Author Archives: Stephen Gordon

About Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

Hillary the Republican?

hillarybush.jpgIf Hillary Clinton moves any further to the right, she’ll be giving Karl Rove a lapdance. Yesterday we posted that Rupert Murdoch is going to host a fundraiser for Hillary the Hawk. Now she has this to say about Dubya:

“He is someone who has a lot of charm and charisma, and I think in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, I was very grateful to him for his support for New York,” Clinton said Tuesday night during a talk at the National Archives about her life in politics.

Clinton, a potential presidential candidate in 2008, said that despite their “many disagreements about many, many issues,” she has always had a good personal relationship with the president.

“He’s been very willing to talk. He’s been affable. He’s been good company,” said Clinton, D-N.Y.

I’m sure the anti-war members of the Democratic Party will conveniently forget this by Election Day 2008.

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The (Mini-)Revolution was just Televised

Brian Leon just wrote an insightful piece on netroots activism over at his blog. He used Alabama Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate Loretta Nall as his case-in-point. He clearly understands the mechanics of Internet activism, as provided here:

Netroots political support in elections is becoming more important now. Originally just mere commentary pages on the state of local and national elections, coalescing communities like on Daily Kos or Red State or noted political pundits like Atrios can rally support behind a candidate and provide a conduit for funding and logistical support from all across the nation. Through constant blogging of commentary and event notifications, they can heighten a candidate’s profile to the point that traditional media, which people still get most of their information from, start to notice a candidate and increase the awareness of the candidate throughout the community.

His timing couldn’t have been better, as Loretta Nall hit the mainstream media the previous day specifically because of her Internet activities. As a result of her Flash for Cash campaign, Nall was a guest on the Alan Colmes Show last night. She was also the number one search on Technorati’s blog ranking service. MS-NBC covered Nall’s Internet campaign yesterday on national television.

Nall missed watching the television coverage and we can’t find it on the MS-NBC site, Google News, or with a LexisNexis search. We believe she was covered on Alison Stewart’s “The Most” between 3 and 3:30 PM EST. However, we do have two accounts of the coverage provided. The first came from an e-mail of a mutual friend and colleague in the drug policy reform movement. Here’s her take:

MSNBC just did a piece on you by the senior producer on how influential your website has been on the debate on the drug policy debate!!!! I’m watching it in the bank and you got a couple of smiles in support.

Another view of the coverage is a consolidation of cell phone calls both Nall and I received.

They covered Loretta’s campaign for governor on television, talking about her website, fundraising campaign and the controversy surrounding it.

As near as we can tell, they covered her Technorati position, several of her websites, and this more critical view of her campaign.

Since Leon was absolutely correct about Internet exposure leading to a greater level of MSM coverage, let’s take a look at his next few sentences:

However, it is too easy to say that netroots candidacy can be sustained by the Internet alone. Tried and true methods of getting out the vote still are important.

Leon is still correct. If you don’t believe me, just ask Howard Dean.

Nall will definitely appear as a refreshing contrast to the other candidates. Yet, she is not officially on the ballot as she requires 42,000 signatures to be turned into the state’s election board to qualify. If she does acquire that many signatures and holds onto them through the November election then she has already made an impression on the state’s political structure.

Nall still needs a large chunk of signatures over the next four weeks to get on the ballot. She’s facing a problem I’ve faced before: Marjuana activists don’t contribute money (or meaningful volunteer time) at nearly the same rate that people do for economic or other issues. It would seem a shame to see the media she has already obtained and is likely to continue to obtain be wasted because she ran $10,000 or $20,000 short on a ballot access drive.

In addition to the signatures being collected on the ground, we’ve got professional petitioners ready fly into the state on a moment’s notice and have completed general plans for a last-minute ballot access push.

Nall could use your support right now — and in some cases is willing to pay for it. At the top end, if you have access to high-level donors, phone lists, telecommunications or mailing resources, etc. — please contact Loretta Nall to see how you both might be able to benefit from some mutually beneficial business relationship. If you have a blog or e-mail list, please spread the word about Loretta’s campaign. And all of us can afford to donate just a few more dollars to place her on the ballot.

Leon concluded with:

There may be a time soon when independent candidates like Loretta Nall can bypass the institutional structures of politics and start building a candidacy through communities on the Internet. It may become a more personal process and definitely one that potentially could be more informative. This movement will go hand in hand as people start looking to the Internet as providing them their news and opinions.

