I need 500 buses, man…

Here is the caption for the AP photo above:

An aerial view of flooded school buses in a lot, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005, in New Orleans, LA. The flood is a result of Hurricane Katrina that passed through the area last Monday.

Here is a segment from the overplayed diatribe that the Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, gave yesterday to radio station WWL-AM. The emphasis is mine:

WWL: What do you need right now to get control of this situation?

NAGIN: I need reinforcements, I need troops, man. I need 500 buses, man. We ain’t talking about — you know, one of the briefings we had, they were talking about getting public school bus drivers to come down here and bus people out here.

I’m like, “You got to be kidding me. This is a national disaster. Get every doggone Greyhound bus line in the country and get their asses moving to New Orleans.

That’s — they’re thinking small, man. And this is a major, major, major deal. And I can’t emphasize it enough, man. This is crazy.

I’ve got 15,000 to 20,000 people over at the convention center. It’s bursting at the seams. The poor people in Plaquemines Parish. … We don’t have anything, and we’re sharing with our brothers in Plaquemines Parish.

It’s awful down here, man.

I heard that, then found the photo above, and just couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

WHY WEREN’T THOSE BUSES USED MAYOR NAGIN??!!

Update:
I just read about this story:

The first busload of New Orleans refugees to reach the Reliant Astrodome overnight was a group of people who commandeered a school bus in the city ravaged by Hurricane Katrina and drove to Houston looking for shelter. [HoustonChronicle.com]

See Mayor… the people could have used those buses themselves…

Another update:
I didn’t think I would have to say that the buses in the photo should have been used BEFORE the hurricane, but apparently I do. Obviously the buses in the photo are useless NOW. Unfortunately, lessons have been learned the hard way, and I can bet that the NEXT time (Yeah, I’m sure there will be a next time after we rebuild) you won’t see any buses in that parking lot.

This photo really pissed me off. I couldn’t believe that a plan was never created to use them for situations like this. While searching for a reason, I found an article posted in November of last year by Shirley Laska of the Center for Hazards Assessment, Response and Technology titled “What if Hurricane Ivan had not missed New Orleans?” Here is an excerpt from this amazingly prophetic piece about what occurred when Hurricane Ivan buzzed New Orleans last year:

Residents who did not have personal transportation were unable to evacuate even if they wanted to. Approximately 120,000 residents (51,000 housing units x 2.4 persons/unit) do not have cars. A proposal made after the evacuation for Hurricane Georges to use public transit buses to assist in their evacuation out of the city was not implemented for Ivan. If Ivan had struck New Orleans directly it is estimated that 40-60,000 residents of the area would have perished. (emphasis added)

Read the whole article when you get a moment: What if Hurricane Ivan had not missed New Orleans?

Update by Stephen VanDyke: Coyote Blog calls it a missed opportunity and blames the local government for not using them, saying:

The city declared a mandatory evacuation. Why then did it stick tens of thousands in the Superdome, right in the middle of town, rather than evacuate them with the assets they already owned in quantity?

Some critics are calling it a racist plot. If we rely on Coyote’s Law, the most likely answer is incompetence and stupidity.

Yet ANOTHER update:
Drudge Report just posted the same photo I did on this post and is running the following tagline: WHY DIDN’T YOU DEPLOY THE BUSES DURING THE MANDATORY EVACUATION, MAYOR?…

And then quotes the following from the Louisiana disaster plan, pg 13, para 5 , dated 01/00:

‘The primary means of hurricane evacuation will be personal vehicles. School and municipal buses, government-owned vehicles and vehicles provided by volunteer agencies may be used to provide transportation for individuals who lack transportation and require assistance in evacuating’…

This will come back up later if it isn’t addressed by the mass media outlets now…

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New Orleans Mayor Fuming Over FEMAilure

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

Katrina, NOLA rescue operationsThis is an incredibly candid and emotional interview with Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans. Boing Boing and a few other have high-traffic links to the uncensored interview, but here’s a great snippet I transcribed from the end:

This is ridiculous, I don’t want to see anybody do any more goddamn press conferences. Put a moratorium on press conferences. Don’t do another press conference until the resources are in this city. Then come down to this city, and stand with us when there are [so many] military trucks and troops that we can’t even count [them]. Don’t tell me 40,000 people are coming here. They’re not here. It’s too doggone late. Now get off your asses and let’s do something, and let’s fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country.

I’m getting sick of the posturing and bottlenecking by FEMA and the federal government. Right now they need to get the hell out of the way if they can’t handle this, and get Red Cross and the dozens of charities in there to help. And get those hundreds of private airboaters being held up by FEMA, that are loaded with food and supplies, into New Orleans to help distribute aid and finish the rescue.

Because right now, the politicians, and FEMA in particular are failing, and their incompetence is getting people killed every day.

