Author Archives: Artus Register

About Artus Register

A self-described "objectivist-leaning libertarian deist," Artus Register became a full fledged libertarian after the 2000 elections. An unapologetic freedom-lover, enemy of the state, trouble maker, and permanent subscriber to the "ain't a dime's worth of difference" ideology, Register enjoys few things more than illustrating the hypocrisy of the so-called "left" and "right." When not bellowing from his cyber soapbox, he enjoys Cuban tobacco, good whiskey, and better debate. He lives with his wife in the American southeast where he works as a privacy consultant. You can contact him, if you must, at minarchist[at]gmail.com.

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

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

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

Government will grow the middle class!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Why would we be against that?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

(On to the military. Everyone loves that)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On to the gun issue…Newtown

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

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

( -)-(- )Comments Off

Mirror, Mirror… Who’s the Bushiest of them all?

While it may sound, when first heard, like a vulgar question contrasting 1970s adult film stars, my inquiry, who is Bushiest, deals only with the foreign policy folly we’re about to hear from the politically-conjoined twins that comprise the Jackyderm beast Obomney.



The Barack Obama interested in convincing the nation that what it needs is four more years of his watchful leadership has absolutely zero relation to the junior Senator the Republic elected a few short years ago. The fact that he has governed exactly like the man he replaced is an irony completely lost on his supporters.

Gone are the passionate cries to close Guantánamo, the promises to provide a transparent government, the affirmation that a yet-disastrous economy would result in but a single term, et al., make no difference to those who prefer the letter “D” to “R.”

Proud Democrat Mario Cuomo once stated and wondered, (about Bush the elder) without the slightest flippancy, “President Bush does a lot of things Democrats want done and does them reasonably well; why would you want to beat him?”

If we change a couple names to protect the guilty, and successfully locate a few honest Republicans (I hear there’s one in east Texas) we might hear a very similar question. The fact that these two candidates, much like McCain and Kerry before them, are both struggling to convince the masses that their nearly-identical ideas are best. It’s difficult and tricky to proceed with this type of offense, as a powerful blow to the opponent will inflict much pain on the self. And were the whole affair not so sad, it would be as comical as “The Corsican Brothers,” film it so closely resembles.



The last debate and its “moderator,” should have been an absolute embarrassment, had the so-called left not have had the requisite portion of the cingulate cortex collectively removed. I am predicting that tonight’s nearly unbearable mess, focused on foreign policy will be eerily similar—Romney will accuse Obama of being soft on terror, point out his failure to invade and occupy more sovereign counties than he has, and of being an idealistic peace-monger as evinced by his failure to bomb those Persians years ago. He will prattle on about the superiority of his way, and how, despite continuing to spend more than the next 10 to 19 countries combined (depending on the source) isn’t nearly enough. 



Early in the campaign season, suggestions to slightly decrease the automatic increase in military expenditures were met with sheer rage from Republicans (particularly Rick Perry) who screamed about “gutting” our armed forces, and other quips that seemed to be deliberately absurd. Expect to see more of the same tonight.



The illusions or “left” and “right” are now gone. It is now all about chasing Bush’s legacy to the neocon part of the political spectrum. Two honest men would preclude the pretense and tear off their shirts, beat their chests, and proclaim their love for borrowing, taxing, printing, spending, and killing, like the good puppets they are.



Obama will toss his record around, proud at the killing of the world’s most wanted man, who lived, it could be compared, around the block from a buddy’s house. Still, this one will be hard to top. And seeing as Romney has basically agreed with all the President’s foreign policy moves, he will be left only with the probably-avoidable death of Chris Stevens and Obama’s callously likening it to “a bump in the road.”

  • Both men agree that the President has the legal authority to do whatever he wishes with the military, rules be damned.
  • Neither has any qualms about the President killing anyone he wishes, at any time, without evidence, accusation, trial, oversight, or any Constitutional rights, whatever.
  • Both are extremely comfortable with occupying foreign countries where the US military is not welcome, and with likening those who would take up arms to expel it, as terrorists, or insurgents who need killing, at the very least.
  • 

Obama presides over a policy of protecting Afghan opium farmers, ensuring heroin remains available, and the drug war can continue bump-free. Let’s see if Romney mentions this at all.
  • 

During these hellish economic times, neither has mentioned the coming inflation due to printing all the money we need to fight a seemingly endless array of wars, with no objective (and therefore no end) in sight.

I’m late. The party’s started the audio-visual ipecac is ready. So I’ll end it here. Let’s see how well I do.

( -)-(- )Comments Off

Live(ish) Blogging the Second Presidential “Debate”


From time to time, here at Hammer of Truth one of us will liveblog a debate or something. This is what it looks like.

On Tuesday October 16th 2012, Democrat President Barack Obama met with Republican nominee former Governor Mitt Romney to lay into each other in the new public blood sport democratic process of getting to know our next commander in chief. Romney is still trailing far behind Obama in projected electoral vote counts, but walked away with a national poll bounce from the Denver performance (mostly due to Obama’s apparent boredom). Governor Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party presidential candidate was not invited to attend due to not meeting the required 15% threshold, nor was Green Party candidate Jill Stein — who apparently showed up and was arrested, yikes.

An official transcript of the debate can be found here.

All times are in Eastern Daylight Time.

[Though billed as a “live blogging” event, my time away from blogging has resulted in my complete inability to properly negotiate the back-end of this site without a time-consuming, self-taught refresher course. As a result, the comments below, while made in real time, were not posted until after the debate was over. This misstep indicates what I’ve long suspected——that “drunk-blogging” is a necessary requirement of “live-blogging”]

I can’t help but think of this “debate” as the video equivalent of the children’s game (also found in bars), in which players must discover the smallest details differing from one seemingly identical picture to the next. Yes, a President Romney would likely be a bit hostile to additional business regulations, though he wouldn’t fail to enforce the existing ones. And he may oversee the dismantling of Obamacare, but only because as a businessman, he hates people stealing his ideas.

