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Cindy Sheehan Shut Up By DC Police

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Our federal government is not allowed to prohibit a citizen from being able to express themselves or their opinions, especially with respect to how they feel about our government. As a matter of fact, we felt so strongly about this that it was demanded that an amendment be made to our constitution "codifying" this restriction:
Amendment I.
Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech.
Seems pretty straightforward to me. Congress cannot create any law depriving Americans of their ability to speak their minds. Now that we've established this, can someone explain to me why I would read this? From this Associated Press article:

[Cindy] Sheehan, who was invited to attend the speech by Rep. Lynn Woolsey (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., was charged with demonstrating in the Capitol building, said Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider. The charge was later changed to unlawful conduct, Schneider said. Both charges are misdemeanors.

Sheehan was taken in handcuffs from the Capitol to police headquarters a few blocks away.

So, what did Cindy Sheehan, acclaimed "menace to society," do to provoke the wrath of the DC police force? Again, from the article:

Schneider said Sheehan had worn a T-shirt with an anti-war slogan to the speech and covered it up until she took her seat. Police warned her that such displays were not allowed, but she did not respond, the spokeswoman said.

Not allowed...? Why is it so hard for our government to understand that they have no authority to create laws designed to force Americans to shut up? I say, "Good for you, Cindy Sheehan!"

U.S. Credit Maxed... Again!

Hammer of Truth had a good post about our national debt and where we stand financially. From their post:

In November 2004, lawmakers voted to once again increase the public debt ceiling from $7.39 trillion to $8.18 trillion. December of 2005, as the spending cap neared the limit, Treasury Secretary John Snow told Congress that the government may reach its statutory borrowing limit by mid-February and asked to raise the debt ceiling “as soon as possible.” Since then, Congress has been relatively idle on the issue.

On January 24th, the
U.S. government went into technical default according to the government’s own debt watch website.

Congress increased their spending budget by over 10 percent and they still managed to spend it all ($790 billion). The amazing thing to me is that there are still countries out their that are eager to lend us money!

How bad off do you have to be before you're finally cut off?!?

More News on Iran's Oil Bourse

Monday, January 30, 2006

There's been a lot of buzz on the net recently about Iran's decision to switch to the Euro. Every day brings a new volley of articles talking up the possibility that Iran's pending oil bourse may be the straw that breaks the camel's back, pushing the U.S. into a conflict with them. I've read a number of these articles, and thought I'd share a quote from one particular article that pretty much gets to the point of what I think we need to be mindful of:
Somehow, big steps are seemingly being taken toward a war. According to them, just two months remain. Within the next two months, confusing allegations will resonate as to how much of a threat Iran has become.
So, why was the month of March chosen? What is behind the prediction that Iran will carry out a nuclear experiment in March? In other words, why are the USA and Israel drawing global attention to the month of March? Why are Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia being pushed into a race of weapons build-up by bringing up the possibility that they may also acquire nuclear weapons?
Because, there is another event expected to occur in March, which could have an impact on the economy of the USA equivalent to a nuclear attack: in March, Teheran will implement its 2004 decision that it will start using the Euro instead of the Dollar in its petroleum trade, establishing a petroleum market, and breaking the “petrodollar” monopoly. Iran will open its petroleum market in March. Euro will replace Dollar in the petroleum trade. This will constitute a major attack on a vital component of the American Empire.
Now, if the fit hits the shan in March, you'll know why. Here's to hoping they're wrong...
Related Articles:

The Worst of Times... Really?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Stefen Sharkansky, of the blog Sound Politics, took to task an editorial in the Seattle Times. In his post, The worst of Times, he states:
Yesterday's Seattle Times has a delirious unsigned editorial (I assume written by Bruce Ramsey) celebrating the victory of terrorist group Hamas in this week's Palestinian elections:
Palestinian voters were not crazy when they roughly replaced the long-ruling Fatah Party with the militant group Hamas ... Holding real power can be a sobering, moderating influence ... Grant Hamas the benefit of the doubt.
Those who live in the region, understand what Hamas is all about and have a stake in the consequences are less sanguine than Bruce Ramsey is. The Times could do a better job of educating itself about Hamas' fundamentalist Islamic objectives. Even if Jewicide bombings are acceptable to the Seattle Times, gender apartheid probably isn't.
After reading the editorial, I could not make the connection between the author's reporting of an election by Palestinians and Stefens' references to Hamas' fundamentalist Islamic objectives. Therefore, I responded:
I think most are missing the author's point. The United States government is in the business of exporting Democracy to the world... at gunpoint if necessary. How ironic would it be, then, to hear our leaders deriding the democratic election of Hamas? The author, in my opinion, is attempting to point out this fact in his editorial. We can see this if we look close enough:
Palestinian voters were not crazy when they roughly replaced the long-ruling Fatah Party with the militant group Hamas. In the finest democratic tradition, they threw the arrogant, thieving rascals out.
By all accounts, the election was open, honest and fair. More than 70 percent of eligible voters turned out to get rid of the regime associated with graft, corruption and lawlessness in Palestinian towns. In a universal application of "all politics is local," Palestinians voted in an alternative that has opened schools and medical clinics in the midst of chaos.
Grant Hamas the benefit of the doubt. That is the inherent optimism of diplomacy. A cautious, incredulous world community must help Palestinians get the most out of its embrace of democracy.
The author notes that the election was legitimate, therefore the U.S. government must respect it. We don't have to like it, but we have to respect it. Besides, Palestinians didn't so much vote in Hamas as they voted out the Fatah Party. The people exercised their power of the ballot box and now they've got what the majority wanted. The author is merely saying that we need to respect the will of the Palestinian people by letting Hamas attempt to serve them. Before the election, Hamas were answerable only to themselves. Now, they're answerable to all Palestinians.

Fascism, Redefined

I was reading through some articles this morning when I ran across a definition of fascism by Dr. Steve Jonas that I wanted to share. He has an article posted at Thomas Paine's Corner titled, George Bush and the Doctrine of Original Intent, that explains for us the meaning behind terms used by Bush and company such as "original intent" and "strict construction".
I'm not totally on board with everything that Dr. Jonas puts forth in his article, but it is still an excellent read. Again, the part that caught my eye was his definition of the word fascism:
"Fascism is a politico-economic system in which there is: total executive branch control of both the legislative and administrative powers of government; no independent judiciary; no Constitution that embodies the Rule of Law standing above the people who run the government; no inherent personal rights or liberties; a single national ideology that first demonizes and then criminalizes all political, religious, and ideological opposition to it; and total corporate determination of economic, fiscal, and regulatory policy."
Sit back and reflect on that for a moment. Think of the many ways our country has changed, both politically and economically, in the last half dozen years or so. It kind of brings our "reality" into sharp focus when you observe it through the right lens, doesn't it?