Update [linked in the comments by Rick]: Senator David Vitter (R-LA) is saying the deployment of 40,000 troops is far too slow (he wants regular troops, which requires an act of Congress and is still slow) and gave the federal government a grade ‘F’ for its response to the disaster so far.

Which begs the question: Why is it we can invade, topple and occupy a foreign nation in under 48 hours, but it takes nearly a week just to get 40,000 troops to Louisiana to respond to a disaster?

Update [via Knappster]: Crash Landing weighs in and calls it a government disaster:

Make no mistake. When New Orleans appeared out from under Katrina, it was mostly cosmetic damage. Lines down, roof shingles scattered and the normal aftermath of a good sized hurricane. It was annoying but it wasn’t a disaster. What happened in the hours AFTER Katrina was a completely man-made catastrophe. It started years ago when people gladly accepted that the government can protect them.

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The Fair Tax – Same old problem with a new face?

I’m about three-quarters of the way through Neal Boortz and John Linder’s NY Times Bestseller “The Fair Tax Book” and can’t say that I agree with their endorsement of the “Fair Tax Act of 2005.”

While researching alternative perspectives of the FTA I found an article written by Laurence Vance of the “Ludwig von Mises Institute,” an Alabama-based Libertarian think-tank, where he points out the “real problem” with this proposal by using FairTax.org‘s own words with my emphasis:

We are not calling for elimination of federal taxation, which would be irresponsible and undesirable. Nor does our endorsement call for reduced federal spending. The tax reform plan we endorse is revenue neutral, collecting as much federal tax revenue as the current income tax code, including payroll withholding taxes.

The FTA does not eliminate the IRS, it renames it. The FTA does not reduce government spending it actually creates language making it EASIER for government to increase taxes later on. It does not repeal the 16th amendment (Which requires a Constitutional Amendment) but provides Congress with the ability to implement the income tax again after the FTA is passed!

As Vance points out in his article, even the “tax payer’s friend’ himself, Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), is absent from the co-Sponsor list for the FTA. Ron Paul sums up this whole situation quite nicely:

“The real issue is total spending by government, not tax reform.”

And that is what it comes down to. Big Government could care less how you feed its addiction, just as long as you keep feeding it!

I’ll finish the book and research the FTA further, but as of right now I don’t see it changing the way ‘the beast’ does business, just the way it gets its money.

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Airboaters stalled by FEMA

Airboats in New OrleansOriginal article here.

Words cannot explain how much this makes by blood boil. From the article:

As a flooded New Orleans sinks further into despair, up to 500 Florida airboat pilots have volunteered to rescue Hurricane Katrina victims, transport relief workers and ferry supplies.

But they aren’t being allowed in. And they’re growing frustrated.

a few more paragraphs down.

On standby since Monday, the pilots — many from Central Florida — have spent thousands of their own dollars stocking their boats and swamp buggies with food, water, medical supplies and fuel.

But the Federal Emergency Management Agency will not authorize the airboaters to enter New Orleans. Without that permission, they would be subject to arrest and would not receive security and support services.

Basically, FEMA is claiming it’s unsafe to come in due to the looters. Maybe it’s just me, but perhaps these people are looting because THEY WANT TO EAT! So, these civilians with airboats come by with thousands of dollars of food that they have purchased by themselves, but they are not allowed to come in due to safety concerns. Simply amazing.

Here is the ultimate kicker. It’s too dangerous for ordinary citizens to come in and drop goods off… but it’s perfectly acceptable to enlist NBC rent-a-cops because most of our national guard is in in Iraq.

Update: Oh, and in case your forgot… the American taxpayer recently footed a 2 billion dollar bill to relocate settlers out of portions of Gaza. For those keeping score, that ends up being ~$200,000-$300,000 per family. Hmm, I wonder how much the citizens of New Orleans will get? Look, I don’t approve of the government handing out money to anyone. But certainly, it should be to those in this country first, but maybe I’m just old fashion that way.

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Helping the Gulf Coast

Navy support shipThe support lines for Katrina victims are finally starting to drop into place outside of the government, and as anyone who reads the site knows, we prefer private assistance and organizations that ask nicely to the public behemoths that take it at the point of the gun.

But hey, this isn’t the time for evangelizing. Instead let’s just get down to the nitty gritty here and let you know how you can help the people who are displaced in the wake of Katrina:

Geeks / Computer Industry
This encompasses a lot of libertarians I know, and if you can lend your hand or time, there is an effort underway over at Boing Boing to install a huge network at the Astrodome and set people up to get back in contact. I know it seems like a small thing, but these folks are gonna be offline for months, and some of them may be trying to run businesses or stay in contact with relatives this way.

Charities / Cash Donations
You have your pick here. I won’t bother listing them out and will instead direct people to the massive Instapundit post on the subject. Yahoo is linking to Network for Good. Suffice to say, cash is the gift of choice.

