A Doh on Both Houses

The budget bill Bush just signed is just about as valuable (and about the same size) as last Sunday’s newspaper. As everyone outside the beltway knows, the House and the Senate have to pass the same version of the bill. Here is how Yahoo reports what the knuckleheads inside the beltway did:

A Senate aide said that a clerical error written into the bill as it bounced between the House and Senate resulted in the two chambers passing slightly different versions.

Perhaps this will wake our elected morons up about another potential application of the line-item veto. Props (once again) to Fark.

On a related note, Stephen Van Dyke just IMed me and asked: “Did they finally realize they can’t spend money that isn’t borrowed yet?”

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The Wrong Screwers Arrested???

Two people got screwed for screwing by the person who likely screws more people than anyone else involved. Confused?

From Ananova:

An Argentinian couple have been arrested for having sex opposite a mayor’s office in broad daylight.

And when police officers arrived to arrest them, they demanded to be allowed to finish what they were doing.

A crowd gathered and cheered the couple on – but the Mayor of Bariloche said he was shocked by the spectacle.

-snip-

The woman told police she had always fantasised about having sex outside the mayor’s office while politicians were working inside.

A police spokesperson said: “They are otherwise two very respectable citizens but they told us they had this urge to have sex in public and that it was very strong and they couldn’t control it.”

I don’t know anything about the mayor in question. If he’s like most politicians I’ve met, the metaphor is perfect.

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Bush/Clinton Fams Close; Do They Hold Hands?

Bush/Clinton DynastiesAccording to several reports — and from Junior Bush’s mouth during his State of the Union Address — the Bush/Clinton dynasties are closer than ever, lending credibility to the long-held notion that Republican and Democratic parties are doing little more than tag-team ass-fucking of voters:

[A]s President Bush put it in an interview with CBS News last month, “Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton.” Mr. Bush made the remark in a telling exchange with Bob Schieffer, who said, “Well, you know, if Senator Clinton becomes president.”

“There we go,” Mr. Bush said.

“Maybe we’ll see a day,” Mr. Schieffer continued.

“Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton,” Mr. Bush responded.

And from the 2006 SOTU:

We must also confront the larger challenge of mandatory spending, or entitlements. This year, the first of about 78 million baby boomers turn 60, including two of my Dad’s favorite people — me and President Clinton. (Laughter.) This milestone is more than a personal crisis — (laughter) — it is a national challenge.

While it may be all fun and humor to some, as a libertarian I have to call it like I see it, and this smacks of plutocracy (sorry, wrong word… oligarchy is more apt). We are not a nation of ruling families and frankly this is just disgusting.

Flashback: Point/Counterpoint: Touchy Feely Elections

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Libertarian Party Leftovers

Note: this article contains dead links, the url is still in the hover/alt text. Keep the web working, curate content well!

Remember to vote online for your Libertarian Party presidential preferences here.

Dick Clark, of Alabama, has just launched a new campaign website. Crisp and clean, too. State law prohibits his fundraising at this time, but I’m sure he will add the necessary donate buttons as soon as he can. I’d also expect issues and other information to start appearing on his site before long. I like watching sites grow, and this one looks promising.

Tim West reminds us that the battle between the pragmatists and the purists happens even in Costa Rica, where they are winning at a faster rate than we are in the US.

You can register for the LP National Convention here.

Austin Cassidy informs us that Libertarian Richard Ford had a double digit showing in a recent Missouri state house race.

Michael Badnarik’s listening tour continues, and he had some really nice words to say about Hillsdale College.

David Henderson addressed the CA LP convention; his speech is posted at antiwar.com. It’s pretty good.

I saw the first public review of Aaron Russo’s new film at IMDb. Since registration is required, I’ll cut and paste after the jump. see more…

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Soldiers, Heroes and Pawns

The political powers that be seem much more concerned with appearances, a few votes or breaking ranks with the devil than performing their duty and saving lives. In contrast, some of us actually consider that those shedding their blood in a far-away desert for mysterious objectives are real people with real families who will be sorely missed. The American dead in this senseless war is much more than an emotionless number — each represents an unimaginable loss and a hole of empty nothing can ever fill.

