Postal Service that they are thus granted the authority to forbid others from operating their own private postal service. I say, “good riddance” to Saturday delivery of first-class mail by the United States Postal Service and look forward to the day when private mail services are delivering mail every day of the week, and twice on weekends!

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AUDIO: Police intentionally set fire in Dorner seige

Chris Dorner, the Ex-LAPD cop turned revenge-fueled cop killer was allegedly cornered and killed in Big Bear, California on Tuesday evening according to several media reports. In the final moments of the several hour long siege, police ran off media helicopters, only to have them return to witness a cabin on fire.

What took place in those critical moments was captured on audio recorded from police scanners, confirming that the blaze was intentionally set by police.

In a separate recording by a reporter on scene, we can hear police yelling “burn him out” “we’re going to burn him out” and “burn that motherfucker” right before the fire started at the house.

Appalling as it may sound, the events that unfolded in the wake of Dorner’s war against police, we should be wary of individuals who claim the right to be judge, jury and executioner beyond the scope of due process safeguards. Be it a disgruntled ex-cop, or the Judge Dredd wannabes that pursue him, our society suffers when we allow our concept of “justice” to be bent to the militaristic levels that we have witnessed.

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Dead as a Dorner? Messy media jump the gun

From ABC, to NBC to CBS and CNN, media outlets have been covering the Chris Dorner situation with furious attention today. However, when the flames erupted from a cabin in Big Bear, facts went out the window as fervor took over.


https://twitter.com/ABCWorldNews/statuses/301524235170484224


https://twitter.com/nbcnightlynews/statuses/301530006587310080


https://twitter.com/CBSNews/statuses/301530823511904257

CNN also
https://twitter.com/CNN/statuses/301528042436710400

Surprisingly, only FoxNews — apparently intently focused on the State of the Union address at the time — managed to not erroneously report a body on twitter. They did however report on their website.

The LAPD had to set the record straight:


https://twitter.com/LAPDHQ/statuses/301529848785022976

In a twitter world, a lie can literally make its way around the world before the truth even has a chance to tie its shoelaces (apologies to Mark Twain).

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Gary Johnson hits reddit, reddit hits back with tough questions

Republican turned Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson announced that he will respond to President Barack Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Address via a reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything).

Here’s the announcement on facebook:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 3 p.m. PST / 6 p.m EST, Gov. Gary Johnson will host a Reddit AMA or “Ask Me Anything.”

The 60-minute on-line event will give participants a chance to ask the former New Mexico Governor and Honorary Chairman of the Our America Initiative questions via the popular website, Reddit.com.

Reddit is a source for what’s new and popular on the web. Users like you provide all of the content and decide, through voting, what’s good and what’s junk.

Links that receive community approval bubble up towards #1, so the front page is constantly in motion and (hopefully) filled with fresh, interesting links.

To ask a question, visit www.reddit.com at 3 p.m. PST / 6 p.m EST, Tuesday, and just search “Gov. Gary Johnson”. Governor Johnson is anxious to hear from you!

Please join us!

Sincerely,

Our America Team

When: Tuesday Feb 12, 2013
Time: 3 p.m. PST | 4 p.m. MST | 5 p.m CST | 6 p.m EST
Where: Online www.reddit.com just search “Gov. Gary Johnson.”

You can easily track Johnson through his account GovGaryJohnson.

One of the questions we expect will be asked is whether he is formally announcing his candidacy for 2016. Considering the official Johnson store has been selling 2016 merchandise for several weeks now, that answer will undoubtedly be “yes”.

Another issue sure to come up is Johnson’s enormous $1.1 million campaign debt that looms over a future bid. It could easily be problematic for Johnson’s finger-wagging at Obama’s loose spending habits.

Oddly enough, when checking out Johnson’s pre 2016/post 2012 campaign site ouramericaninitiative.com, we discovered (using NoScript) that there was a serious technical issue with spam. We hope Governor Johnson’s web team will quickly patch that glaring exploit.

UPDATE: Johnson has finished the AMA, answering 29 of the more than 300 questions. It was a far smaller turnout than the IAmA during the 2012 presidential campaign, which had over 9000 responses.

On the 2016 question he responds, “Yes, 2016 is far off, and we will see what it brings. Right now, I am determined to be a voice of sanity re spending, civil liberties, and putting an end to unnecessary and costly foreign interventions.”

Sounds like the politician way of saying “yes” to me.

For the question of “Where did the money go?” (to paraphrase), Johnson seemed to deflect the issue by drawing distinct comparisons to the millions thrown around by Obama and Romney.

“There are several questions along this line. Let me be clear. We raised and spend 1/1000th of the amount spent by Obama and Romney, and financed substantial travel, grassroots development, social media presence and an aggressive email campaign. We put as many resources as possible on the air in advertising, but appropriately spent much on developing the base that will be able to go forward.”

Unfortunately, the AMA was not so much a SOTU response as just another chance for Johnson to stay relevant to the hivemind of reddit. And Johnson picked probably the worst timing, because all eyes for the past few hours have been focused on the Chris Dorner situation. That’s not to say there weren’t plenty of questions on the subject of Dorner, Johnson simply elected to answer none of them.