Open Your Home
There are also some places being set-up to help people find a place to stay for the months that these folks may be displaced. We are the most giving nation in world, and if you have an extra room and can open your arms and home to a refugee, please do. The place to do this seems to be on Craigslist, with cities affected highlighted with > red <. Oh, and please don’t be like these morons (or these).

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Nevermind the Suitcase on the Side of the Train

Parasite guerilla train artYou know, artists always seem to be pushing the boundaries when it comes to public expression. And Parasite (QT vid) is definitely scoring up in the top ten for pushing that boundary, for a couple reasons:

“…Parasite is a projection-system that can be attached to subways and other trains. Using the speed of the vehicle as parameter for the projected content, the projection starts with the train moving inside a tunnel. All along their journey, travellers see images mysteriously appearing through the train windows: words, aquatic animals, etc. Confusing the routine of your train-travelling-journey, your habits and perception Parallel allows you a glimpse into a different world full of surrealist imagery….”

Now, call me crazy… but if I see a bald guy dressed in all black (or anyone dressed in any manner, really) sticking something on the side of a train and walking off, my first thought isn’t that it’s filled with yummy art goodness. Then again, maybe Berliners aren’t really worried about things like that.

This isn’t to say that the art isn’t very cool… and I’m betting advertisers will eat this up and start professionally installing these things on trains at some point. But at the same time, common sense would make me suspicious of some dude just sticking stuff on the side of a train and walking off.

[via Wooster Collective and We Make Money not Art]

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We need your donation, three days ago…

New Jersey PawlowskiToday I received a letter from the campaign for the election of Jeffrey Pawlowski, a Libertarian running for Governor in New Jersey, asking for donations of at least $30.00 before August 26th… Yeah, that was several days ago.

The letter was dated August 12,2005 and I JUST received it!? The letter states the campaign is trying to raise $300,000 before September 1st so Pawlowski can qualify for matching funds which, according to state law, would guarantee his position in the televised debates.

Well, I guess it’s too late isn’t it? Richard Edgar, chair for “Pawlowski for Governor” has some splainin to do!

On the front page of Pawlowski’s website an “Urgent Update!” is posted:

We’ve received many calls and emails from people that just received their campaign brochure. The letter says, “We need your donation before August 26th so that Jeff can be in the debates!”

The filing deadline is September 1st. We need time to process your donations and record the results. We need time to match your donation with your signature on the Donation Form. The sooner you donate, the more time we will have to make sure your donation is included in our deadline. Donations made after September 1 will still help the campaign to buy radio and print ads.

Please, donate as much as possible as soon as possible. Thank you.

I emailed the campaign for an explanation and to see if they made their $300,000 goal.

And the Libertarians wonder why they aren’t getting anywhere…

» Variation of the donation letter

Update by Stephen VanDyke: Looks like the Pawlowski campaign raised enough (by the skin of their teeth it seems):

Thanks to all your support, we are able to apply to be in the debates. We’re not out of the woods yet. The beaurocrats still have to examine our application, and we expect them to say we are not eligible. We may have to bring suit against NJ ELEC to compell them to follow the law and let us participate.

This qualification process has also drained our bank accounts. We need your help now more than ever. We need to buy airtime, print ads, billboards, etc. If you already gave, you allowed us to apply to be in the debates. If you were waiting to see how we did, it’s now time for you to donate.

Oh, and I don’t know whether to laugh or be impressed by their selling of political influence on eBay. I mean hell, this is Jersey we’re talking about, but it looks like the mafia hasn’t quite gotten all high-tech on eBay yet, since the highest bid item, “Christmas Dinner,” is a paltry $63.32.

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WH: Katrina to “Add Jobs and Growth to the Economy”

Bernanke White HouseI want to know what the hell White House economic adviser Ben Bernanke is smoking, because he seriously needs a reality check. Here’s what he had to say about the economic impact of Hurricane Katrina:

“Clearly, it’s going to affect the Gulf Coast economy quite a bit,” Bernanke told CNBC television. “That’s going to be enough to have at least a noticeable or at least some impact on the aggregate (national) data.

Ok, so the hurricane really whacked the Gulf Coast, but is this going to affect the economy in a good way or bad? Listen to this pearl of wisdom to see if you can tell:

“Looking forward … reconstruction is going to add jobs and growth to the economy,” he added. “As long as we find that the energy impact is only temporary and there’s not permanent damage to the infrastructure, my guess is that the effects on the overall economy will be fairly modest.”

Modest, but uh… that’s going to be modest economic growth?

HELLOOOO… MC-BERNANKE… THE CLUETRAIN FROM 1850 JUST ROLLED INTO TOWN… This was already firmly rebutted back in 2004 by TownHall, but listen up:

Why are Florida’s hurricanes a “plus”? It’s simple. According to St. Petersburg Times reporter Joni James, “Construction creates thousands of jobs, insurance provides for billions in consumer purchases, and new facilities built to higher standards might help offset future storm-related losses.”