I can’t, and won’t pretend to have any idea what that loss feels like. But I can hazard a guess that it stings more than had the death been from a car accident or heart attack. It would for me, and I think it does for most. The questions of who lied and why and what the hell we’re really doing over there would drive me mad. And so it is easier to accept the dogma evangelized by the Administration: your loved one died in the service of his country. He died protecting our freedom. Take the flag that draped the casket of a hero and remember him as such.

That tenet accomplishes two things. It rounds the edges of the jagged pill of death, and it reinforces the odious lie that there is some legitimate reason that we are engaged in this war.

The idea that someone close to you has died so you can enjoy the few liberties the government has left you must be more comforting than the awful reality that those he was fighting aren’t the slightest threat to anyone who isn’t there. The “hero’s death” concept is a psychological narcotic. It is a normal defense mechanism to cling to whatever analgesic one can. But in such situations, truth, regardless of how bitter it tastes, should be the only end. Lies, however comforting, hobble justice and only cause more death.

There are likely plenty of heroes among the many military personnel in Iraq. There have been those who put the lives of others ahead of their own and died valiantly. But death alone doesn’t elevate one to the status of paragon. The attitude that it does perpetuates the nakedness of the emperor as it falsely inserts pride and acceptance in the rightful place of anger and inquisition.

The blind devotion both to bad policy and substitutive emotion has so skewed our collective psyche that questioning the war has somehow been equated to treason, political pawns declared heroes, and accountability been deemed a luxury we can’t afford in a time of war. The adage, “my country, right or wrong” has been further muddled to “my government, right or wrong.”

Instead of anger and demands to bring our people home, manufactured pride has given way to the attitude that everything else is cowardice. Our departure from a situation our mere presence is worsening is likened to a frightened plan to “cut and run.” And the parrots squawk in agreement.

Opposition to a confusing and open-ended war, we are told, is akin to opposing those on the ground. But who is less supportive of our troops, those who would have them remain in a cesspool of insurgency, the fires of which we fuel daily, or those who want every last one of them to immediately come home?

I for one, truly support our military. I want them all to come home prepared for their actual duty of national defense. To wish them to stay away, in a dangerous occupation of a place growing ever more hostile to them and without the slightest justification for their presence may masquerade as support. But it is nothing more than a contemptible betrayal. It sacrifices the living for an imagined memory of the dead.

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Two Free Staters Arrested!

Yesterday morning, a few Free Staters were protesting eminent domain on “public property” outside a hotel in Manchester, NH. Turns out King George was coming to this hotel that same morning.

Two of the protestors, Russell Kanning and Kat Dillon, were standing with signs nearby a bus stop where people were waiting around. It wasn’t long before a Secret Service agent came along and asked them to move across the street to the “agreed upon” protest area. They asked the SS agent if he was a fascist, told him they had not “agreed” to anything like that, and stayed right where they were.

Shortly thereafter, Manchester police arrived and arrested two of the protestors, charging them with disorderly conduct. When asked, the police mentioned they were “just following orders”. Stop for a moment, and remember where they were at the time of the arrest. They were near a public bus stop. Were the people waiting for the bus ordered across the street? No. Were they arrested for being disorderly? No. Only the two people with signs (One said “Bush, Feds=Fascists”) were arrested. This is all about control.

My favorite part of the story comes from when they were at the police station:

Officer Murby was talking to Russell. He told Russell he would buy him a plane ticket to Iran or Iraq if Russell wanted to renounce his citizenship…Another officer told us if we didn’t like America, we could leave.

Fascist Feds backed up by automaton cops.

The protestors, Kat Dillon and Russell Kanning are two of the best Liberty activists we’ve seen in recent times. (Last year, Russell was arrested after refusing to show ID at Manchester airport. Plus, they are the only Free Staters who have had the courage to refuse to pay property tax.) We need more people like them in the Free State, ASAP. That’s why I’ve become one of the Free State Project’s First 1000.

You can read Kat and Russell’s full account of the arrest in the Keene Free Press. You can listen to Free Talk Live interview Russell in the middle of last night’s show. Don’t forget to visit the NHFree.com forums to keep up with what’s going on in the Free State, it’s exciting!

