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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A friend just sent me the following:
Oh my gosh!
The Transition Has Already Started!
Scary, huh?!?
h/t Will

My Rebuttal to Roger Rabbit's Rants

Friday, January 26, 2007

A few posts ago, I lifted a couple quotes from another website to help flesh out an idea that I wanted to explore. Two commenters (Roger Rabbit and Wally the talking Badger) put forth the argument that everyone should pay their "fair share" when it comes to taxes. I guess Roger Rabbit took my observation that he's a high-volume commenter on and my quoting him as a personal attack on his character and proceeded to F-bomb and belittle me and my political viewpoints (see here and here). Roger Rabbit further urged those reading his comments about me to discount everything I said because he thinks that I believe Washington State squanders money on education (and I misspelled a word or two). That is not what I said at all. What I said was that governments generally are large, inefficient and wasteful creations of men, and there's no reason to believe that a new stream of revenue would be spent any differently.

I must admit that I wasn't familiar with I believe I met the creator/owner of the site one day when he stopped by a print shop next door to where I work. Heck, he may even be one of my customers... I don't know. I commented on some material he had printed up displaying the logo on it and was told that it was a web site for liberals. This, as I recall, was several years ago. Being unfamiliar with what actually was, I looked at the banners, ads, posts, and comments on the web site to determine what Goldy's politics were. What I was trying to avoid was jumping to conclusions about Goldy's politics or pigeonholing him as a run-of-the-mill Washington liberal. For this careful observation of facts, my powers of deduction were belittled by Roger Rabbit's assertion that I must be a "Rocket Scientist."

He contends that my personal attack on him was had by my accusing him of being a "professional commenter." He does not, however, continue to quote me when I qualified my statement by stating, "Of the 66 post registered at the time of this writing, he had 29." That, to me, indicates someone who's (<--spelled correctly this time, Roger) serious about his commenting. So serious that he's taken it as his personal duty as a good American to shout down anything that "wingnuts" like myself bring to the conversation. It was with this excessive commenting that I concluded that Roger Rabbit may have really been Goldy in disguise... or he simply liked to argue. Since then, I've discovered by Roger Rabbit's own admission that he's a lawyer. Now we know which conclusion was the correct one, but I really don't consider this act of reasoning as a personal affront to Roger Rabbit.

Roger Rabbit then quotes me quoting him, but completely changes the topic for which I quoted him. I drew attention to his and Wally the talking Badger's comments to show where liberals often support their argument to raise taxes by relying on the ambiguous concept of "paying your fair share." Roger Rabbit, with the aid of some careful omissions, changed the context of my words around to make it look like libertarians want to "PRIVATIZE everything under the f**king sun." That is not what I said at all. As a matter of fact, here's exactly what I said:

"[Wally the talking Badger] obviously doesn't understand that individual responsibility means not standing in front of government with your hand out looking for taxpayer-funded freebees. Libertarians aren't opposed to paying taxes; they only want to pay for the services they use. And what they do pay over they want used in the most efficient way possible. Remember: small government=good; no government=better."

Again, my words are clear and precise: being responsible for yourself is not demanding welfare from the state. Paying one's taxes is a necessary evil in keeping a civilized society's machine running. However, libertarians, and I would suspect most any reasonable person, would prefer their government spend taxpayer funds in the most efficient way possible. Libertarians happen to believe that one of the best ways this is realized is with the smallest governing body possible. What's wrong with that?

From there, Roger Rabbit launched into a quasi-straw man attack on my "fair share" question. He complains that on the one hand wingnuts, like myself, don't mind paying 10% of their income to their church of choice but on the other "bitch" about paying the same to the state in taxes. He completely disregards the fact that the former church tithing example would be a voluntary act while the latter would not. Furthermore, the church isn't going to show up on your doorstep dressed in SWAT gear demanding their "fair share," threatening to throw you in jail if you don't comply. They're totally dissimilar situations and Roger Rabbit knows it (I hope). Moot point; next!

If Roger Rabbit really wanted to "work with me" as he claimed then he'd leave the character assassinations aside, untie me from his whipping post, and just answer my question in a civilized manner. But there's no sport in that, is there? He's not content unless he feels he has properly denigrated me, my family, my state (Washington), my education, and my political beliefs. Not until this goal is fully achieved will he let it rest. But he did answer my question, whether he meant to or not:

"If this guy is paying only 10% of his personal income to government, we need to look into that. Why should he get away with that, when the rest of us are paying between a third and 40% of our income to government?"

For one thing, I never said how much of my income was taken by the government in taxes. You made that assumption yourself when you were tearing me a new one. Secondly, nobody "get[s] away with" anything when it comes to taxation. At its root, all taxation is nothing more than theft by force. It's really you and your ilk making the determination of what "fair" should be when it comes to taxation, isn't it. If someone has more than you think they should, you whip the electorate up into a frenzied mob which then demands laws that strip the wealth from those who have it so that you can give it to those you determine deserve it more. You, sir, come off as a mini-tyrant who's pissed off at the world because some people have more than what you've decided should be allowed and will not be content until the state owns everything while the private citizens have nothing. You, sir, will not be satisfied until everyone is equal, equality being whatever you think it should be.