…Bastiat wrote a parable about this that has become known as the “Broken Window Fallacy.” A shopkeeper’s window is broken by a vandal. A crowd forms, sympathizing with the man, but pretty soon, the people start to suggest the boy wasn’t guilty of vandalism; instead, he was a public benefactor, creating economic benefits for everyone in town. After all, fixing the broken window creates employment for the glazier, who will then buy bread and benefit the baker, who will then buy shoes and benefit the cobbler, and so forth.

Those are the seen effects of the broken window. What’s unseen is what the shopkeeper would have done with the money had the vandal not broken his window. He might have employed the tailor by purchasing a suit.

And that is why hurricanes NEVER help the economy, no matter how hard some White House adviser blusters on about it.

PWNED. CHOO CHOO!

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Rebuild it, and they will stay…

New Orleans floodedYes, I’m a cold-hearted insensitive bastard for even asking this question now but, oh well…

Should tax-payer money be used to rebuild communities that reside in areas where natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes etc. are regular occurrences?

The initial estimate for the hurricane Katrina disaster runs between $12 and $26 billion. Insurance will cover some of the cost, but ultimately tax-payers will end up funding the rebuilding process through FEMA (Which is now part of the Homeland Security Department). Despite the documented abuses of FEMA funding claims in the past, is this organization encouraging irrational behavior by paying people to rebuild and continue living in areas prone to these disasters?

Somebody asked me after we experienced three of the four hurricanes that hit Florida last year and then witnessed first-hand the abuses of FEMA declarations: Is it altruism when it’s forced?

Hey, you paid for it, might as well get it back right?

Update by Stephen VanDyke: Some people may not know that FEMA requires people in certain flood zones to carry mandatory flood insurance that pays something like $250K (if I heard it on TV right). New Orleans is definitely one of those areas that’s deemed high risk.

The kicker here is that mandatory insurance is also only offered by the government, who seems to have a monopoly on the flood insurance industry.

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Hurricane Katrina Spares Sensationalist Media

live report in the hurricaneNews reports are just now coming in that confirm that no sensationalism-chasing crews for FOX News, CNN, MSNBC or other large networks who covered the storm live were injured by flying debris. All crews are reported as being accounted for and uninjured. Save for a totalled CNN coverage vehicle, damage to the Hurricane Coverage News Teams was minimal and the reporters should be ready for the next on-location crisis in no time.

After whipping across Florida only to pick up steam and slam into the Gulf states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, Hurricane Katrina Coverage News Teams are blowing their last puffs of hot air and will soon be heading north to their headquarters in Atlanta, D.C. and New York to report on missing white girls in Aruba. Flood Coverage News Teams are now on the scene across the Gulf coasts, saturating the airwaves with scenes of people driving through water and wading to the market. Many of the Flood Coverage Teams are also informing us that we should not walk in the water because of the amount of bacteria, while standing in that same water. Many people do not realize that Flood Coverage Teams are above the laws of immunization.

Our award for most likely to be impaled by a ball-point pen hurling at 120MPH belongs to Steve Harrigan of FOX News, letting us have rain-specked views of danger with his leaning-into-the-wind reports. Harrigan gave us such insightful news about the hurricane’s effect on the human body, with reporting such as:

“The water is already knee-deep, and it’s already higher than when we got just here.”

“So far I can still stand up!”

“I’m getting out of here, the roof of a building just blew right at my feet!”

“The winds are very strong…”

“It’s gotten to the scary level here…”

“You can see the debris flying now. Okay I’m getting out of here…”

“Whoooah! There’s broken glass. It sounded like a window in the hotel just went.” (Harrigan then covered his eye, but since Hurricane Coverage News Teams are beyond the reach of the laws of physics, we know this was just for show)

Truly, we should be in awe of such in-depth reporting on such a catastrophic event. But FOX News also picks up the award for best coverage of locals, when they ask a resident why he hasn’t evacuated, and he answers them: “None of your fucking business.”

Wrong sir, our heroic Hurricane Coverage News Teams make it their business to cover all the significant news so they can report and we can decide, and your evacuation choices up to this exact moment is critical to that reporting… don’t you see?

Update: More coverage of the coverage over at Buzzmachine. This exchange between Geraldo and some blonde weatherbabe (I’m guessing) is classic:

FOX NEWS WEATHER BABE: The situation in New Orleans has the potential to be horrific.
GERALDO RIVERA: Would you say it could be hell?
FNWB: Uh, yes, I guess so.
GR: So we have hell and high water.
FNWB: Oh, yes — ha ha.

Another Update: (Usually) animated Internet celebrity, Foamy the Squirrel, weighs in on the hurricane disaster reports (thanks Nick!).

