The Militant Libertarian

I'm pissed off and I'm a libertarian. What else you wanna know?

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Great Cartoon - Make a T-Shirt Out of It

Socialists & Guns

Note: I'm showing this here at 1/2 size so it doesn't screw up the site's layout. If you save this to disk, you'll find it's double the size shown here.
Got comments? Email me, punk!

Friday, February 06, 2004

Awesom Article - READ THIS NOW! "A New Politics"

A New Politics
By Frederick Turner
Published 02/06/2004

A realignment is taking place in the politics of this country and indeed of the world at large. It is increasingly difficult to define the meanings of left and right, liberal and conservative.

Democratic candidates are running on once-Republican platforms of fiscal restraint, protection of jobs from foreign competition, and the principle of leaving dictators alone; the Republican President proposes expensive prescription drug and space exploration plans, encourages legal guest workers, and sets out to make the world safe for democracy. Progress is surely the property of the "conservatives," while resistance to economic, technological and political innovation comes from the once-progressive liberals. The "culture wars" have ended in a strange standoff, even a detente. The left seems bankrupt of new ideas and cannot be a partner in any really interesting conversation. The recent collapse of the Dean campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination is a case in point: his only platform, as the delegates perceived, was to be against things.

A rift is opening at right angles, so to speak, to the old borders of contestation. The rift, I will argue, is not between left and right but between libertarian and communitarian. Or perhaps we could say that in the intellectual absence of the left, an inherent rift in the right is becoming the new locus of debate, and the remnants of the left are having to choose one side or the other.

But this process has been going on for some time. Consider, for instance, the Seattle protests against the IMF, the WTO and the World Bank. The protesters focused a wave of anti-global sentiment that included: anti-free traders from the trades unions and the Gephardt wing of the Democratic Party; "right-wing" Buchananite nativist opponents of immigration, open borders, and the exportation of jobs; Earth First Greens who revere Nature and advocate human submission to biology; gay liberationists who oppose any biological limitations on human freedom; third world advocates who resent the corruption of traditional religious morality in ancient authoritarian patriarchal societies by American democratic capitalist culture; feminists who regard America as sexist but who would be compelled to wear the veil or chador in the societies that the World Bank leans on; and so on. Strange bedfellows indeed, if one takes a traditional left/right perspective.

Signs of realignment are everywhere. The Republicans are accused of creating Big Government, the Democratic Party of being anti-progressive and reactionary. Bill Gates and George Soros, the great capitalists, come out against inherited wealth. Polls of inner-city voters support school vouchers to send minority children to private schools. Bill Joy, the leading-edge technologist, warns in Luddite tones, oddly resembling the Unabomber's, against the dangers of human enslavement to machines. Bill Clinton the liberal leaves office with his major achievement being the abolition of welfare as we know it, under a cloud of scandal about his having been bribed by big business. Samuel Francis, the religious conservative, opposes the involvement of religion in politics, and conservative religious groups oppose President Bush's faith-based services plan. Black educationalists advocate racially segregated black schools. Some conservatives advocate the liberalization of Chinese society by the spread of capitalism through free trade, while other conservatives want to use anti-capitalist tariff barriers to pressure the Chinese into allowing religious freedom. Liberals are divided in the same way, between those who see capitalism as the cure for Chinese political tyranny, and those who see the denial of capitalist privileges as a moral weapon in the cause of human rights. Chronicles, the conservative journal, attacks big business; Fidel Castro wants access to U.S. capitalist markets. Ted Turner, the liberal entrepreneur, gives the U.N. a billion dollars; Jane Fonda is born again. Susan Faludi, the feminist, writes a book praising butch blue-collar committed Dads, literally patriarchs who take charge of their kids. Martha Stewart makes a billion-dollar business out of traditional housework. All your base, as the cant phrase goes, are belong to us.

From the Book Shelf
How do we make sense of all this? In an interesting book, the Future and Its Enemies, Virginia Postrel sees the split as no longer between left and right but between libertarian free markets and free minds on one side, and closed markets and closed minds -- both left and right -- on the other. For any grizzled veteran of the 'Sixties, her combined advocacy of legalized drugs, legally unhindered gun ownership, freedom from PC speech codes, legalized abortion, open immigration, sexual freedom and equality, and unfettered capitalism makes one's head spin, but one is forced to recognize the odd coherency of her position.

Dinesh d'Souza, in The Virtue of Prosperity: Finding Values in an Age of Techno-Affluence identifies the new split as between the yea-sayers and the nah-sayers to biocybertechnological riches; he is with the yea-sayers, but he acknowledges the "nah" arguments of social conservatives, and himself draws the line at any intervention in human genetics.

Robert Putnam, in Bowling Alone, laments the decay of the old authoritative institutions of civil society, ranging from families to neighborhood police to company bowling leagues to churches -- what 'Sixties liberals, who wanted to overthrow them, called the "pig Establishment" -- but he does so with the almost Marxist-sounding intention of opposing the commodification and alienation of commercial society. (Putnam is very persuasive about the decline of social life in America until one realizes that he has left out the enormous expansion of social contact in his very own institution, the university, and in the greatest civil-society institution of all, the corporate campus.)

David Brooks, in his marvelously funny Bobos in Paradise, identifies the new elite as a combination of the two warring sides of the 'Sixties: the bourgeoisie and the bohemians. But he is less explicit about the opposition to this new elite, which has likewise organized itself around a strange détente: between conservative moralists and lefty anticapitalists.