The Second American Revolution is upon us. Refuse to pay taxes. Resist tyranny. Dissent openly. We must make a stand sooner rather than later, my Liberty loving friends. The longer we wait, the more difficult the fight.

-FTL_Ian

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Libertarian, Left and Right Solution to an Open Internet

Most of my non-libertarian Internet friends reside on the left side of the political spectrum. For the most part, they are absolutely admirable with respect to ensuring that the Internet remains as unregulated as possible. We tend to agree that freedom is what makes the Internet work.

Since I left the Republican Party in the previous decade, one has to search hard to find areas where I agree with any sizeable amount of yellow ribbon sporting pachyderms. I love nothing more than stamping out expansive GOP tax rapes and even took Bush to bat in my latest mini-rant. It is just as easy to beat up on Repubs for being the bedroom police as it is for being the party of limited big government.

Russell Shaw titled his recent ZD-Net blog entry this way: “Are you a pro- ‘Open Internet?’ Libertarian or Republican? Better read this”

I read it and had to chew on it a bit. My knee-jerk reaction was to cuss him out for placing “Libertarian” and “Republican” on the same line. He wrote:

Reading my colleague Anne Broache’s excellent coverage of Tuesday’s net neutrality hearings before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, it is plain to see that those Committee Members who would prohibit broadband Internet service providers from imposing fees on bandwidth intensive services like, say, Google or Vonage are likely to be Democrats.

And those Committee Members who defend the practice or see no need for laws to prohibit it tend to be Republicans.

I read the referenced article and remembered conversations with one of the people quoted therein. Many moons ago, I was working a higher level position on a major GOP campaign in Virginia and someone called and asked if I’d take a paper position on the Kyle McSlarrow for Congress campaign. I don’t even remember the position offered, but it came with the typical invitations to fundraisers and similar events. At one of those events, I talked with McSlarrow about quite a few small government issues. At that time (he might have sold out since then — most Repubs did and I’ve not followed McSlarrow) he seemed pretty sincere. Broache provided the quote which got me thinking: see more…

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Police Officer Receives Medal of Valor for Murdering Citizen

Medal
First of all, there are going to be a bunch of Police-murder apologists arguing that Police do not actually “murder” people because their twisted minds have managed to conjure up some sort of demented definition of murder. So let’s just go with the FBI’s definition for the sake of this post:

The willful (nonnegligent) killing of one human being by another.

Now that we have that out of the way, the Minneapolis Police Department have awarded one of it’s criminals police officers, Dan May, a Medal of Valor for murdering Tycel Nelson in 1990. The official police fabrication of the event goes something like this:

May was the first officer on the scene. He pulled out a shotgun and chased a man whom he believed was an armed suspect, who he later identified as Nelson. May has said he lost sight of the suspect momentarily, then spotted Nelson raising a gun at him. He said he fired only after Nelson ignored his order to drop the weapon.

I can already see the apologists blowing their wad by dismissing this as self defense. But there is more to the story (Skinner is Tycel’s mother):

No one else saw the shooting. Skinner later sued, alleging that May shot an unarmed youth who was harmlessly running away from him. Her attorneys were poised to make the most of three undisputed facts: Nelson was shot in the back; the .22-caliber revolver found at the scene bore no traceable fingerprints linking it to him; and May initially described the suspect he was chasing as wearing a brown leather coat, although Nelson was wearing a black-and-white-striped shirt.

And if that doesn’t raise your eyebrows:

A grand jury cleared May of any wrongdoing, but the city paid $250,000 to Nelson’s family to drop the lawsuit.

This should come as no surprise to anyone that pays a dime’s worth of attention to police crimes.

In related news, police attempt to murder an unarmed, respected businessman and doctor for alleged gambling. I wonder how many medals those officers will receive?

Finally, there may be a little justice in the world. Police seem to be so trigger-happy these days that they attmepted to murder one of their own by mistake:

In a case of mistaken identity, police shot and critically wounded an off-duty officer outside a fast-food restaurant early Saturday, authorities said.

Eric Hernandez, 24, was hit three times and was in extremely critical condition, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

Too funny.