In the meantime, we aren’t there yet. Loretta could use your help.

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Another Domestic Spying Case

Here’s what appears to be another example of domestic spying abuse. From In These Times:

Thomas Nelson knew someone had been going through his northeast Portland law office. He didn’t know who, or why, but several times””from January to July 2005″”he noticed that papers on his desk had been moved and his computer rebooted. Yet, he says, “as far as I [could] tell, nothing was taken.”

Then he got an e-mail from Jon Norling, another lawyer in the same suite, alerting him that twice on a previous night someone posing as a member of the cleaning crew had tried to enter the office. “I know the cleaning crew,” Norling says. “For a while they were all Hispanic, and women. “¦ [This was] a middle-aged white guy speaking perfect English.” A few weeks later, on July 5, it happened again.

Because of this, Nelson moved his files to his house in the mountians.

Still, within a few weeks he noticed more disturbing signs. Mulitple times, he came home to find that the electricity had been out and the alarm deactivated. The alarm company failed to follow protocol and notify him of the lapse in service. When he called to inquire, they were uncharacteristically circumspect.

At that point, Nelson started to suspect federal involvement. “When the FBI wants to go to a place, they put out what’s called a “˜National Security Letter,'” he explains. “That letter tells, for example, the landlord, or another person who might have to facilitate the entry, that it is illegal to ever say anything about the assistance that is provided. My guess is that those letters went out to the building management, including the security company, and to the alarm company.”

At least he’s fighting it:

On Feb. 28, Nelson became the first attorney to file a suit alleging specific damages from the NSA spy program. The complaint””Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation v. Bush“”accuses the NSA of monitoring communications between Al-Buthe and two of Al-Haramain’s lawyers, Wendell Belew and Asim Ghafoor. It also alleges that the NSA then shared its information with the Treasury Department, who used it to freeze Al-Haramain’s assets.

Perhaps this case can be used to shed a bit more public light on our domestic eavesdropping programs.

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Press Missing Key Issues of U.S. Torture Policy

It is inexcusable for scientists to torture animals; let them make their experiments on journalists and politicians. — Henrik Ibsen

According to ABC, “all American officials including intelligence agents are barred from using torture in interrogating terror suspects and other prisoners.”

U.S. torture policy is being reviewed by the UN Committee Against Torture. As expected, the U.S. had a weak defense for their actions, although one could hardly tell this from press accounts. Here’s an example from IHT:

More than 100 U.S. military personnel and intelligence officers have been disciplined for abusing detainees, U.S. officials said before an international panel investigating the treatment of prisoners by the United States in its fight against terrorism. The number is nearly twice that cited by human rights groups.

Let’s take a look at the actual punishments rendered:

Charles Stimson, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, said the United States had court-martialed 103 service members and intelligence officers since 2001, leading to 19 convictions with jail terms of a year or more.

So we’ve essentially given most everyone a walk on this (except for a handful of scapegoats) and the media is talking about the disparities in the numbers various groups have presented. We need to look at the big picture. While torture continues in America and abroad, 80% of those accused get away with it and most of the rest get mere slaps on the wrist.

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Jackyderm Bond Package in California

Yesterday’s quip about there not being a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties may have to be modified. In California, there doesn’t seem to be 37 billion dollar’s worth of difference. From SFChron:

The two leading Democrats in the Legislature pledged to campaign with Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger through the fall to win public support for a $37 billion bond package on the November ballot — setting up a potentially awkward situation for whichever Democratic candidate emerges to challenge the incumbent Republican.

Democratic State Senate Pro Tem Don Perata of Oakland and Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez of Los Angeles appeared at Schwarzenegger’s side Monday in Oakland and pledged continuing support for the bond issue to finance schools, roads, bridges, levee repairs and affordable housing.

The two Democratic leaders, joined by Senate Republican leader Dick Ackerman of Tustin (Orange County) and GOP Assembly leader George Plescia of San Diego, accompanied Schwarzenegger at several stops across the state to push the infrastructure deal, calling it historic and important to the future of California.

“Whatever it takes to get that done, we’ll do,” Núñez said, asked if Democrats would campaign with Schwarzenegger through the fall. “Absolutely, we’ll be campaigning together … whatever (is) the most effective message to the voters, that’s the message we’re driving home.”