The Realignment Will Proceed
In many ways, these books have all been rendered moot by the events of 9/11. But the core message remains, and the realignment will proceed through the war on terrorism and its hoped-for aftermath of global prosperity and détente. Seven years ago I published in American Arts Quarterly the following meditation on the earlier collapse of the agricultural and manufacturing economies:

". . . the third wave, the information age, is upon us, the golden dawn upon the economic horizon. However, . . . the same thing will happen to the information industries, presently ascendant, as happened to the farms and factories. There is no reason the technologies of data storage, management and retrieval should not perfect and miniaturize and cheapen and streamline themselves almost out of existence like their predecessors. If the historical analogy holds, employment, investment, and cultural commitment in the information industries will rise to about 90% of the given resources; at first huge fortunes will be made; then as the labor demand rises, economic equality will increase; there will follow the predictable collapse of the labor market as the information industries become more and more cost-efficient, smaller and smaller on the world's horizon, less and less labor-intensive, and finally less capital-hungry and less profitable, leaving a few cash cows providing all the world's needs. Eventually their operation will take up 2% of our money and our people. Hordes of information workers will be turned out on the streets, asking the employed if they can spare a dime. Moreover all this will happen much faster than the rise and decline of manufacturing, just as the manufacturing age happened faster than the agricultural age."
(American Arts Quarterly, Winter 1997)

At that time I predicted the emergence of a new economy that would succeed the information economy:

"Finally, we will be left with the irreducibly labor- and capital-intensive human industries of what we might call "charm": education, entertainment, adventure, religion, sport, fashion, history, movies, ritual, personal development, politics, the eternal soap opera of relationships. . . The world's largest industry today is not electronics, not automobiles, not oil, but tourism."

If one makes enough predictions, some of them are bound to be accurate, and I make no special claims for my own personal crystal ball. My gloomy economic prognostication about the information age did indeed come to pass -- much faster than I had thought, alas -- and the emergence of the "charm economy" is well on track. But I for one failed to see the political dimension of these economic and social shifts, how the economic changes would alter the political ground-rules so as to produce a new cascade of consequences. Left and right are increasingly meaningless: a society in which cultural goods are the core of the economy needs a new kind of debate.

Emergent "Parties"
Perhaps now we can define the orientation of the new emergent "parties":

Libertarian vs. Communitarian
Freedom vs. Virtue
Economic inclusiveness vs. Preservation of non-economic values
Globalist/Localist vs. Nationalist
Evolution vs. Ecology
Free market capitalism vs. "Stakeholder" capitalism
Open communication vs. Responsible gatekeeping
Privacy vs. Accountability
Gender-blindness vs. Sexual equality-in-difference

Some of these categories probably require a gloss. The libertarian party in this schema -- not necessarily identical to the actual Libertarian Party -- believes that members of a free population will be disciplined by the consequences of their free acts and the exigencies of the market, so that they will acquire virtue as a by-product of their education by experience. Cultural and moral institutions will arise spontaneously to cope with the demand, without help from the state. The "nanny" state creates a moral peon class that never has the opportunity to develop virtue and the higher fruits of human life. The nature of virtue itself is one of the issues that is to be decided by the free process of the marketplace of ideas, and nobody's traditional value system should be forced on anyone else; victimless crimes, such as drug use, are not really crimes at all. For libertarians, freedom is the prerequisite for virtue.

Communitarians, on the other hand, believe that a free democracy cannot function, however excellent its constitution, without a virtuous population that is capable of judging objectively, voting responsibly, taking into account the needs of the whole community, and serving the public if called upon. Even markets depend, they say, upon accumulated cultural/moral capital. Thus a society (not necessarily the state) should preempt the free market and provide the basic security from want and illness that is the ground of virtue. It should protect the public from its own addictions. And it should encourage an education in values and civics that can counteract both the individualistic selfish tendencies of the free marketplace and the divisiveness of ethnic differences. For communitarians, virtue precedes freedom.

"Virtue" in this sense does not mean any narrow sectarian code of behavior, but rather the willing practice of life according to the "Golden Rule" found alike in Aristotle, Confucius, and in seven of the Ten Commandments: the habits, customs, and inclinations that make possible the public cooperation of any group of human beings. Narrower codes associated with specific religious revelations have historically engendered great stores of cultural and moral capital and have become the harbingers of the broader kind of virtue. Libertarians and communitarians agree that such religious institutions should be protected by the state, but that they cannot be part of the program of a nation such as ours, with its constitutional ban on the state establishment of religion.

Where They Differ
Libertarians and communitarians differ on how to deal with the neglect of higher values. Libertarians would solve the problem by permitting the market to incorporate higher values -- environmental, moral, spiritual, social, cultural -- and set an appropriate price on them so that they can compete with more "materialistic" goods. Eco-tourism and cultural tourism, free-market environmentalism (in which property owners are trusted to act as the best custodians of the land, as it is in their interest to do so), pollution credits that allow businesses to profit from environmental good citizenship, tax exemptions for religious organizations, vigorous public competition among sects and churches for the religious dollar, open and well-funded lobbying of government, vigorous consumer and investor communication and collusion in selecting corporate offerings, and the commercialization of art museums, symphonies and other cultural institutions would all be encouraged by the libertarians.

Communitarians would take a different tack, seeking to separate and insulate higher values from the marketplace. They would favor national parks, strict separation of church and state, campaign finance reform, regulation of both business and the power of consumers (as for instance in the Napster affair), and the professionalization of arts institutions and their preservation from market pressures. This analysis suggests why a proposal like faith-based welfare can act as a wedge issue -- it appeals to libertarians because it wrests power from the government, and to communitarians because it makes money serve virtue; but it also alarms libertarians because if government pays the piper, it is likely to call the tune, and alarms communitarians because money and economic incentives could corrupt the higher values of religious institutions.

Libertarians tend to view with optimism the emergence of political and economic units larger than and smaller than the nation. They do not mind regions and cities developing their own cultural institutions and foreign policy; at the same time they applaud the expansion of worldwide currency and equities markets, free trade areas, and suchlike, as long as they are not the instruments of the state. Communitarians view such developments with alarm, as tending to undermine the historical authority of the nation and its ideals, and the sovereignty by which moral and social virtues can be enforced.

Libertarians see the natural world as in a state of flux regardless of human intervention in it -- indeed human intervention is for them just another example of nature's own patented process of everything interfering with everything else, and thus selecting out the fittest to survive. Communitarians see nature as a homeostatic self-adjusting system, that can be disrupted by human activity and which can incorporate human society only if society submits itself to natural constraints.