Ah... Computers! You either love 'em or hate 'em!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

I had this hair-brained idea that I would update the "look" of this here website. Little did I know what an adventure it would turn into. There's a little bit of everything that popped up. It seemed like everytime I'd hit the 'Preview' button, something else was broke. My hats off to any of you folks that understand CSS and HTML. I still don't know if I got all the bugs worked out of the page-layout. That reminds me. If you see an anomyly, let me know so I can try and fix it.

I was going to use this post to test a couple of things so bare with me...

I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.
~ Thomas Watson

Always be wary of the Software Engineer who carries a screwdriver.
~ Robert Paul

Let's see if some formating will work: BOLD, ITALIC, STRIKE, UNDERLINE, COLORS.
I guess thats about it. Oh wait. I almost forgot. I was going to check 'justification':

I was reading an
article about globalization and outsourcing when I had an image flash in my mind
that we're headed for a great big flop in our economy. The picture in my mind is
clear, but lets see if I can flesh it out in words. Let's say you have a man,
John Doe, who builds cars at Ford for a living. He's been working on their
assembly lines for over twenty years. This job is all he knows. Ford, not being
bound by borders, looks out onto the sea of workers in our new, globalized
economy and sees a vast army of workers "over there" who are willing to make the
exact same car that John Doe is building. Here's the catch: That army of workers
"over there" will build it for half the wages.
I was reading an article about globalization and outsourcing when I had an image flash in my mind that we're headed for a great big flop in our economy. The picture in my mind is clear, but lets see if I can flesh it out in words. Let's say you have a man, John Doe, who builds cars at Ford for a living. He's been working on their assembly lines for over twenty years. This job is all he knows. Ford, not being bound by borders, looks out onto the sea of workers in our new, globalized economy and sees a vast army of workers "over there" who are willing to make the exact same car that John Doe is building. Here's the catch: That army of workers "over there" will build it for half the wages.

I was reading an article about globalization and outsourcing when I had an image flash in my mind that we're headed for a great big flop in our economy. The picture in my mind is clear, but lets see if I can flesh it out in words. Let's say you have a man, John Doe, who builds cars at Ford for a living. He's been working on their assembly lines for over twenty years. This job is all he knows. Ford, not being bound by borders, looks out onto the sea of workers in our new, globalized economy and sees a vast army of workers "over there" who are willing to make the exact same car that John Doe is building. Here's the catch: That army of workers "over there" will build it for half the wages.
I was reading an article about globalization and outsourcing when I had an image flash in my mind that we're headed for a great big flop in our economy. The picture in my mind is clear, but lets see if I can flesh it out in words. Let's say you have a man, John Doe, who builds cars at Ford for a living. He's been working on their assembly lines for over twenty years. This job is all he knows. Ford, not being bound by borders, looks out onto the sea of workers in our new, globalized economy and sees a vast army of workers "over there" who are willing to make the exact same car that John Doe is building. Here's the catch: That army of workers "over there" will build it for half the wages.
That should do it.

When A "Made in China" Label Means You Can't Afford It

Friday, January 27, 2006

I was reading an article about globalization and outsourcing when I had an image flash in my mind that we're headed for a great big flop in our economy. The picture in my mind is clear, but lets see if I can flesh it out in words. Let's say you have a man, John Doe, who builds cars at Ford for a living. He's been working on their assembly lines for over twenty years. This job is all he knows. Ford, not being bound by borders, looks out onto the sea of workers in our new, globalized economy and sees a vast army of workers "over there" who are willing to make the exact same car that John Doe is building. Here's the catch: That army of workers "over there" will build it for half the wages.
A question pops to mind: "Will Ford sell that vehicle in the United States for a reduced price since they were able to reduce their manufacturing costs?" The answer is most likely, no. John Doe has lost his job at the Ford plant and will have to find an unskilled job at Wal-Mart because all the other auto plants have followed suit. John Doe's income is reduced by half, if not more. This scenario is not isolated to the auto industry. We see it happening to all areas of employment. What drives it is simply the fact that the cost of living "over there" is less than here. Therefore, workers can accept less per hour and still survive a comfortable existence. However, our worker in the United States is surrounded by products that are priced to sell to auto manufacturers, not Wal-Mart employees. Unless John Doe can quickly adjust his living standards, he will spend himself into a mess of debt.
Here's my question for you: How can people making minimum, or just above minimum wage, afford to purchase products that they used to produce? We are quickly becoming a nation of consumers. But, how can we continue to consume goods while no one is generating wealth through production? Eventually, the wealth will run out and our nation will be bankrupt.

No More Sex Tourism, We're Stuck With Disney Land

"AN ACT Relating to prohibiting sellers of travel from promoting travel for sex tourism; adding a new section to chapter 9A.88 RCW; adding a new section to chapter 19.138 RCW; creating a new section; and prescribing penalties.


NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. The legislature finds that the sex industry has rapidly expanded over the past several decades. It involves sexual exploitation of persons, predominantly women and girls, including activities relating to prostitution, pornography, sex tourism, and other commercial sexual services. Prostitution and related activities contribute to the trafficking in persons, as does sex tourism. Therefore, discouraging sex tourism is key to reducing the demand for sex trafficking.

While prostitution is illegal in developing nations that are the primary destination of sex tourism, sex tourism is a major component of the local economy. The laws target female workers rather than the male customers, and economic opportunities for females are limited. Developed nations create the demand for sex tourism, yet often fail to criminalize the practice, or the existing laws fail to specifically target the sellers of travel who organize, facilitate, and promote sex tourism." ~SB 6731

I'm really at a loss as to why this would be of any concern to anyone in our state government. If a guy or gal wants to go to some distant country and get his or her rocks off, I fail to see where it's any business of our state government. As I see it, no crime has been committed until the money's been paid for you-know-what... and if the would-be vacationer is still standing on Washington soil, there's been no crime committed yet. If a crime is committed, it would have to occur in the country where the sex act happens and they would have original jurisdiction. You can go here to read the bill. What a waste of time and money!

On a side note, the Seattle Times carried an article about this. At the end of their article was this blurb:

"On Wednesday, a federal appeals court ruled that Americans caught paying children for sex in foreign countries can be prosecuted in the United States.

Ruling in a Seattle case, the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Congress' constitutional authority to regulate commerce with foreign countries allows for the prosecution of Americans on underage sex tours abroad because they pay for sex. The ruling upholds a 2-year-old law criminalizing such behavior."

Isn't it nice to know that the authority of the United States government encompasses the globe. You know what this means, don't you? No more going to Amsterdam to get high. If they can prosecute you for having sex with kids in Thailand, they can just as well prosecute you for taking a bong hit in Amsterdam, too!

(...and, no, I don't condone kiddy porn, etc. My point is to show our government sticking its nose into business where it has no authority.)