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Republicans Favor Big Government Once Again

I’m adding the emphasis. From the NY Times:

“This isn’t a cut,” he said of his plan to cut $36 billion over five years out of the Medicare program by changing the formulas that govern its growth. “People call it a cut in Medicare. That’s not a cut. It’s slowing down the rate of growth. It’s the difference between slowing your car down to go the speed limit, or putting your car in reverse.”

Let me see. Republicans control the House. Republicans control the Senate. There’s a Republican in the White House. With all those resources available, the morons can’t even cut spending. Aside from war and torture and domestic spying, WTF are they good for?

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Did Curiosity Kill the 6-Year-Old Tomcat?

I complain a lot about the lack of common sense in risk evaluation. In our effort to be totally safe, it sure seems like we make some stupid decisions. In today’s news, thebostonchannel.com reports that a Brockton, MA first grader was suspended from school last month for sexual harassment. Wow, I guess first graders really do think about sex.

The six year old boy told his mother that the girl initiated the physical contact.

“My son told me that the girl touched him first, so he touched her back,” Dorinvil said. “I was shocked. I was crying. I was out of control,” Dorinvil said.

Hmmm, sounds like an old fashion game of “doctor” to me. Or is it the “I will show you mine if you show me yours” game? Having been a child, and having much experience with children, I would guess that this was not a malicious assault. I would bet that it was no more than curiosity, but I guess that cannot be left to chance in our hyper PC world. The official comment is,

“The safety and well-being of Brockton public school students and staff is of the utmost important to us, and we take all allegations of sexual harassment seriously.”

Apparently, safety from six year old “sex offenders” is so important, the boy was not allowed to transfer schools. Sadly, as I sit here worried about the school’s lack of judgment, a young American boy fears arrest. I wonder what else he might fear later.

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Libertarian Party of Georgia Website Gets Facelift

The LPGA site looks a lot better now. They also have a blog, and other site features seem to be a major improvement. Good job, whomever did the work.

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The Kubby Blog

Steve Kubby is now communicating through his Jailhouse Blog. Someone by the name of Rev. Jeremy is doing the actual work, but is serving as a conduit of information between Kubby and the outside world. Let’s give him some traffic!

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An Impeachable Admission

You wouldn’t know it from the bulk of its recent decisions, but the Supreme Court is often the last line of defense against government itself. The judicial branch of American government is created and limited by the Constitution. That glorious parchment declares the following about federal courts: The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority. The paragraph concludes, as it began, with no criteria by which federal jurists are empowered to rule based on a concern about precedent. The Supreme Court exists to interpret the constitutionality of laws and actions. Period.

While no thinking person truly believes the Constitution has retained the chains Jefferson stated would bind men from mischief, FedGov’s legislative branch at least gives the idea of restraint some lip service. Apparently Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer no longer sees the need for this formality.

The AP reports that while speaking yesterday at the Law School of the University of Chicago, Breyer said, “I tend to emphasize purpose and consequences; others emphasize language, a more literal reading of the text, history and tradition — believing that those help you reach a more objective answer.”

If “purpose and consequence” were truly his primary concerns, Breyer would do well to try to wrap his mind around the true purpose of the Supreme Court and the consequences of interjecting personal thoughts into monumental decisions regarding our liberty.

He decided a display of the commandments in front of two Kentucky courthouses was unconstitutional because he concluded their display would cause religious conflict. But he found that removing a similar display that had been in front of the Texas State Capital for years would not, so he ruled it constitutional.

You can almost smell the shameless hypocrisy.

Breyer’s admission is absolutely frightening and may serve to extract the last remaining teeth from our Constitution. While it is sometimes proper to cite prior cases, righteous judicial decisions can only be made about the case at hand. Concern for what may happen as a result of a ruling not only erases the impartiality of a jurist, it castrates good law. Fear of the future at the expense of the present is an emotion that has no place in a courtroom.

While a strong case could be made to impeach the majority of the high court, Breyer’s confession carries the weight of abject danger. Although members of Congress routinely vote based on the alleged merits or demerits of a prospective law rather than appealing to the Constitution, they still bear the responsibility of their oath and can be taken to task for its violation. This could well change after Breyer’s oration. Sentiment and effect may now be seen as the legitimate criteria by which laws are created and their validity decided. Breyer needs to hang up his robe.

