No Shit, Chirac!

Elaine Ganley of the Associated Press reports:

President Jacques Chirac said Monday that the unrest in France’s poor, largely nonwhite suburbs revealed a “crisis of identity” that the entire nation must heal with firmness and with measures that combat what he called the poison of discrimination.

Chirac – speaking to the nation for the first time since the unrest erupted Oct. 27 — said France must instill values and hope in the “sons and daughters of the Republic” growing up in the poor, largely immigrant suburbs ringing French cities.

French law must be obeyed, he said, but all of France — its companies, unions and the media — must work to change decades of discrimination with new hiring policies.

“These events testify to a profound malaise … . This is a crisis of direction, a crisis of reference points, it is a crisis of identity,” he said. “We will respond by being firm, being just and being faithful to the values of France.”

One wonders what gave him the first clue. Now that Chirac finally gets it, perhaps he could teach a few of the American elite that we have similar problems here in River City. That is if he can break the attention of our power brokers away from their Hudson Valley foie gras and Dom Perignon lunches long enough to march them through the grim reality of places like nearby Southeast DC.


13 Predictions for the ‘War on Terrorism’

G. Edward Griffin, founder of Freedom Force International made a bold list of predictions 3 days after 9/11 on how the “War on Terrorism” would play out.

So how did he do? Well on my score card, he hit 13 out of 13. No, he’s not a psychic. He just understand the collectivist’s agenda. When you know you’re enemies’ playbook, you’ll finally have a chance to beat the bastards. Anyway, here is a quick summary of the first 3 predictions.

1. The first prediction is that we will not be given genuine options regarding the war on terrorism. We will have only two choices, both of which are disastrous. It will be similar to the Vietnam War in which Americans were expected to be either hawks or doves. Either they supported the no-win war or they opposed it.

2. Most American political leaders are now committed to world government, so the second prediction is that they will crow about how America will not tolerate terrorism, but they will not act as Americans. Instead, they will act as internationalists. They will turn to the UN to lead a global war against terrorism.

3. The third prediction is that the drive for national disarmament will be intensified. This will not lead to the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, but merely to the transfer of those weapons to UN control.

Seems to me like he’s on to something.


Bin Laden: What Bruce Willis is Talkin’ ‘Bout

CNN - Osama dead or aliveI wasn’t aware that Bruce Willis was such a gung-ho Iraq war supporter, what with his comments about the media not doing enough to cover the “good” news in Iraq. But we have to give him some props for straying from the party-line that seems to ignore Bin Laden (and company) and the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan — in order to offer some additional bounty cash:

Actor Bruce Willis has offered $1 million to anyone who turns in al-Qaeda terror leaders.

The patriotic “Die Hard” star will pay out for information on the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden, Aymen Al-zawahiri or Abu Musab Al-zarqawi, the alleged brains behind the 9/11 atrocity.

The open bounty on Osama’s head is a reported $50 million, however authorities have been quick to arrest any private citizen trying to go and, you know… actually catch him.

Personally, I think there’s a void here begging to filled with a reality TV series covering the hunt for Al Qaida militants on the Afghan/Paki border.


Elsebeth Baumgartner Arrested

I just spoke with our friends in Georgia, who had just spoken to Bryan and Mandy DuBois, who called from the court house where they appeared today.

If you don’t recall the story, Bryan DuBois is the editor of an Ohio based blog under judicial fire for being a judicial whistleblower. He and co-defendent Elsebeth Baumgartner were scheduled to be in court this morning. The entire chronology of the case is located here. Here is the latest from the courthouse, as Kathryn Weitzel of the Libertarian Action Network reports it:

In one of Ohio’s largest first amendment violation cases, the defendant taken into arrested in court right before the jury trial began. Elsebeth Baumgartner and Bryan DuBois have been under fire for exposing local corruption in Ohio. Their crime? Blogging.

Baumgartner and DuBois filed papers one week ago with the Ohio Supreme Court attempting to stay the trial because of judicial bias. Their affidavit claims a conflict of interest concerning the Judge that initially brought up charges against them.