By your comment, "we need to look into that", I'm left with the impression that you interpret the "fair share" concept to be whatever you, and you alone, determine it to be.

Thank you, again, for answering my question. Roger Rabbit, if you decide to respond to this post, please do so by (a) showing some maturity by refraining from personal attacks and flame wars in your discourse with me, and (b) posting your comments here, not on some other web site where I have to go hunting for them.

P.S. Please try to ignore any spelling and/or grammar mistakes.

Habeas Corpus Challenge

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Still stewing about what Attorney General "Jackboots" Gonzales said about Habeas Corpus, I set out to gain a better understanding of the history behind the Great Writ. Within a few short clicks, it became apparent that Habeas Corpus has been part of civilized life for quite some time. One writer placed it all the way back with the Romans. Many attribute it to Magna Charta, while others point to the Habeas Corpus Act in England in the year 1679.
Here's the afore mentioned offending exchange between Arlen Specter and Alberto Gonzales:
Gonzales: "There is no expressed grant of habeas in the Constitution; there's a prohibition against taking it away." 
Specter: "Wait a minute. The Constitution says you can't take it away except in case of rebellion or invasion. Doesn't that mean you have the right of habeas corpus unless there's a rebellion or invasion?"
Gonzales: "The Constitution doesn't say every individual in the United States or citizen is hereby granted or assured the right of habeas corpus. It doesn't say that. It simply says the right shall not be suspended except in cases of rebellion or invasion".
What is Habeas Corpus? Bouvier's Law Dictionary, (1859), Vol. I, p. 573. defines it as, "A writ of habeas corpus is an order in writing, signed by the judge who grants the same, and sealed with the seal of the court of which he is a judge, issued in the name of the sovereign power where it is granted, by such a court or a judge thereof, having lawful authority to issue the same, directed to any one having a person in his custody or under his restraint, commanding him to produce such person at a certain time and place, and to state the reasons why he is held in custody, or restraint." A Writ of Habeas Corpus is a Latin legal phrase, meaning: "That you have the body." It provides relief for those imprisoned to be brought before a judge to determine the lawfulness of their imprisonment. It protects ordinary people from being held incommunicado by tyrannical governments.
Referring to our Declaration of Independence where it states, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..." By this declaration, the common man was at once placing himself on the same footing as kings. As such, the common man was claiming for himself all the Rights once enjoyed only by kings. One of these rights is, naturally, the right to petition the courts for a Writ of Habeas Corpus. Let me stop here and make one point perfectly clear: at this point in American history, the current Constitution did not exist, yet all Americans claimed this important right. Again, it existed well before the creation of our Constitution and it will exist well after the Constitution turns to dust. We have always had this right and we always will, regardless of what governments say.
When it comes to unlawful imprisonment...
Should it matter?
This brings me to my challenge for you, dear reader: I challenge anyone to find in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights or any of the other Amendments where it says (1) that there is a grant by government to Habeas Corpus and (2) that there is a distinction made between Americans and "foreigners" as to whom may claim that right that many claim exists. I propose that the Constitution does not grant any right to Habeas Corpus; it is unalienable, i.e. acquired at birth. I further claim that all individuals, without regard to origin, have this right. And finally, I claim that our Constitution merely restricts the federal government from abridging this right for individuals without making the distinction of nationality. In other words, Habeas Corpus is not a reserved right only for American Citizens.