Those of us who cling to a hope for restored liberty need to raise a lot of hell about Breyer’s statement and the attitude it reflects. It has been said (erroneously in modern times) that we are a nation of laws, not of men. It must now be shouted that we are a nation of laws, not of opinions and incidental worries.

In keeping with the theme of worrying about consequence, it is disheartening to consider that Emperor George would hand pick Breyer’s replacement.

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Hating Hate Crimes

My partner-in-crime thinks there is nothing more annoying these days than to watch religious fanatics burnin’ down the house. I find one thing even more irritating: calling the radical actions of fundamentalist fanatics hate crimes.

In many of the recent cases, arson is the proper term to describe the illegality involved. This is true, no matter whether burning embassies in Europe [and the Middle East] over a silly cartoon or burning churches in Alabama over racial bigotry or hatred of Roy Moore or some other yet-to-be-determined issue.

I’ve got news for some of you knuckleheads out there. Vandalism is a property crime, even if done to a church. When one beats on another with chains, baseball bats and bicycle wheels, it’s called assault. When one kills another because of sexual preference issues, it’s called murder. Duh! In the Jacob Robida case, it seems the suspect received a pre-trial death penalty, sparing us the burden of an expensive trial. Should we add a posthumous hate crime indictment to his gravestone?

I’ve been very critical of our involvement in Iraq, and of American fundies depriving Muslims equal protection under the law. I’ve been a strong advocate of equal protection for homosexuals, too. My key beef with churches lately has been when the fundies wish to impose their will on other people. Believe what you want, and do what you want — so long as it doesn’t deprive another of his life, liberty or property.

Pat Robertson has the right to spout hatred. We have the right to hate him for it. We don’t have the right to burn down his church. It’s just common sense, folks.

People have the inherent right to hate. I freakin’ hate tofu. I have the damned right to hate tofu. I have the right to read anti-tofu propaganda. I have the right to publish anti-tofu articles. I even have the right to cuss out a waiter who serves me tofu that I didn’t order — but if I shoot the SOB for it, I should be charged with murder.

If we continue sliding down this slippery slope of hate crime legislation, some day the murder of any waiter who works in a pro-tofu restaurant will be considered a hate crime. Even in my currently smoky state of Alabama, some people seem to get it, while other nitwits prefer the Orwellian solution.

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Religious Fanatics… Hooray!

Muhammed is the bombThere’s nothing more annoying these days than to watch religious fanatics, be it Muslim, Christian, Jewish or whatnot get all crazy up in the house and burn shit down. And then there’s the political fanatics like communism who want to turn the state into a church. So really… there’s a bunch of crazy fuckers in the world, which is why a self-defense should always be the libertarian foreign policy. Keep your crazy fanaticism over there and we won’t nuke you off the planet.

What’s funny is that after a few millennia with prophets of peace telling us about universal love, the same people who preach this nonsense the loudest are the ones advocating fire and brimstone on other religions. Pat Robertson and Osama Bin Laden, I’m pointing at you.

I think the Danish cartoons that causing so much unrest in the world are a bit too tame: Muhammed with a bomb in his turban? Don’t make me laugh. Instead, I’d like to see the true depiction of what’s wrong with religion. Why doesn’t someone draw Bin Laden fucking Muhammed up the ass right next to Robertson fucking Jesus up the ass, because that’s reality. That’s the problem with religious fanatics.

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A female perspective on the libertarian movement

Eureka! We can see today (thanks to a tip from Brandon Middleton) why libertarianism has not caught on. We are self-absorbed asses who care more about ourselves than the public good. Or, at least, that is what John Bice of MSU would have one believe. Although he comes to some rather “out there” conclusions, perhaps Mr. Bice’s article can be a tool for us selfish libertarians. His misinformed opinion of us is likely representative of unhappy voters in the two major camps. I think it is time to start spreading some truth.

Bice: “For example, the Libertarian Party opposes ‘any government attempts to regulate private discrimination’ in employment, housing, and privately owned businesses. The right to trade includes the right not to trade – for any reasons whatsoever. Translation: Personal liberty includes the right to create “whites only” establishments, the right to deny jobs, mortgages, apartments or services of any kind to any minority group or person.”