Amazing Redemption Update: Wow, this clip of FOX News’ Shepard Smith and Geraldo Rivera freaking out at the convention center on day 6 is just gripping. You know when even FOX is boiling mad, the government fucked up.

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The FDA is Not Your Friend

Dr Graham, FDA insider, offers some interesting insights regarding how the FDA is failing to protect Americans from the health dangerous associated with prescription drugs. The article starts off with this gem

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), “Adverse drug reactions are the fourth leading cause of death in America. Reactions to prescription and over-the-counter medications kill far more people annually than all illegal drug use combined.”

You don’t say? The same agency that approved vioxx and mercury derivatives in vaccines is receiving pressure from the pharmaceutical to approve more drugs? Shocker.

In today’s go-go world, every adult is looking for the quick fix pill to fix their problems. Pharmaceutical companies are quick to offer you a pill to feel good, to sleep, to feel happy, and to get a hard-on. Whatever happened to just eating your vegetables and letting your body work on it’s own?

You want to feel better and not get sick as much? Here’s a simple trick. Stop drinking soda and liquid candy drinks like gatorade. There is this new product on the market that’s far better. It’s called water. There, that alone will at least slow the obesity problem. Yes yes, I realize some people are just big boned, but looking at these trends doesn’t make me confident that pills are the solution.

And apologies for the lack of pictures with my posts. I’m still figuring WordPress’s options/features.

Update: Part 2 on the series (though it’s labeled part 3 for some reason). Another choice quote:

For example, ask the FDA why on earth they didn’t ban high dose Vioxx after the VIGOR Study showed in early 2000 that it increased the risk of heart attack by 500 percent? High-dose Vioxx was approved for the short-term treatment of acute pain. What earthly benefit was there that exceeds a 500 percent increase in heart attack risk? Ask the FDA to produce its benefit analysis that shows that the benefits exceed the risks. It doesn’t exist.

Well that certainly gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling. What say you?

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Attack the Hive, Not the Bees

It seems that every debate among libertarians eventually breaks down to the “purist” versus “pragmatic” approach. The purist approach is a tough line to sell to most people, simply because Americans have been duped into the Republicrat – Demolican political spectrum farce. If you want your constitutionally protected (note I didn’t say granted) rights to be respected by any law enforcement, you’ll get the ‘extremist’ label faster than Bush can say, “What Abu Ghraib torture?”

I tend to be a purist at heart. I don’t swat bees while sitting at the picnic table. I get a can of Raid and take those little suckers out John-Woo-style (can in each hand, diving to the right, and in slow motion). You can swat bees endlessly. But if you are merely kill one here and one there, you’ll give up like most disheartened libertarians have.

Of course, and example is in order. Let’s take a topic that pisses off ever libertarian – excessively high TAXES. Now, we know that the average American is getting hosed approximately 30+ percent on the income tax alone. We know for a fact that getting a long term tax cut from our beloved congress is not going to happen when their own numbers show a 7 trillion dollar debt and 45.9 trillion (see pg 16 of the pdf) dollars in outstanding liabilities! This 45.9 trillion dollars that is already earmarked to be paid out with funds they don’t have. What on earth makes you believe taxes will go down?

Trying to swat away the inevitable tax increases seems like an endless endeavor on our already limited libertarian base. So, what is the “hive” in this case? Is there a silver bullet? A can of Raid?

But of course, my dear libertarians! It’s called (drum roll please) the LAW. If you’ve actually read the constitution, relevant sections of the internal revenue code, and have a basic grasp of jurisdiction, you’ll find that there is no law making ordinary people, like you, liable for such a tax. In fact, you make yourself liable by claim only (thanks to your signature on w4).

Now comes the sad news. The powers that be don’t want to hear it. They obviously benefit by duping and forcing people to abide by these nonexistent liabilities. And before I get super-sized from “extremist” the category to “anarchist”, let me quickly point out that most of the infrastructure of our government is supported by imposts, duties, and excises. The income tax only pays off debt to the federal reserve (more on that on another post). They will try to get the money from you anyway, and even the most knowledgeable Citizens will have trouble fending them off (but that is changing).

Obviously, you probably have questions, contentions, and rebuttals galore regarding this issue. There are books ranging from 20 pages to 1800 pages documenting the history and legal issues. My favorite, due to accuracy and brevity, is the federal zone by Paul Mitchell. Give the first few chapters a read before making bold claims.

I hope this example serves as an eye opener to the libertarians that read this site. Many problems that face libertarians today have an Achilles heel, yet few are even aware they exist. Now are you just gonna swat bees for years and years, or are you gonna RAID on their ass?

Hope you enjoyed my first post here on the “Hammer of Truth”. I look forward to getting the awakening the masses. Forward this along to friends and help spread the word.