We Have a Winner for Today's What the F**k Award

Monday, January 22, 2007

Yesterday, I happened to stumble across Ed and Elaine Brown's story. They're in a bit of hot water with the fed because they've decided to quit paying federal income taxes. In reading several articles and editorials about their case, I happened to come upon a quote that stopped me dead in my tracks. You know the ones: where it is just so blatantly wrong that you're taken aback by its mere existence. How could anyone really believe it to be so?
Whether you believe that Americans are required to pay over an income tax or not isn't relevant. What is relevant here is what Ed and Elaine Brown believe. Most of these income tax cases hinge on willful failure to file. Willfulness can only be proven if it is clear that Ed and Elaine Brown understood they were required to file. However, if they read the law and determined that they didn't owe the tax because it didn't apply to them, then the charge evaporates.
Looking at this another way, tax issues aside, citizens cannot rely on ignorance of the law as a defense. If you go into a court of law and argue that you can't be held to account because you were unaware of some law, the judge quickly remind you of this fact. It is your responsibility to be cognizant of our laws. It is your responsibility as a citizen to keep up on laws; to read and comprehend them.
Understanding this, let's turn our attention to the award. Someone on the Concord Monitor's staff felt compelled to write an editorial on the Brown's fight with the IRS. The tone of the editorial was definitely to take sides with the federal government. I don't have a problem with that. Many people don't mind taxes paying, and I support them on their decision. However, this writer, who didn't sign his editorial, went too far when he said,
The Browns may honestly believe that they're right, but determining what a law says or the Constitution means is for the courts, not for citizens.
What the?!? Yeah, he really said that. And now we have our winner. How, may I ask, are we to learn the laws? Would the government be required to sit down with each and every one of us and recite the millions and millions of laws we have? And don't even get me started on his comment about government telling us what our Constitution says. If you leave it to government to define that document, they'll quickly determine that its meaningless and, therefore, should be ignored. Besides, the Constitution is a contract between citizens. Government is the product of that compact, not a party to it.
But, all is not lost in New Hampshire. Another citizen, Jim Davies, wrote in expressing his desire for "the facts (more than the opinions) of whether [Ed Brown] has reason behind a stance that is clearly either very foolhardy or very brave." Let's finish with quoting his letter:
[Ed Brown] has stated, for example, that Judge McAuliffe has refused to allow him to present witnesses in his defense. Is that true? If it is even partly true, the U.S. justice system and McAuliffe in particular owe him a profound apology along with an immediate acquittal.
He has said that he presented some 40 motions to this court, yet the judge dismissed them all without reply. Possibly some of them were foolish - I have no idea. But all 40? Why not publish them, so that your readers can see what this case is about, and whether McAuliffe was at all justified to wave them away.
And Ed Brown has said that there is no law obliging him or anyone else to pay a tax on what is earned, by him or anyone else - which appears to be what his trial is all about. Is that true? What specific laws have the prosecution identified to counter that remarkable claim, which would affect us all? And what exactly do their words mean, in context?
Some of your readers would like to know, for if justice is being done here, it should be very clearly seen to be done.
I second Jim Davies appeal for the facts and openness in this case. For to me, it seems to be yet another example of government's bullying tactics to intimidate Americans. We are, after all, in the IRS's tax terorism season, which runs from January 1 through April 15th of every year.

Wealth Battery

Sunday, January 21, 2007

I've been wanting to create a visual representation of dollars to gold. Today, I've received my inspiration. Jacob G. Hornberger has written an article that I'm going to quote from that frames the picture at left is so perfectly. Image if you had saved a $10 gold coin in 1907. Today, the gold contained in that coin would be worth about $260. However, if you had first converted that gold coin into U.S. currency--face value $10--you'd only have about 4 cents. I hope you weren't planning on retiring on your savings!
Anyway, here's the quote (with a little emphasis added):
Given the rising price of gold and the fact that federal spending is totally out of control, the prospect of gold confiscation and criminalizing the private ownership of gold by federal authorities inevitably rears its ugly head.
There are few things that federal big spenders hate more than gold. Why? Because they know that, historically, gold has provided the best means by which people could protect themselves against the ravages of a rapidly depreciating currency.
The mainstream press often uses the term "inflation" to describe rising prices. That's incorrect. Actually, when the general price level is rising, that's a result of inflation, not inflation itself. Inflation is the process by which governments print up the money to pay for ever-increasing expenditures.
Why not instead simply increase taxes on people in order to get the money to pay for the soaring expenses? There's an obvious reason: Taxes make people angry at government officials. It's much easier and safer to simply print the money because then most people have absolutely no idea that the government is behind what is happening.
When prices of commodities, goods, and services start rising in response to the depreciating quality of the money, the average person is likely to blame those in the private sector, such as oil companies, speculators, and businessmen, for the woes.
Being unaware of economic principles, people will even demand that federal officials impose price controls and excess- profits taxes on the evil offenders, a demand that the authorities are often willing to oblige.
You can continue with Mr. Hornberger's excellent article by clicking here. U.S.currency, in case you hadn't noticed, is a lousy way to store wealth.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

"Democracy... while it lasts is more bloody than either [aristocracy or monarchy]. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide."
~ John Adams


Five surgeons from big cities are discussing who are the best patients to operate on.
The first surgeon, from New York, says, "I like to see accountants on my operating table, because when you open them up, everything inside is numbered."
The second, from Chicago, responds, "Yeah, but you should try electricians! Everything inside them is color coded."
The third surgeon, from Dallas, says, "No, I really think librarians are the best, everything inside them is in alphabetical order."
The fourth surgeon, from Los Angeles chimes in: "You know, I like construction workers...those guys always understand when you have a few parts left over."
But the fifth surgeon, from Washington, DC shut them all up when he observed: "You're all wrong. Politicians are the easiest to operate on. There's no guts, no heart, no balls, no brains and no spine, and the head and the ass are interchangeable."
(h/t April & Shelley)