Libertarians see the problems of the market economy, and the abuses of fraud, unemployment, exploitation, unfair competition, local poverty, environmental damage, and so on as resulting from imperfect communication within the market itself, whether because of government regulation or technological backwardness. Communitarians make somewhat the same diagnosis -- not all the stakeholders are properly represented in the market -- but a different plan of cure: to regulate the market so as to include ethics committees, oversight boards, etc, in the deliberative process, and to limit the free development of new technologies that might bypass traditional interest groups and social values.

Libertarians would welcome publicly available quantum encryption devices that would allow perfect secure communication among individuals without government surveillance and control. Communitarians see a need for law-enforcement access to and community regulation of information, so as to protect the public from private exploitation and abuse -- and also fresh-air laws that would prevent government from being manipulated by private interests. (There was an interesting debate between two science fiction writers, David Brin and Neal Stephenson, on precisely this issue, Brin arguing for complete electronic unconcealment as an instrument of accountability, Stephenson arguing for the creation of perfectly encrypted communications systems and banks as a refuge from government coercion and big-business monopolies.)

Libertarians tend to let individuals sink or swim in the market regardless of their gender, family status, or sexual preferences, arguing that in the end fairness will emerge as the result of the equilibration of interests and values and the reflection of that equilibration in wages and prices. Communitarians tend to admit the differences in sexual roles, to insist on equal valuation of those roles, and to desire legislation that would counterbalance market valuations of work and lifestyle, and compensate individuals for their acceptance of the social duties associated with their roles.

These divisions are, I believe, far more natural, rational, intelligible, and consistent than the current left and right, which are united only by their hatred of their opponent. My own slight bias in favor of the libertarian party in this analysis is probably obvious. But there are good arguments, and vulnerabilities, on both sides. Thoughtful people from both left and right might find a congenial place on either side of this conversation.

More interesting than taking one side or the other would be exploring how the debate itself might throw up excellent new ideas, solutions to old problems, and creative opportunities for cultural and political leadership. Perhaps we should look for a candidate in future presidential primaries and elections to attempt to seize one side of the debate and to define his opponents as on the other side. Will either or both of the major parties begin to split? If one party collapses altogether, as is possible for the Democrats, will the other fission into two in order to fit our two-party paradigm? We live in interesting times.

Got comments? Email me, punk!

Interesting Stuff I've Read Today

I've been reading through my daily email sludge (387 spam messages in my filtered box thus far...) and found these great tidbits:
Is Your TiVO a Spy Box?
Ricin as an excuse to further ignore us plebes. Write your Congresscritter today! :)
Forest Service can't keep its books of 5 BILLION...
This seriously pisses me off. I mean, if my taxes are off $5, I get my ass reamed for $5,000 by the IRS for my screwup. The Forest Service is off by MILLIONS and they just say "oops...sorry about that.",1848,62182,00.html
So you think the idea of a swipeable magnetic driver's license is a good idea? Read this!,2933,110605,00.html
I find this pretty amusing...if not hypocritical.
I now have a new hero and, wonder of wonders, he's a federal judge!
Finally, we have this great infograph from the worlds #1 news source: The Onion!

Got comments? Email me, punk!

Thursday, February 05, 2004

State Resolutions Asking Congress To Get the U.S. Out of the U.N.

The following arrived in my email box this afternoon from Albert Burns:

There is a rising awareness of the threat which the U.N. poses to the continued independence and sovereignty of the U.S. As a result of that awareness, there are presently resolutions in the State Legislatures of Arizona, Idaho, and Utah. The Utah Resolution HJR 3 has already passed the State House of Representatives and has now gone to the State Senate. The Arizona Resolution currently has 50% of the State Legislature as co-sponsors of the Resolution!

I strongly urge anyone receiving this email to start a movement to have a similar resolution introduced and passed in your own state legislature. If there is already such a resolution pending, please do everything you can to get it passed and sent to Congress.

I am appending a sample letter below which was sent to the Utah State Senate in support of HJR-3. You can use these reasons or come up with your own. We must get the U.S. out of the U.N. if we are to remain a free nation!

Al Burns
P.S. The wording of the Utah Resolution HJR 3 is at the end of this message.

State Senator_____________
Utah State Senate
319 State Capitol
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-0111

Dear State Senator ____________,

Please vote to send HJR 3 out of the Senate Rules Committee so that it may eventually be considered on the floor of the Utah Senate. If you haven’t read HJR 3, please do so before making your decision. It will only take about 2 minutes of your time. HJR 3 is a resolution urging Congress to consider withdrawing the United States from the United Nations and was recently approved by the Utah House of Representatives.

Below are some of the most common objections I have heard from legislators to debating the membership in the United Nations followed by a brief rebuttal.

Objection No. 1: It’s a waste of time because only Congress can get the US out of the UN.

Rebuttal: By this same reasoning, writing a letter to any Congressman requesting that they support or oppose a certain bill would also be a waste of time because the act of writing and sending the letter would not by itself cause the bill to pass or fail. Of course, that’s not the point of writing a letter to Congress; the point is to influence how congressmen vote so they can represent their constituency accurately, not to usurp Congress’ power. The same can be said for HJR 3.

Objection No. 2: It’s a waste of time because this is not a state issue; we have more important matters to discuss, such as education, roads, and health care.

Rebuttal: Ignoring this issue would be like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic while it is sinking -- a tragic case of misplaced priorities. Utah is part of the United States. If the United States loses its sovereignty, so does Utah. If this issue is ignored by Congress, debate on so-called “state” issues will be meaningless and a true waste of time because decisions made by state legislatures will always be subject to international norms set by unelected international bureaucrats. The UN is quite eager to implement its own plans when it comes to education, roads, health care, and many other “state” issues.

Objection No. 3: The timing is not right.

Rebuttal: When exactly is the right time to discuss threats to our nation’s sovereign independence? When is the right time to ask Congress to defend it? When is the right time to honor your oath of office and “support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this State?” With all due respect, Senator, the time is now, not later.

Objection No. 4. A resolution from the state legislature is not an effective way to build support for Congressional action. Congress would listen to us if US senators were still elected by legislatures as they were before the 17th Amendment was passed in 1913.