If there was ever an opportunity for third parties, this is the time.

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Oblivious to Puerto Rico Shutdown Problem

They are threatening to strike in Puerto Rico over the government shutdown there. From the BBC:

The administration of the US territory has a $740m (£406m) deficit but neither the governor nor the legislature can agree how to resolve the problem.

More than 40 government agencies have been hit, making thousands jobless.

The crisis has led international credit rating agency Moody’s to downgrade Puerto Rico’s bonds.

The BBC article clearly outlines the key problem involved, yet I’m not seeing any solution being offered to fix it.

The government is the biggest employer in Puerto Rico, accounting for up to 200,000 jobs. It pays about $500m in salaries.

Well, duh?!?

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Tennessee’s Counterfeit Eminent Domain Bill

The Tennessee Senate just unanamously passed an eminent domain bill. The measure is almost as effective in protecting the rights of property owners as a masturbating sterile man is effective in producing children. Here’s the AP take on the bill:

One main provision of Tennessee’s legislation would require local governments to certify the “public purpose and necessity” of seizing land.

The bill also permits land acquired by eminent domain to “be sold, leased, or otherwise transferred to another public or quasi-public entity, or to a private person, corporation, or other entity, so long as the transferring entity receives at least fair market value for the land.”

Amendments that were killed Monday include a measure that would exempt from eminent domain structures considered “cultural, historic, religious, educational or of economic significance to disadvantaged citizens.”

Another killed amendment would have required a public hearing before a person’s property could be condemned.

Perhaps it’s time for some civil disobedience in Tennessee; it’s worked before.

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Free at Last!

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From Russmo.

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Dumbass Video of the Day

If anyone ever wondered how Republicans really view their little worlds, they should check out this video.

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Hawks of a Feather Flock Together

In further proof there ain’t a dimes worth of difference between the two parties, Financial Times is reporting that Rupert Murdoch is going to host a fundraiser for Hillary the Hawk.

Rupert Murdoch, the conservative media mogul whose New York Post tabloid savaged Hillary Clinton’s initial aspirations to become a US senator for New York, has agreed to host a political fundraiser for her re-election campaign.

The decision underlines an incongruous thawing of relations between Mr Murdoch and Mrs Clinton, who in 1998 coined the phrase “vast rightwing conspiracy” to denounce critics of her husband, such as Fox News, the conservative cable channel owned by Mr Murdoch’s News Corporation.

Mr Murdoch will host the fundraiser, due to be held by July, on behalf of News Corp.

Fox News, Hillary Clinton, Rupert Murdoch and George W. Bush look like a bunch of peas sharing the same pod to more and more Americans. I simply hope they wake up before election day.

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Lesbian Brains Similar to Straight Male Brains

Another grenade has just been lobbed in the debate over whether homosexuality is genetically or environmentally influenced. From MacPaper:

Homosexuals’ brains respond differently from those of straight men and women when exposed to sex hormones, but researchers now say the difference is less pronounced in lesbians than in gay men.

Lesbians’ brains reacted somewhat, though not completely, like those of heterosexual men, a team of Swedish researchers said in Tuesday’s edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A year ago, the same group reported findings for gay men that showed their brain response to hormones was similar to that of heterosexual women.

In both cases the findings add weight to the idea that homosexuality has a physical basis and is not learned behavior.

If we eventually reach a scientific consensus that gay (or straight, for that matter) people are simply wired that way from birth, I wonder how the neocons will refute such scientific evidence. Wait a minute, I do know what they’ll do — they’ll put stickers on textbooks stating that science is just a theory and continue to outlaw gay marriage.

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More on General Hayden

George Bush sure knows how to pick them. Not only does Gen. Michael Hayden not understand the Constitution he’s sworn to uphold, but it now looks like he may have financial ties to Duke Cunningham & Company. From Muckraker:

Hayden, President Bush’s pick to replace Porter Goss as head of the CIA, contracted with MZM Inc. for the services of Lt. Gen. James C. King, then a senior vice president of the company, the sources say. MZM was owned and operated by Mitchell Wade, who has admitted to bribing former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham with $1.4 million in money and gifts. Wade has also reportedly told investigators he helped arrange for prostitutes to entertain the disgraced lawmaker, and he continues to cooperate with a federal inquiry into the matter.

King has not been implicated in the growing scandal around Wade’s illegal activities. However, federal records show he contributed to some of Wade’s favored lawmakers, including $6000 to Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) and $4000 to Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL).