Citizens Gagged

Friday, January 19, 2007

"Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
~U.S. Constitution: First Amendment
Our illiterate bunch of senators (and representatives) are at it once again. Senate Bill 1, which is titled the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007(.pdf), has a new section 220 (compliments of Sen. Harry Reid). This section directly attacks grassroots campaigns by saddling them with a burden to file mountains of paperwork documenting there every move. Larry Pratt, executive director of Gunowners of America, said in a statement, "The U.S. Senate is about to thwart First Amendment Rights more than any other single measure in history. The Bill pending on the Senate floor is an outright attempt to intimidate organizations like gun owner groups, Pro-life coalitions, Anti-tax organizations [and others] into submission."
To give you a better idea of what we're looking at, lets look at this soon-to-be-regulated action-alert from the website:
Section 220 of the Senate Bill 1 would require communications from organizations they deem to be "grassroots organizations" to be subject to registration and reporting requirements including reporting directly to the Secretary of the Senate and clerk of the House of Representatives any time these groups spend money to communicate to their constituents on issues that are before Congress.
It will require the same from Internet conservative news and commentary websites who have 500 or more readers. And the language in the Senate Bill 1 would require registration of anyone sending out e-mail newsletters to 500 or more readers.
Groups such as Focus on the Family, The America Family Association, the Family Research Council, Vision America, the National Rifle Association and many more, would be trapped in bureaucratic red tape that would increase their communications costs and result in a weakened effort to let you know what our elected leaders are doing in the executive and legislative branches of government.
It would seem the inhabitants of Mordor-on-the-Potomac are walling themselves in an attempt to insulate themselves from the crying and wailing of their subjects. Why don't they just unplug their phones, cancel their mail service, and shut down their internet access too? I don't know about you, but I've about had it with this government. They've demonstrated time and again they don't give a damn about the U.S. Constitution, so why should we? It's time we called for a dissolution of their institution.

DOJ vs. the Courts... Finally!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

It turns out that the "slippery slope" we were meant to avoid was actually a cliff and our government has dove headlong off it like they were a bunch of lemmings.
I see this morning that A.G. Alberto "Jackboots" Gonzales has issued a directive stating, "any electronic surveillance that was occurring as part of the Terrorist Surveillance Program will now be conducted subject to the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court." Has Mr. Gonzales suddenly realized the error of his ways and changed course? No. He's protecting his assets because he's about to be hauled in before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Furthermore, January 31 marks the day that DOJ argues it's appeal for their spying program. Many believe that the court will sustain the original verdict declaring the program unconstitutional and will finally force them to stop. This will all be pointless with this new direction by DOJ.
This administration has demonstrated time and again it's flagrant disregard for our constitution. It has taken the view that everything is permitted until they're made to stop either by the congress or the courts. Unfortunately for Americans, both bodies have decided to be reactive instead of proactive when it comes to stopping the Bush administration. A sort of "Don't make me pull this car over" enforcement stance. Meanwhile, our freedoms and liberties are being trashed by constitutional illiterates like Gonzales and Bush.

But What is Your Fair Share?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I was reading a post at South Puget Sound Libertarian about raising taxes [again] to pay for Washington's education system. The gist of Mark's post was about the push to remove the supermajority required by voters to raise property taxes for school levies, bonds, etc. They, being anyone connected to education (surprise!), want to change the State's constitution to allow a simple majority the ability to take tax you.
Libertarian, a regular on Mark's blog, left a comment about another post he read at, in which they're considering a state income tax to help pay for education. Let me go on record as stating that I am opposed to a state income tax. The state will just as easily squander revenue they receive from an income tax as they do from our current tax structure--they'll just have more of it to waist.
I followed Libertarian's link back to the aforementioned post to read Goldy's post, "WASL math: education is all about the money". Goldy wants to impose an income tax to pay for education, plain and simple. He cites the State's constitution where it says, "It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for ... education..." (Article IX, Section 1) and further supports his case by stating Democrats are unable to spend "amply" because there simply isn't enough money.
Keep in mind that I'm not familiar with Goldy's politics, but judging from the company he keeps at, I'd have to conclude that he's of the liberal mindset. So to hear a liberal railing for an income tax comes as no great surprise to me. Goldy finishes his post by making a plea to local editorial pages to take up the fight for--or at least begin to discuss--a state income tax.
But that's not really why I've drug you down here. The real reason is the comments left by his readers. Some, like a person calling himself Roger Rabbit, seem to be professional commenters. Of the 66 post registered at the time of this writing, he had 29. Either he is Goldy, or he thrives on arguing.
But, again, not why we're here. Roger Rabbit, in responding to a comment left by Libertarian, said:
You’ll have to find a better red herring than this one, Lib. It doesn’t ring true. It doesn’t have the feel of authenticity. It’s as transparent as glass. Why don’t you be honest and just admit that (a) you’re afraid of a tax increase, and/or (b) you don’t want to pay your fair share and like the current system that puts the burden on those least able to pay.
Ignoring most of what he says, I want you to focus on the concept of "paying your fair share." He's not the only one who put this forward as justification for taxing you. Wally the talking Badger also tried to twist Libertarian's words around when Libertarian said, "Libertarians are Democrats who believe in individual responsibility. Libertarians are Republicans who believe in individual rights." Wally the talking Badger asked, "Are Libertarians in favor of being individually responsible for paying their fair share of taxes?" I presume he meant to belittle Libertarian's argument that libertarians believe in being responsible for themselves by showing that paying one's taxes is a form of self-responsibility.
He obviously doesn't understand that individual responsibility means not standing in front of government with your hand out looking for taxpayer-funded freebees. Libertarians aren't opposed to paying taxes; they only want to pay for the services they use. And what they do pay over they want used in the most efficient way possible. Remember: small government=good; no government=better.
We still haven't arrived at my question: what is your fair share when it comes to paying taxes? How much is fair? Who decides what amount is fair? Can one look in a code book for a definition of "fair share"? Would it read, "Up to this point shall be considered fair. Anything more shall be considered excessive." The "Fair Share" argument seems to be trotted out whenever someone who's aim is to take from you wants to guilt you into letting him. How do you argue against ambiguity? Is a 10 percent tax on your income fair? Would 11 percent also be fair? How about 12? Or would that cross some imaginary excessive line?
Seriously, if anyone can define what "fair share" means, let me know. As it stands right now, this is what I envision "fair share" would mean to Roger Rabbit and Wally the talking Badger. You have property. In this case, its money. We need money for our education program to operate, so we're going to "ask" you to contribute. If you resist, we'll force you to pay. We've determined through a mathematical formula that your fair share will be 10 percent of your property. Now, pay up! (Never mind that you may not have children.)
Now, here's my idea of fair share. Let's say you have a child that needs an education. You open up a phonebook and look under schools in the yellow pages. Finding a listing, you dial their number. After talking to the sales staff, you agree on a price, and arrange to send your child to their school. Did you see how that process worked? If you decided the school's price for tuition was acceptable, then you've paid over a fair share. If, however, you didn't, you're free to move on to the next listing. Those schools asking too high a price for tuition will either lower their prices to stay competitive or go out of business. In the end, the consumer controls the education market, not some government bearucracy. That, to me, is fair.