Me: He has us on the first point, but screws up the translation. Any business, regardless of political affiliation, which discriminates against a group based on ethnicity, is simply looking for a business loss to offset his tax liability. If you want to turn a profit, you provide a product that is desired. When I conjure the image of a bigot, I view a person without spending power-knowledge or dollars. A true businessman is concerned about two colors- black and red.

And speaking of taxation, Mr. Bice gives this example:

“David Holcberg, from the Ayn Rand Institute, demonstrated libertarian hatred of taxes in a column on tsunami aid, “The United States government should not give any money to help the tsunami victims. Every dollar the government hands out as foreign aid has to be extorted from an American taxpayer first. Pacifists are undoubtedly horrified that portions of their taxes fund military spending. Does this lack of unanimous approval mean we shouldn’t have a military? One libertarian solution to this inconsistency requires a heavily armed citizenry to provide all national defense needs, no taxes required.”

Goodie! Taxes and guns- one stone. I was a single mom for a while. I know first hand what people do not pay in, and then get out. EIC, baby. Hardly fair to the people who work their asses off and pay and pay and pay. As a single mom (many years ago), I would get every dime I paid in, plus some because I had kids. But I married someone with greater earning potential than I, so now; our tax rate is higher than Cheney’s. As for the citizen militia, libertarians have studied history-we know what it takes to keep a monarchy government- in check. It takes a people with the means to revolt. Neither Bice nor I could write our drivel without the American Revolution. (I think that one of us needs to revisit the history books. David McCullough’s 1776 is a good starting point.)

Bice: Libertarians believe “all drugs should be legalized.”

Me: Decriminalized. People are free to learn from their mistakes without some hyped up morality charge on their records.

Bice: People don’t exist in isolation; individual actions impact others in innumerable ways. For example, cheaply constructed homes are often destroyed during hurricanes, generating dangerous flying debris that threatens the lives and property of responsible homeowners. Furthermore, studies have shown that adequate building codes can prevent billions of dollars in hurricane damage.

Me: Years of regulation did not help NOLA. In fact, NOLA is flapping like a hooked fish on the floor of the boat, because of regulation.

Bice: Jefferson’s advocacy of universal and free public education, supported through taxation, demonstrated that he didn’t believe defending personal liberty required the elimination of taxes or government services. Libertarians, however, see the Jeffersonian legacy of free public education as just another government program to be eradicated.

Me: Parents want to choose where we spend our tax dollars. Whether we choose to spend in a different district, on home schooling, or private instruction, we should be the decision makers.

Bice: Libertarian freedom is a harsh mistress.

Me: Harsh mistress? Demanding is probably a better description. Maybe the best damn experience he will ever have. He should consider leaving that saggy, wrinkled ideology that he has been married to for so long. If not on moral principal, for his children.

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Jimmy Carter Growing a Pair?

Via AP:

“Under the Bush administration, there’s been a disgraceful and illegal decision – we’re not going to the let the judges or the Congress or anyone else know that we’re spying on the American people,” Carter told reporters. “And no one knows how many innocent Americans have had their privacy violated under this secret act.”

-snip-

“It’s a ridiculous argument, not only bad, it’s ridiculous. Obviously, the attorney general who said it’s all right to torture prisoners and so forth is going to support the person who put him in office. But he’s a very partisan attorney general and there’s no doubt that he would say that,” Carter said. “I hope that eventually the case will go to the Supreme Court. I have no doubt that when it’s over, the Supreme Court will rule that Bush has violated the law.”

The former president said he would testify before the Judiciary Committee if asked.

“If my voice is important to point of the intent of the law that was passed when I was president, I know all about that because it was one of the most important decisions I had to make.”

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Serving Straight Shots of American Politics

There should be a law about blogging while intoxicated. I’m not sure if the law should prohibit or mandate BUIs, but this is America so there simply has to be a law…

After reading the February GQ article (Great Britain version only, it seems — props) about comedic bad boy Doug Stanhope, I’m sure he’d make an argument that one shouldn’t blog with a blood alcohol content of less than .08% — anorexic teetotaling sorority girls notwithstanding. As the article had some insight on Hunter S. Thompson’s final goodbye, I found this the appropriate time to pour a tumbler of whiskey.