I don’t think we’ve heard the end of controversy about this new nominee for the CIA’s top spot.

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Hayden: Same S***, Different Appointee

George Bush has continued to show his disdain for the Constitution with the nomination of Gen. Michael Hayden to run the CIA. According to the White House Press Department Fox News, Bush commended Hayden with, “Mike Hayden is supremely qualified for this position.” It seems the entire GOP is issuing similar comments. Let’s take a look at the real qualifications of someone who has repeatedly sworn to uphold the Constitution.

In January, we reported about Hayden’s lack of understanding of the 4th Amendment. With Hayden being the lead story in the news today, perhaps it’s time for a refresher course. Here’s a transcript of the interview Keith Olbermann covered:

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My understanding is that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution specifies that you must have probable cause to be able to do a search that does not violate an American’s right against unlawful searches and seizures. Do you use”¦

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: Well, actually, the Fourth Amendment actually protects all of us against unreasonable search and seizure. That’s what it says.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the measure is probable cause, I believe.

HAYDEN: The amendment says unreasonable search and seizure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But does it not say probable”¦

HAYDEN: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: “¦ the court standard”¦

HAYDEN: The amendment says”¦

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: “¦ the legal standard”¦

HAYDEN: “¦ unreasonable search and seizure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: “¦ the legal standard is probable cause.

HAYDEN: Just to be very clear, and believe me, if there’s any amendment to the Constitution that employees of the National Security Agency are familiar with, it’s the Fourth. And it is a reasonableness standard in the Fourth Amendment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN: To quote the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States in its entirety, the one the general and the NSA folks are so familiar with and know is about reasonableness and not about probable cause, quote, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Well, maybe they have a different Constitution over there at the NSA.

Here’s the video. Thanks to Jon Airheart for the reminder.

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Gas Price Solution

The following was e-mailed to me with along with permission to post it.

By Sovereign Dave

I have a solution to the gas price situation. Since both sides are arguing about the outlandish profits made by the oil companies, I say “Nationalize Them” “¦and all the Gas stations too. In this way all the stations will be the same”¦.no more Speedway and no more BP”¦all of them would just say “Internal Gas Service”. They could be staffed by federal government workers thus satisfying the need for employment. [Just like airport security of late]. The government could negotiate and buy oil in vast quantities thus eliminating those outlandish profits. And since they are nationalized, the station’s workers could track illegal Mexicans buying gas to boot. Of course all this could be justified by our leaders by declaring another war””namely “The War on Gas”. This follows the other long list of wars on pronouns signed-off under War Powers such as, “The War on Drugs”, “The War on Poverty”, and the infamous but now losing its nationalistic appeal, “The War on Terror”. In addition the War on Gas would go hand-in-hand with the War on Illegals as you will soon see. And of course those non-Art III “courts” called Federal District Courts would justify same under Interstate Commerce by black-robe Legislators creating decisions favorable to the IGS and DOJ.

Now here is how this would work. Your car VIN number would be keyed into the gas-allocation system for all the gas stations along with your SSN. Only people with papers would be permitted to buy gas [aka ID]. Along with your deduction of your paycheck for federal, state and FICA would be a “Gas Withholding Tax”. Depending on the type of vehicle you drive, you would have a certain amount of money withheld from your paycheck for gas. When you pulled into the station you would be debit-ed from that amount you had withheld. If you consumed more gas than was withheld you would have to file quarterly “Estimated Gas Taxes”. Not to worry—every gas station would house an HR Block to help you file and pay for your Gas Tax. No longer would the poor have to worry about the high price of gas for they would get an “Earned-gas-credit”. Of course you would file a W-GAS withholding statement with your employer indicating the type of vehicle, the number of vehicles, and whether you want any extra gas withholding exemptions.

Let’s give a practical example: Phil makes $50,000 per year, drives an SUV getting about 15mpg and he drives 15,000 miles per year. His Gas Tax would be about $3600 per year. Every two weeks only $150 would be deducted from his pay check as Gas Withholding Tax. Not much, right?