UPDATE II: It seems Governor Johnson might have missed out on reaching a lot more redditors when he unwittingly posted in r/AMA (36 thousand subscribers) instead of r/IAmA (2.7 million subscribers).

Johnson’s media folks ought to be slapping themselves on the forehead over this.

UPDATE III: A pointed question about the campaign finance (using the same link to ParaPolitical cited in this post) has hit the most upvoted spot in after-hours discussions. Libertarians have a tendency to publicly piss all over each other for sport, so this AMA derailing certainly won’t bode well for Johnson putting the issue to bed.

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HoT migration wonkiness, explained

Hey Hammer of Truth fans, I’ve been busily moving the site away from our hosting provider we loved for seven years over to Amazon Web Services EC2. As you might have noticed, this has caused a few hiccups, which has led to a temporary slowdown in post frequency (because yay distractions and uncertainty).

We’ve gone from a managed hosting environment where I put in support tickets and was told to spend lots of money buying better servers, to a self-serve model where we spend less money but the tradeoff is having to know a lot of technical stuff.

Luckily I know a few things. Enough to break things, and enough to fix them again.

Well, I’m about 98% sure that all these odd little bugs that came up during the migration from one server environment to another have now been worked out now (like the caching issue that displayed a weak, ugly mobile theme instead of our usual kickass design). Frabjous day!

I want to ask all of you to drop a comment here if you notice any problems with the site. Or just to high five us for the success.

Yes, we’re doing regular backups.

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Drones Across America

Drones cast a shadow over Constitutional rights

Senator Lindsey Graham recently told reporters today that his colleagues in Congress need to get behind Obama’s targeted killing program, and protect the president from “libertarians and the left.”

Graham said, “Every member of Congress needs to get on board. It’s not fair to the president to let him, leave him out there alone quite frankly. He’s getting hit from libertarians and the left.
I think the middle of America understands why you would want a drone program…
The process of being targeted I think is legal, quite frankly laborious and should reside in the commander in chief to determine who an enemy combatant is and what kind of force to use.”

A leaked Department Of Justice white paper explicitly says, “[T]here exists no appropriate judicial forum to evaluate these constitutional questions.”

Davi Barker reported on SilverUnderground.com, “The Drone memo lays out three vague, easily-met conditions that allegedly justify the murder of Americans without a trial.

  • The target must be an ‘imminent threat’ in the broadest sense requiring no evidence or intelligence.
  • Capture of the target must be ‘unfeasible’ meaning U.S. officials consider attempted capture an ‘undue risk.’
  • The strike must be conducted according to ‘law of war principles’ which are not defined.

The Drone Memo redefines ‘imminent’ to mean its opposite. The ACLU calls it ‘vague,’ ‘elastic,’ and ‘easy to manipulate.’ According to the memo ‘the condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on US persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.’ In other words, classifying a threat as ‘imminent’ does not require any indication that it is actually ‘imminent.’”

We already know that several government officials think liberty-activists and other peaceful people are “potential terrorists” or some other kind of threat. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer called activists from Food Not Bombs “dangerous food terrorists.” NH State Representative Cynthia Chase said “Free Staters are the single biggest threat the state is facing today.” And just one year ago, Congress authorized government use of unmanned spy planes in U.S. Airspace. The FAA projects there will be as many as 30,000 unmanned drones in American airspace by 2020.

Andrew Napolitano asked, “Would we live in a safer society if the government could cut down every law and abrogate every freedom and break down every door and arrest everybody it wanted? We’d be safe from the bad guys, but we wouldn’t be safe from the government. Who would want to live in such a society?” I certainly don’t want to live in that society!

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College students thwart 70 agencies, sneak in Super Bowl XLVII

This year, New Orleans’ Superdome had the distinction of being protected not just by the Department of Homeland Security and 4,000 private security guards. More than 70 federal agencies working out of the Joint Operations Center at the New Orleans FBI office, ostensibly with the goal of stopping anyone who didn’t belong inside the “National Special Security Event”.

Included in the clusterfuck of alphabet security soup is one that should probably be an expert in the matter, but is somehow the exact opposite — Customs and Border Patrol. CPB posted a self-congratulatory release on their website this week:

When the San Francisco 49ers faced the Baltimore Ravens, fans in the New Orleans Mercedes-Benz Superdome probably did not realize the level of security that covered them long before they made their way into the stadium. They may have been unaware of the nearly invisible protected air space that blanketed the venue hours before the kick-off and well after they left the stadium.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) once again was part of the super security team supporting New Orleans in their efforts to host a safe and secure Super Bowl XLVII experience. As part of the team, CBP brings its operational experience and assets to support their federal, state and local law enforcement partners, the National Football League (NFL) and the community.

The rub? Two students from Savannah State snuck their way past the army of security and into the event sans tickets. Their technique was simple enough — wearing matching hoodies and exuding extreme confidence. They even video-recorded the whole exploit, Savannah Now has posted portions.

Priceless reaction after the duo waltzed by security: “They should have stopped us.”