Their trial was scheduled for 9AM this morning in the Cuyahoga County Justice Center. According to the second hand report, Judge Shirly Saffold revoked Elsebeth Baumgartner’s bond immediately after Baumgartner tried to file a motion of continuance to amend the affidavit in the case it was denied.

Baumgartner had spoken just three words when Judge Saffold, who had been walking away from the bench at the time, suddenly returned to the microphone and called for the deputy of the court. Saffold then said, “I’m revoking her bond, arrest her.”

As more information becomes available on this story, we will continue to report it. That is until they pry the First Amendment from my cold, dead fingers.

Update: A more complete rendition of what happened is now available at Erie Voices.


Pat Robertson Issues Fatwah on Pa. Town

Pat RobertsonEvery time Rev. Pat Robertson is in the news, the jokes practically write themselves. This time Robertson chastised the town of Dover, Pennsylvania for voting out the incumbent board of education after residents had enough of the intelligent design stuff being taught as science:

“I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God. You just rejected him from your city,” Robertson said on the Christian Broadcasting Network’s “700 Club.”

[…]”God is tolerant and loving, but we can’t keep sticking our finger in his eye forever,” Robertson said. “If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them.”

Haw haw, good one Pat… that’s almost as clever as that time you poked your finger in God’s eye for that whole “thou shalt not kill” stuff — calling for the assassination of Venezuela president Hugo Chavez.

Update: There’s more to why the residents of Dover (York County) kicked out the incumbents. Apparently there was a whole lotta don’t-question-mah-authoritah going on along with I-don’t-recall-itis according to this op-ed by a resident:

Mr. Buckingham started this whole mess. He refused to tell the public where the book “Of Pandas and People” came from. Knowing all along it was his doing. […] Tapes of meetings were destroyed. Since when do we destroy tapes of public school board meetings?


From the “Doh” Department

The Washington Post has a headline which reads: “Roberts: Iraq Will Affect Future War Votes”. A snippet of the article provides:

The Republican chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said yesterday that one lesson of the faulty prewar intelligence on Iraq is that senators would take a hard look at intelligence before voting to go to war.

“I think a lot of us would really stop and think a moment before we would ever vote for war or to go and take military action,” Sen. Pat Roberts (Kan.) said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Senators “don’t accept this intelligence at face value anymore,” said Pat Roberts, left, chairman of the Senate intelligence committee. Sen. Carl M. Levin said Iraq became a center of terrorism after its invasion in March 2003.

“We don’t accept this intelligence at face value anymore,” he added. “We get into preemptive oversight and do digging in regards to our hard targets.”

I’ve tried to come up with some meaningful political insight on the issue, but the most profound libertarian commentary which comes to mind is “No shit, Sherlock”.


Proud Pistol Packing Momma

Kathryn Weitzel is truly an angel. She is a stay-at-home-mom political activist, and when I needed a personal assistant during the Badnarik campaign, Kathryn immediately jumped to the task and handled my e-mail and filtered some of my telephone calls, as well as assisting me in many other scheduling and administrative matters. She has also helped in a similar manner with other political activities of mine. Her tireless spirit and good nature (as well as thousands of hours of hard work) have forever endeared me to her, despite the fact that she left me for another man — Michael Badnarik. Since the last presidential campaign ended, I haven’t needed her assistance as much and she’s been doing a lot of these same sorts of services for Mike.

I saw her a few weeks ago and noted that she seemed healthy and had probably lost a few pounds since I had seen her last. You can imagine my surprise when Mike and I got an e-mail from her telling us about her new baby, Lucille. Here is an excerpt from her message:

I think I’ll call her Lucille, as in to lose seal, or loose seal — as in what it will do to the intruder’s intestinal movements. Hope all is well and I’m proud of you both — Kathryn

Lucille is a Taurus Millennium PT145, and weighs in at a healthy 22.6 ounces. Constructed with a hammer-forged slide and an injection-molded polymer frame, it is a pocket-size, extremely lightweight double-action-only autoloader which uses .45 ACP. It features a 10-round magazine capacity for 10+1 firepower — and is an excellent choice of a concealed weapon for woman of Kathryn’s physical size and shooting expertise.

Kathryn, all I can think to say is congratulations on the newest member of your family.