In addition to the Stanhope article, another of the libertarian comedic icons was just covered at Slate (props). According to Bryan Curtis:

In our conversation, Jillette felt moved to declare that he had devised a method by which to place every artist in human history into a matrix: separating those who had genuine skill, those who had genuine passion, and those rarefied geniuses who had both.

This got me to thinking. Thinking that it’s time to refill that tumbler and mix tenses (the latter being a bad habit of mine when BUI). While at the domestic refueling station, I started thinking of another recent GQ article I’d briefly covered: Trey Parker and Matt Stone. What do the people with genuine skill, genuine passion and libertarian roots have in common? see more…

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Weare, N.H.: Public Voted Libertarian in Eminent Domain Loss?

I know, the title is a bit confusing, and I’ll explain. The explanation will probably piss a few of you off, too.

According to the NY Post (via Fark), the Lost Liberty Hotel is now a no-go as local voters just rejected the proposal to evict U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter from his farmhouse by the use of eminent domain.

A group angered by last year’s court decision that gave local governments more power to seize people’s homes for economic development had petitioned to use the ruling against the justice.

But voters deciding which issues should go on the town’s March ballot replaced the group’s proposal with a call to strengthen New Hampshire’s law on eminent domain.

“This is a game,” said Walter Bohlin. “Why would we take something from one of ours? This is not the appropriate way.”

Like most Americans, I’ve certainly been angered by the Kelo decision, but to use the concept of democracy to apply eminent domain is no better than using judicial means. To begin, if it is wrong for the local development company to take my land, it is just as wrong for me to take the land of another. Two wrongs don’t make a right, even when done in the name of something just.

Joshua Solomon, a member of the Committee for the Protection of Natural Rights, was disappointed with the vote.

This seems a bit oxymoronic. How can someone who is allegedly protecting natural rights be upset when the attempt to seize the natural rights of another is thwarted?

Had the voters in Weare decided to use force to remove Justice Souter from his home, it probably would have have motivated votes to remove people from their homes and businesses in other communities. Like the Lost Liberty Hotel concept, the first vote or two might be a bit amusing — like forcing some corrupt mayor from his home or shutting down a local Wal-Mart. The next round of votes might be applied to shut down a strip club or porn shop. Then the local diner gets shut down to make room for a new chain restuarant. Then your neighbors can vote to kick you out of your house simply because you ran out of time to cut the yard or they don’t like the color of your house. This slipperly slope is a move away from individual rights and towards collectivist thinking.

The voters did the right thing by deciding to toughen eminent domain laws as opposed to applying eminent domain through the ballot box — which makes them more principled than the thousands of libertarians screaming for someone else’s private property.

Let the hate mail begin…

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E-Mail: The Free Market No Longer Free?

According to the New York Times, America Online and Yahoo are planning to exploit their positions as two of the world’s largest e-mail providers to make megabucks, a fraction of a penny at a time.

America Online and Yahoo, two of the world’s largest providers of e-mail accounts, are about to start using a system that gives preferential treatment to messages from companies that pay from 1/4 of a cent to a penny each to have them delivered. The senders must promise to contact only people who have agreed to receive their messages, or risk being blocked entirely.

The Internet companies say that this will help them identify legitimate mail and cut down on junk e-mail, identity-theft scams and other scourges that plague users of their services. Thy (sic) also stand to earn millions of dollars a year from the system if it is widely adopted.

AOL and Yahoo will still accept e-mail from senders who have not paid, but the paid messages will be given special treatment. On AOL, for example, they will go straight to users’ main mailboxes, and will not have to pass the gantlet of spam filters that could divert them to a junk-mail folder or strip them of images and Web links. As is the case now, mail arriving from addresses that users have added to their AOL address books will not be treated as spam.

If my address book is indicative of the entire Internet community, only 16 percent of people currently utilize these two services. It is easy to envision how AOL and Yahoo will attempt to use the volume of accounts they serve to control the marketplace. I don’t believe this will work for two reasons.