Now for the BEST part. If Phil drove much less, he would actually get Gas Tax back. So in other words, when Phil computed his gas taxes at the end of the year he would actually get Gas back [or money back] at the end of the year. Let’s say Phil only drove 7500 miles per year. He would get back $200 in gas withholding back! People would get very excited over this program for at the end of the year they would proudly proclaim, “HR Block computed my Gas taxes and I actually got Gas money back from the Government! ”

This is of course a humorous look at the Gas situation”¦.along with the present state of regular withholding tax. My point is simple: While politicians point the finger at the oil companies making “outlandish” profits they distract you from the federal government taking the REALLY outlandish profit of near 40% directly from your wallet. I’m amazed ! People scream at the amount they pay at the pump because they see the money slip through their hands”¦.yet they don’t notice the 20-fold amount slipping from their paycheck every month. And if they do, they “forgive” same under the apologist excuse of, “Oh well”¦that’s just government!” We really need to focus on the bigger thief and stop forgiving that thief simply because we are Stockholm Syndrome victims.

[After Thoughts: When I put out the piece above it was meant to be a little bit of a shocker as it appears socialist or communist. I must say, something unexpected happened: many people never read this in its entirety and never got to the portion that identifies it as humorous. Hence I received comments such as, "That communistic!". Unto itself this is an ironic revelation for as the piece points out, they already accept something of worse communism (or socialism). In order to get the point, one really has to read the story in its entirety. My hope was to wake-up a target audience with an analogy that on initial face value seems almost plausible"¦.and almost seems too good to be true"¦.but when one reads between the lines and does the mental math"¦one realizes that the Phil character in the piece is really getting screwed. He gets screwed four ways: (1) The amount taken from his paycheck looks small taken on a bi-weekly basis but in reality is at a cost to Phil of $3.60 per gallon--far more than what a nationalized no-profit gallon would cost. (2) The amount is withheld so in essence government is getting to "work-on" Phil's money before Phil gets same (3) Notice that if Phil drove ½ as many miles less the only money he got back was $200"¦..a token"¦.yet because he gets it back, and because he never saw it actually leave, it seems like a gift (4) He no longer has as much personal freedom--as he now has to file and track his Gas Tax. Folks"¦.isn't this the same point about the Federal Income Tax system? ]

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Bush Wants to Close Gitmo…

…or so he says. From MS-NBC:

President Bush said he would like to close the U.S.-run prison at Guantanamo Bay “” a step urged by several U.S. allies “” but was awaiting a Supreme Court ruling on how suspects held there might be tried.

“Of course Guantanamo is a delicate issue for people. I would like to close the camp and put the prisoners on trial,” Bush said in comments to German television to be broadcast Sunday night. The interview was recorded last week.

Human-rights groups have accused the United States of mistreating Guantanamo prisoners through cruel interrogation methods, a charge denied by the U.S. government.

They also criticize the indefinite detention of suspects captured since the military prison was opened in 2002 at the U.S. naval base in Cuba, as part of the Bush administration’s war on terrorism.

I’ll believe it when I see it. In the mean time, mere promises to fix this particular problem don’t excuse the neocons for the very long list of evil things they have done — and still continue to do.

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Politics, News, Opinion and . . . Sex?

I never thought of Hammer of Truth as a sex blog. As a political blog, we cover a wide variety of issues as they relate to politics and we aren’t afraid to tackle things others find politically incorrect or offensive. We also have fun with it, sometimes mixing in a few pinches of humor along with the politics. To me, unseasoned politics tastes like french fries sans salt.

This said, HoT has now been categorized as a sex blog in the link section of a blogger named Alice who resolves “to have great sex every day.” We’re with you 100%, and it doesn’t sound like you need any common sense shoved up your [elipsis]. Good luck in your pursuits, Alice.

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Whole Foods: Real World Libertarian Solutions

Locally, we are going to be starting a series of articles with the common theme of “Libertarian Solutions” before too long. I just read a great example of suitable material from the Harvard Crimson. Will Johnston profiled Whole Foods founder and CEO John Mackey, but the emphasis was not on his business success but on his social and environmental awareness while achieving that success. The writer raised an interesting issue:

Mackey’s rapid ascent to minor celebrity status””fueled by his company’s even faster climbing share price””has provoked a flurry of profiles in publications like The Economist and USA Today, all puzzling over his seemingly contradictory views. Can you have a social conscience and love the market as well? Certainly. Can you do it without falling into a contradiction? That is more difficult to answer.

The problem is that many outside of libertarian circles perceive that all of us are molded from a common Neal Boortz cast. However, Mackey handles issues differently than many outsiders might expect.