Costa Rica Libertarian Movement Party

The Libertarian Movement Party in Costa Rica seems to be having some success:

The growing Costa Rican Libertarian movement, which controls some 10% of the country’s Congress, has announced it is the main party in 13 of the country’s 81 counties.

Quite impressive considering the party was founded in 1994.

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Saving lives or prolonging the death experience?

All this Katrina coverage is especially important to me. I spent most of my life in a New Orleans suburb and all of my family is still there. Thankfully, they are doing well and lost very little. I came across this Crispin Sartwell piece and felt compelled to write about it. It seems that in the chaos of being left on their own during Katrina, some NOLA doctors allegedly discussed putting terminally ill patients out of their misery.

My sister is a nursing home director in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana. I talked to her and even took in her child while she put the evacuation of 250 patients ahead of her own safety. I know first hand the desperation that she felt scrambling to get food when they ran out, her concern about caring for patients in the dark. I was able to speak to her for a second and heard the winds howling outside and the fear inside. And she was in a safe zone. Her evacuation was successful. I cannot imagine what it would have been like stuck in NOLA with terminally ill patients and no resources to help them. I think I can see how the topic of easing one’s pain came up.

I asked a doctor I know his opinion on the matter. I hear him say daily sometimes you are saving life and sometimes simply prolonging the death experience. I asked him if he would have considered using the syringe for these patients. He almost bit my head off when he said no. He did add that he wasn’t necessarily opposed to easing pain with a little more morpine than needed, but he would be afraid of the legal problems that would come about. In our society, it is murder to assist in the death process and unfortunately, circumstance, quality of life, and even the patient’s wishes aren’t even considered.

Perhaps instead of an investigation of the area’s caregivers, Louisiana should turn the focus inward. Perhaps they can determine which state agency’s incompetence contributed to the death of Memorial Medical Center’s patients. Self-reflection is more diffucult that pointing your finger somewhere else, but it is definitely worth it in the end.


City to be managed by private company

A new city in Georgia is going to be managed by a private company when it “opens” December 1.

Organizers of the new city of Sandy Springs are gambling that a Denver-based company can help pull off an audacious experiment in privatizing almost an entire municipality.

Sandy Springs officials plan to have CH2M Hill-OMI fill virtually all the positions at City Hall at an annual cost of $29.7 million. In other words, CH2M Hill-OMI will be the government except for a handful of city employees, and the mayor and City Council. The 100 or so employees will be paid by and will answer to CH2M Hill-OMI. The major exception is that police, fire and E911 employees will work directly for the city.

I don’t see any reason why the “services” provided by this company couldn’t be purchased by individuals (instead of the city) in a free market. But hey, it’s a start.


Hate Mongering

I stumbled across the Westboro Baptist Church’s website tonight and I am glad I did. It does wonders for exposing bible thumping extremists for what they really are.

From their FAQ:

Why do you preach hate?

Because the Bible preaches hate.

Good enough, but what about the military?

Here are some axiomatic matters of fact:

These turkeys are not heroes. They are lazy, incompetent idiots looking for jobs because they’re not qualified for honest work.

They were raised on a steady diet of fag propaganda in the home, on TV, in church, in school, in mass media – everywhere – the two-pronged lie: 1) It’s OK to be gay; and, 2) Anyone saying otherwise, like WBC, is a hatemonger who must be vilified, demonized, marginalized into silence.

Therefore, with full knowledge of what they were doing, they voluntarily joined a fag-infested army to fight for a fag-run country now utterly and finally forsaken by God who Himself is fighting against that country.

They turned America
Over to fags;
They’re coming home
In body bags.

America used an IED to bomb Westboro Baptist Church on August 20,1995 – an act of terror aimed at terrorizing us into discontinuing our nationwide Gospel preaching against the homosexual menace.

When America thus became WBC’s terrorist, God became America’s Terrorist.

Therefore the IED is God’s weapon of choice in avenging Westboro Baptist Church by blowing America’s kids to smithereens in Iraq. And the carnage has barely begun.

Thus, their funerals are the forum of choice for delivering WBC’s message of choice.