The Leveling of Man

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

In our ongoing discussion of House Bill 2661, Mark has made the point that:
"The problem here is that the government is violating the principle of equality before the law by extending its role into transactions in which the government plays no part. ... Civil rights are not involved unless you say it’s OK for the government to throw aside the principle of equality before the law and declare that some people are "more equal" than others. ...[I]t has arbitrarily handed out privileges to certain classes of people and not to others."
To which I respond:
I have the right to dispose of my property any way I see fit. In disposing of it, I may choose to make it available for purchase. The government postulates that buyers of my property have the "civil right" backed by the force of government, to be protected from "socially unacceptable" discrimination in the purchasing process. How can both parties be right? Or is one made more right because government chooses to stand in their corner? The latter seems to be the case when it comes to discrimination. In rereading your last comment, I came upon the sentence, "[government] has arbitrarily handed out privileges to certain classes of people and not to others". This, in my opinion, is where our answer lies. Government doesn’t give a rat’s ass about your rights or mine. It has arbitrarily handed out a privilege to its subjects and now must make the rules to enforce it. That’s what this is all about... the steady march into government-granted privileges, culminating in complete social bondage of the masses because most don’t know about natural rights. In fact, most people think our government grants our rights to us.
I was talking with a wheelchair-bound fellow who came into my store, yesterday. I mentioned this bill to him. He said he hadn’t heard about it. He then told me of a story where his subsidized-housing complex had modified a walkway that caused him to fall out of his chair and become injured. He sued the complex and won. The judge ordered the complex to pay his medical bills and provide him with a little cash for his inconvenience. I asked if the complex was forced by court order to fix the hazard that caused all his "pain and suffering." His answer... "No." Unbelievable! He commented that he wished there were some agency that he could report them to. I told him that, in fact, now there was: The Washington Human Rights Commission. He then explained to me that he felt laws written to protect the handicapped were lacking because those writing the laws were not, themselves, handicapped. They could not fully appreciate the difficulty the handicapped experience trying to get around in a bipedal society. I told him that I understood and appreciated his frustration, but he was sorely mistaken if he thought our lawmakers could ever legislate him back into being a whole person. It would never happen. The best he could hope for would be for lawmakers to ban walking by all. Then we would all be on an equal footing.
And that’s what this bill does. It essentially bans the walking by all members of society in order to level the playing field for a few who are wheelchair-bound. It doesn’t raise them up to a higher level in society but forces society down to theirs. In doing so, it infringes on the natural rights of everyone it touches... even those it claims to protect.

The Civil Rights of Man

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Mark at South Puget Sound Libertarian has an excellent post concerning the recently past bill, House Bill 2661, which attempt to secure equal footing for "minority groups" in Washington State. Marks point is that, by this bill, individuals loose their right to engage in transactions as they see fit. They are compelled by force and monetary penalty to conform to the State's preconceived notion of civil justice for all in the market place. The underlying argument in all of this is, "Does your right to consume my product trump by right to sell it to you?" Below is my response to his post...

 Sec. 3. RCW 49.60.030 and 1997 c 271 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:

(1) The right to be free from discrimination because of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, or the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a disabled person is recognized as and declared to be a civil right.

As I understand it, people have Rights and Powers (see the 9th and 10th Amendments, U.S. Constitution, for further clarification). Occasionally, we feel the need to protect and secure or Rights, lives, liberties, property, etc. so we create “government” to do this for us. By it’s creation, individuals vest in government certain Powers that are naturally inherent in them. Government then has vested Powers, but no Rights. This describes exactly what individuals did when they created both the state and national governments. Neither body has Rights, and neither body has the Power to create Rights for anyone.

Having said that let me ask a question: How can government create/extend civil rights if government has not been vested with Rights itself? It would seem more accurate to say that government is actually creating/extending a “privilege” to certain people. As a matter of fact, if you search for “What is a civil right?” on Google, you will see the term privilege used synonymously with the term civil right. Can a government grant privileges? Sure. Can government granted privileges trump natural Rights? Is the created greater than the creator? The answer to both is “No". Is it a civil right for you and I to be free from discrimination in our society? Is it also a civil right for you and I to be able discriminate against those we choose to associate with (on an individual basis) in society? Both are tough questions to answer.

"…Natural rights are those which appertain to man in right of his existence. Of this kind are all the intellectual rights, or rights of the mind, and also all those rights of acting as an individual for his own comfort and happiness, which are not injurious to the natural rights of others. Civil rights are those which appertain to man in right of his being a member of society. Every civil right has for its foundation some natural right pre-existing in the individual, but to the enjoyment of which his individual power is not, in all cases, sufficiently competent. Of this kind are all those which relate to security and protection…"
~ Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man

Criminal's Justice

Monday, January 23, 2006

"My confidence is that there will for a long time be virtue and good sense enough in our countrymen to correct abuses."
~ Thomas Jefferson (letter to Edward Rutledge, 1788)

Is it me or does it seem of late that we have reached the end of Mr. Jefferson's confidence? By this I mean we no longer are able to properly hold to account those parties who have committed abuses while working for our government. In the last half dozen years or so, we've seen numerous cases where committees have been formed to look into and bring charges against suspected wrong-doers. When these committees have finished their investigations, a government peon may get charged with a crime, but it never goes much higher. It almost makes you think they're bound by the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is a good rule when those applying the rule are good, upstanding citizens. But it takes on a whole new meaning when the rule is applied by evil-doers!

How can justice be done when the people we task with the job of bringing these wrong-doers to account for their actions are just as crooked as the crooks?

DOJ Underestimates The Size Of Google's... Googles?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Recently, its been reported that the Department of Justice has decided that it wants to randomly search the records of preferred search engines Yahoo, AOL, MSN, and Google for porn-related searches. It has also been reported that Google basically told the DOJ to go pound sand. Among the reasons Google gave, was that they wanted to protect their search engine trade secrets. I can understand that. What other thing could be more important to a search engine company than it's method of searching?

Hammer of Truth carried a post on this topic. They had an image on their page that inspired me to pay homage to Google in a way that HoT's didn't. Theirs came close, but I think they missed what it took to do what Google did. So, here you go...

My opinion of DOJ's actions: If they want to look at records of searches with no individual identifiers, then I'd be ok with that (as long as participation in their program was voluntary for search engine companies). However, DOJ didn't do this. They, as I understand it, demanded records that included the IP addresses of those who initiated the searches. This gives DOJ the ability to prosecute anyone who did anything they determine objectionable or inappropriate. This, in my opinion, is not ok. Its tantamount to DOJ showing up on your doorstep demanding to "have a look around" to make sure you're complying with all the laws. The DOJ is on a fishing trip, and Google is right to tell them, "Go to Hell!"

Here's the irony behind this whole story: The Mercury News reported in an article that:
The government argues that it needs the information as it prepares to once again defend the constitutionality of the Child Online Protection Act in a federal court in Pennsylvania. The law was struck down in 2004 because it was too broad and could prevent adults from accessing legal porn sites.
The DOJ wants to commit the unconstitutional act of unreasonable records confiscation/examination to help them defend the constitutionality of another Act. One that has already been shown to be unconstitutional. They simply just don't get it.