He despises unions and prides himself on having kept them out of all 183 of his company’s stores. “Instead of embracing the notion of the “˜expanding pie’ vision of capitalism””more for everyone, or win-win,” Mackey argues, “they [unions] frequently embrace the zero-sum philosophy of win-lose.” Aware that union busting is illegal, Mackey persuaded the employees in the few stores that dared to collectivize to discontinue their efforts. Mackey’s customers, mostly Volvo-driving Kerry voters, have hardly batted an eyelash, and have continued patronizing his stores. But wouldn’t their soymilk turn sour if they knew that Mackey had voted for the libertarian candidate in the last presidential election?

At this point of the article, Johnston doesn’t seem to get it:

They adhere to Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman’s famous saying that a company’s only “social obligation is to increase its profits.”

It’s pretty simple to me. If you wish to sell a product or service, you appeal to your customer base. That’s not an obligation but smart business.

Perhaps Johnston read a little more of Freidman before concluding the article, as he now starts to see the big picture:

But this is a bit of a caricature. Most libertarians, or those who lean that direction, are not counterculture anarchists, advocating public immorality and a reckless disregard for the fate of others. Sure, most of them have read Ayn Rand’s novels””perhaps even briefly fell in love with Objectivism””but, like everyone else, they realized that they were being callous pricks and soon thereafter forgot about Howard Roark. Nevertheless, what is common from Milton Friedman to John Mackey is a fervent, but tempered belief in individual choice. Importantly, liberty does not have to come at the expense of society’s plunge into an anarchic abyss; few libertarians would defend the choice of an industry to discard toxic chemicals into a river.

What libertarians do is give free range to marketplace morality, which is, as Friedman explains, “whatever”¦interests the participants, whatever they value, whatever goals they pursue.” Here the Mackey-types emerge, coming from a Twilight Zone where a love of fair trade and free markets converge. Supporting fair trade coffee and hating taxes are not contradictory attitudes

It’s a good read. Additionally, I’ll add that hating taxes didn’t seem so unpopular with the progressive crowd when I observed Lew Rockwell delivering this speech or saw the liberals lined up at the war tax protester booths.
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Murder Most Foul in Florida

It almost seems that I should start a weekly column featuring the latest news of torture and murder committed by military or law enforcement authorities. Here’s the latest.

Martin Lee Anderson was the 14-year-old boy who died January 6 in a Florida juvenile boot camp. He was beaten on the 5th, but survived. However, the incident was caught on a security tape. After months of official lies and coverups, the truth of how Anderson actually died was revealed in a second autopsy Friday. Anderson died of suffocation at the hands of guards who held his mouth shut and forced him to inhale a lethal dose of ammonia. Some of the beating video is available here.

Here’s the best version of the general story line I can gather from the various newspaper accounts of the story:

  • 1/4/2006: Martin Anderson arrived at the Bay County boot camp.
  • 1/5: Anderson was beaten until he collapsed by seven or eight guards. This was caught on security tape.
  • 1/6: Anderson died.
  • 2/13: The Miami Herald and CNN sued to obtain copies of the security video.
  • 2/16: The local medical examiner (Dr. Charles Siebert) reported that Anderson died of sickle-cell trait.
  • 2/17: The video tape was released to the public.
  • 2/22: Sheriff’s closed the boot camp and placed officers on administrative leave.
  • 3/2-8: Several experts make statements that it was extremely unlikely that Anderson died of sickle-cell.
  • 3/10: Anderson’s body is exhumed.
  • 3/14: Pathologist Dr. Michael Baden stated that Anderson did not die of natural causes.
  • 4/12-21: Thousands of students and political leaders meet, rally and march protesting the murder and subsequent coverup.
  • 4/20: Commissioner Guy Tunnell of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement resigned Thursday following a meeting with Jeb Bush.
  • 5/5: Dr. Vernard Adams said Anderson died from suffocation.

At this time, no charges have been filed, but it appears that Governor Jeb Bush has been forced to become sympathetic to the cause. Perhaps Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour can follow Bush’s lead and pardon Cory Maye.

There are several very distrurbing trends. To begin, a good deal of these stories are coming from the south, like the Lester Eugene Siler torture case. The even more disturbing trend is that all of these cases (including Abu Ghraib) are coming to the light of day because they were somehow filmed or taped. How many of the recent accusations of torture have been dismissed because there was no camera available. Worse yet, how many murders have been covered up?