My snail mail box is filled six days a week with spam of the paper variety. Although the cost is considerably higher, the expense does not stop unsolicited advertising. AOL and Yahoo are not going to stop spam, but they may make millions of dollars from what could almost be described as marketplace extortion.

It would be rightfully described as extortion if users didn’t have any other options available, but they do. To begin, spam traps and filters are likely continue to improve, but even if they didn’t, paid e-mail won’t work as long as there are free options available. If AOL and Yahoo think that every small company, organization, or individual that owns a domain name and corresponding mail server is going to drop their service in order to jump on board with the major corporate domains, they are sadly mistaken.

When people find that they are not getting e-mail messages from loved ones, business partners, classmates, etc., they will drop Yahoo and AOL and use one of the many free services, even if it contains a bit more spam.

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Get ‘em while they are young.

The U.S. Secret Service seems to want to teach that freedom of speech is not tolerated, and the youngest pupil may be a seventh grader. Yahoo News reports that a seventh grader threatened the president in a homework essay and the child is now the subject of an investigation. The unreleased essay has been described as rambling and non-specific, but school authorities found it troubling. Daniel Burns, chairman of the West Warwick School Committee said,

“anyone that writes what’s on his mind, where he wants to do away with or kill people, it’s something you’ve got to pay attention to.”

While I understand that threatening the president is a felony, I cannot understand the inability to gauge risk. We are talking about a kid- probably an eleven year old. Surely the king’s men aren’t physically threatened by a child. Reading the article, I recalled Orwell. In 1984, children were used to inform on their parents. Mr. Burns opines,

“Someone in the 7th grade just doesn’t gather this information by themselves. I was concerned where that came from.”

Hmmm, are the parents now an item of interest? Or maybe it is the neighbor. I mean, if this is a common view, surely the feds have thought of it too.

I am more than a little concerned here. SG told us recently about that little provision in the Patriot Act which would limit free speech at any “special event of national significance.” I guess junior high is an area of national significance now, and they haven’t even passed that bullshit law yet. Many of our fellow Americans accept the death of the first amendment as a necessary casualty in our “War on Whatever” but like Stephen, I don’t. And I hope that the kid, when he is done with the shock therapy I mean counseling, has enough America left in him to speak out.

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West Apologizes for Exercising Right of Freedom of Expression

This is bullshit! I have never in my life seen the entire Western world pandering to a bunch of religious wackos in such an extreme way.

Let’s review some facts here. A Danish newspaper publishes a series of cartoons depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad. This severely rankles the religious sensibilities of Muslims, whose religion bans depictions of people period, let alone one of the holiest figures of their faith. Denmark has 5,432,335 people, about only 200,000 of which happen to be Muslim. That means about 3.7% of all Danes are Muslim, so clearly it’s a tiny minority group there.

But what a private company publishes in a free country with a relatively small Muslim population is apparently monumental enough for Muslims to storm Danish embassies. Not just the Danish, either! A few countries republished the cartoons in a blatant defense of freedom of speech-and their nations have had embassies attacked as well. Even unrelated nations, who happen to be a part of the European Union, have indirectly had their assets attacked when a Palestinian mob hurled stones at a European Commission building and stormed a German cultural center in Gaza City. What do the leaders of these attacks have to say for themselves?

“We should have killed all those who offend the Prophet and instead here we are, protesting peacefully,” Mahmoud Zahar, a top leader of the militant Islamic group that won the January 25 Palestinian elections, told Italian daily Il Giornale.

“We should have killed them, we should have required just punishment for those who respect neither religion nor its holiest symbols,” Zahar was quoted as saying.

Oh, how nice of you pathetic fundie bastards to allow men to live after they so criminally voiced their own opinions! see more…

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Today’s Tidbits Presented Glenn Reynolds Style

In case you’ve ever wondered why people distrust the police.

Sexy libertarian writer about sexist libertarian men.

Tim Cavanaugh predicts that the GOP will retain control of the House and the Senate.

Gay marriage causes Republican corruption.

Anthony Gregory provides us with a free market excuse to quit smoking.

Is it possible to get through 24 hours without breaking any law?

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