The point is that it is merely diminutive details that separate these two men, one clamoring to become the American emperor, the other begging the masses to renew his licenses to kill, lie, and steal, and allowing him to continue his despotic reign. Sadly, these tiny differentiations will be underscored, played up, and shouted about; those who disregard them loudly styled blind, stupid, or both. The similarities, though not unlike those among identical twins, will be obtusely ignored, with those who point to them relegated to the fringe.

My synopsis of the silliness that passed for serious argument follows, replete with all the sarcasm and ridicule richly deserved by those who would pretend any legitimacy to such a charade. see more…

( -)-(- )2 comments

Ralph Nader: still way left, but right

Being a libertarian, I’m sure someone will engage in wiseassery and suggest that it must be the drugs. Or perhaps it is braggadocios to assume anyone actually cares enough about my ramblings to comment either way. But there are times I question reality. And no, not just because I still see fresh Obama stickers on high end, late model vehicles indicative of the driver’s financial success. People, as a group, no longer surprise me.

But certain individuals still possess the power to gobsmack; to make me wonder if I’m really awake. I know I’m a day late on this, but I had to fall asleep and wake up again to make sure I was truly conscious. And I’m only reasonably sure of the fact, still.

Ralph Nader’s hopeless devotion to unbridled socialism usually has the effect of me tuning out his gravelly inane sputterings. But yesterday—in an apparent attempt to fill some minuscule yet requisite quota of logic—Nader, appearing on Andew Napolitano’s Freedom Watch, heaped praise on the early Tea Party movement. And he nailed it, from inception to co-opting.

Asked whether he saw similarities between the Tea Party movement and the “Occupy Wall Street” folk, Nader told Napolitano:

“Well, before the Tea Party movement was hijacked by the corporatist Republicans, yes. They were very much worried about the Wall Street bailout, they were worried about the restrictions on civil liberties in the PATRIOT Act, they were worried about bloated military budgets, and criminal, unconstitutional wars of aggression. You remember those early days. But, you know, they were taken over by groups in Wall Street—Dick Armey’s group and others. And, uh, the Tea Party now is basically the corporatist wing of the Republican Party.”

Huh? That could have been something awaiting me in my inbox from Lew Rockwell this morning. If it were a mere quote, I would dismiss it as an error of ascription. I included the video link as a remedy to the disbelief of the reader.

He continued, as did my astonishment:

“Here’s what I think is going on with Occupy Wall Street: it’s basically a kind of visceral justice movement, dealing with unfairness of the bosses in Wall Street who have violated, when they crashed, the bosses of Wall Street crashed on the workers, on the investors, and on the taxpayers, starting in 2008, as everybody knows. This Occupy Wall Street effort is basically saying, it’s really saying, ‘Look you guys, you guys are running the show, Wall Street and Washington, running the show, you’re violating basic principles of fairness between human beings that are religious principles—the Golden Rule; ethical principles, legal principles, and Constitutional principles.”

While Mr. Nader has called countless times for government to use force to alter or eliminate things he himself opposes, and would likely, in possession of his druthers, add obscenely burdensome taxation to the profits of people and companies irrespective of any receipt of bailout money, simply for the crime of success. And it is likely that he would have injected some Leninist solution to the economic mess we’re in, given the chance. Toward the end of the above quote, I was squirming with feelings of pending doom, waiting for Nader to chop the head off any respect he had earned, with a demand for some sort of state-based “justice.”

And though he sneaked in a questionable reference to “fairness,” he didn’t lose me. And the seeming lack of reality continued.

As The Judge shifted gears to the President, Nader continued to get it exactly right. And I found myself in a continuing and confusingly bizarre political alliance with the man responsible for the creation of the leviathan NHTSA.

Asked about the executive branch’s unilateral decision to assassinate Anwar al Awloki, Nader nailed that, too:

“That’s not a President, that’s a dictator. That’s a complete violation of due process, separation of powers. You don’t put in the White House—and our framers, as you know so well with your books, the founders of our Republic refused I say refused, article one, section eight, to begin with—to put the power to exercise violence abroad, and plunge the nation into war, in the hands of the President. He has done that now. He has outdone Bush in his unconstitutional behavior. Not just with what you described, but he also attacked Libya without any War Resolution, never mind Declaraton of War from Congress, without any authorization or appropriation of money. That’s the way of a dictator. He tok a billion dollars, himself, and put it on the war.”

Angrily agreeing, Napolitano interjected, “And Ralph, like a potted plant, the Congress did nothing!”

Nader replied, and here’s where I bruised myself with a final pinch, “You wait and see what someone does in the Congress, pretty soon — Ron Paul.”

I harbor no illusions about the state of the Republic. It feels a lot like what I imagine did Rome’s final days: corruption reigning supreme, despotism growing, rights trampled, and the experiment failing from the legion of enemies within the walls.

How bad must things be for Ralph Nader to champion the Constitution, to praise what the Tea Party was supposed to be about, to damn the state for interceding in the economy, and to look to Ron Paul to stride into the House on a white steed and save us from the tyranny of government?

I must be dreaming.

But is my dream a pleasant one in which even those thought far too wrong to ever “get it” are awakening to the ideas of freedom? Or is it a nightmare in which the state has grown so despotic that even life-long liberals are frightened enough of a nearly omnipotent government that they are flirting with with the idea that the state is truly the evil gang it has become?

Update by Stephen VanDyke: Here’s the video by Nader where he makes more than a few spot on observations: see more…

( -)-(- )4 comments

More Immorality from God’s Own Party

Perhaps sexual advances toward young boys can do what lies, criminal negligence resulting in untold death and other assorted illegal acts could not: wrestle lock-step GOP worship from the psyches of the famously moral “Christian Right.”

The death toll of this most foul of illegal wars based on lies and omissions could not shake their belief that George W. Bush is Christ incarnate. The recent criminal accusations and realizations have been unable to sway their opinion that the Republican Party is enforcing God’s literal word on we poor, depraved sinners who simply must be saved from ourselves. The glorification of putting people in cages without cause, the shredding of what remained of our Constitution and the jailing of the terminally ill in a cruel and incessant drug war seem to be viewed as law carved on the hitherto forgotten stone tablets of the Almighty.

