I've been following the story as it unfolds in Myanmar. It fascinates me waiting to see if a full-fledged revolution will erupt where small groups of monks struggle to bring "democracy" to the people. Have you ever noticed that it is always small groups of people who bring about big change? The rest are merely spectators waiting for the tide to shift.
A small cadre of military men currently hold that nation's government hostage. The monks appear to want to return governance to the people where it rightfully belongs. Here's the interesting part for me: knowing that all governments are legitimate only when they are derived from the consent of the governed, to watch this government fire on protesters in an attempt to protect itself from change because the people no longer consent. The government is no longer--or really never was--legitimate.
The people it claims to protect have decided they're done with the charade and wish to replace the government with one of their own choosing. So, who are these faceless government actors who fire into crowds of peaceful demonstrators in an attempt to maintain the status quo? At what point do we recognize the fact that the government in Myanmar is no longer acting in a legitimate role as the people's protectorate and is now acting to defend itself like a cornered dog from the will of the people.
The age-old struggle between the people and those who mean to rule them seems to be a recurring theme in human history. And that is why the people's never-ending vigilance is so important. Tyranny and oppression are inevitable, even in this country, unless kept in check by the people. Revolution by the few, sometimes being violent, is also inevitable, because most people are content with the bread and circuses offered to placate them. It is only those few who hold to higher morals and principles that strive for what is right and what is just. They are the ones who foment righteous change. They are the ones that history will hold in high regard.
Long live Liberty!
Our Power, Our Responsibility Video
While visiting Gordon's blog, I noticed he's got a YouTube video in the upper-right corner with a caption that says every American should watch it. Being an American, I did. And you should, too...
Awesome video! Ron Paul 2008!*
*Paid for by no one.
Firearms Refresher Course
A few posts ago, I mentioned going into the local hardware store to look at their guns they had on sale. While browsing, I happened to notice a sign posted next to their gun case. I had the thought at the time to reproduce it here for you, but as things go, I forgot. Today, a friend happened to emailed me the same, so here it is...
"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not."
~ Thomas Jefferson
1. An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.
2. A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone.
3. Colt: The original point and click interface.
4. Gun control is not about guns; it's about control.
5. If guns are outlawed, can we use swords?
6. If guns cause crime, then pencils cause misspelled words.
7. Free men do not ask permission to bear arms [concealed or otherwise].
8. If you don't know your rights, you don't have any.
9. Those who trade liberty for security have neither.
10. The United States Constitution (c)1791. All Rights Reserved.
11. What part of "shall not be infringed" do you not understand?
12. The Second Amendment is in place in case the politicians ignore the others.
13. 64,999,987 firearms owners killed no one yesterday.
14. Guns only have two enemies; rust and politicians.
15. Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety.
16. You don't shoot to kill; you shoot to stay alive.
17. 911: Government sponsored Dial-a-Prayer.
18. Assault is a behavior, not a device.
19. Criminals love gun control; it makes their jobs safer. [See Virginia Tech.]
20. If guns cause crime, then matches cause arson.
21. Only a government that is afraid of its citizens tries to control them.
22. You have only the rights you are willing to fight for.
23. Enforce the gun control laws we ALREADY have; don't make more.
24. When you remove the people's right to bear arms, you create slaves.
25. The American Revolution would never have happened with gun control.
A Hard Look at Mortgages
Gov. Christine Gregoire is itching to bail out home buyers who are finding themselves a little over their heads when it comes to their home mortgages. Of course if the state steps in to give financial aid to home buyers, they'll be using public funds. So, in light of that, lets take a look at our state constitution to see what it says about safety-netting Washington State homebuyers... Yep, just what I thought: not a damned word about it. In other words, they have no authority to go there. None, zip, zilch, nada. Unconstitutional!
Yeah, it's too bad that people will lose their homes. I really do feel bad for them, but I also know what the definition of 'responsible' is. Reading the fine print and looking at the life of the loan and making sure you'll have the money to pay for it--especially if it's an adjustable rate mortgage--is part of being a responsible homebuyer. It is NOT the responsibility of your neighbors and fellow citizens to bail your butt out if you're too stupid to understand a contract. Life sucks, then you die. Deal with it! Don't ask me to cover your bills.