IFC in the News

Monday, January 15, 2007

I knew there was a reason I liked this channel...
For much of its life, the Independent Film Channel was essentially content to show independent films. 
That wasn't enough for Evan Shapiro. Since taking over as general manager two years ago, he's sought to establish IFC as a haven for free speech, a network that relishes taking on controversial issues. His slogan for IFC is "TV, Uncut."
"I think we attract far more libertarians than any other classification," Shapiro said. "Mavericks, independents, libertarians — the stay-out-of-my-business mentality."
You can continue reading the article here.

Watch, Ride and Report

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I just couldn't resist defacing one of these Orwellian posters too...
H/t: Mark and Difranco.
(Extra credit if you can guess who's
looking back at you in the reflection.)

Universal Healthcare: A Prediction Realized

Back in April of 2006, I wrote a post about Massachusetts embracing socialism with its state-sponsored medical coverage for its citizens. At the end of that post I stated:
I believe this is part of a much bigger picture that is directly tied to the Social Security Act. It's part of the Democratic Party's long push to implement socialized medicine in the United States.
I then went on to flesh this claim out with a prediction in my April 20th post:
To achieve their goal, they must get states to implement their own versions. Once a sufficient number of individual states create their own unique programs, the socialist at the federal level would step in, declaring that they must nationalize the program to bring uniformity and equity for all citizens (claiming a mandate from the people, I'm sure). But, it has to be started at the state level to appear "grass-roots". If it were done top-down, they would be called out for trying to implement socialized medicine.
Today, I see that Massachusetts State Senator Ed Kennedy is pushing for the federal government to enact universal health coverage for all Americans. The ball is in play just as I predicted. I like to call this backdoor socialism, because they're sneaking this in right under the noses of Americans and we're all going to take it up the butt on this one.
It's coming, folks.

Dictator Rising

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez seems determined to become the next dictator of his country. Right now, he's making moves to bring the country's infrastructure under state control by nationalizing the communications and energy producing industries. Using the guise of socialism, he's claiming that its in the public's best interests to nationalize these industries. In reality, he must have total control of these sectors to make sure he can keep control once he has it. Shutting off the power or interrupting communications has a demoralizing effect on any mounting opposition. That's why the United States always attacks these two industries when we invade another country.
Mabey Chavez really is interested in bringing socialism to his country. Mabey he has no aspirations to become dictator. Unfortunately, the evidence doesn't support this. Chavez himself admitted that he intends to seek special powers from the National Assembly which would allow him to enact a series of laws by decree. What better way to become a dictator than to remove the law making ability from the people's representatives. If the National Assembly grants him this special power, one of the first things he will do is declare a state of emergency and place himself above all laws. At the same time, he will neuter the National Assembly and enforce martial law.
Chavez plans to be around for a very long time. He claims to have settled on socialism after studying communist, socialist and democratic models. In reality, he's decided on a model resembling more of a banana republic--or in this case a petrol republic--with himself popularly elected as president. Right now, the Venezuelan Constitution provides presidential term limits. Chavez will not be allowed to run for office again in 2012. He has decided the best way around this is to remove that restraint from their constitution. I guarantee you that if he doesn't succeed in removing this constitutional restraint, he will create a new position within the executive branch that will give him total dictatorial control over all the country and its government. I'm sure it will have a title like Supreme Ruler for Life or some such nonsense.
What's important to realize is that Hugo Chavez's rise to power was done through the ballot box with the support of a majority of Venezuelans. Dictatorships need not be fomented with guns and bullets alone. Promising bread and circuses to the people is just as effective. The end game of any tyrant is total power. How they come into power is not as important as how they intend to keep it once they have it. Without a doubt if Chavez senses that the Venezuelan people have changed their collective minds about him and wish him removed from office, he'll not hesitate to move from the ballot box to the cartridge box to maintain his control.