Rebuttal: The Declaration of Independence was nothing more than a resolution. Before that, individual colonies had petitioned the British parliament for a redress of grievances. Eventually, enough colonies petitioned that their cries could not be ignored, and Parliament began to take action. Similar resolutions to HJR 3 are being considered by the Idaho and Arizona legislatures. Once a block of State Legislatures voices concern over the United Nations, the people, the media and the Congress will be forced to see the urgency of this issue.

The only objection I have even heard from legislators that even attempts to defend the UN itself is:

Objection No. 5: We need to still be at the table and use the UN as a forum to communicate with other nations.

Rebuttal: If the UN were simply a place where representatives from different countries come to discuss the world’s problems, it might not be so bad. But the problem is that the UN claims to be the apex decision-making body for the entire world and expects all nations to abide by its decisions. It even claims power to make war to enforce those decisions. Before the UN came into existence we communicated freely with other nations all around the world through diplomats without “airing out our dirty laundry” in front of the entire world. It was a policy of minding our own business or non-interventionism, not isolationism. Withdrawing from the UN would mean a return to this more sensible way of communicating with other nations, not a rejection of the concept of communicating with and making agreements with other countries on a bilateral or multilateral basis.

Objection No. 6: Constituents want the legislature to discuss other issues.

Rebuttal: Represenative Ron Paul, sponsor of HR 1146, the American Sovereignty Restoration Act, a bill before Congress that provides for the complete withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations, recently came to Utah to speak in favor of US withdrawal from the UN. Between 600 and 700 people came to hear him speak, including talk radio hosts, political candidates and many activists. This indicates that US membership in the UN is not an issue that only a handful of people are interested in. Even if this were not the case, your primary concern should be to uphold your oath of office. There will be time to discuss many other issues, too.

So, please read and support HJR 3, a resolution urging Congress to consider withdrawing the United States from the United Nations, by sending it on to the Senate floor for debate. Thank you for your time.


Utah Legislature Resolution HJR 3:
Be it resolved by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
WHEREAS, the United States is known for its compassionate people who are generous and kind in caring for the needs of those in other countries and whose resources are used worldwide to alleviate hunger and poverty;
WHEREAS, United States military forces are called upon to bear the brunt of any conflicts that may arise, which costs the lives of many American armed forces members, while other nations stay on the sidelines;
WHEREAS, the United States provides the largest share of the financial burden for the United Nations, amounting to hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars each year which could be used to address many of the nation's own needs;
WHEREAS, many of the countries who are members of the United Nations are not only
unfriendly to the United States, but also support ideas and interests that are detrimental to the
United States;
WHEREAS, member nations that are among the worst human rights violators are members of, and even chair, the committee to investigate human rights violations while the United States is denied membership;
WHEREAS, the secretary-general of the United Nations, as well as most other leaders and committee chairs, are chosen from nations who do not share the values of the United States, but this nation is expected to follow their decisions and programs;
WHEREAS, the United States was founded, and the constitution was created, for the purpose of PROTECTING GOD-GIVEN h freedoms and rights and for protecting the nation's values and way of life;
WHEREAS, the United States was created to be independent from, not subject to, the laws and rules of other nations;
WHEREAS, the United Nations has further imperiled the sovereignty of the United States' military serving abroad by adopting an International Criminal Court, which violates both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the United States Constitution;
WHEREAS, the International Criminal Court has no legitimate authority and lacks any body of laws by which to adjudicate cases since the authority to enact laws rests with sovereign nations;
WHEREAS, the International Criminal Court merges the functions of prosecutor and adjudicator into one office, which is contrary to the United States Constitution;
WHEREAS, the International Criminal Court fails to provide any appeal from adjudication at the trial level and fails to provide for a trial by jury;
WHEREAS, the International Criminal Court fails to provide that the accused be confronted by his or her accusers, providing instead for the use of hearsay evidence;
WHEREAS, the International Criminal Court fails to provide for the accused the right to compel the production of witnesses;
WHEREAS, the International Criminal Court allows evidence obtained from the accused by compulsion;
WHEREAS, the International Criminal Court denies other fundamental rights recognized in the constitutional jurisprudence of the United States;
WHEREAS, even though the United States has not signed the agreement to abide by the decisions of the International Criminal Court, when two-thirds of the member nations sign,
it will be binding on all members;
WHEREAS, the United States Constitution, which provides America with the greatest form of government known to humankind, and which was made possible and protected by much sacrifice and bloodshed throughout the nation's history, is not recognized as a governing document by the United Nations;
WHEREAS, the continual use of the nation's resources and armed forces to enforce its
resolutions and to police the world as a result of failed United Nations peace overtures may
eventually weaken the United States to the point where it can no longer defend its freedoms;
WHEREAS, the absolute failure of the United Nations to support the United States in the war against terrorism in Iraq is but the latest affront to the citizens of the United States; and
WHEREAS, the United States has nothing to gain and everything to lose by continuing as a member of the United Nations:

DETERMINATION OF THE PEOPLE OF OUR NATION the Legislature of the state of Utah
respectfully but firmly requests that the United States Congress consider dissolving the
membership of the United States in the United Nations, thereby freeing the nation from a large
financial burden and retaining the nation's sovereignty to decide what is best for the nation and
determine what steps it considers appropriate as the leader of the free world in full control of
its armed forces and destiny.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent to the President of
the United States Senate, the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the
United States House of Representatives, the President of the United States, and to the members
of Utah's congressional delegation.

Legislative Review Note as of 12-16-03 2:52 PM

A limited legal review of this legislation raises no obvious constitutional or statutory concerns.

Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel

Got comments? Email me, punk!

Be Patriotic: Don't Vote & Other Great Stuff

I'm reading through some of the great stuff I get emailed to me every day. Yep, I receive a boatload of email. After a while, you get pretty good at sorting and prioritizing them, though. It doesn't hurt that I'm in front of this computer all frikkin' day every damn day of the week. :) Not that I'm complaining. It's a living, I guess.