Happy Constitution Day...
Issue #2: Expectation of Privacy
Perhaps the "reasonable expectation of privacy" doctrine can be further circumscribed. For instance, in government terrorism investigations, the government does not randomly select phone lines to tap. Law enforcement chooses those lines it has a reason to believe are being used for terrorist activities. Since it would be absurd to argue that one has a "reasonable expectation of privacy" when discussing terrorism strategies and tactics, eavesdropping on such telephone conversations is not unreasonable as long as the government ceases if it becomes apparent that the call has nothing to do with criminal or terrorist activity.
Notice how they expanded it from terrorist activities to all criminal activities in the last sentence. What they're saying is that the government gets a free pass to listen in on any phone calls just as long as they have a reason to believe they are being used for criminal activities. I love the way they justify their infringement of the Fourth Amendment: if we think you're plotting and planning terrorist activities, you don't have any rights until we can prove that you're not a bad guy. That, of course, stands the concept of inalienable rights on its head as well as the innocent until proven guilty doctrine. You have rights regardless of what you're doing. It's up the courts to decide if law enforcement is justified in violating those rights to prevent you from committing a crime. That's why a warrant is required.
Talk about putting the cart before the horse...!
To Protect and Serve...
or to Intimidate and Harass? You be the judge.
In my own way of seeing society, there are really only three types of people: average citizens going about their daily business, law enforcement officers who make sure the citizens don't hurt each other, and criminals who feed off unsuspecting citizens all the while trying not to get caught by law enforcement officers. While I acknowledge that this is an extremely simplified view of society, it generally works in most situations.
So, we have a situation for you to decide on. But first, I need you to read an essay by LTC (RET) Dave Grossman titled On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs. This will make it clear in your mind what roles each participant plays in our society and why it so important that we do not tolerate wolves pretending to be sheepdogs. After you've finished his essay, come back and watch the following YouTube videos and decide for yourself what type of person this officer is. (WARNING: The following videos are somewhat disturbing and contain foul language that may be deemed offensive or inappropriate for some viewers.)
Feel free to leave a comment on what you think would be a fitting punishment, if any, for this officer's actions.
From the Science Desk
I've been a member of a science forum that goes by the name, FreeNRG-L. It's a group of amateur experimenters that bounce ideas off each other. Anyway, the other day I received a message with a link to the following news article. If true, this news is pretty exciting:
Radio Frequencies Help Burn Salt Water
By David Templeton, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Tue, 11 Sep 2007, 11:41AM
ERIE, Pa. - An Erie cancer researcher has found a way to burn salt water, a novel invention that is being touted by one chemist as the "most remarkable" water science discovery in a century.
John Kanzius happened upon the discovery accidentally when he tried to desalinate seawater with a radio-frequency generator he developed to treat cancer. He discovered that as long as the salt water was exposed to the radio frequencies, it would burn.
The discovery has scientists excited by the prospect of using salt water, the most abundant resource on earth, as a fuel.
Rustum Roy, a Penn State University chemist, has held demonstrations at his State College lab to confirm his own observations.
The radio frequencies act to weaken the bonds between the elements that make up salt water, releasing the hydrogen, Roy said. Once ignited, the hydrogen will burn as long as it is exposed to the frequencies, he said.
The discovery is "the most remarkable in water science in 100 years," Roy said.
"This is the most abundant element in the world. It is everywhere," Roy said. "Seeing it burn gives me the chills."
Roy will meet this week with officials from the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense to try to obtain research funding.
The scientists want to find out whether the energy output from the burning hydrogen -- which reached a heat of more than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit -- would be enough to power a car or other heavy machinery.
"We will get our ideas together and check this out and see where it leads," Roy said. "The potential is huge."
Obviously, he's not burning the saltwater. What appears to be happening is the hydrogen is disassociating from the oxygen atoms creating a burnable gas, Oxyhydrogen, when a certain radio frequency is introduced. If you've ever looked at how microwave ovens work, you'll understand what is happening in this experiment. Imagine being able to "burn" a tank of saltwater for heating your home, producing all your electrical needs, maybe even running your car. Pretty cool.