Iran's Oil Bourse, the US Dollar, and Gold

Friday, January 20, 2006

Note: I've been "unplugged" for a couple of days because my neighbor's computer crashed. I've been busy helping him recover information off his old hard drive. Normally, this process of recovery would take around a day to sort out, but I kept getting interrupted because I had to go to work. Sucks to be poor! But, now it's done and he's happy... Back to the Collective!
I see that talk of the upcoming Iranian oil bourse is back in the public's mind. Devvy Kidd mentions it in a recent article (The Noose Tightens) with a link to an excellent piece hosted by Eldorado Gold titled The Proposed Iranian Oil Bourse (.pdf). I recommend reading it. There's a lot of good information in this article about the U.S. dollar, the American Empire, and why we do the things we do as an empire. (Hint: It has a lot to do with protecting our fiat currency.)
Just for kicks, I popped over to to see where gold was this morning and where it had been recently. Armed with the new information gained from the above articles (you read them, right?), Kitco's five year gold chart makes more sense.
While examining this chart, I discovered something interesting. Look at the quoted values for the U.S. dollar on April 2, 2001 and January 16, 2006 as compared to gold. On April 2, 2001, you could by an ounce of gold for about $256.00. Almost five years later, that same ounce of gold would cost you over twice as much! And they say there's no inflation. Who are they kidding? (The American public... that's who!)
Let's speculate for a moment. If gold keeps trending upward, let's look at where it will be if it either increases at the same rate or doubles in value. The first option puts an ounce of gold at about $768.00 on or around January, 2011. If gold's value is compounding, it'll fetch around $1024.00 an ounce in 2011. Our U.S. dollar will be worth less... a lot less if this happens. I just don't see how average Americans are going to keep their heads above water, financially speaking. This pool of debt and inflation seems to be rising faster than most of us can keep up with.
This may be why I've had this sinking feeling lately that no matter what I do to get ahead financially, I still come up short. What I've thought to be my own shortcomings in earnings has actually been the sinking value of the U.S. dollar on the whole. The reason I'm poorer today than yesterday, is because my money I hold in my hands is worth less than yesterday. I've been robbed and I didn't even know it. Don't believe me? Look at the chart... the number's don't lie.

Open Mic On "Compelling Interest"

Saturday, January 14, 2006

I'm gathering information on the subject of "compelling interest" for an up-coming post. I want to offer the following space for all readers to leave me any and all thoughts on this subject. As you may be aware, the government uses the "compelling interest" argument when it wants to assert itself into areas that it has no business. We usually see this argument when children are involved, or in matters involving public safety.
Title 42, Chapter 21B has a section devoted to a compelling interest test in matters of religion. I'll recreate it here so that you can get a feel for what the lawmakers intend when they encroach on areas that they have no authority. Remember, the first part of Amendment I states, "Congress shall make no law... prohibiting the free exercise [of religion]." Compare that with the language below stating, "governments should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification." At what point does a reasonable person conclude that the intent of these two expressions are not the same? The First Amendment's language is black and white and without limitations. Congress, on the other hand, is trying to use the law to subvert the Constitution and the Bill of Rights by legislating themselves a loophole. "No law" means "no law." Here's the code:
§ 2000bb. Congressional findings and declaration of purposes
Release date: 2005-12-27
(a) Findings
The Congress finds that-- 
(1) the framers of the Constitution, recognizing free exercise of religion as an unalienable right, secured its protection in the First Amendment to the Constitution;
(2) laws “neutral” toward religion may burden religious exercise as surely as laws intended to interfere with religious exercise;
(3) governments should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification;
(4) in Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990) the Supreme Court virtually eliminated the requirement that the government justify burdens on religious exercise imposed by laws neutral toward religion; and
(5) the compelling interest test as set forth in prior Federal court rulings is a workable test for striking sensible balances between religious liberty and competing prior governmental interests.
(b) Purposes
The purposes of this chapter are--
(1) to restore the compelling interest test as set forth in Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963) and Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972) and to guarantee its application in all cases where free exercise of religion is substantially burdened; and
(2) to provide a claim or defense to persons whose religious exercise is substantially burdened by government.
Again, please leave me any thoughts on this subject. Thanks!

Building The Foundation For Socialized Medicine

Friday, January 13, 2006

Mark, over at South Puget Sound Libertarian, put up a post about an effort in Maryland to force Wal-Mart to provide medical coverage for it's employees or face a penalty tax. The Associated Press reports:
Maryland's Senate voted Thursday to enact a first-in-the-nation requirement that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. spend more on employee health care despite the governor's veto of the legislation. The measure, touted as a money-saver for Medicaid, now goes to the House for a vote.
At least 30 state legislatures are considering similar bills.
The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 30-17 to overturn a veto of the so-called Wal-Mart bill last summer by Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich. The measure now heads to the House, where the prospects of a three-fifths vote required to overturn vetoes was less certain, though Democrats control that chamber as well.
Supporters of the bill said Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, unfairly costs taxpayers money by spending less than 8 percent of payroll on health care. The bill requires all companies with more than 10,000 employees to spend that much or give the state the difference. Currently, only Wal-Mart would meet the criteria in Maryland.
Mark concludes his post by pointing out that this bill flies in the face of people's or business's ability to contract for labor. He states:

Collectivism trumps contract rights again. It is considered "unfair" for a business and its employees to agree on a health care benefit if that agreement might result in employees taking advantage of the government's collectivist Medicaid program. No one forces people to work for Wal-Mart and the company provides thousands of jobs in Maryland. If Wal-Mart says, "Screw you", to the Maryland government and leaves town, as it should, then Maryland taxpayers will be on the hook for unemployment payments to thousands of people and Medicaid will be out even more. Maybe the Maryland legislature will pass a law that prevents Wal-Mart from going out of business. After all, it seems that Maryland regards Wal-Mart as an economic slave of the State.

The Governor wisely vetoed the bill and it may yet fail in the Maryland House, but I doubt it. The PC idea of "fairness" will have caused yet more economic destruction.

The US seems bound to become the "better" or "more" US, i.e., the USSR (OK, bad joke).

I'm in total agreement with what Mark says, and would like to add the following:

I predict that we will see a concerted effort to get this model passed in at least 60% of the states before the next presidential election. If they can do this, it will become the foundation for a new socialized medicine platform (a.k.a. Medical Insurance) that the Democrats will campaign on. The people behind this are using the same tactics that were used to bring us those wonderful socialist programs of Unemployment Insurance, Old Age Insurance, Disability Insurance, etc.

Here's how I see it going down: As the Social Engineers (SE's) look out on the great savanna of businesses looking for their next prey, they see the great Wal-Mart beast plodding along minding it's own business (pun intended). The SE's create a campaign whereby they propose legislation that levies a tax against very large companies for their "fair share" of what the public (foolishly) perceives should be their responsibility to society to cover the costs of their employee's medical coverage. No one has enough brains to question whether or not it's even the responsibility of Wal-Mart to provide medical coverage to its employees. Medical coverage is a benefit provided by businesses to attract employees, nothing more. The state has no authority to penalize Wal-Mart for not providing its employees with medical coverage of any kind because Wal-Mart is under no obligation to provide its employees with medical coverage.