Anyway, here's some stuff I'm sure you'll enjoy reading:
Be Patriotic: Don't Vote
This article is quite good, detailing why we should NOT vote for candidate from the major parties...even if that's all that's available. Great read for the political insurrectionist!
Primary Jitters
This article details what's wrong with the major candidates for President...not one of them is pro-liberty and no single one of them has come out against the USA PATRIOT Act...
Free Hunter! A Practical Call for Letters
I'll be posting my letter to the court in Hunter's behalf as soon as it's written. Stay tuned!

Got comments? Email me, punk!

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Winners in the War on Drugs: Congressional Family Drug Offenders

Winners in the War on Drugs
Congressional Family Drug Offenders
Escape Mandatory Sentences, Get Favorable Treatment

-- Cunningham, Shelby,Watts November-December 1998

Drug warrior Ashcroft's nephew got leniency on marijuana charges while uncle was governor and others went to prison for growing less -- visit -- politics section to learn more.

Ashcroft's nephew got probation after major pot bust Although his arrest for growing 60 plants could have landed him in federal prison, Alex Ashcroft was tried in state court and avoided jail -- despite his uncle's crusade for tougher federal drug laws and mandatory prison sentences

By Daniel Forbes Jan. 12, 2001
The nephew of Attorney General-designate John Ashcroft received probation after a felony conviction in state court for growing 60 marijuana plants with intent to distribute the drug in 1992 -- a lenient sentence, given that the charges against him often trigger much tougher federal penalties and jail time. Ashcroft was the tough-on-drugs Missouri governor at the time.

Alex Ashcroft, then 25, and his brother Adam, 19, were arrested and charged with production and possession of marijuana after police raided their home in January, 1992.A housemate, Kevin Sheely, then 24, was also arrested. Officials said approximately 60 marijuana plants were found growing in a basement crawl space, and a lighting, irrigation and security system was also discovered.

Although growing more than 50 plants often triggers federal prosecution, and results in jail time -- thanks to federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws Ashcroft fought to toughen as senator -- Alex Ashcroft was prosecuted on a state charge and received probation. His brother Adam did not live in the house and was never prosecuted.

According to Sheely's lawyer, Dan Viets, who practices in Columbia, Mo., Ashcroft tested positive for drugs during his first post-probation drug test, yet still remained free.

"As I recall it, in his first month on probation, Alex had a positive urine test," Viets said. He asserted he has spoken to someone who has recently seen documentary evidence of the failed test.

Reached for comment, Alex Ashcroft's father Bob first denied that his son had failed a urine test, then said, "Anything's possible." Asked about the failed urine test, Alex's mother, Beverly Ashcroft, told Salon, "I have no idea. That's such an upsetting time, it's all a little foggy."

Ashcroft was sentenced to three years in the Missouri Department of Correction for a class C felony involving more than 35 grams of marijuana. The sentence was suspended, and he was placed on probation for three years and sentenced to 100 hours of community service, which he served.

Ashcroft's parents point out that Sheely, who went before a different judge, received even lighter treatment. Sheely's records are sealed, and all Viets would say is that his client was officially "not convicted." Bob Ashcroft says, "The prosecutor was from the other side of the aisle. He did everything he could to prosecute my son." His mother, Beverly, adds, "I think the facts are clear that his uncle as governor certainly did not bail Alex out."

Aaron's note: there's LOTS more on the site! Go check it out!

Got comments? Email me, punk!

License for Tyranny - Book Review of "Terrorism and Tyranny"

Aaron's Note: This is an EXCELLENT book for those of you who want a play-by-play of how the government has been further destroying our rights in pursuit of tyranny recently. It's written by someone who is a Washington insider and NOT by some conspiranoid hack. Great reading!

License for Tyranny
by: Karen De Coster
[February 4, 2004]

Jim Bovard, in the words of the Orange County Register, is "Washington’s most hated truth-teller." In his latest book, Terrorism and Tyranny: Trampling Freedom, Justice, and Peace to Rid the World of Evil, he sustains that long-standing reputation with surefire dignity and aplomb.

You get a feeling about a book and its author, when, in the book’s very first sentence, he rivets you to your chair with jackhammer force by stating that "the war on terrorism is the first political growth industry of the new millennium." The rest of the book falls out from that thesis, as Bovard takes the reader on a journey through the war on terrorism, starting with the mostly forgotten Reagan crusade, and onward through to the Bush anti-terror campaign.

Jim Bovard is, without a doubt, the best political researcher-writer in politics today. While most writers add a few footnotes to their writing, Bovard adds some first-rate writing to his immaculate set of footnotes. He doesn’t make wild judgments or blanket allegations. Instead, he provides an encyclopedia’s worth of timely quotes laid out in chronological fashion, to funnel the reader through an extensive framework of US government double-dealing, coercion, corruption, and propaganda milling. Occasionally, he provides us with a timely comment or two, enabling the reader to discern that this author clearly separates opinion from fact.

For starters, perhaps the most unforeseen and brilliant facet of Bovard’s chronology is his application of the war on terror’s inauguration as being firmly planted in the Ronald Reagan camp. It’s as if he expected the reader to forgive and forget, or at least not conjure up those deep-rooted memories in light of the Bush administration’s present tyranny spree.

Starting there, we note Bovard’s overt reminder that Reagan’s Secretary of State Alexander Haig "proclaimed that fighting terrorism would be one of the Reagan administration’s highest priorities." The October 1983 attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon took place—as the author points out—in a combat zone, however, the surprise attack was immediately portrayed as an act of "terrorism." The media and political powers-that-be helped to legitimize that classification by leisurely deconstructing the definition of terrorism, and echoing similar sentiments over time.

Portraying US combat troops as victims of a terrorist act instead of casualties of combat was the first step to assuaging the public’s need for suitable explanation concerning our military presence in Lebanon. A bunch of young, American Marines bludgeoned in their safe haven spurred on a cry for justice from the folks at home. Following this calamity, the gyrations provided by the Reagan spinmeisters were forever representative of that which future administrations would offer up as supposedly chaste information. Under Ronald Reagan, terrorism had officially become an approved target for the U.S. government.