Plutoed Conservatism

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

There used to be a small planet at the edge of our solar system named Pluto. I say used to be because the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union pulled its membership. They decided that Pluto no longer met their planet making requirements. But all is not lost. From this act, a new word has sprung into the American lexicon: "pluto", which means "to demote or devalue someone or something."
Which reminds me of what Republican governors are doing to the conservative position on universal healthcare. First, it was Massachusetts Republican Governor Mitt Romney. Now we see California Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger supporting state-sponsored universal healthcare. Why are Republican governors turning on their conservative Republican base which has always opposed the socialistic idea of nanny-state healthcare for all. Is it because Republicans and Democrats are really all the same? This author thinks so.
So, for my first-ever use of the newly-minted word "pluto": Republican governors are really plutoing their conservative ideology with regard to state-sponsored universal healthcare.

A Couple of Good Articles

Monday, January 08, 2007

I wanted to highlight two articles for you to read:
"Once these constitutionally challenged females are sworn in, the first thing they do is play mommy by introducing legislation that's in violation of the supreme law of the land and the prissy, sissy men serving in Congress go along..." (Continue here)
"The power elite's plan for America has not just involved economics and politics, but religion as well. Using the historical tension (wars) between Protestants and Catholics, the power elite dialectically used "separation of church and state" to undermine the influence of traditional religious values on American life and government." (Continue here)

5 Skeletons...

...better left in the closet (until now). In his new tell-all post, your host reveals some of his deepest, darkest secrets:
1. I never graduated from high school. I ended up getting my GED (which I passed with flying colors) after I got married. Education became uninteresting because I wasn't learning anything new, so I left. That, and the vice principal said she'd call the cops if I were ever seen on campus again. Apparently she still held a grudge from when me and a friend hit her with his car. It was an accident, I swear! He couldn't see her because I was obstructing his view, being on the hood of his car and all.
2. I'm really close to inventing a machine that produces electricity via magnetism and doing it with no moving parts. At least that's what the research shows. Reality usually has the bad habit of showing you the error in your calculations that you've missed. I've got another machine I want to prototype that I think would be useful, too. It's a scalable motor driven from high pressure air which is modeled after the Wankle design.
3. I'm a big NASCAR fan and have been for many years. Selling auto parts as my job keeps me close to racing, too. But, what you may not know about me is that I used to own a race car. I guess its been about 12 years since I owned the car (a '78 Camaro). I had this dream that I'd make my way into Winston Cup and rub elbows with the likes of Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt, and Jeff Gordon.
4. I married my high school sweetheart. Its been over 15 years since I said, "I do" and I'd say it again in an instant. Wanting to keep life simple, we got married on our two-year 'going-out' anniversary, so we've really been together for over 17 years. We have no kids--just pets. What was weird was to visit our old high school this last Christmas, being there for my niece's Christmas program. (Don't tell the VP!) Seeing all those old familiar haunts brought back memories of when we were first dating. (Sigh...)
5. I've been writing software for computers since I was about 13. My first bit of coding was hammered out on a Commodore Vic-20 (which I still have somewhere). From there, I moved to the Commodore 64, then to a PC sporting a super-fast 33 MHz processor. (Do you realize we now have pocket calculators with more processing power than that?) All my programming knowledge is self-taught, too. My programming language of choice is Basic. For a long time, I wrote programs in QBASIC but never had a compiler so I eventually migrated to Visual Basic. In addition, I've dabbled a little in C and Perl, but prefer VBScript and JavaScript. Of course we mustn't forget our old friend HTML.
Well, there you go. Maybe one of these days I'll tell you the story about the time I almost got run over by a train...

Warm Weather Signals End

Saturday, January 06, 2007

While reading an article about the unseasonably warm weather in the Northeast, I ran across the following quote:

There are many factors contributing to the winter's warm weather, with one of them being El Nino, Iovino said.El Nino is a cyclical warming trend now under way in the Pacific Ocean, which can lead to milder weather, particularly in the Northeast. Many weather observers have also blamed global warming for the higher

Ah, yes. Global Warming. The theory that greenhouse gasses produced by man are slowly warming the planet until it becomes uninhabitable. But, how short-sighted we are. Here are a couple of headlines from the past couple years:

Record snowfall buries New York City
'Dangerous storm' wallops East Coast, snarls travel

Sunday, February 12, 2006; Posted: 10:19 p.m. EST (03:19 GMT)

BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- A raging nor'easter howled up the East Coast on Sunday, breaking a snowfall record in New York, shutting down airports and dumping more than two feet of snow on parts of the Northeast and Middle Atlantic states. (

Then there's this one:

Major snowstorm socks Northeast
Blizzard warning issued for parts of New York, New England
Sunday, January 23, 2005 Posted: 3:11 AM EST (0811 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A fierce winter storm virtually shut down parts of the Midwest and Northeast on Saturday, causing airlines to cancel about 3,000 flights and stranding 800 passengers in Philadelphia. (

Or this article:

Parts of Northeast measuring snow in feet
Eight deaths blamed on second wave of winter storm
Sunday, December 7, 2003 Posted: 3:57 AM EST (0857 GMT)

(CNN) -- The season's first major snowstorm walloped the Northeast on Saturday, closing Boston's Logan International Airport and dumping at least 23 inches in parts of New York. (

And finally this:

Northeast begins digging out
Snowfall costly in lives and cleanup

Wednesday, February 19, 2003 Posted: 2:10 AM EST (0710 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- U.S. Middle Atlantic and Eastern states were digging out from a deadly and costly snowstorm Tuesday -- a day after it set record snowfalls, shut down airports and stranded holiday travelers. (

I may be mistaken, but the evidence seems to say that this year's Northeastern warm weather is the exception, not the rule. For anyone to say different I would have to assume that they've been living under a rock (IMHO... of course).

Socialized Housing

Friday, January 05, 2007

Agence France-Presse is reporting that the French government intends to create for its people a "Legal Right" to housing with a bill that would be presented to the cabinet on January 17. It would seem that affordable housing is in such short supply so they've decided to socialize it to solve the problem. Quoting from the AFP article:
Villepin said the law would "make France one of the most advanced countries in terms of social rights". Housing would become the third legally enforceable right in France, along with access to education and healthcare.
That's fine. But let me ask you a question: who's going to pay for the housing?

"Easy," you say, "the government."
"And where does government's money come from? ...Anyone? ...Bueller? ...Bueller?"
Judging from your glassy-eyed stare, I'd guess you really have no idea. Well, I'll tell you. They get the money from you in the form of taxes.
That's right. I hope you feel good about your government-imposed charity when this guy (see picture at right) comes to claim what your government says is "legally" his. Fools!

Malicious Mail, Oh My!

Adding to the ever-growing list of presidential superpowers, President Bush now declares that he has the extra- or supra-constitutional power to open your private mail without getting a warrant. In his Signing Statement, he circumvented the very law he was signing. The law requires first-class letters be opened by government agents only after they obtain a warrant. But Bush declared that he could side-step that requirement, saying that his administration would construe that provision "in a manner consistent, to the maximum extent permissible, with the need to conduct searches in exigent circumstances."
Exigent circumstances? What the hell does that mean? Who gets to determine if an event presents exigent circumstances? What if they're wrong? I'm not sure about the last questions, but the first question can be answered from Wikipedia:
An emergency situation requiring swift action to prevent imminent danger to life or serious damage to property, or to forestall the imminent escape of a suspect, or destruction of evidence. There is no ready litmus test for determining whether such circumstances exist, and in each case the extraordinary situation must be measured by the facts known by officials.
Actually, this answers all but our last question. The "What?" is an undefinable emergency situation and the "Who?" are government officials (I feel better already). As for the last question I posed, I'd be surprised if you'd get any explanation why your letter from Aunt Millie was opened nor could you do anything about it. Besides, they'd say it was done in the name of National Security, and you're all for that, aren't you?
When this was presented to Ann Beeson, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, she said:
"The signing statement raises serious questions whether he is authorizing opening of mail contrary to the Constitution and to laws enacted by Congress. What is the purpose of the signing statement if it isn't that?"
What, indeed.
In researching this post, I ran across a forum board at The first poster, EqtTrdr, explained that President Bush had added signing statements to the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. His post, in my opinion, was to the point and factual. He finished by making the final assessment:
This says the Bush can now search our mail without a warrant. There is no arguing that this is exactly what it says. A signing statement does not outweigh our Constitution.
I would consider this a violation of our laws, and yet another attack on our freedom.
I tend to agree with his observation. I kid you not, the very next post was this:
You guys are the best, the President signs a bill, already passed by both houses of Congress, and suddenly it is another Bush Conspiracy. All it does is personally protect the President from lawsuits.

Look the NSA can already listen to your phone calls, read your e-mails, monitor your net usage, and track you through your cell phone. They are looking for terrorists not you. Who cares, quit being so paranoid.

~Trader1966, Commenting on President Bush's Signing Statement appended to the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.

His reasoning is that the government has already installed itself firmly up your ass, so what's another inch? Quit your bitchin'! Am I the only one that thinks this guy has drank too much Kool Aid? Fortunately not. On the next page, I found this gem (WARNING: F-Bomb Alert!) posted by achilles28:
Its always alarming how many shills come out of the woodwork to defend (not condemn) another attack on our dwindling freedoms.
#1 Congress never wrote or passed legislation enabling Bush to search our mail without a warrant. Bush did. That's what his 'signing statement' means. DUH!
#2 CORRECT! Thanks to Echelon, the NSA has been monitoring our collective email, surfing habits, cell phone and in some cases landline calls. All without a warrant.
And this wholesale skull fucking of our 4th Amendment right is good, how???
You think the Fourth Amendment is a joke? Do you even know why its there???
The whole spirit of the Constitution was written to protect men from men with power.
The Spirit of man has not changed in 200 years - let alone 2000.
When the next one goes off, you 'enlightened' pundits are going to get raped by the very machinations you foolishly supported.
Amen, bro! Unfortunately, we're all forced to endure government's intrusive probing because a few so-called citizens don't have "anything to hide."