Hypothetically speaking, this would be like the State demanding that my employer put food on my table because I'm not able to afford all my groceries and am in need of government's assistance in the form of food stamps, the cost being covered by taxpayers. If my employer would only pay me enough, the SE's argue, I wouldn't need to go to the State for food assistance. The SE's believe that my employer is indirectly responsible for my needing financial assistance and therefore should be monetarily penalized for my inability to feed my family or myself. It never occurred to these geniuses that I might need to find a higher paying job: one that fits better with my needs.

See if this rings a bell: We'll only tax the top one percent of the population with this new income tax. Only the very wealthy will have to pay into it. Besides, it's their fair share. They owe it to society.

Compare the language used to sell the American public on the income tax scheme with the language of this model. Only businesses with over 10,000 employees (currently only Wal-Mart) are subject to the tax. But what must be considered is that once the State has been given the power to tax, at one percent or one hundred percent, there is nothing stopping them from changing the amount of the tax or who it covers. If we give them the power to tax very large companies, then they must also have the power to tax very small companies, too. It's up to their discretion as to the size of business they will levy this tax upon, and at what rate.

If you doubt my words, then allow me to ask you two questions:
1. What percentage of the population is subject to the income tax, and at what rate?
2. Is it more or less than what it was when originally enacted?

This program will put into place all the authority necessary to legislate into existence a socialist medical program. With enough individual States implementing this program (I'm guessing around 60%), the federal government will have it's mandate to step in with federal minimum standards/regulations that the states will have to follow. The federal government will eventually implement their version in those states not having their own local versions, claiming that it has a "compelling interest" in those states to provide it's citizens with medical coverage. The State programs will, over time, be assimilated into the federal program and will be covered by the federal Health and Human Services umbrella. In about three years, you'll be looking at your pay stub wondering what the deduction for "HICA" is: the Health Insurance Contribution Act.

Three final predictions that depend on the first coming true:
1. All taxes collected will be paid into the general fund and will be spent on anything and everything as soon as it hits the books.
2. People will still not be able to afford nor receive medical coverage.
3. The overall quality of medical care will suffer because of government's intrusion into the medical field.

It's a sure bet: socialized medicine is coming!

Embracing Socialism: How the Democratic Party Turned It's Back On American Values

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I read the following excerpt at the Social Security website. It was found in an essay titled Historical Background and Development of Social Security. What I found interesting was how easily the Democratic Party embraced a member of a rival political party just so it could assimilate one of it's programs. Does anyone believe that by simply changing a man's party registration you could change the beliefs of the man? Besides, it wasn't even Sinclair's idea to change his party affiliation. The idea was presented to him by the democrats. He must have thought to himself, "What a perfect opportunity to infiltrate the Democratic Party and infect it with all the platforms of the Socialist Party." Dare I say, it worked!

A Writer & his EPIC:
Upton Sinclair was a famous novelist and social crusader from California , and an avowed Socialist, who in 1933 was asked by a dissident group of Los Angeles Democrats to help them draft a platform proposal for dealing with the state's economic problems. They were so impressed by Sinclair's plan--which he christened the End Poverty in California, or EPIC plan--that they persuaded him to change his registration to Democratic and to run for the party's nomination for governor in 1934.
Sinclair's EPIC scheme was a 12-point program to remake the Californian economy. It involved the issuance of scrip currency, the creation of large state-run bartering enterprises, a tax on idle land and floating a large state bond for $300 million. Point 10 of the plan was a proposal to give pensions of $50 a month to all needy persons over 60 who had lived in California for at least three years. There was a state pension plan in operation in California at the time, but its benefits were very low, and the eligibility requirements were so severe that most elderly Californians could not qualify. (This was true of many of the state pension programs around the country.) Sinclair's pension proposal was very popular because in one fell swoop it reduced the minimum age for pensions by 10 years, almost doubled their value, and eliminated restrictive eligibility requirements. 
Sinclair's EPIC program, and especially its pension proposal, had a great appeal in Depression-weary California. Sinclair and his supporters organized EPIC clubs, published newsletters, formed ad hoc organizations and found a large chorus of supporters with unlimited enthusiasm for his ideas. In short order, Upton Sinclair's EPIC movement captured the Democratic party and Sinclair became the Democratic nominee for governor in the election of 1934. The party's platform became the EPIC program, including the pension plan.
When the votes were counted, Upton Sinclair got 37% of the vote, the Republican candidate got 48% and a third-party progressive candidate took another 13%. Had it been a two-man race, Upton Sinclair might have become Governor of California and the EPIC pension plan might well have become the California model.

Creatures of Habit

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Thanks, Mike Thompson! I needed a good laugh.

It's the System, Stupid

Monday, January 09, 2006

Strike the Root has an article in today's edition that I highly recommend. Robert Kaercher looks at the darker-side of lobbyists in Washington. He observes that their corruption is not the original problem, but a system of a greater cancer.
Here's an excerpt from his article that I especially liked:
The moral rot engulfs Washington and seeps out into the rest of the culture not in spite of our sacred dumbocratic system’s many virtues, but because of them, as genuine virtue and honesty are sneered at and derided while acts of duplicity are enshrined as virtues. For Abramoff and his ilk to come out of such a system is every bit as natural as puss oozing from an infected wound, but it’s important to understand that the oozing puss is a symptom, not a cause of the actual problem.  
Ah... the mental images he paints. Brilliant! Click here to read the full article.

Taking The Patriot Post To Task...

Saturday, January 07, 2006

I receive, via email, The Patriot Post newsletter. This is a publication put out by a right-wing organization that I like to read from time to time. Occasionally, they go way to the right and I just have to ignore it, but this week's post is just such a blatant collection of lies, half-truths, and misrepresentations of fact that I had no choice but to let 'em have it. I've reprinted the article in question below, as it is available only to subscribers. You can subscribe for free here, ...if you really want to.

Bug 'em and bag 'em!

Eight months after George W. Bush was sworn in as our 43rd President, al-Qa'ida terrorists, under the direction Osama bin Laden, hijacked four commercial jets and used them to kill almost 3,000 of our countrymen, all of them noncombatants in a decades-old asymmetric war between Islamofascists and liberty. (Truth be told, Osama bin Laden actually intended to destroy America's symbols of strength and power. This can be deduced from his choice of targets. The people that were killed in the events of September 11, 2001, were technically innocent bystanders and not his primary targets. It's kind of like when women and children get killed when we bomb a suspected terrorist hangout in Iraq or Afganistan.)

Three days after that bloodshed, the U.S. Senate and House voted 98-0 and 420-1, respectively, to authorize the President by war resolution "to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons." (I wrote a piece that tries to explain, in more detail, the meaning behind this misconstrued and tortured bit of legislation. I suggest you read it.)