Fast-forwarding to the Bush Era, the grab for federal power reached an all-time high. As Bovard calls it, "safety through servility." Immediately upon 9/11, the Senate passed the "Combating Terrorism Act," and as Bovard points out, "with no debate." In spite of the substantial provisions that it provided for wiretapping and email snooping with Carnivore, the Bush administration sought far greater powers than this act alone could provide.

John Ashcroft and his Justice Department got to work convincing the public that more protection, and hence, a larger scope of federal powers was needed, and as swiftly as possible. The rhetoric rained down upon the American populace from the likes of Ashcroft, Orrin Hatch, Tom Daschle, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who suggested that the inclusion of some poignant, WMD rhetoric in a September 20th, 2001 Bush speech was advantageous because "it’s an energizer for the American people."

The Senate’s bill, Ashcroft’s own bill—the Mobilization Against Terrorism Act—and a house version eventually mated and spun off the Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001, or, the Patriot Act. The final version was entirely Bush-approved, as his administration protested and plundered its way to the passage of an end product that was free from any Senate or House obstructions of unbridled power. Says Bovard:

In their campaign for the new act, Bush, Ashcroft, and others implicitly threatened congressmen with political destruction if they did not quickly grant the Bush administration’s demands. . . . Some of the Patriot Act’s provisions are "sunset" provisions that will expire in 2005 unless Congress extends them. But it would be naïve to expect future Congresses to show fortitude in the face of executive branch fear-mongering.

The Patriot Act’s increased active surveillance, increased database surveillance, forced DNA procurements, the freedom to grope consumer credit reports, new citizen spy programs, and anti-encryption laws are all a part of our future, thanks to Ashcroft & Company. Arbitrary federal power finally came home to roost.

Perhaps the most provocative argument is the author’s reference to the notion that federal agencies' definitions of terrorism don’t allow for government—or "government’s agents"—to be included as terrorists. The Defense Department, FBI, and the State Department all conveniently define terrorism in a "common theme" that consistently reflects "that only private citizens and private groups can be guilty of terrorism," when indeed, governments can be and have been, throughout history, the most substantial executors of oppression and death the world over. In chilling likeness, Bovard transmits this bit of wisdom:

The notion that "states cannot be terrorists" is not a Bush innovation; it extends back at least to the early twentieth century. The League of Nations in 1937 defined terrorism as "criminal acts directed against a State and intended or calculated to create a state of terror in the minds of particular persons or the general public." The League’s efforts to build an international consensus against private terrorists ended after Hitler’s seizure of Czechoslovakia and invasion of Poland.

The reader is left with the postulation that States will be States, and they are all capable of committing horrific evils if left unrestrained. A malevolent State grabs arbitrary powers and dispenses them to charlatan departments, to be used against the general public with the support of a kept media and its distinct powers of propaganda and misinformation. When the current administration in command and its media devotees can, with little impediment, clear a path for the complete annihilation of the Constitutional system of checks and balances, we are left with an invincible executive office unaccountable for a single transgression. Consequently, an otherwise trivial noun, terror, has become the executive power’s best friend.

The economic consequences of endless campaigns against terrorism are alarming. Over time, and especially since 9/11, the terrorism-fighting industry has been used successfully to help navigate transfers from the private sector to the public sector. Thus Jim Bovard’s "political growth industry." Whereas technology growth in the security sphere could have occurred in the private sector, funds and resources are being siphoned off to grow the public sector. For instance, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, upon taking office in 2002, promised that her state would grow its economy through its own Homeland Security industry that would be partially financed by the feds. Accordingly, many states conferred upon their own taxpayers the same despotic burden.

In his book, the unconventional Jim Bovard has mastered the art of uncovering deception and spin when and where it is buried beneath a stack of establishment posturing, legally binding decrees, and walls of near-impenetrable propaganda. Unlike Bill O’Reilly’s books, between these covers lies a genuine no-spin zone.


Karen De Coster, CPA is a freelance writer and Business Consultant in the Midwest. Send her MAIL and see her Articles Archive. Also, see her website at Bovard writes for as well.

Article reprinted from:

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Some Cartoons & Site Updates

The documents area has been created and now has several things you can peruse.

Here's some cartoons to lighten your day:

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Tuesday, February 03, 2004

A nasty surprise awaits the middle class come tax day

A nasty surprise awaits the middle class come tax day
[More news about everyone's favorite topic...theIRS]

Beware: The alternative minimum tax could soon snag you.

The minimum tax, enacted to make sure that even the ultra-rich pay some income taxes, may hit 44 million households, including families making less than $50,000 a year simply because they have lots of children to claim as exemptions or take other tax breaks.

The non-partisan, private Tax Policy Center estimates the tax will:
Add an average of $3,751 annually to a tax bill, with 52 percent of affected households making $100,000 or less a year.

Let many ultra-wealthy people off the hook again: Only 24.3 percent of people making over $1 million will pay the tax by 2010.

Congress enacted the tax in 1969 amid reports that 155 ultra-rich Americans avoided paying a penny in income tax. The alternative tax has been on the books since then, never indexed to inflation.

The tax breaks President Bush and Congress enacted since 2001 expanding child tax credits and "marriage penalty" relief make it more likely taxpayers will owe the alternative minimum tax.

Bush called for permanent extension of these tax breaks in his State of the Union address but not reform of the alternative minimum tax, which denies families most of the Bush write-offs. The 2003 tax cut contains a temporary provision that will help many families avoid the alternative minimum tax through 2004. But repealing the tax entirely would cost the Treasury $600 billion in the next 10 years.

And there's insult to the injury, the IRS says:

Taxpayers who might owe the alternate minimum will spend 12 hours more preparing their 2003 taxes. They will have to calculate taxes under two formulas requiring eight pages of instructions, a 12-line worksheet and a 65-line form.

And when they're done, they must pay the higher amount. Many won't owe the alternate minimum tax -- but they'll still have lost a day figuring that out.

Aaron says: Lucky you, now you get to see some of what it's like to be self-employed or a small business owner! Woo-Hoo for you, you lucky SOBs!