Perhaps where death, carnage and enslavement failed to incite anger, some improper emails can. If anything can silence the aged choir singing the glory of God’s Own Party it’s a little perversion.

( -)-(- )75 comments

Freedom Wins a Round

flag_constitutionU.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor shocked the world today by displaying her ability the read and decipher a 215 year-old document. Something of a legal anomaly, Taylor issued a decision based on the law, rather than on what the White House wishes the law to be.

The AP reports that the Carter appointee sided with the Constitution in the suit brought against FedGov by the American Civil Liberties Union, et al, in the process illustrating the arrogant despotism of the Bush Administration.

At question was the legality of the Administration blatantly violating the Constitution with the infamous NSA wiretapping program, even when they deny doing so. As compelling an argument as “it’s legal” is, the crafty judge somehow saw past it.

“Plaintiffs have prevailed, and the public interest is clear, in this matter. It is the upholding of our Constitution,” Taylor wrote in her 43-page opinion.

The Administration, as expected, was very upset by the judiciary daring to question its actions and taking the part of legality and freedom. It wasted no time voicing disagreement and threatening appeal.

Said Ashcroft’s Orwellian replacement:

“We’re going to do everything we can do in the courts to allow this program to continue,”

News parrot-cum-podium parrot Tony Snow, relishing his new role as Nazi Propaganda Minister White House Press Secretary said the Führer

“couldn’t disagree more with this ruling.” He said the program carefully targets communications of suspected terrorists and “has helped stop terrorist attacks and saved American lives.”

Unfortunately, proving the effectiveness or the legality of the government’s carte blanche authority, the White House explained with yet another regurgitation of the bezoar of an excuse, would jeopardize national security. Translation from Swastikese to English: Trust us and stop asking questions. This closed and circular system is a textbook case of tyranny under “freedom.”

According to the ACLU this hollow, circular tripe was irrelevant:

Because the Bush administration already had publicly revealed enough information about the program for Taylor to rule. The administration has decried leaks that led to a New York Times report about the existence of the program last year.

The courts, like the Democrats in Congress, have, until now, humbly whimpered a frightened “yes, sir” to the Administration, gleefully agreeing to its every demand. Constitutional violations that a child could plainly understand are dismissed as the attempted trappings of anti-American radicals or crazed idealists. Perhaps legality is assumed by the masses due to the MSM’s frequent insistence that Bush is “a strict constructionist.”

Those parroting such nonsense must now be certain that Judge Taylor suffers from some deficiency of instinct that prohibits her from inherently understanding that the US Constitution includes a myriad of allowances it does not list.

Stopping just short of declaring the President a self-appointed emperor above reproach (probably because she doesn’t want to visit Cuba on the government’s terms), Taylor’s opinion contained some righteous verbal lashing.

Taylor, a Carter appointee, said the government appeared to argue that the program is beyond judicial scrutiny.
“It was never the intent of the framers to give the president such unfettered control, particularly where his actions blatantly disregard the parameters clearly enumerated in the Bill of Rights,” she wrote. “The three separate branches of government were developed as a check and balance for one another.”

And despite the fact that in reality such an arrangement leaves the hen house in the charge of the fox, once in a while, it works.

The entirety of Taylor’s 43 page opinion can be found here.

( -)-(- )7 comments

Cromwell, CT: A Great Place Not to do Business

CromwellOur own Mike Nelson caught this story the Hartford Courant reported on a thirteen year old Cromwell, CT boy being vexed by these idiots.

Local worm salesmen, beware. As 13-year-old Joe Cadieux learned recently, Cromwell can be a hostile environment for those looking to break into night crawler vending – particularly if they advertise with a yard sign.

Admittedly, teenaged worm salesmen are not as Rockwellesque as younger children helming their lemonade stand, hawking refreshments to passersby (passerbys, for those in the employ of the UAB PD). But the harassment of a young boy engaged in commerce involving a self-sustaining worm farm should be below even the most robotic bureaucrat.

A worm business that Joe has operated since he was 10 was shut down two weeks ago when Cromwell’s planning and zoning commission issued a cease-and-desist order because the teenager’s sign violated local zoning regulations.

Yep, the local power addicts flexed their muscles against the tiny business of a kid selling worms in his own yard with the help of (Gasp!) a sign, apparently in violation of some legalese code doubtless made to appear as vague as possible. In short, by engaging in commerce on his own property, this kid enraged his local government whose pride wouldn’t allow them to overlook the “incident.”

In fairness, at least one selectman, First Selectman Paul Beaulieu, thought the action ridiculous.

“There’s the letter of the law, but there’s also common sense,” he said. “This was over the top. Kids selling night crawlers and lemonade are part and parcel of life in small-town Connecticut.”

To appeal the decision, the child would have to pay the town $130.

“It’s ridiculous,” said the middle school student, who made $5 to $10 a month selling worms collected from his front yard, where they are plentiful after spring rainstorms.

–snip–

“It’s not really like I’m doing anything wrong,” he said.

He certainly is not. But he can learn important lessons from this absurdity:

1. Unfortunately, “wrong” is defined by government thugs whose only real desire is to continually fill the hole in their black hearts with feelings of conquest over their subjects.

2. When life gives you lemons, squirt the acidic juice in the eye of your rulers.

The monetary requirement that one must pay the town money as part of a formal appeal process is a clear violation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of a citizen’s right “to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

I can’t wait for this kid to sue the Planning and Zoning commission, force the removal of that extortion clause that leeches money from those already assaulted by government, and then appeal for free having thoroughly embarrassed them (or rather, pointed out the fact they have embarrassed themselves).

Here’s one you haven’t heard:

What’s the difference between a Cromwell, CT town official, and a night crawler?

One’s a spineless, hermaphroditic, quasi-brainless dirt-dweller.

The other is a worm.