Bin Laden and his terrorist cadre planned the 9/11 attack during the last three years of Bill and Hillary Clinton's regime, training the cell leaders and pre-positioning assets in the U.S. Bin Laden's actions were largely unabated by the Clinton administration, which was more interested in sending thousands of federal agents to search for a lone abortion-clinic bomber in the mountains of North Carolina than killing or capturing Osama. Eric Rudolph was a much more politically attractive target than Bin Laden back in 1998. Unfortunately, Rudolph evaded capture during that two-year manhunt. In the same time period, the CIA and military had several opportunities to take clear shots at Osama—but Clinton declined.

Fortunately, since 9/11, there have been no "future acts of international terrorism against the United States," in large measure because of the vision and determination of President Bush to implement his Doctrine of Preemption. Mr. Bush and our Allies dispatched the best fighting forces on earth, to Afghanistan, Iraq and other locations undisclosed, in an effort to take the fight to the enemy—the only way to prevail in The Long War against an asymmetric threat, particularly in the nuclear age. (Senator Biden, when speaking before the Senate during the deliberations for Senate Joint Resolution 23--Authorization for Use of Military Force, remarked that the "resolution is directed only at using force abroad to combat acts of international terrorism.")

Terrorists have not struck again, but there have been plenty of acts of treason against the United States.

Terrorists have not been able to strike again, but there have been plenty of acts of treason against the United States, most of which have been led by political opportunists like Ted Kennedy, Dick Durbin, John Kerry, Chuck Schumer, et al. (Just a quick note to clarify something. Exposing the illegal activity of another is not and never will be considered treasonous. Only the guilty consider such actions treasonous.)

Insisting they "support our troops," these consummate leftists have emboldened the enemy by attacking our troops' Commander in Chief, with the insalubrious goal of gaining political ground. In other words, key Democrats are willing to use the lives of America's Armed Forces for nothing more than campaign fodder, going into midterm elections.

The Left's labors to undermine the administration's effort to protect the U.S. from a catastrophic WMD attack know no bounds. (Is the author trying to scare the reader into complicity by evoking images of being fried by a nuke? Come on! Make no excuses for bad behavour!)

In recent weeks, the Left attempted to derail the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act. As you know, first and foremost, the Patriot Act removes most of the legal and bureaucratic barriers preventing law enforcement and intelligence authorities from sharing vital information about terrorists and terrorist organizations targeting the U.S. and our citizens around the world. Implementation of the Patriot Act has, according to well placed intelligence sources, resulted in the prevention of significant terrorist acts on U.S. soil, including two interdictions of WMD, one of those being nuclear WMD. (For more details on the latter, see next week's edition.) (...and all it costs you is your liberty!)

As the debate about Patriot Act reauthorization got underway in mid-December, it became clear that Democrats are making "privacy" a central theme of their midterm-election campaigns. Concurrent with that debate, but hardly coincidental, on 16 December The New York Times published a front-page story accusing President Bush of using the NSA to spy on U.S. citizens without a court order. As you now know, the story detailed how the National Security Agency targeted certain communications between known international terrorists and their U.S. counterparts or supporters.

Of course, the timing of the story not only bolstered the Democrats' privacy complaints against the Patriot Act, but it was dropped the same week Time's reporter James Risen released his book ostensibly detailing all kinds of Patriot Act abuses.

The New York Times knew a year ago that President Bush violated no laws related to NSA surveillance. (About the same time the President was running for re-election. As I hear it, it was the administration that asked the paper to hold off on running the story. I wonder why?)

The Times and all their follow-up media claim their articles are "in the national interest" —to determine if President Bush has broken any laws authorizing the NSA surveillance. However, The Times had already determined, a year earlier when information about the NSA's surveillance program was first leaked, that President Bush had not violated any laws related to procedures outlined in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. The President's actions were fully within his prescribed constitutional authority. (If he authorized the NSA to use warrantless surveillance on U.S. persons, he broke the law! See below for more details.)

"The Constitution vests in the president inherent authority to conduct warrantless intelligence surveillance (electronic or otherwise) of foreign powers or their agents, and Congress cannot by statute extinguish that constitutional authority," wrote Attorney General John Ashcroft in 2002. (If he's implying that it authorizes surveillance of U.S. persons, then he's wrong. The authority is no where in my copy of the constitution. In fact, my copy says get a warrant. (Which copy does he have?) However, if he's talking about foreigners and foreign governments, not U.S. persons, then his statement is correct.)

General Ashcroft's opinion was similar to that of previous administrations. Back in 1994, after the first attack on the World Trade Center by Islamists, Clinton's Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick argued, "The Department of Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes and that the President may, as has been done, delegate this authority to the Attorney General." (Again, as long as he's talking about foreigners and foreign governments, not U.S. persons, then his statement is correct.)

The only law that has been broken pertains to the illegal release of national-security information. (Lie!)

In fact, the only law that has been broken in regard to the NSA's activity is U.S. Code Title 18, Part I, Chapter 37, Section 798, pertaining to the illegal release of national-security information.

Ironically, when former CIA case officer Valerie Plame was identified by the press as being with the CIA last year, Democrats were in full protest, accusing the Bush administration of disclosing the information to The Times as political retribution and calling for an independent counsel and a full investigation. They got that investigation, and it resulted in no criminal charges of a leak, because Plame was not a covert officer at the time she was identified as being with the CIA, and her name was mentioned by an administration official only after her husband, Joe Wilson, wrote an article for The Times about his CIA mission to determine if Iraq was procuring yellow-cake uranium from North Africa. (A classic case of misdirection. It doesn't excuse their actions.)

The exposure of Plame's association with the CIA had exactly NO implications or consequences for U.S. national security. However, the exposure of the NSA's methods and capabilities in regard to intercepting communications between terrorists targeting the U.S. has significant and immediate implications for our national security. (Tell that to all the over-seas operatives that had to run for cover when it was revealed that they were either now or had in the past been associating with a CIA operative.)

Why? Well, for example, in 1998, as al-Qa'ida was preparing their 9/11 attack, the NSA was tracking electronic communications from senior al-Qa'ida operatives, including Osama. When that information was leaked to, and by, the press, Osama disposed of his old satellite phone system and set up a whole different set of communication protocols, thus eluding detection of his 9/11 plans.

The same realignment of communication protocols is now taking place as a result of The Times NSA disclosure.

"It was a shameful act for someone to disclose this very important program in a time of war." --President Bush ("It was a shameful act for an American President to trash the Constitutional protections of the American people." --Don Bangert)

"Our enemies have learned information they should not have," said President Bush this week. "The unauthorized disclosure of this [NSA] effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk. Revealing classified information is illegal, alerts our enemies and endangers our country... It was a shameful act for someone to disclose this very important program in a time of war." Treasonous, actually—and the Justice Department will soon determine which Democrat operative is the culprit. (So, you're declaring war on the Democratic Party? While you're at it, why don't you take a couple Republicans with you. You're all a bunch of crooks (save a few)! How dare you call it treasonous to expose tyrannous actions by our elected officials. They swore an oath to uphold the Constitution, and now they're wiping their collective butts with it!)