Explosives Caused WTC Collapse

That is what Brigham Young University physics professor Steven E. Jones is claiming in a paper posted Tuesday, according to The Deseret Morning News:

The physics of 9/11 – including how fast and symmetrically one of the World Trade Center buildings fell – prove that official explanations of the collapses are wrong, says a Brigham Young University physics professor.

In fact, it’s likely that there were “pre-positioned explosives” in all three buildings at ground zero, says Steven E. Jones.

Perhaps lingering questions are about to be answered?

Update: Apparently professor Jones has a lot of company.


Is your first grader thinking of sex?

She may be after school today.

Judges on the 9th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals cited Prince v. Massachusetts while ruling that parents do not have the sole right to determine when their children are exposed to sex.

Palmdale School District, in California, requested permission from the parents of 1st, 3rd, and 5th graders to allow participation in a survey. The stated purpose of the survey was to guage early trauma and help overcome learning difficulties.

Well if there was no trauma before, there certainly may have been after. These young students were asked sexual questions about “having sex feelings in my body” and “touching my private parts too much.” Beside the obvious fact of the subject matter being age in-appropriate, where is the outrage over the state claiming the right to raise your child?


The Great Dakosaur Hoax

Immediately following the recent discovery of a significant new Jurassic era dinosaur fossil in Argentina, Kansas Board of Education officials are probably already updating curricula for their high school students. With the exception of Kansas, scholars and students across the world now have the knowledge that the 13 foot long Dakosaurus andiniensis was an oceanic crocodile with a short snout and a mouthful of deadly teeth which hunted large creatures in the sea.

In Kansas, students are likely to learn that Dakosaurus was created on the fifth day. This unique approach to teaching science was approved in the Sunflower State earlier this week. The Clemson University Tiger reported:

On Tuesday, the Kansas Board of Education passed new standards that require the teaching of alternative ideas to Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. The new legislation recommends that schools teach aspects of fossil evidence and molecular biology that directly challenge the theory of evolution.

In addition, the ruling changed the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to using natural explanations — in other words, supernatural explanations now suffice.

Other probable changes to Kansas curricula include:

    God personally handed Judge Roy Moore an autographed copy of the Ten Commandments

Topeka’s Reverend Fred Phelps (founder of will certainly be thrilled by the enlightened stance taken by Kansas educators. He is expected to make an official announcement when he is finished gloating over the murder of Matthew Shepard.


China Selling Organs of Executed Prisoners

the organ trailRadley Balko often points out the stupidity of lawmakers trying to legislate everything from seatbelts for dogs to barring pizza from 1000 feet of a school in his popular meme — There oughtta be a law. Keep that in mind, because I’m going to do something libertarians rarely do, propose a law.

You see, in China, there’s this practice of selling the organs of prisoners (political or otherwise) who are executed and whose bodies aren’t claimed by the family right away. Apparently this process isn’t voluntary in the slightest:

CHINA: It’s illegal to buy or sell organs in China. But a 1984 law allows organs to be transplanted from an executed prisoner if family members don’t claim the body right away. Amnesty International says Chinese media reported 1,060 judicial executions in 2002. But it says the actual figure may be as high as 15,000. Most harvested prisoner organs are sold to medical “visitors” from Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Singapore.

What’s so wrong with this? Well, it certainly gives new meaning to the term “profiling.” How comfortable would you be living in a country where your odds of going to jail might hinge on someone’s need for a kidney with your blood type? I can already picture Cheney drooling over the latest selection of Chinese dissidents with healthy hearts.

Well that’s China, and frankly there’s not a damn thing we could do to stop them from continuing that type of behavior. But we can make it a crime against humanity for an American to get an organ transplant from any person who did not willingly donate that organ, wherever in the world they may try and obtain it. A blog by the name of Say No to Crack has similar sentiments about tackling legal issues:

There are solutions to this, like opening up country markets to legalize this brand of human tissue trade. It sounds very invasive and immoral to most people, but if there are laws that tackled the issues surrounding the transplant trade there could be brighter futures for the buyer AS WELL as the poor sellers.