( -)-(- )7 comments

Google for “Privacy Threat” Returns GOVERNMENT as No. 1

A powerful name to add to the “God, I wish he was a declared Libertarian” list is Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

ABC News Online is reporting that the Google chief told the Search Engine Strategies conference that the biggest threat to web privacy is government.

It seems those who are the most concerned about government, and often those with the most to lose from government, remain ignorant that libertarians are the only people on earth who are scratching and clawing to get government the hell out of peoples lives.

( -)-(- )13 comments

Drugging the State

There is little more hypocritical than the average politician’s position on drugs. Most of them are hopeless addicts, themselves. And while actions indicate that a large number of them must be on dope, the majority are simply suffering from a hopeless addiction to the most powerful drug of all: power. The despots pretending to possess the most authority are the worst slaves to their drug, and are absolutely hopeless in their desire to rule others simply for the rush it gives them.

But for the lower-level demi-tyrants, hope may be found with drugs themselves. Reuters is reporting on a new report in the European newspaper Bild that a German scientist is developing an “anti-stupid” pill.

“¦Hans-Hilger Ropers, director at Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, has tested a pill thwarting hyperactivity in certain brain nerve cells, helping stabilize short-term memory and improve attentiveness.

“With mice and fruit flies we were able to eliminate the loss of short-term memory,” Ropers, 62, is quoted saying in the German newspaper, which has dubbed it the “world’s first anti-stupidity pill.”

With well over 21 million government employees in the Unites States and countless more worldwide, it seems the Institute has a limitless and captive customer base. Perhaps libertarians of every stripe could put aside their differences and rally behind elected officials who promise to be administered this drug on a daily basis. After all, if it worked on the leviathan-by-contrast brains of fruit flies and mice, imagine what it could do for the Lilliputian noodle of the average “public servant.”

( -)-(- )5 comments

The Drug War has Gone to Pot

While the jackbooted thugs at the DOJ would have us believe that the front lines in the drug war are the blood-stained streets of America’s inner cities, the most important battle in years is being quietly waged in the desert.

In some ways Nevada is the last bastion of American freedom. Though a far cry from the laissez-faire of my dreams, in portions of Nevada people are permitted to freely engage in peaceful, non-aggressive activities the rest of the states would gleefully jail them for. So it seems rather fitting that an upcoming vote in the Silver State may well mark the beginning of the end of the nonsensical Drug War.

An initiative crafted by the Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana, appearing on the November ballot, would amend Title 40 of the state’s Revised Statutes to legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults 21 or older. The multi-point initiative defines licensing, manufacturing and sales requirements. The penalty for driving under the influence of marijuana is increased and transporting it across state lines would be criminalized by Nevada law (that should make the blanket appeal to the commerce clause a bit more difficult). The referendum also doubles the penalty for providing cannabis to a minor.

A similar initiative to decriminalize up to three ounces was defeated by Nevada voters in 2002. The earlier campaign clearly lacked the organization, fund raising and palatable limits and wording that the current initiative has. The three ounce limit of the prior campaign was a major issue for the opposition as newscasts repeatedly showed video of people carrying around large bags of marijuana. Despite these difficulties, thirty-nine percent of voters approved the earlier proposal.

Campaign staff member Marco Carbone tells us the current campaign is raising funds to continue radio ads and drive traffic to the Committee’s website where voters can read about the initiative and peruse one of the best FAQs I’ve ever seen. Although the Committee is partially backed by the Marijuana Policy Project, more donations are needed to make voter-approval a reality.

While our lofty goal of a free society remains well out of reach, people are becoming more and more tired of being told how to live their lives.

Alaska’s 2004 initiative for outright legalization garnered forty-four percent of the vote despite the absurd Reefer Madness-style late inning press coverage. Current polls show Alaskans are quite angry after an underhanded attempt by the legislature to re-criminalization marijuana despite the constitutionally protected right of possession.

People are slowly tiring of government’s many excesses, and they are saying so at the ballots. Marijuana laws are on their way out. Laws governing other consensual activities will certainly follow. Both lifelong Republicans and Democrats are growing verbally disgusted with the current political climate.

The Nevada domino may well fall in November; the first of many state vetoes of federal usurpation. What’s good for freedom anywhere is good for freedom everywhere. Don’t fail to help in any way you can just because you don’t live in Nevada.

Somewhere Niemoller is hoping.

( -)-(- )26 comments

TABC Says Uncle; Libertarians Can Finish Them Off

TABCThe TABC seems to have wisely yielded to an intense public pressure over their autocratic approach to alcohol consumption. Their Gestapo tactics are apparently suspended, according to the AP.

This is obviously very good news, but it is just a suspension. While I doubt they’ll reinstate the policy (the tourism people were displeased), the fact that this travesty ever happened cannot be forgotten. There is only one way to ensure that these “stings” will not be repeated: get those involved the hell out of the Politboro office. Those who implemented this insanity and those who smugly defended it demonstrated without double-talk or veiled excuses, that they have no problem at all punishing crime before it is committed.

There is a public outrage against this government behavior which can be directly translated into votes. A libertarian-minded person could almost run solely on this issue, applying the litmus test of liberty and property across the board.

These hypocrites need to be chased out of office like the money changers from the temple and I would hope the hand grasping the whip is attached to a loud, angry libertarian.

Update by Artus Register:I forgot to credit the source who was on top of this and “tipped” us the story right away. J. Bishop at HelpMeImpeachBush.com sent this to us this afternoon. Thanks for the heads-up!

( -)-(- )14 comments

Government: A Bad Trip

Once in a while, things happen and people scream and shout and raise hell about the drug war and I give credence to the thought that the situation is changing. Courts rule in slightly promising ways and states elect state representatives who vote to allow medical marijuana use and I get sucked into thinking that the prohibitionists are slowly losing ground.

And then the powers that be leap backwards, expanding prohibition.

Most readers have likely never heard of Salvia Divinorum. A member of the labiate (mint) family that possesses a hallucinogenic compound, Salvinorin A., the plant has been used for centuries by shamanic native peoples around Oaxaca, Mexico. Medically, the visionary sage has quietly been producing some startling results in clinical research, being used to treat various forms of depression.