I have on my desktop three articles that I find particularly disturbing. The first is titled Doctors decry Guantanamo treatment. It tells how U.S. doctors have turned a blind eye to prisoner abuses, putting their loyalty to the state above their duty to care for patients. Quoting from the article:
The letter compared the ongoing role of U.S. doctors working at Guantanamo, who have been accused of ignoring torture, to the South African doctors involved in the case of anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko, who died while being detained by security police.
"The attitude of the U.S. medical establishment appears to be one of 'See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil,'" the letter charged.
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
The next article has to do with those wonderful little implantable chips. Some have called them Spychips, others call them tracking chips. They're the ones that we have inserted into our pets to help them find their way back to us if they become lost. They're also the ones that VeriChip would like to see injected into every American's arm (for a fee I'm sure). Some people fear that this will be the direction government will go when it becomes apparent that the National ID cards can be forged. The article, Chip implants linked to animal tumors, explains that the chips have been shown to cause tumors in lab mice dating back to 1996. It then questions why the FDA failed to take those studies under consideration when it awarded approval. There's a twist at the end involving Tommy Thompson, GOP presidential candidate until bowing out in August.
"O, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!"
~Sir Walter Scott
The last article deals with the implementation of Martial Law here in the United States. NORTHCOM Plans 5 Day Martial Law Exercise describes the up-coming plans for an anti-terrorism exercise called Vigilant Shield 08. Quoting from the article:
USNORTHCOM also announced that they have been using the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina to better respond to crises. The response to Hurricane Katrina was essentially used as a test laboratory to implement martial law in a city. People were forced to relocate against their will and authorities stole people's firearms in the name of safety despite these actions being entirely unconstitutional.
"We're from the government and we're here to help"
RP in NH
I just finished reading excerpts from New Hampshire's Republican Presidential Candidate Debate at James Bovard's blog. Jim thoughtfully compiled several Q&A's concerning Ron Paul to show how well he did. After reading through them, I must admit that if he's not careful he may end up winning the whole enchilada.
(And no, I wasn't paid to say that!)
Another Hole in the Head?
It seems John Edwards, Democratic presidential candidate, has decided that we need yet another organization to fight terrorism. His new and improved organization would be different in that it would fight terrorism through shared intelligence and cooperation. Um, John... I hate to break this to ya, but we've already got one of those. We call it the Pentagon.
I need your help. I ran across this poster while searching the web the other day...
and I can't figure out what the URL in the lower left-hand corner says. Have you seen this poster? Do you know the URL? If so, leave a comment.
Nah, Nah, Nah... Redux!
I see push is at it again. Except this time he's got Gen. David Petraeus's finger shoved in one ear and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker's finger shoved in the other. I must admit, I'm really not surprised.
While on the way home from the bike shop yesterday I noticed a sign on the roadside advertising a gun sale at the local hardware store. I've been wanting to pick up a semiautomatic pistol for a while and thought I'd stop in to see what they had to offer. After talking with the nice fellow behind the counter about 380's, 45's, and 9mm's, I asked what the LAW was concerning my taking home a pistol. He informed me that if I had a Concealed Weapons Permit, I could leave right then and there with it (after paying, of course). However, if I had not previously submitted to scrutiny by the State/Fed, I'd have to wait TEN days to acquire my property... a sort of pay-now-pick-it-up-later plan. The State apparently is assuming I'm planning on taking the gun from the store and shooting someone post-haste.
Needless to say, the hardware store will be keeping their pistols. I refuse to purchase a self-defense weapon where there's a paper trail. Those of us old enough to remember the movie Red Dawn may recall that one of the very first things the Cubans and Nicaraguans did after they landed on U.S. soil was to go to the local gun stores and collect the Federal Form 4473's so they can find out who owned firearms so they could confiscate weapons from the citizenry. Even in the early 80's--when that movie came out--the realization that licensing provided the State with the ability to keep track of who had guns and who didn't. I personally like to keep the element of surprise on my side.
I'll get my pistol. I just won't get it from someone who demands I ask the State for permission first.