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Signs of the Oncoming Tyranny

I’m simply amazed at how much police brutality has become the norm in America in just the past 15 years. Here’s a smorgasbord of videos that I ran across… this week alone:

Cop tasers protestor who is already restrained (note the chant changes, huzzah). [iFilm]

Cop pepper-sprays Wendy’s employee when he doesn’t believe she gave him back correct change. [The Agitator]

Cops in para-military garb raid a rave party. Those dancing kids are a menace I tell ya. [Hit & Run]

Try not to piss off the cops folks, they might just protect and serve your ass into the pavement. Like this Stormtrooper-clad attendee of the JVL-CON science fiction convention who nearly got the knee to the back of the head treatment when cops were alerted of an “armed robber.” The weapon? A plastic laser-gun replica that even the stupidest retard wouldn’t fear.

Frankly, I say it’s time to start up the resistance to the encroaching police-state.

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Random Thought of the Day: Libertarian Music

I was wondering why libertarians aren’t better represented in music (with notable exception, Frank Zappa, now gone). I for one would love to hear a libertarian group rock out in a cross-genre sound that blended the gritty guitar riffs of Rage Against the Machine and the urban lyrical mastery of N.W.A.

Bonus points if they aren’t on The Advocates celebrity music list [Dr. Demento, Robbie Fulks, Paul Marshall (Strawberry Alarm Clock), Melanie, Mojo Nixon, Neil Peart (Rush), John Popper (Blues Traveler), Jimmie Vaughan, Johnny Walker (Soledad Bros.), Dwight Yoakam, Joe Young (ANTiSEEN)]

If you know of any pro-libertarian bands or specific songs, post them in the comments.

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Crawford Seige Day 13: Sheehan Pulling Out

Sheehan hugs her mother, awwwNearly two weeks into the Crawford Ranch stand-off, Cindy Sheehan has abruptly taken leave of the protest in order to visit with her sick 74-year-old mother who had a stroke in Los Angeles. In what can only be described as an ironic pull-out by the protest mom, Sheehan left Camp Casey late Wednesday evening and pitched a new campaign against the doctor who treated her mother, vowing to camp outside the hospital until the doctor will speak to her, or until a more pressing tragedy presents itself.

In a related story, Sheehan fired a shot back at the Drudge Report and other detractors in a message on the Huffington Post, where she writes: “But no matter what they say or how many shotguns they fire or how many crosses they destroy, they’re not going to stop me from speaking out about a war that needlessly killed my son.”

It also won’t stop her from talking about whatever tickles her fancy, be it the Iraq conflict, PNAC, neo-cons behind 9/11, the Palestine/Israel situation or any conspiracy theory that wraps all of those together.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m strongly opposed to the Iraq war debacle and think we’ve been hoodwinked when it comes to the real threat to the U.S. (which is… duh, Al Qaida radicals still chillin’ in Afghanistan and Pakistan), but is Sheehan really the voice we want to have explaining our position?

I don’t fucking think so.

Previously: Crawford Seige: Day 11, Cindy “Protest Mom” Sheehan Draws Sympathy, Hippies

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Kinky Friedman for Texas Governor 2006

Kinky Friedman for Texas Governor 2006

This week’s issue of The New Yorker has a great writeup on Kinky Friedman, the unorthodox comedian running for governor as an independent:

In front of a liberal crowd, Kinky throws in as many racist and sexist epithets as he can think of. If it’s a country crowd, he uses bigger words and makes fun of rednecks. Naturally, this is part of his political appeal: politicians are always careful to say nothing offensive, whereas Kinky is careful to always say something offensive; he provokes not to stop conversation but to start it. It’s a delicate balance, however. As Evan Smith, the editor of Texas Monthly, for which Kinky wrote a column for four years, put it, “If he’s too much like the Kinky we all know and love, he risks not being taken seriously; but if he’s too serious he risks just being another guy. People will say, ‘If I wanted an unfunny guy, I’d vote for one of the actual candidates.’”

Kinky has become the everyman’s candidate of choice, striking a chord of common agitation with the political establishment of Democrats and Republicans. As one supporter asked, “How’d it be if someone went up to the capitol and did what they said they would?” The candidate coolly replied, “It’d be a first.”

Not surprisingly, support is growing quickly among independent and disenfranchised voters, and his stable of endorsements continues to grow, with Penn Jillette and Willie Nelson apparently backing the candidate.

He’s even hired Dean Barkley, the campaign director who worked Jesse Ventura’s campaign for governor of Minnesota, and Bill Hillsman, an adman who also worked on Ventura’s campaign in 1998. Hillsman outlined the current strategy:

“We’re in the business of fomenting discontent. Even if we’ve got the greatest answers in the world, now’s the wrong time to be putting them out there, because no one’s really listening.”