If social conservatives can rally around a retarded woman having a feeding tube removed by the state, then there shouldn’t be a problem getting them to back a law banning receiving international stolen goods or backing an international database of consenting donors as the only legal venue for American transplants.


Nervous Republicans

Not that they don’t have reason to be, but Republicans appear to be a little nervous these days. Pulling every string at their disposal to keep a tight lid on their criminal activities, today they blindsided Democrats by forcing a vote on a bill that would have required the President to provide documents relating to the White House Iraq Group (WHIG):

Hyde had barely finished telling the ranking minority member, Rep. Lantos, that he was probably going to allow some more discussion, then take a recess so that members could vote, and reconvene later after enough time for them to eat. Barely had 3 or 4 Democrats wandered out of the room (a common occurrence on both sides, since members are constantly wandering out in the back hallway to go make phone calls or meet visitors or talk to staffers), when the GOP committee staff started overtly counting heads. Seconds later, Rep. Rohrabacher called the question, forcing a vote.

As usual, Ron Paul was left being one of the only honest Republicans in Congress:

Only 2 Republicans stood up for finding out the truth–Rep. Jim Leach of Iowa and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. Paul, who seems to be an extremely rare species, an honest conservative who is angry about the lies that took us to war, even had the decency to publicly compliment Kucinich for being consistent by not just investigating the war now but also opposing it beforehand.


– It took Rep. Paul, a libertarian Republican from TX, to point out a couple obvious things: Americans deserve to know how we were taken to war; the Congress let the President go to war, instead of asserting its Constitutional right to declare war (the basis of the lawsuit that fellow co-founder and possible MA Secretary of State candidate John Bonifaz brought in early 2003 in an attempt to stop the war from starting); and we need to change our foreign policy. He also noted that between 2000 and 2004, he had voted alone 126 times, by far the most of anyone in Congress–the man does have principles.

Update: I smell a terrorist attack coming. Or at least some more fear mongering by the bird flu crowd.


Third Party Watch interviews Shane Cory

The fine folks over at Third Party Watch recently interviewed acting Libertarian Party Chief of Staff, Shane Cory. Although disappointed that he did not mention the Florida Libertarian Party’s recent progress when asked about the LP’s accomplishments over the past year, I finished reading the interview with a huge smile on my face. One of my biggest pet peeves with the National LP is their seemingly blatant disregard for the power of the internet. Much to my delight, Mr. Cory addressed that very issue in his interview:

TPW: Are there any plans in the works to upgrade the LP’s website before the 2006 elections?

Shane Cory: Yes. We have already begun working on a redesign and the refocusing of For 2006 we plan to dedicate a majority of the content to campaigns and candidates. I’ll be providing a glimpse of the new site at the upcoming LNC meeting in Baltimore.

Combine that whiff of fresh air with Zero Dues and you have one happy Libertarian here.

Read the entire interview here.


Grandparenting: Hobby or Job?

some token grandparents pictureLots of kids in Washington, D.C. don’t have a traditional, two-parent family. Out-of-wedlock births, high crime, high incarceration rates, poverty, and greater extended-family involvement in the black community are all contributing causes. Many of these kids end up being raised by their grandparents. All things being equal, this is much better for the kids than being shunted into the foster care system.

With all that, why not give the grandparents some extra money to help with those expenses?

The D.C. Council is considering a bill that would provide a monthly stipend to adults raising their grandchildren if they meet income and other requirements. If the legislation passes next month, advocates for the elderly and experts say, the District would be among only a handful of jurisdictions in the country to establish a subsidy for caregivers who are not part of the foster care system.

Kids stay out of foster care, grandparents get some financial help. The city would have spent the money on foster parents anyway. What could be wrong with that?

According to the 2000 Census, 8,100 people in the District are raising grandchildren. The reasons range from a parent’s unexpected death to issues involving drugs or mental illness.

The D.C. office of AARP, the main force behind the bill, convened a grandparents focus group in 2003, published a report and has lobbied council members for more than a year.

The first reason to be skeptical is that the AARP, those same extortionists who are busy mugging young workers for Social Security and Medicare entitlements, are the driving force behind the bill. Senior citizens are the richest demographic in the nation; they don’t need extra handouts via taxes. But let’s suspend judgment until we get to the real kicker.