More to the point, former NSA director, Gen. Michael Hayden, said last week, "This program has been successful in detecting and preventing attacks inside the United States." Indeed it has, as we noted above. (...and it was also Mr. Hayden, testifing before Congress, who said, "Let me put a fine point on this. If, as we are speaking here this afternoon, Osama bin Laden is walking across the bridge from Niagara Falls, Ontario, to Niagra Falls, New York, as he gets to the New York side, he is an American person. And my agency must respect his rights against unreasonable search and seizure." From the Congressional Record, page S9350, dated September 13, 2001. Interestingly enough, that quote was taken from an article that originally appeared in a Washington Post Magazine article titled TEST OF STRENGTH, July 29, 2001, by Vernon Loeb, well before September 11, 2001.)

So where are the Democrats protesting this traitorous leak—and demanding investigations? Don't hold your breath... Ironically, the Democrats have made "intelligence failures" the staple of their criticism of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Now they seem determined to ensure intelligence failures.

As for The New York Times, to date, it has not even answered its own ombudsman's inquiry about the timing of its 16 December article. Not to be outdone by The Times, national media outlets have, in the last two weeks, published irresponsible headline stories on other intelligence methods, including secret U.S. detention centers for captured terrorists around the world and technology used in major cities to detect transit of fissile material.

Democrats' objections to the Patriot Act have nothing to do with civil liberties and everything to do with political appearances. (Hell, the Patriot Act has nothing to do with civil liberties... oh, wait, that's the problem with it!)

For now, the Left got what it wanted—Patriot Act debate was reauthorized but put on a very short renewal lease of only one month. So the debate begins all over again this month. Regarding the privacy issue, The Patriot editors certainly advocate for redundant oversight of all domestic surveillance procedures because of the potential for civil-liberty abuses. But Democrats' objections to the Patriot Act have nothing to do with civil liberties and everything to do with political appearances.

There is no place for such trivial objections on the warfront with a determined enemy.

Below is my response that I tried to post to the Comments page at Patriot Post. It was intended to chastise them for their blatant misrepresentation of the facts concerning the actions of our president and his henchmen, as well as what the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act actually says and what it allows.

In your apologetic and, quite frankly, disgusting article that excuses the president from his trashing of our constitution, you quote then Attorney General John Ashcroft as saying:

"The Constitution vests in the president inherent authority to conduct warrantless intelligence surveillance (electronic or otherwise) of foreign powers or their agents, and Congress cannot by statute extinguish that constitutional authority."

I totally agree with what he says. But the way you presented his quote is to somehow demonstrate that the president can circumvent our fourth amendment protections. If you were being honest with your readers, you would have also included some other important factors that are included in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. But, since you want to be a sycophant for the Bush administration, I'll have to do it for you. The FISA, a.k.a. Title 50 Chapter 36, defines "Electronic surveillance" as--

1) the acquisition by an electronic, mechanical, or other surveillance device of the contents of any wire or radio communication sent by or intended to be received by a particular, known United States person who is in the United States, if the contents are acquired by intentionally targeting that United States person, under circumstances in which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy and a warrant would be required for law enforcement purposes.

"A warrant would be required..." Seems pretty clear to me. Even the statute's definition recognizes the limitations that are in place. But in case you're too pig-headed to understand that, lets look at the actual authorizing statute (50USC36§1802(a)):

Notwithstanding any other law, the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this subchapter to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year if the Attorney General certifies in writing under oath that--

(B) there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party.

It's pretty clear language. If the communications subjected to surveillance might kinda sorta possibly have a remote chance that they may involve a "U.S. person", YOU MUST GET A COURT ORDER! The fourth amendment is still in operation.

Egalitarianism v. Private Property

Friday, January 06, 2006

Yesterday, I and a friend were having a discussion about our differing views on the use of property. He's a professed liberal, while I believe that an individual's right to life, liberty, property, and happiness is paramount (libertarianism). We were discussing some scenarios that I would throw at him and what he thought was proper for the property owner to do in each case. For example, lets say John Doe has a house for sale and the only offer came from a person who John didn't like. By saying John didn't like, I mean in the politically incorrect, un-nice way. Maybe the buyer held a religious view or lived a lifestyle that rubbed John the wrong way. It really didn't matter. What was key was that John did not want to enter into a sales agreement with this buyer simply because John didn't like the way the buyer lived his life. The question presented was: Should John Doe be compelled by law (state force) to sell his property to the buyer, or should John Doe have the right, as the holder of private property, to choose not to sell to anyone and everyone, especially if he doesn't personally agree with their lifestyle, race, religion, etc.?
This scenario tears at the very moral fiber of our society. It goes to that ugly place that many dare not speak of, but we should because it sheds light on what makes us tick as human beings. Its what causes people to band together, but also what keeps us apart. Its what the founders meant by free association when they wrote the first amendment. Its why I don't "hang out" with drug dealers, but I do "hang out" with people who share my political philosophies. But, I digress.
My friend told me that he thought it was alright for the law to impose restrictions on John Doe's choice on who he could sell to. He further backed up his argument by explaining that there were "ways" to short-circuit the law whereby allowing John Doe to get around the restrictions. He then produced an anecdote of how he once had a hard time finding a job because of his long hair. He knew that employers, by law, could not use his long hair as their excuse to not hire him, but the potential employers could skirt the law. To do this, they would let him fill out an application for employment, and then just throw his application away. Normally what would and should happen in this scenario (and use to happen) would be the employer explaining to him that unless he would be willing to cut his hair, etc., he would not be hirable. We are, after all, selling ourselves to potential employers. We are a product, and its in our interest to put the best wrapper on that product. But, the law prohibits the employers from helping my friend out by gagging them from telling him what was wrong with his product. How could they possibly say that they're unwilling to hire him due to his long hair without risking a law suit and/or fines from the state?
This morning I was reading articles posted at where I ran into an article by Wendy McElroy entitled, Abolish Anti-Discrimination Laws. This article stated that the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against the Santa Rosa health club Body Central. The claim has been floated that men are somehow discriminated against because the health club caters only to women. The state (force) has decided that this privately owned business must cater to both sexes or feel the wrath of the state. Her article then goes into finer detail:

At issue is whether an owner has the right to control the customer policies of his or her private business. If so, then the state cannot properly dictate whom that owner must serve or allow onto the premises. A decision to discriminate among customers would be an expression of the owner's freedom of association and of the same property rights that protect his or her home from unwelcome 'guests.'

California law denies the existence of such private rights for businesses. It asserts, instead, that the public has a civil right to access an owner's property and services even over his or her objection.

Read another way, California claims to grant privilege of operating a business within the kingdom of California. They decide who gets to be the royal candlestick maker, the royal bread baker, etc. This case smacks of Socialism at its worst. Its an abomination in a free society, and its exactly what we deserve for allowing this kind of crap to persist in our republic.

Wendy's article continues:

An ideological conflict underlies the attempt by either sex to force open the doors of 'exclusive' businesses: individual rights versus egalitarianism. Under individual rights, every human being has control over the peaceful use of his or her own body and property. Under egalitarianism, access to and use of property is equally distributed across society, with or without the consent of owners.