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Dossier program alarms Utahns

Dossier program alarms Utahns
Copyright 2004 Deseret Morning News,1249,590039368,00.html

By Jerry D. Spangler, Amy Joi Bryson and Bob Bernick Jr.
Deseret Morning News

It sounds like a sci-fi thriller: a super computer program that gathers dossiers on every single man, woman and child — everything from birth and marriage and divorce history to hunting licenses and car license plates. Even every address you have lived at down to the color of your hair..

It sounds surreal, but former Gov. Mike Leavitt signed Utah's 2.4million residents up for a pilot program — ironically called MATRIX — that does just that. And he never bothered to reveal details of the program to Utah citizens or to state lawmakers who, upon learning of the program on Capitol Hill this week, are now worried the state could be involved
in a program that jeopardizes basic civil liberties.

"I am concerned our governor signed us up without ever talking to us, the people of the state" said Senate Minority Whip Ron Allen, D-Stansbury Park, who has asked legislative analysts to research whether the Legislature ever authorized state participation in the program. "If what I have heard is true, then I am concerned about our liberty and
our privacy. It is a national identification card without ever carrying it."

Allen's concerns are shared by his GOP counterparts, who worry about government intrusion into people's private lives and the collection of comprehensive data on people who have committed no crime.

"It certainly sounds like Big Brother to me, a paranoia that government wants to know what all the people are doing because government knows best," said Senate Majority Leader Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville. He had not heard of the program until queried by the Deseret Morning News. "I want to find out where the origin of it is in our state."

So does Gov. Olene Walker, who on Wednesday requested that the Utah Department of Public Safety provide her more information on MATRIX.

"It does appear to be something that began under Gov. Leavitt," said Walker's spokeswoman, Amanda Covington, who added, "Gov. Walker is very concerned about individual privacy, but she has been assured by the Department of Public Safety that is not an issue with MATRIX."

Attempts to reach Leavitt for comment on MATRIX were not successful.

House and Senate leaders either had never heard of MATRIX or, if the name was familiar, had no idea that conservatives and civil libertarians had any concerns over the new, super-information network.

MATRIX — Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange — is an intranet database regarded as the nation's largest cyber-compilation of personal records. It is touted as an efficient crime-fighting tool that allows agencies to access information with just a nimble fingertip.

Searchable databases allow law enforcement agents to probe for people using Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, property records, motor vehicle information and credit history. The information is collected by states and forwarded to a database in Florida, where a private company, Seisint Inc., builds and manages the database.

The program essentially cross-references government records from both public and private databases, putting together a dossier on individuals for use by law enforcement.

Verdi White II, the man Leavitt tapped to be the state's homeland security specialist, said any data gleaned for Utah's participation in MATRIX is information already available to law enforcement — and in some cases the public. White said Utah's participation is at a limited level, and he described it as an "experiment."

"We will evaluate this and see if it does have value, if we are able to interdict a crime or apprehend an abducted child. If it does have value, we will go to the Legislature and see if they want to participate in it," he said. White said no cost analysis had been done about continuing the program past the end of the pilot project in August.

But MATRIX could turn into a conservative punching bag, like the old "smart card" proposal that would have allowed the Department of Public Safety to begin a "smart" driver's license that used electronic chips to store all kinds of information like an allergic reaction to certain antibiotics. And the state itself could put on the chip information like
criminal history.

But conservatives came out of the woodwork, claiming the "smart card" could become a national I.D. card, containing all kinds of information that could be misused by authorities. The bill quickly died.

MATRIX could present the same ethical and political conundrums.

"It sounds like smart card but a lot scarier," said Gayle Ruzicka of the conservative Utah Eagle Forum. "In this case, people don't know their very personal information is available to law enforcement. I think we have been hoodwinked."

Ruzicka was familiar with the MATRIX controversy through e-mails with other conservatives around the country. But she had no idea Utah was a charter member of the program.

"Utah needs to get out of it. The question is who can get us out," she said.

Company officials are tight-lipped about what data it collects, and Utah officials have been mum about the extent to which the state isparticipating.

Utah was one of 13 states that hopped on board the pilot program last June — funded with $12 million in federal grants. But since then, several states have pulled out of the project, citing privacy and financial concerns.

Officials with the American Civil Liberties Union both in Utah and the national headquarters in New York say they can't be sure how deep the state is involved because the state has ignored requests for information. "What is Utah collecting? We have been trying to find that out for weeks," said Jay Stanley, ACLU national spokesman.

Stanley said a Freedom of Information request was submitted Nov. 18, 2003, but there has been no reply. The Utah ACLU also submitted a state records request to learn what records are being compiled, who has access, the number of times MATRIX has been used, the circumstances under which it has been used and what procedures are in place to assure privacy.

"It seems to us this kind of system has enormous implications for American freedom," Stanley said. "It should not be like pulling teeth to get information about how it is going to work."

White said the information should be turned over to the ACLU this week and that officials had been in touch with ACLU attorneys.

Stanley worries that MATRIX combines private police records with commercially available data compiled by a multibillion-dollar industry that specializes in "data mining."

"They claim to cover 98 percent of Americans — you, your neighbors, your family members, your demographics, your lifestyle and purchasing habits," he said.

It isn't clear whether legislative leaders would have even recognized those concerns within a federal grant to set up a test information-sharing program between the states and federal government.

House Speaker Marty Stephens, R-Farr West, said Leavitt "mentioned" the program to leaders as part of Homeland Security discussions last year. But MATRIX apparently was never brought to the Executive Appropriations Committee as a specific discussion, either last session or during the interim.

"I don't know a lot about it or how it works," said Stephens, "and I never heard of any of these concerns."

A bigger concern is that Big Brother could be watching every move, every purchase, every wrong turn.

"Do I want the government compiling all these records on me through a super database to come up with a dossier?" queried one legislative staffer who should have known about MATRIX but didn't. "Not only no, but hell no."

Got comments? Email me, punk!

Monday, February 02, 2004

Letter to the IRS

Letter to the IRS, accompanying tax forms.