Under the bill, sponsored by council Chairman Linda W. Cropp (D), the stipend would equal what the city provides to a long-term permanent guardian of a foster child: about $718 to $791 per month per child, depending on the youngster’s age and the amount of other public benefits received. The grandparent would have to have legal custody of the child, submit to a background check and meet other requirements, such as having an income of no more than $16,090 a year in a household of three.

Supporters say the cost of the subsidy would be much less than what the city winds up paying when a grandparent cannot afford to raise a child, who then must be placed in foster care, which can cost up to $80,000 a year, according to the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency.

The District has about 2,700 foster children in its care, while roughly 16,700 children live in grandparent-headed households, the agency said.

Aha! This bill isn’t about helping grandparents struggling to raise their grandkids; it just does that by accident. This bill is about making those grandparents into foster parents, with all of the bureaucratic red tape that implies. It’s also about expanding the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency‘s control to more than six times as many children’s lives.

We’re used to D.C. government grabbing land for stadiums or trying to grab Federal disaster relief money, but trying to grab control over the lives of 16,700 kids and their grandparents goes too far. There’s something very wrong with paying grandparents to take care of their grandkids.


Miller and Maher: Libertarian, Liberal, or Lame?

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

For years, folks have been speculating about whether Dennis Miller and Bill Maher are truly libertarians. A couple of newspaper articles surfacing on my browser today merely increased the level of confusion.

In a Miami New Times column, Joanne Green reported this of Maher:

The political satirist is most notable as the former outspoken host of the late-night talk show Politically Incorrect. But in June 2002, ABC network execs canned him after he made a controversial on-air remark in which he objected to the President’s claim that the September 11 terrorists were cowards. “We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2000 miles away. That’s cowardly,” Maher said. “Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it’s not cowardly.”

Even with this firm foothold on solid libertarian ground, Maher stumbled quickly with:

“Bush is a liar,” Maher says. “If you do involve yourself in [politics] to a more detailed degree, you see there is a very big difference between this and the last administration.”

Come on, Bill. While Bush’s lies have certainly cost more lives, neither Bush nor Clinton are innocent of foreign adventurism — and clearly not of telling lies. Unless you happened to believe the old “I did not inhale” line.

Dennis Miller was on equally shakey ground with this interview blurb in in an OC Weekly article by Rebecca Schoenkopf:

But Dennis Miller, we left Afghanistan unfinished so we could go to Iraq, and instead of making us safer, we just pissed off a billion people. You’re smart enough to see that, aren’t you?

Nope. I do know people on the Left say I’m not smart enough.

Miller clearly showed some improvement with:

The controversial host has also criticized the Bush administration’s war on drugs and the more recent war on pornography. “We’ve got to go after people whacking at their computers?” Maher muses. “That we would go after people and throw them in jail for having sex just shows how shallow and unserious this administration is.”

Neither of them seem to be full blooded libertarians — yet. However, they both think outside of the two-party box, espouse many libertarian beliefs, and seem to be slowly moving in the libertarian direction. Still, when wishing for a libertarian message combined with a bit of wit, I’ll continue to stick with grand masters Trey Parker and Matt Stone, with Penn and Teller and Doug Stanhope tied for second in the Libertarian Celebrity Tell-It-Like-It-Really-Is Classic.


Oil Profit Inquiry?

In a culture of corporate welfare, do we really need to have an inquiry on profit? Americans think that big bad oil was gouging them at the pumps during hurricanes Katrina and Rita? I only had to look around my office to see why the price went up. It is a little concept called supply and demand. I literally watched people top off their gas tanks daily. By the time I got to Costco to fill my empty tank, there was no gas. And this was not in a coastal city dealing with evacuation- this was Dallas. Do you know what I didn’t see? I did not see any complainers modifying their own fuel consumption.

We all have choices. I have three cars in my garage. My favorite gets about 14 mpg. If there is a cell phone yapping ass in the left lane doing 50, and I have to pass him angrily at 100 to make a point, I might get 8 mpg. I choose to drive that car daily and therefore choose to fill up at Costco twice weekly. And I pay what the market dictates. No inquiry needed.