I come down on the side of individual rights.

In terms of Body Central, I don't believe any man or woman has a legal 'right' to exercise on someone else's private property. I do not believe anyone has a moral obligation to provide another person with exercise. Freedom of association means that individuals, including property owners, have a right to say 'yes' or 'no' at their own front door.

And this is where my story and Wendy's story cross paths. Both Body Central and the fictitious John Doe from above have the right to choose who they associate with and who they do business with. On the other hand, we have people who believe that everyone, everywhere has a claim to everything in society. These people either don't agree with or don't acknowledge the concept of 'the right to private property', so they go find a government official carrying the big stick of government's force to help them impose their will onto private persons and/or their businesses. This is simply coercion by force, or a shakedown akin to the tactics of organized crime. Its a person or a group of people utilizing the force of state to impose their will onto others where it normally wouldn't be proper in an otherwise free society. This is a perfect example of a private citizen having to yield his individual rights to public policy. Originally, our form of government was never meant to be operated in this way. But then again, that form of government has long since past from this earth. It has been replaced by a socialistic hybrid democracy.

Thomas Jefferson's First Inaugural Address

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The following is Thomas Jefferson's first inaugural address. I thought it fitting to review the powers we once thought fitting for our president to possess and the general powers and responsibilities the whole of government were to possess in light of recent events. How far our government has strayed in the last 50 to 100 years from what was considered government's proper role in our society. Ours is not the government the founders envisioned -- not by a long shot!
Called upon to undertake the duties of the first executive office of our country, I avail myself of the presence of that portion of my fellow citizens which is here assembled to express my grateful thanks for the favor with which they have been pleased to look toward me, to declare a sincere consciousness that the task is above my talents, and that I approach it with those anxious and awful presentiments which the greatness of the charge and the weakness of my powers so justly inspire. A rising nation, spread over a wide and fruitful land, traversing all the seas with the rich productions of their industry, engaged in commerce with nations who feel power and forget right, advancing rapidly to destinies beyond the reach of mortal eye, when I contemplate these transcendent objects, and see the honor, the happiness, and the hopes of this beloved country committed to the issue, and the auspices of this day, I shrink from the contemplation, and humble myself before the magnitude of the undertaking. Utterly, indeed, should I despair did not the presence of many whom I see here remind me that in the other high authorities provided by our Constitution I shall find resources of wisdom, of virtue, and of zeal on which to rely under all difficulties. To you, then, gentlemen, who are charged with the sovereign functions of legislation, and to those associate with you, I look with encouragement for that guidance and support which may enable us to steer with safety the vessel in which we are all embarked amidst the conflicting elements of a troubled world.

During the contest of opinion through which we have passed the animation of discussions and of exertions has sometimes worn an aspect which might impose on strangers unused to think freely and to speak and to write what they think; but this being now decided by the voice of the nation, announced according to the rules of the Constitution, all will of course arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite in common efforts for the common good.

All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possesses their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.

Let us, then, fellow citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions.

During the throes and convulsions of the ancient world, during the agonizing spasms of infuriated man, seeking through blood and slaughter his long lost liberty, it was not wonderful that the agitation of the billows should reach even this distant and peaceful shore; that this should be more felt and feared by some and less by others, and should divide opinions as to measures of safety. But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all republicans, we are all federalists. If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve the Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. I know, indeed, that some honest men fear that a republican government can not be strong, that this Government is not strong enough; but would the honest patriot, in the full tide of successful experiment, abandon a government which has so far kept us free and firm on the theoretic and visionary fear that this Government, the world's best hope, may by possibility want energy to preserve itself? I trust not. I believe this, on the contrary, the strongest Government on earth. I believe it the only one where every man, at the call of the law, would fly to the standard of the law, and would meet invasions of the public order as his own personal concern. Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.

Let us, then, with courage and confidence pursue our own Federal and Republican principles, our attachment to union and representative government. Kindly separated by nature and a wide ocean from the exterminating havoc of one quarter of the globe; too high-minded to endure the degradations of the others; possessing a chosen country, with room enough for our descendants to the thousandth and thousandth generation; entertaining a due sense of our equal right to the use of our own faculties, to the acquisitions of our own industry, to honor and confidence from our fellow citizens, resulting not from birth, but from our actions and their sense of them; enlightened by a benign religion, professed, indeed, and practiced in various forms, yet all of them inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man; acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man here and his greater happiness hereafter, with all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow citizens, a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.

About to enter, fellow citizens, on the exercise of duties which comprehend everything dear and valuable to you, it is proper you should understand what I deem the essential principles of our Government, and consequently those which ought to shape its Administration. I will compress them within the narrowest compass they will bear, stating the general principle, but not all its limitations.

  • Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political;
  • peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none;
  • the support of the State governments in all their rights, as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns and the surest bulwarks against anti-republican tendencies;
  • the preservation of the General Government in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad;
  • a jealous care of the right of election by the people, a mild and safe corrective of abuses which are lopped by the sword of revolution where peaceable remedies are unprovided;
  • absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority, the vital principle of republics, from which is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism;
  • a well disciplined militia, our best reliance in peace and for the first moments of war, till regulars may relieve them;
  • the supremacy of the civil over the military authority;
  • economy in the public expense, that labor may be lightly burthened;
  • the honest payment of our debts and sacred preservation of the public faith;
  • encouragement of agriculture, and of commerce as its handmaid;
  • the diffusion of information and arraignment of all abuses at the bar of the public reason;
  • freedom of religion;
  • freedom of the press, and
  • freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus, and trial by juries impartially selected.
These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages and blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety.

I repair, then, fellow citizens, to the post you have assigned me. With experience enough in subordinate offices to have seen the difficulties of this the greatest of all, I have learnt to expect that it will rarely fall to the lot of imperfect man to retire from this station with the reputation and the favor which bring him into it. Without pretensions to that high confidence you reposed in our first and greatest revolutionary character, whose preeminent services had entitled him to the first place in his country's love and destined for him the fairest page in the volume of faithful history, I ask so much confidence only as may give firmness and effect to the legal administration of your affairs. I shall often go wrong through defect of judgment. When right, I shall often be thought wrong by those whose positions will not command a view of the whole ground. I ask your indulgence for my own errors, which will never be intentional, and your support against the errors of others, who may condemn what they would not if seen in all its parts. The approbation implied by your suffrage is a great consolation to me for the past, and my future solicitude will be to retain the good opinion of those who have bestowed it in advance, to conciliate that of others by doing them all the good in my power, and to be instrumental to the happiness and freedom of all.

Relying, then, on the patronage of your good will, I advance with obedience to the work, ready to retire from it whenever you become sensible how much better choice it is in your power to make. And may that Infinite Power which rules the destinies of the universe lead our councils to what is best, and give them a favorable issue for your peace and prosperity.


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Prepared by Nancy Troutman (The Cleveland Free-Net - aa345) Distributed by the Cybercasting Services Division of the National Public Telecomputing Network (NPTN).

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