That’s exactly the way to play politics as the unknown underdog and I salute their campaign for having gusto. I would hope the Texas Libertarian Party is smart enough to back Kinky and try and get him to run as a libertarian, but that may be wishful thinking on my part. Either way, Kinky appears to have the momentum needed to win next year, and I wish his campaign lots of luck.

And hey, why not donate a few bucks to the campaign?

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Crawford Seige: Day 11

Led by Cindy Sheehan, officially dubbed “protest mom” by the media, the circus outside of Bush’s Crawford ranch, Camp Casey, continues to escalate as tensions rise and tempers start to flare.

Day 7, Bush drove by in his motorcade on his way to explain the Iraq war mess fundraise. He did not wave.

Day 8, an irate neighbor fired the first warning shot over the heads of the gathering anti-war protesters. Secret Service went to his house to make sure he had not injured his shoulder and to deliver a freedom medal from the president.

Day 9′s daybreak witnessed a motorcade of Secret Service vehicles speeding past Camp Casey honking horns and letting the revelers know that morning had come. Protesters responded to the taunt by singing Kumbaya.

Day 10 brought Larry Northern, 46, of nearby Waco, Texas with his pickup truck dragging a pipe and chains. Northern drove all over the faux grave markers set out on the side of the road by the protestors. He was arrested, but not before a gripping rendition of “We Shall Overcome” wafted from Camp Casey.

Day 11 brings more stupidity on both sides, though the 30 mile trek to the infamous Branch Davidian massacre site is making us giddy that maybe Janet Reno will come by and bring some matches.

UPDATE: The left/right circus starts coming into focus: “At the beginning of the summer, the Right had Terry Schiavo. Now, we here on the Left have Cindy Sheehan.”

In response to the comments and who are lambasting me for making fun of hippies: Did you not notice that I called this whole damn thing a freak circus in the previous post? This is what happens when the extreme left or right sinks its teeth into anything, it turns into a complete turd issue that everyone hates.

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Cindy “Protest Mom” Sheehan Draws Sympathy, Hippies

You know, I kinda feel sad for Cindy Sheehan. Here’s a mother who lost her son in Iraq last year and went to Crawford, Texas to camp outside of Bush’s house while the president takes a 5-week sabbatical. Hey, all she wanted to do was talk to the president. I feel bad for her because she’s simply expressing her greivances against the president and the Iraq war as best she knows, and it’s a genuine and simple message. Leave it to the far left to hijack that message.

Along to Crawford comes the aging anti-war hippies, praying for another Vietnam to revitalize them like some kind of political viagra. Banging on their drums and pretending like its 1967, trying to getting their Woodstock on in Bush’s backyard. One thing that’s become painfully clear in being a political observer is that when the extreme left and right get in on any political action, be it the Terry Schiavo case, pro-lifers versus pro-choicers, or whatever, odds are the shit is gonna turn into a political circus once they hit the scene.

And hoo boy is this one going to be good. Hell, the token burnt out hippie has already shown up and is probably setting up a hemp necklace stand next to his VW microbus.

I mean seriously… there is literally a geriatric hippie, tie-died, long-haired, and wearing a bandana and sandals. Here’s the photographic proof:

Analysis of Crawford hippie

I wish I were making this shit up.

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Dems Smear Roberts in False Ad; Repubs: “Stop Copying Us!”

NARAL/Roberts abortion adYou knew this was going to happen sooner or later. The scrubby finger of the dirty marketing arm (NARAL) of the Democratic Party has reared up its ugly head and decided to in essence just make shit up about Supreme Court nominee John Roberts:

An abortion-rights group is running an attack ad accusing Supreme Court nominee John Roberts of filing legal papers “supporting … a convicted clinic bomber” and of having an ideology that “leads him to excuse violence against other Americans” It shows images of a bombed clinic in Birmingham , Alabama .

The ad is false.

And the ad misleads when it says Roberts supported a clinic bomber. It is true that Roberts sided with the bomber and many other defendants in a civil case, but the case didn’t deal with bombing at all.

Of course, CNN has agreed to air the ads, because they are completely broke and ashamed of blowing Al Franken’s dog in order to get advertising table scraps from the nearly defunct Air America, so they will pretty much run any whack-ass bullshit ad that pays six figures and doesn’t include the words “girls”, “gone” or “wild” in the same sentence.

Not surprisingly, Republicans immediately fired back, with the RNC issuing a statement on the ad saying “NARAL’s ad is a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts that has no purpose but to mislead the American people.” The RNC then claimed intellectual property rights to the factually devoid, tasteless smear campaign, citing their election 2004 Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

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Wal-Mart: Always Dead Shoplifters… Always

Creepy Wal-Mart Rollback SmileyVia cryptogon comes this story of overzealous enforcement by the Wal-Mart Rent-a-Cops:

“They chased him right past me,” said Portz, who followed the chase, then saw four or five employees hold Driver on the ground. Driver was pleading with them to let him up, Portz said. “The blacktop was just blistering,” he said.