Rather than staying the hell out of the way and allowing promising research on the plant to continue, government in its omniscience is doing what government does best: it is attempting a reactionary ban on what it doesn’t understand.

Were it not for the surge of internet vendors and a few cases of irresponsible use, Salvia, also known as Ska Pastora, would have likely remained in the quiet shadows of obscurity. Daniel Siebert, the worldwide expert on and chief proponent of the substance has called for government regulation (we can safely infer that this request is in the hope of avoiding an outright prohibition). Through a combination of guerrilla marketing and juvenile ignorance, salvia has been described as a legal marijuana substitute. This description is absolute nonsense as it is by no means a party drug or something one would use to relax.

Currently, Salvia is illegal to possess in Louisiana and Missouri. In the past few years several Congressional attempts to criminalize the substance have failed. The legislatures of Alaska (Senate Bill 313), Delaware (Senate Bill 259) and New Jersey (legislation penned by Assemblywoman Linda Stender is to be introduced next month) are currently attempting to outlaw the plant.

As usual, government has slipped in a steaming pile of error. None of the proposed legislation actual prohibits the active compound Salvinorin A, but rather the plant itself. Beyond the typical nonsensical nature of drug prohibition, one issue with this plant is that the laws will be even less enforceable than typical bans as salvia is nearly indistinguishable from the dozens of other sage varieties.

If government has its way, it is likely that, unlike marijuana, salvia’s medical capacities will never be fully realized. Even with such potential for healing, the state must always err on the side of nanny-ism.

Update by Artus Register: Salvia is supposed to be discussed on Anderson Cooper’s show on CNN this evening. It starts at 10PM so the segment may be over. I just received the notification.

Update by Artus Register: I received the following Legal update from The Salvia Divinorum Research and Information Center yesterday. The news isn’t good: The pro-prohibition attitude in this country seems to be growing like cancer.

DELAWARE
Delaware Senate Bill 259, which seeks to add Salvia divinorum to that state’s list of Schedule I controlled substances, has been passed by both the House and Senate. It is expected that Governor Ruth Ann Minner will sign it into law soon.

TENNESSEE
On February 15, 2006, Representative Park M. Strader introduced House Bill 2909 to the Tennessee State Legislature. It was later adopted as Senate Bill 3247. The bill creates the Class D felony offense of knowingly producing, manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with intent to produce, manufacture, or distribute a material, compound, mixture, or preparation intended for human consumption which contains a hallucinogenic plant. Present law authorizes imprisonment for a Class D felony for not less than two years nor more than 12 years. In addition, a fine not to exceed $5,000 may be assessed, unless otherwise provided by statute. This bill authorizes a maximum fine of $20,000 for this offense. This bill also creates the Class E felony of knowingly possessing a material, compound, mixture, or preparation intended for human consumption that contains a hallucinogenic plant. Present law authorizes imprisonment for a Class E felony for not less than one year nor more than six years. In addition, a jury may assess a fine not to exceed $3,000, unless otherwise provided by statute. This bill authorizes a maximum fine of $5,000 for this offense. This bill would not apply to the possession, planting, cultivation, growing, or harvesting of a hallucinogenic plant strictly for aesthetic, landscaping, or decorative purposes. Further, this bill would not apply to any dosage that is legally obtainable from a retail establishment without a prescription when such compound is recognized by the FDA as a homeopathic drug. An amendment to the bill classifies the knowing production, manufacture, distribution, or possession of the active chemical ingredient in the hallucinogenic plant Salvia divinorum as a Class A misdemeanor. It would not be a criminal offense to possess, plant, cultivate, grow, or harvest Salvia divinorum for aesthetic, landscaping, or decorative purposes. Also, this amendment does not apply to any dosage that is legally obtainable from a retail establishment without a prescription and that is recognized by the FDA as a homeopathic drug. On April 13, 2006, the amended version of the bill passed in the Senate (Ayes 29, Nays 0). To track the status of this bill, go to: http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/

( -)-(- )9 comments

New Technology: Smellevision

Speaking of holding your nose, the AP reports that a new service from NTT Communications Corp will allow movie goers to experience films with their sense of smell, in addition to their usual faculties.

This olfactory technology was made available for home use last year, for limited applications.

Imagine if one were able to “enjoy” the State-of-the-Union State address. The predominant scent for such a broadcast is obvious. Beyond that, I can only guess at a burnt parchment stench to further the notion that everything our esteemed Emperor suggests “to protect us” will further torch the Constitution.

( -)-(- )5 comments

Read My Lips: Probably definitely not… until later, maybe

According to the American Emperor President, a suspension of disbelief is required to think an attack on Iran is plausible. Such thoughts are nothing more than “wild speculation,” says the Tyrannical Texan, according to the AP.

Although it was logical, legal and necessary to invade Iraq for that country’s crime of not possessing various WMDs, and a nearly-complete nuclear arsenal, the thought that the hawkish despots helming this government would attack a country that has brazenly admitted to a nuclear program is naught but folly.

Indeed, how could anyone reach so far as to think this Administration capable of erring on the side of war?

“I know we’re here in Washington (where) prevention means force,” Bush said during an appearance at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. “It doesn’t mean force necessarily. In this case it means diplomacy.”

You just can’t script deeper bullshit than that which spews from this megalomaniac’s pie-hole.

( -)-(- )Comments Off

Texas Gets it Right…Sort of

It’s not often that a government agency gets something right. But in the interest of fairness, we like to point out such anomalies.

The Official Site of Texas Tourism, TravelTex.com really smacked the nail squarely with their slogan Texas: It’s like a whole other country.

Unfortunately for Texans, the list of other countries Texas is like includes Belarus, Cuba, North Korea and Zimbabwe. Actually, the recent actions of TABC may be insulting to the libertarian-by-contrast nature of those countries. Typical tyrannies don’t use a pretense of concern for their subject’s safety, they rule them for the sake of order and obedience.