Social [In]Security made Worse?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The National Center for Policy Analysis has a policy report explaining what dire straits the Social Security program is in. You can read the report, titled "How Large Is the Federal Government's Debt?", dated October 30, 2003, by clicking here. They have a summary which states:

Executive Summary

Social Security and Medicare have made future promises far in excess of tax revenues that will be collected at current tax rates. The difference between what has been promised to current and future generations and what will be collected from taxes dedicated to fund these programs is an "unfunded liability."

How large are the federal government's unfunded obligations? That depends on how we measure them.

  • If we confine our horizon to the next 75 years, as government actuaries have traditionally done, the unfunded liability is about $18 trillion in today's dollars -- more than six times as much as the federal government's outstanding bonds.
  • If we focus only on people who are already participating in the system (either as beneficiaries or as taxpayers), the government's net debt is more than $24 trillion -- more than twice our current gross domestic product (GDP).
  • If we consider only benefits that have been accrued so far (i.e., if we ended the program tomorrow and only paid benefits people have already earned), the debt is about $30 trillion -- about three times the size of our GDP.
  • If we look indefinitely into the future -- and include not only people who are participating today, but all future generations who will pay taxes and draw benefits -- the U.S. government's Social Security and Medicare unfunded obligations are equal to almost $50 trillion in today's dollars.

What does it mean to say that we have $50 trillion in unfunded obligations? It means that in order to ensure the government will keep all its promises, we need to have $50 trillion on hand right now, invested at a rate of return of about 6 percent. The failure to have these funds on hand and invested today means that the overall obligation will become larger and grow through time. It also means that the programs are severely underfunded at today's tax rates. To close the funding gap, we will have to endure either substantial tax increases or significant benefit cuts in future years.

In other words, its bad and only getting worse. Now, imagine my surprise when I read that:

Social Security Agreement with Mexico Released After 3-1/2 Year Freedom of Information Act Battle

January 4, 2007 (Washington, DC) – After numerous refusals over three and a half years, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has released the first known public copy of the U.S.-Mexico Social Security Totalization Agreement. The government made the disclosure in response to lawsuits filed under the Freedom of Information Act by TREA Senior Citizens League, a 1.2 million member nonpartisan seniors advocacy group.

The Totalization Agreement could allow millions of illegal Mexican workers to draw billions of dollars from the U.S. Social Security Trust Fund.

A loophole in current Social Security law could allow millions of today's Mexican workers to eventually collect billions of dollars worth of Social Security benefits for earnings under fraudulent or "non-work authorized" Social Security numbers, putting huge new pressures on the Social Security Trust Fund.

The release continues (click here), but you get the point. There is no way this can continue and provides yet another reason why Social Security should be dismantled.

Guns, Schools, and Grabbers

It seems every time a gun is involved a crime, we hear from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Much like a Prairie Dog poking its head out of its hole, they're sounding the siren to grab guns or otherwise restrict ownership. And I quote:

"Our sympathies go out to the families of the young people involved in this morning's terrible incident at Henry Foss High School," said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "The police and the public need to get answers to the questions of 'where did the gun come from, and why are guns so easy to get?' Unfortunately, it is not difficult for many of our children to get a gun, and it has been getting easier, not harder."

Legislators in Washington aim to pass a bill to require criminal background checks at so-called gun shows, for example. At such shows, unlicensed gun sellers can sell as many firearms as they wish without having the buyer pass a background check. Washington does not have a child access prevention statute to require parents to keep guns locked away from young people, and has lax requirements for obtaining concealed weapons permits.

While any shooting is a tragedy, the solution to prevent such shootings is not to disarm the public. Doing so will only embolden those who don't give a damn about gun laws. (Hint: this is why they're called criminals.)
Here's a little fact for you: it has been 11 years since there was a shooting fatality at a school in Washington State. It occurred in 1996 in Moses Lake. To me, that's not a bad run with no gun-related fatalities. For anyone to think that you could totally prevent shootings in school is ridiculous. I personally prefer the Israeli approach where teachers can be armed. I'd be willing to bet kids would be less likely to pull this kind of crap if they knew every single teacher and/or administrator had a weapon on them.

Urine Test

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A friend in Wyoming sent me this newspaper clipping with a note that said, "Hey Don, thought this would be right up your alley!"
The dangers of wealth redistribution. Long time readers of this blog may remember a post of mine titled, "A Peoples Initiative proposal" from April, 2005. It was an initiative to put in place laws that require drug testing of individuals receiving public funds. In a perfect world, I would rather not have public-funded assistance, but in lieu of that solution, drug testing of recipients would be the next best option.

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