The high temperature at Bush Intercontinental Airport Sunday was 96 degrees.

Portz said one of the Wal-Mart employees had Driver in a choke hold as other employees pinned his body to the ground.

“He was begging, ‘Please, I’m burning, let me up,’ ” Portz said of Driver. “He’d push himself up off the blacktop, like he was doing a push-up.

[...]After Driver was handcuffed, Portz said one employee had his knee on the man’s neck and others were putting pressure on his back.

“Finally the guy stopped moving” and the employees got off him, Portz said. “They wouldn’t call an ambulance.”

I think Wal-Mart should play up this kind of publicity, actually. You know, shoot a commercial showing that little smiley face knocking down some prices on toilet paper and sodas and the next thing you know the head swivels around and there’s an angry face on the other side. He takes off across the store in hot pursuit of a shoplifter. Cut to the store entrance where he’s pounding his round yellow face into the back of a shopper clutching a bag of Doritos, running in terror out the door past the elderly door greeter. Pan the camera over to greeter who is smiling and waving innocently as blood suddenly spatters across her face. Quickly fade to black.

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World’s Skewedest Political Quiz

Liberteaser made me chuckle with this abridged version of the World’s Smallest Political Quiz:

I’ve decided that the World’s Smallest Political Quiz isn’t small enough so I’ve composed a new one of my own. Much like the original, the questions are skewed so that a disproportionate number of the respondees will turn out to be libertarians.

Question 1: Are you a ______?

  • Libertarian
  • Idiotic Liberal
  • Retarded Conservative

A handy commenter notes that he left out Jack-Booted Authoritarian Thug. Because when you can’t decide whether to exploit the minority at the whim of the majority, or vice versa. You know… like uh, just exploit everyone equally.

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More Proof The Drug War is Lost

Big PharmaI read about the recent arrest and extradition of a Canadian citizen to the U.S. recently, and also ran across another related story about new provisions being added to the PATRIOT Act renewal to send marijuana users caught with too many grams to jail for up to 20 years because of narcoterrorism.

Which really got me thinking about the whole war on drugs in general and why it continues to slog on despite the growing outrage by the public. And I came to the only logical solution: the people backing the drug war are the biggest pushers on the planet, only they don’t want to give up their corner in the market.

Those people are the big pharmaceuticals.

The other day, I heard of a vision of a new Boston Tea Party, except instead of colonialists dressed as indians throwing crates of tea off a ship, it was Gen X-ers smashing into cargo containers bearing the Merck and Pfizer logos, shoving them off trains and setting them ablaze. Alas, such talk these days puts a circular bull on the square of my ass.

Because, if anyone really wanted to end the drug war, they would simply stop buying the state-approved recreational drugs, plain and simple. Pain relievers like OxyContin or Vicodin; central nervous system depressants such as Valium or Xanax; stimulants including Ritalin or Adderall and anabolic-androgenic steroids like Anadrol or Equipoise; Sexual enhancers such as Viagra and Cialis.

These are drugs that are abused on par with their illegal compatriots: marijuana, cocaine, heroin, LSD, etc, etc. et-fucking-cetera…

One difference… the people misusing prescription drugs for recreation tend to be white-collar suburbanites who merely get a slap on the wrist when caught. I can think of one in particular, whose name starts with an L and ends with an imbaugh. Don’t tell me if he had been caught buying and snorting coke he wouldn’t be in the slam right now as the poster-boy of the drug war.

Take morphine for example, a cousin of heroin is perfectly legal when prescribed and filled by a large pharmaceutical, but that same patient could score it on the street for a tenth of the price, in higher potency and go to jail for 20 years. Think about who is behind the drug war: Big Pharma. Hypocrisy at its finest.

What we lack is blind justice in an immoral war on self-determination, and in return we get a war on poor, fucked up people just trying to find happiness in a snort or joint and detox hideaways for those that can afford to get off with a slap on the wrist. The reality is, we have a hypocritical war on drugs fueled by an industry that has wrapped its tentacles around our legislative process.

The train is pulling out of the station… see you there.

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No Longer Suspended

Apparently something just went wonky here for a couple days and my account got auto-suspended. Phone calls were going straight to voice mail, and I honestly began to wonder if I was about to get a take-down notice for something I had written. I even began to wonder if Seth was on a military transport to Gitmo for hosting this site and its sometimes flagrantly seditious content.

I even bagan waiting for my own knock at the door.

Well, chalk that up to an overactive imagination, because it turned out to be a glitch, not a snitch.

Everything is back to normal now and I am no longer freaking out because I can’t get my email or post on this site, or whatever.

Yes, back to normal… but, should the above scenario actually play itself out one day (and not be a false alarm), rest assured there is now a chain of events that will unfold to spread the word. I implore all bloggers to assess their own plans should they be arrested or shut down because of something they posted.

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