It would seem as though the state of Texas would “need” increased revenue from tourism to offset the self-imposed loss they are doubtlessly suffering after a de facto criminalization of drinking establishments. While the iron is HoT, it would be a great time to contact the office of Economic Development and Tourism (operating under the Office of the Governor) and explain exactly why you won’t be visiting Texas. Those on a budget may choose to explain that while you enjoy a drink from time to time, you can’t afford to pay for a vacation and a bail bondsman.

A flood of canceled vacation explanations on the heels of the flurry of complaints HoT previously covered might fast track these goons back to a desk job in Austin.

From the TravelTex.com site:

If you find an error or want to provide feedback on TravelTex.com, we’d love to hear from you. To share your comments, please complete the form below. We review all comments and appreciate your interest in Texas Tourism; however, due to high volumes we cannot respond to emails.

Let’s show them some all time “high volumes!”

The Governor’s website also lists, in addition to a lot of tripe about the state’s “unique spirit” and “opportunity,” a Citizen’s Opinion Hotline number: 800-252-9600. Happy dialing.

( -)-(- )13 comments

Pot Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

FedGov is pretending to give the idea of self-ownership another shot, the AP is reporting. This time, it appears, the dying, rather than the sick are the intended recipients of a small shot of liberty.

This round, like those before it, matches one person (and her attorney husband) against the state leviathan and its endless cash. Although a long shot in this political climate that has Bush’s hands tightly around Liberty’s neck, there is the possibility of an upset here. If the case somehow goes back to the Supreme Court and is argued well, the “justices” (assuming their hypocrisy has an end) may have a difficult time opining against the right to life when they just ruled in favor of the right to death.

Of course, the Administration has made a compelling case against medical freedom by stating that, well, marijuana is bad and that the government doesn’t like it, or some such stirring oration. More on the well-reasoned opposition from the ass’s mouth:

“There is no fundamental right to distribute, cultivate or possess marijuana,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Quinlivan, the government’s lead medical marijuana attorney, wrote to the appeals court.

From an ethical medical standpoint, the government sounds foolish beyond description. While no one enjoys a right to be healthy, the pursuit of health, like that of happiness is a fundamental right.

If this reality were somewhat more normal and felt a bit less like an altered, down-is-up, parallel one, it might shock the sensibilities that someone like Mark Quinlivan could rise to the level of Assistant US Attorney and not hold the slightest understanding of the Constitution. His position, no more than a parroting of what the Administration’s puppet masters dictate, is without authority on at least three constitutional levels.

Firstly, the 9th Amendment clearly states that rights listed in the Constitution are not exhaustive, stating, in clear language, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” Mr. Quinlivan assumes the Constitution is dead wrong on this point. He seems to subscribe to the tyrannical belief that many were concerned about with respect to a bill of rights. James Madison wrote on this point, illustrating the concern.

“It has been objected also against a bill of rights, that, by enumerating particular exceptions to the grant of power, it would disparage those rights which were not placed in that enumeration; and it might follow by implication, that those rights which were not singled out, were intended to be assigned into the hands of the General Government, and were consequently insecure. This is one of the most plausible arguments I have ever heard against the admission of a bill of rights into this system; but, I conceive, that it may be guarded against. I have attempted it, as gentlemen may see by turning to the last clause of the fourth resolution.”

While well-intending, the verbal guard against statism became, in time, less than a paper tiger.

The 10th Amendment makes it very clear for anyone with third grade reading comprehension skills that the federal government’s power is limited to what the Constitution grants it, and that any power not so delegated, is reserved to the states.

Then there is the “penumbra” of a privacy right (violations of which are not actual if perpetrated by the government) located within the Bill of Rights by court opinion in Griswold vs. Connecticut. In that case the government saw fit to rule in favor of defendants who were trafficking drugs that were illegal under state law. Up to this point, the government has been blazing newer and wider trails of sanctimony by ruling against defendants who are trafficking drugs that are legal under state law.

None of this matters to Messrs. Bush and Quinlivan, who usurp rights for usurpation’s sake. But precedent and constitutionality aside, the entire situation can be distilled down to simple matter of personal choice. If I own my body, as I do my mind, it would reasonably follow that I have as much a right to ingest a tray of black Afghani Hash brownies as I do to chain smoke filter-less Pall Malls as I shoot a fifth of Everclear with a bacon grease chaser. I can not legally do the former, but the latter act, the more ill-advised, I can perform without fear or threat whenever I wish. I am so blessed to have a government that protects me from myself.

That I can harm myself with some substances but not others, or that I can’t choose my own medication while the FDA approves dangerous drugs with horrifying side effects on a daily basis magnifies the absurdity of Washington’s position. If I truly feel that my physical, mental and spiritual heath is best maintained by copulating with racially-mixed circus midgets in a bathtub full of no. 3 heroin, I can’t imagine that being anyone else’s business, so long as the little people were there by choice. Likewise, if I choose to forgo conventional poison therapy to treat cancer, and favor the odds of laetrile and ozonation, that too, is solely my concern. But doctors who operate outside of the mainstream and offer their patients the treatment of their choice, are usually jailed and have their medical licenses revoked. Thus much for the penumbras of the Constitution.

And let us not forget that terminal patients often get all the opiates they want. The dying are sent home with bags of potent and addictive Morphine, but a few tokes of pot could lead to ruin. No one seriously believes that government is a bit concerned that someone with stage IVb pancreatic cancer might be victimized by marijuana’s “gateway drug” charms and start snorting lines of coke in the stall at the local nightclub.

Although I am excited about any foot in the door and hope those worried about a slippery drug slope are right, this upcoming case isn’t really about medical marijuana or even the prohibition of recreational drugs. It is about self-ownership and choice. If we own our bodies, we can put anything we wish into them. If we don’t, then someone else does, which makes us slaves. There is really no third option.