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Copernicus III: The Da Vinci Code

In their latest attack on the First Amendment, it seems the Roman Catholic heirarchy is taking notes from liberals on the Second Amendment. Like the liberal claim that the right to keep and bear arms is only for the militia, perhaps Catholics are stating the freedom of speech and of the press exists only for religious bodies. From Reuters:

In the latest Vatican broadside against “The Da Vinci Code”, a leading cardinal says Christians should respond to the book and film with legal action because both offend Christ and the Church he founded.

If people actually start to win such suits, I’ll expect a major attack on South Park next.

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Property Rights Still Mean Something in Iowa

While the basis of the story seems sort of lame, the concusion is what makes it pretty rare these days. Here’s the story:

Wendy Dershem may think twice before leaving that egg roll on her plate at her next Chinese buffet. The Des Moines woman, her boyfriend and her two children were kicked out of a restaurant last week after management accused her of leaving too much food on her plate.

“They told us we are not welcome there anymore,” said Dershem, a repeat customer at the Dragon House buffet. “We waste too much food. But the buffet is all you can eat. And you know kids. They won’t always eat everything and they want something else.”

Here’s the surprise ending (emphasis added):

“Shes done that too many times,” Cao said. “We would welcome her back if she has respect and knows what she wants.”

Bob Oberbillig, an adjunct professor at the Drake Legal Clinic, says the patron would have no legal case against exclusion from a business unless there are other factors such as racial discrimination or mental health issues.

“An establishment can exclude people if they smoke or waste food,” he said. “It’s still a private business.”

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Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

I’ve a very long list of reasons to dislike Condoleezza Rice, but this is not one of them. From the article:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, recalling how her father took up arms to defend fellow blacks from racist whites in the segregated South, said Wednesday the constitutional right of Americans to own guns is as important as their rights to free speech and religion.

In an interview on CNN’s “Larry King Live,” Rice said she came to that view from personal experience. She said her father, a black minister, and his friends armed themselves to defend the black community in Birmingham, Ala., against the White Knight Riders in 1962 and 1963. She said if local authorities had had lists of registered weapons, she did not think her father and other blacks would have been able to defend themselves.

I was almost ready to applaud her until I read that she supports background checks at gun shows. All in all, it was a good Second Amendment read.

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S&W 500: Cool Product of the Day

sandw500.jpgI never thought I’d see firearms being covered at Slate. One of them really captured my interest: the Smith and Wesson Model 500.

Leading the way for Smith & Wesson was the Model 500, a .50-caliber revolver that was advertised as the world’s most powerful handgun when it debuted in early 2003. The marketing pitch echoed that for the .44 Magnum revolver, which was touted for its unrivaled stopping power when it debuted in 1955. With three times the muzzle energy of Dirty Harry’s classic .44 Magnum, the Model 500 was a success with both consumers and critics, earning Handgun of the Year honors from the likes of American Rifleman.


Wiki provides
a bit more detail about the weapon’s “impact”:

The 500 is the most powerful production revolver in the world today, firing the S&W .500 Magnum. The 500 holds 5 rounds. The .500 Smith and Wesson calibre can fire at incredible velocities and deliver an unusually large quantity of kinetic energy – the most high-powered commercial round weighing 440 grains (28.5 g) has a muzzle energy of 2600 foot·pounds force (3.5 kJ). However handloaders have experimented with 500 grain bullets developing 3000+ foot·pounds (4.1 kJ) of muzzle energy.

I’m certainly planning to find someone (or a range) who owns the S&W 500 so I can check it out for myself.

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Punishing the Innocent Because of One Perv

Not all libraries are good guys. The Naperville Public Library decided not to fingerprint patrons because of incompetence, not privacy concerns.

A Chicago-area library system has dropped a plan to use fingerprint scans to monitor computer use, blaming incompatible software.

Administrators at the Naperville Public Library told the Chicago Tribune the decision had nothing to do with criticism that fingerprint scans would be an invasion of privacy.

The three-branch system decided that computers needed to be watched more closely after an incident in which a man who had been looking at pornography fondled himself in front of young patrons.

Perhaps they need to do retinal scans of kids checking out books, too. After all, it is probable that at least one person reading Clifford, the Big Red Dog this year will commit some serious felony a couple of decades down the road.

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