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ONION: American Citizens Split On DOJ Memo Authorizing Government To Kill Them…

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…but I repeat myself

Lindsey Graham (R-SC) warned that the Drone Strikes were going to be an issue and “[Obama]’s getting hit from libertarians and the left.” Well IMAGINE THAT. You’d almost think that big-L Libertarians were SOCIALLY LIBERAL.

“Every member of Congress needs to get on board,” Graham said. “It’s not fair to the president to let him, leave him out there alone quite frankly. He’s getting hit from libertarians and the left.

“I think the middle of America understands why you would want a drone program to go after a person like Anwar al-Awlaki,” Graham added.

“The process of being targeted I think is legal, quite frankly laborious and should reside in the commander in chief to determine who an enemy combatant is and what kind of force to use.”

“If this ever goes to court I guarantee you it will be a slam dunk support of what the administration is doing. I think one of the highlights of President Obama’s first time and the beginning of his second term is the way he’s been able to use drones against terrorists.”

So, basically, Obama’s in the unique position of being supported by the people who he never once promised anything to and pretty much hate him, and being opposed by every one that had even a small chance of supporting him (once Bob-freaking-Barr was the LP nominee, a LOT of the LP jumped to supporting Obama, as Paul was a non-issue before the LP convention, and there were many hurt feelings about the treatment of Paul by the GOP that year).

If this shouldn’t be a wake up call to Obama, I really don’t know what will be, get rid of the freaking drones already!

Lindsey Graham Urges Colleagues to Support Targeted Killing, Protect Obama From “Libertarians and the Left” [reason.com]

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Kim Kardashian takes heat for posting gun pic to twitter…
Weeks after signing ‘Sandy Hook Promise’…

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Anonymous exploits Federal Reserve website, exposes data of 4000+ bank execs…
Data published…

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3 wounded, 3 dead after ex-LAPD cop, Navy Lt. begins targeting ‘corrupt’ officers…
Supports Piers Morgan, Obama and gun control…

Fearful police shooting up trucks matching description…
Truck belonging to Dorner found burned at Big Bear…
UNREDACTED: Christopher Dorner’s 20-page manifesto…

Hopefully you analyst have done your homework. You are aware that I have always been the top shot, highest score, an expert in rifle qualifications in every unit I’ve been in. I will utilize every bit of small arms training, demolition, ordnance, and survival training I’ve been given.

Do you know why we are unsuccessful in asymmetrical and guerrilla warfare in CENTCOM theatre of operations? I’ll tell you. It’s not the inefficiency of our combatant commanders, planning, readiness or training of troops. Much like the Vietnam war, ACM, AAF, foreign fighters, Jihadist, and JAM have nothing to lose. They embrace death as it is a way of life. I simply don’t fear it. I am the walking exigent circumstance you created.

Facebook profile created just weeks before spree shows dozens of photos…
Top 10 facts…
Dorner gets a Wikipedia page…
TIMELINE…

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Not being drone murdered is an individual right

We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual.

Statement of Principles, Libertarian Party

That line, especially the bit about the “cult of the omnipotent state,” has been the subject of many internal battles within the party at conventions. There is a group within the party and the broader libertarian movement that believe that language prevents us from growing as a party. After all, the two legacy parties don’t have that kind of language and they win elections.

I come from the libertarian wing of the Libertarian Party. I’ve been a Libertarian since I was 10 or 11 years old and my father would take me to meetings of the Maricopa County Libertarian Party. I vote for Ernie Hancock when he runs for Chair because I’ve known him longer than anyone else in the party. I’ve never been anything other than a big-L Libertarian.

You can be sure of succeeding in your attacks if you only attack places which are undefended.You can ensure the safety of your defense if you only hold positions that cannot be attacked.

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Lee Wrights once said, “We can make a difference by being different.” I believe that. The Libertarian Party is still much smaller than the two legacy parties. We cannot beat them by playing the game on their terms and by their rules.

This is not to say that our candidates should not be professional in appearance, nor that we can ignore the mechanics of running political campaigns. But it is to say that we can’t just be “Republicans who mean it,” or “Democrats who really believe in civil liberties.” If all we offer is a slightly better version of a legacy party, most voters won’t risk their vote for something slightly better when the legacy party candidate could, you know, win.

We can win by being the only party that supports actual freedom. Social freedom. Economic freedom. All of your freedoms. All of the time. Without exception.

These strikes are legal, they are ethical and they are wise.

White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney

According to a memo (PDF) obtained by NBC, the Obama Administration has decided that they can kill anyone overseas with a drone strike, including American citizens, with no trial, charge, or any due process protections at all. The Democrats don’t have a problem with this, since it’s a Democrat making this unilateral decision to kill people. Oddly, the Republicans don’t have a problem with it either, possibly because they want to have that power in 2016.

Libertarians are the only ones who have a problem with it. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution clearly states, “nor shall any person be…deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” There is no more stark and frightening example of “the cult of the omnipotent state,” than the idea that it’s okay to murder people drone missiles as long as it’s the President doing it and he’s pretty sure you’re a bad guy.

I’m a Libertarian and I challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual, and that most certainly includes the right to not be murdered by the government with no due process at all.

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