( -)-(- )8 comments

Out With the Old, In With the…Old

Amid the certainty that the Taliban regime in Afghanistan was harboring Bin Laden and his ilk, the US government, after weeks of thumb-twiddling, thought it important to oust them. After teaming with the “freedom fighting” Northern Alliance, Administration officials heaped large piles of praise on themselves for opposing the Taliban regime on moral issues, as well.

While suddenly unaware of the gross mistreatment of women throughout the Arab world, GOP mouthpieces and their trained parrots in the media feigned horror at the treatment of women in Afghanistan and hailed our military as a messianic liberation force akin to those who landed at Normandy and Omaha. The Taliban, admittedly a pack of thugs whose collective back begs for the lash, were doubtless a repressive lot who gave aid and comfort to the crazed zealots of Islam who murdered thousands of Americans on 9/11 in addition to having ruled their male and female subjects alike with an iron fist.

Stories of Taliban oppression are everywhere. A simple web search will span the gamut from truth to exaggeration to a bewildering personification of evil itself. And while there is little reason to doubt the tales of flogging, jailing and insane degrees of sex-segregation attributed to these criminals, the “liberation” stopped well short of any real change within the framework of the new and improved Afghan government.

It is apparently impossible to slip in a human rights suggestion between dictating our expectations on border policy and demanding a reduction in poppy growth. Our priorities are again right in line with logic.

The AP continues the horrifying tale of an Afghani man the state shamelessly wants executed for converting to Christianity. The following demonstrates the nature of the kinder, gentler Afghanistan we brought to power at considerable financial and human cost:

Senior Muslim clerics demanded Thursday that an Afghan man on trial for converting from Islam to Christianity be executed, warning that if the government caves in to Western pressure and frees him, they will incite people to “pull him into pieces.”

In the allegedly free, post-Taliban Afghanistan that has received billions in US “foreign aid,” a country in which it was vital to wrestle control away from the fanatics, the government murders its citizens as punishment for their private spiritual beliefs. As the AP reported Wednesday, this man’s only defense is insanity.

“We think he could be mad. He is not a normal person. He doesn’t talk like a normal person,” prosecutor Sarinwal Zamari told The Associated Press.

Moayuddin Baluch, a religious adviser to President Hamid Karzai, said Rahman would undergo a psychological examination.

To recap: government officials of allegedly sound mind will only fail to murder one of their citizens for subscribing to different religious beliefs than they do if it can be proven that he is the crazy one.

Thank God Allah we ran the pro-terrorists out of Kabul.

When asked about the situation, President Bush began his statement with an admission we have long anticipated, confessing that he is “deeply troubled.” In an obvious attempt to lighten the mood after such a bombshell, he mentioned the “principle of freedom,” a concept he is completely ignorant of. His final remarks couldn’t be heard over the laughter.

( -)-(- )17 comments

FedGov: Protect Privacy; Prohibit Privacy

Dipping deeper into its bottomless well of unbridled hypocrisy, FedGov is forcing privacy businesses to surrender customer lists and copies of their business transactions. During a tumultuous period of alleged privacy protection wherein Congress is poised to (Gasp!) introduce new legislation to ensure private investigators cannot obtain cellular subscriber’s call records, the swastika-wavers at the FCC are demanding that privacy companies TeleSpoof and NuFone who allow customers to place calls showing spoofed info on the receiver’s caller ID device, provide our public servants with every customer name and every call they made, according to a Wired News article.

It appears the FCC’s new chief, Kevin Martin, is well acquainted with the ways of the tyrant, as the investigation (for now) seems to be focused on an abject vagueness.

A seven-page demand from the FCC’s enforcement bureau sent to one such service, called TeleSpoof, says the commission is investigating whether the site is violating the federal Communications Act by failing to send accurate “originating calling party telephone number information” on interstate calls.

Even at this early stage, it is clear that the government’s position will be one of sainted protector regurgitating of of two lines of nonsense: “There is no conceivable legitimate purpose that anyone would want to make a call pretending to be someone else” or “These privacy-seeking customers are potential terrorists bent on releasing nerve gas into a crowded football stadium.”

The article, illustrating one example of legitimacy out of probable hundreds, lays waste to the former excuse of government intervention, leaving the absurdity of the latter to invalidate itself:

TeleSpoof’s operator says he has about 600 users. Private investigators were his earliest customers, but ordinary consumers have found uses for his service as well, he says. In one case, a divorced father was able to talk to his child on Christmas by spoofing his Caller ID to slip the call past his estranged ex-wife, he says.

The nerve of this man. If it were truly important that he speak to his child, government employees would have arranged the conversation.

In any case, the unwarranted action, illegal seizure and unjustified harassment of these companies won’t be the fault of Kevin Martin, his underlings or whatever agency ultimately closes down these and scores of other legitimate businesses. Martin, like his predecessor, will claim he is only doing his job. A job that clearly includes making certain that potential dissenters enjoy no anonymity, ensuring their place as “persons of interest.”

( -)-(- )6 comments

Supreme Hypocrisy

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia did his best yesterday to sound like the constructionist the mass media insists that he is. The AP reports that Scalia, referring to himself in third person during a speech sponsored by the Federalist Society, explained:

“Scalia does have a philosophy, it’s called originalism,” he said. “That’s what prevents him from doing the things he would like to do,”

It appears that he was telling this for the truth, not as a joke as it would appear. The reality is that Scalia agrees with the Constitution only when the agreement aligns with his own personal and religious opinions. He is a barrel of contradictions: deferring to state authority when to do otherwise would advance personal freedom, and reaching far outside the limitations of the Constitution to federalize things like self-medication.

Long vilified as “a strict constructionist,” Scalia’s frequent fondness for evermore government power goes completely ignored. Although the justice’s schizophrenic rulings occasionally favor David over Goliath, his strict interpretation apparently stops well short of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution Scalia purportedly believes

is not a living organism, it is a legal document. It says something and doesn’t say other things.

One thing the Constitution doesn’t say is that its commerce clause trumps every other law on the planet and that an appeal to said clause grants Washington autocrats unlimited power over their subjects.