Germany Wishes for “Free Speech Zones”

As much as I complain about the ever increasing restrictions our speech here in America, I had absolutely no idea how bad it has become elsewhere.

Take a peek at this article by Germar Rudolf.

So what is the truth about Germany today? The truth is that in Germany

— folksingers are threatened with imprisonment for singing peaceful songs;
— a professor who writes his disbelief about certain historical events in a footnote, written in Latin(!), in a scholarly anthology(!) was prosecuted and threatened with jail, and the anthology was confiscated and burned;
— a judge, writing a well-founded, but highly controversial book on historical topics, saw his book confiscated and burned, his pension cut, and his PhD title withdrawn as a result of this;
— a history teacher was sent to jail for uttering historical dissent in a private letter to a high-profile personality;
— a professor criticizing internationalism was kicked out of his job, harassed, prosecuted and driven into suicide;
— a historical dissenter was sent to prison for more than two years just because he published peaceful, scholarly historical material;

Holy shit! Imagine, being a scientist or a historian and getting arrested for having a different belief and *gasp* publishing it! That’s exactly what happened to a man named Ernst Zundel, a well known holocaust denier. Say what you want about his beliefs and the merits of his work, but think of the precedent that this sets. History cannot be debated?

At least in this country, even the completely moronic can still have opinions. Publishing said opinions will only subject them to ridicule if they truly deserve it. However, they won’t be imprisoned because of it.


Scott McClellan: Weapon of Mass Deflection

Scott McClellanGeorge Bush doesn’t pay this guy enough. Scott McClellan, ‘Master of Deception Deflection’, faced an onslaught of questions regarding the administration’s simultaneous denial of torture being use for interrogations and request for torture exemptions. The resulting dialogue, I swear, looks like it was pulled from an article at The Onion.

Q I’d like you to clear up, once and for all, the ambiguity about torture. Can we get a straight answer? The President says we don’t do torture, but Cheney —

MR. McCLELLAN: That’s about as straight as it can be.

Q Yes, but Cheney has gone to the Senate and asked for an exemption on —

MR. McCLELLAN: No, he has not. Are you claiming he’s asked for an exemption on torture? No, that’s —

Q He did not ask for that?

MR. McCLELLAN: — that is inaccurate.

Q Are you denying everything that came from the Hill, in terms of torture?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, you’re mischaracterizing things. And I’m not going to get into discussions we have —

Q Can you give me a straight answer for once?

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me give it to you, just like the President has. We do not torture. He does not condone torture and he would never —

Q I’m asking about exemptions.

And on and on for several minutes… He apparently made just one slip up, and despite numerous transcribers and audio recordings catching the slip, the White House Transcript doesn’t show it.

Even champions lose battles here and there. Better luck next time.

Update: Think Progress has an update. Shockingly enough, the administration is standing behind what they “recall” and not what the actually was said. Gotta love these guys. Stubborn till the end.

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I Can’t Drive 55

speed enforcement“Uh, officer, why are you pulling me over?”

“You were doing 73 in a 60 mile-per-hour zone.”

“Sir, you don’t even have radar in your car. How can you possibly know how fast I was driving?”

“Your cell phone told me so. Your driver’s license and registration, please.”

Sound like a scene from a bad movie or a topic from the paranoid fringe? Think again. Bob Barr‘s latest column in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution states:

In Georgia, the handwriting has been on the wall for a couple of years. But the technology is just now being implemented via a partnership between private industry and the government (using your money, of course).

If this partnership has its way, then shortly Georgia will join other states in massive use of this technology to track motorists’ speed, location and direction.

That’s right, the technology is capable of computing the speed of the cellphone in the vehicle, and thus the speed of the vehicle. “But wait a minute,” you might protest, “doesn’t that give the government the capability to determine if I am speeding, and then issue me a speeding ticket?” Yes, it does.

But don’t worry, the bureaucrats promise, the technology would never be employed for such a purpose. And they vow the information will be forever encrypted and unidentifiable — cross their hearts.

One wonders if Big Brother will likewise be tracking how fast their officers are traveling while en route to the closest donut shop.