Liberty would have a true friend indeed were Scalia the constructionist he is perceived to be. Instead, we get only lip service to “state’s rights” and limited government. Parading himself as a champion of freedom and referring to non-constructionists (like himself) as idiots, Scalia’s speech was pure hypocrisy.

With many of the Washington power-whores, you know what you’re getting — they don’t bother to claim any understanding of or respect for the Constitution. But with dissembling antinomians like Bush and Scalia, the insistence that they are what they are not damages the image of true constructionists, what few exist.

( -)-(- )4 comments

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.

( -)-(- )2 comments

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.

( -)-(- )10 comments

Combating Insurgency with Kidnapping

In a stroke of brilliance that could only have been conceived by the marriage of the US State Department and the DOD, offical policy toward to insurgency apparently includes kidnapping the wives of those suspected. Despite previous denial of such actions by Iraq’s deputy justice minister, Busho Ibrahim Ali and a de facto denial by U.S. command spokesman Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, the AP is reporting that the kidnappings did in fact transpire based on documents the Pentagon was legally forced to release as the result of an ACLU FOIA request.

The issue of female detentions in Iraq has taken on a higher profile since kidnappers seized American journalist Jill Carroll on Jan. 7 and threatened to kill her unless all Iraqi women detainees are freed.

-snip-

Iraqi human rights activist Hind al-Salehi contends that U.S. anti-insurgent units, coming up empty-handed in raids on suspects’ houses, have at times detained wives to pressure men into turning themselves in.

…Busho Ibrahim Ali, dismissed such claims, saying hostage-holding was a tactic used under the ousted Saddam Hussein dictatorship, and “we are not Saddam.” A U.S. command spokesman in Baghdad, Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, said only Iraqis who pose an “imperative threat” are held in long-term U.S.-run detention facilities.

-snip-

…documents describing two 2004 episodes tell a different story as far as short-term detentions by local U.S. units. The documents are among hundreds the
Pentagon has released periodically under U.S. court order to meet an
American Civil Liberties Union request for information on detention practices.

In one memo, a civilian Pentagon intelligence officer described what happened when he took part in a raid on an Iraqi suspect’s house in Tarmiya, northwest of Baghdad, on May 9, 2004. The raid involved Task Force (TF) 6-26, a secretive military unit formed to handle high-profile targets.

“During the pre-operation brief it was recommended by TF personnel that if the wife were present, she be detained and held in order to leverage the primary target’s surrender,” wrote the 14-year veteran officer.

He said he objected, but when they raided the house the team leader, a senior sergeant, seized her anyway.

This issue should make anyone who gives half a damn about the lives of military personnel and civilans in the Middle East demand a complete investigation and instant termination of this insane policy. Of course it won’t. The administration’s mouthpieces and supporters liken any objection to King George and his Praetorian Guard to blasphemy of the highest order. So policies designed to create enemies where there were none and strengthen the hate and resolve of the existing ones will continue unabated.

Perhaps the defenders the neo-con lust for empire are unaware of our own government’s definition of the terror we’re allegedly combatting:

Title 22 of the US Code, Section 2656f(d):

The term “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.

Doubtless, the latter portion was inserted by design so government could, as usual escape the guilt of action that, committed by individuals would constitute grave criminality. Still, the spirit of our country’s actions remains the same and in addition to angering us thoroughly at its mind-numbing stupidity, should shame us deeply.

( -)-(- )10 comments

Pot? No; Death? Yes

sheepleTerminally ill patients, tortured with persistent nausea and excruciating pain, are afforded the right to die by an Oregonian law. But the self-appointed guardians of morality and spokespersons of the Almighty in the Bush administration fought to void the law, insisting that Federal authority knows no bounds. In an obvious bout of dementia, the Supreme Court ruled today–despite the obvious fact that FedGov does indeed possess the legal authority to withhold the medical marijuana that may well prevent the terminal condition to begin with — that conditional assisted suicide laws, passed by state governments are beyond the reach of centralized state authority. From the AP:

The Supreme Court, with Chief Justice John Roberts dissenting, upheld Oregon’s one-of-a-kind physician-assisted suicide law Tuesday, rejecting a Bush administration attempt to punish doctors who help terminally ill patients die.

Justices, on a 6-3 vote, said the 1997 Oregon law used to end the lives of more than 200 seriously ill people trumped federal authority to regulate doctors.

That means the administration improperly tried to use a federal drug law to prosecute Oregon doctors who prescribe overdoses. Then-Attorney General John Ashcroft vowed to do that in 2001, saying that doctor-assisted suicide is not a “legitimate medical purpose.”

While it is a startling piece of news that the Supreme Court opposed an unconstitutional action by the current administration, the real story is that six of the high court’s justices have, if not actually read, at least heard of the Tenth Amendment. It seems there may be a rumor stirring on capital hill that the powers of the federal government may have some sort of ill-defined ceiling. This will surely be as controversial as ID.

Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia dissented.

Scalia, writing the dissent, said that federal officials have the power to regulate the doling out of medicine.

“If the term `legitimate medical purpose’ has any meaning, it surely excludes the prescription of drugs to produce death,” he wrote.

Perhaps, but the Constitution I searched does not delegate the definition of medical terms to the federal legislature or judiciary.

The ruling backed a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which said Ashcroft’s “unilateral attempt to regulate general medical practices historically entrusted to state lawmakers interferes with the democratic debate about physician-assisted suicide.”

It still amazes me that jurists who truly feel that every aspect of human existance is the domain of the federal government are constantly refered to as “strict constructionsists.” More on this later.

The government could easily have won this case had they illustrated that assisted suicide is clearly a matter of interstate commerce.

Update by Stephen VanDyke: Radley Balko apparently got a lot of comments calling Thomas’s dissent a bitchslap:

Seems that once he knew the margin for upholding the law was secure, Thomas decided to dissent for the sole reason of upbraiding (I believe some of you chose the term “bitch slap,” or, alternately, “pimp slap”) the majority for its baldly inconsistent holding in this case versus its holding in Raich.

( -)-(- )6 comments