Internal Revenue Service
Fresno, CA 93888-0102

Dear IRS,

Enclosed you will find my form 1040, my Schedule C “Profit or Loss from Business,” and my Schedule SE “Self-Employment Tax.” As per your requirements, I have filled out these forms after having painstakingly checked my business books for errors and accounting totals.

Enclosed you will also find an invoice from my business for the time spent compiling all of this information for your benefit. As a self-employed contractor, I charge $45 an hour as stipulated on my website for all work not under prior contract agreement. As I have no agreement of contract with the IRS, I am billing at my hourly rate. A time sheet is below for your reference when reviewing the enclosed invoice, payable without penalty by April 15, 2004.

Accounting and bookwork to comply with IRS forms: 16.75 hours @ $45/hour: $753.75
Accounting/Tax Preparation software: $79.99 (not deducted from forms within)
Filling in of Tax Preparation Software forms: 7.25 hours @ $45/hour: $326.25
1/2 gallon of mid-priced Rum, Coca-Cola, ice, etc. to keep blood pressure down during vexing tax preparation process: $39.95
Visit to emergency room for possible heart attack symptoms: $873
Hotel room for wife who tired of listening to my lengthy screams of agony and various colorful phrases to describe tax code: $79.99
Money put into basket while attending church to atone for my sins (above): $50
Phone calls (long distance) to my Uncle Leonard, a CPA: $45.92
Lost contract with client who was unable to reach me due to my repeated use of the phone to call Uncle Leonard: $4,875 (estimated)
Visit to emergency room after finding out the above: $936

Total of above: $8,063.13.
Deducted from my debt to you of $3,027, I show a deficit of $5,036.13. This is redeemable by check, money order, or cash and is due on or before April 15, 2004. As per my attached invoice. Please be reminded that failure to pay by the date due will result in penalties and interest. Thank you.


Aaron Turpen
Holladay, Utah

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I Can't Believe I Didn't Watch Halftime...

I got this email this morning and was quite livid. I usually try to watch at least Half-Time during the Super Bowl (I really have no interest in the game itself). This year, I didn't. Look what I missed! @#$@#$!@@#$#in-A!

February 2, 2004
CBS shows nudity during Super Bowl half-time

Just when you think TV can't sink any lower, it does.

During the halftime program for the Super Bowl, CBS showed singer Justin Timberlake tearing off singer Janet Jackson’s top, exposing her breast.

The two singers were performing "Rock Your Body," a risqué duet to end the half time show. The final lyric of the song goes, "Going to have you naked by the end of this song."

In addition, the halftime show included:
Janet Jackson grabbing her breasts
Sean P. Diddy repeatedly fondling his crotch
Striptease cheerleaders
Gyrating transvestites
Simulated lesbian sex
Jackson and Timberlake groping each other
According to the Drudge Report, top CBS executives approved the Jackson exposure prior to the game. "The decision to go forward went to the very top of the network," Drudge quoted a well-placed source in New York. Jackson and Timberlake got the ok from CBS for their performance.

In addition, an ad for Bud Lite showed a talking chimp, blatantly asking his owner "babe" if she would like to go upstairs to have sex with him.

Son of a bitch! Can you believe that! I didn't even tape it. @#$@#$@#! Oh well. It'll be available streaming on the 'Net soon enough...

Got comments? Email me, punk!

I'm More Militant Than Thou

I got this email this morning. I think I've got it over on him, myself. These are pretty great files (the music might suck, but the lyrics are good). Surf the site and listen to some of the other sound files too. I'm currently listening to "Sexual Harassment 101: Chicks With Problems."

You think you're a militant libertarian? I'm far more militant than thou.

You might enjoy a couple of these delightful musical blasts:

Or perhaps a spot o' comedy:


Al Barger
Al sez: Sacred cows make the tastiest burgers!

Thanks, Al!

Got comments? Email me, punk!

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Core Libertarian Philosophy and Thought

The following is an email I sent to a Unitarian minister regarding his comments on "responsibility" that isn't included in any libertarian thought he can find (meaning the LP's national platform, various libertarian writings and other research tools he used for a sermon on libertarianism). I BCC'd a friend of mine, Dale, who responded to me with the writings below mine. I think most will find this a good discussion of libertarian thought and what "accountability" really means.

My writing:
To address your question on accountability, the core of Libertarian philosophy is "no force nor fraud." This means I cannot commit these acts against you and vice versa. This is accountability at its core.

To be honest, a political party (or philosophy) is definitely not going to highlight the "down side" to its thinking. The downside to true freedom and liberty is the freedom and liberty to screw up, go bankrupt, ruin your body, etc., etc. Choices have consequences.

The term "freedom is not free" is usually used today by freedom advocates who usually mean that we must have an arsenal of weapons, spend money on activist groups, etc. However, this phrase was coined earlier in the 20th
century to mean that freedom has the cost of accountability. In order to exercise your freedom, you must be willing to take the consequence: good or bad.

In fact, I would postulate that the entire idea of a "social safety net" or "entitlements" is entirely new thinking which probably started in the 1930s as our society moved towards more socialistic thinking.

Libertarian philosophy includes the idea of accountability (you screw up, you pay the price) in its core thought without articulating it as it is foreign to the entire premise of freedom. You cannot be free if you are not free to screw up as well as succeed.

Today's "progressive" thinking (this is a new term which replaces "liberal" or "social" thinking) leans heavily towards public payment of individual debts. General thought seems to be more and more moving towards an attitude that we are "owed" something for one reason or another.

In reality, we are not owed anything but the right to exercise our freedoms (the LDS faith calls this "agency") provided we do not infringe on the freedoms of others in their pursuits.

For instance, in the limited freedom we now enjoy under our current government, I have made many choices: some good, some bad. I have made choices which made me money, lost me money, landed me in jail, elected me to office, ostracized me from one group or another, alienated myself from my own family, gained me a wonderful wife, ruined my credit, helped my credit, etc., etc. These are all choices I've made and all carry consequences for which I am accountable and have dealt with on my own.

In short, libertarian thought includes the consequences for actions, but does not understand the idea of "entitlement" or "social safety nets" to shield people from the consequences of their own actions. Choices are useless if the outcome is not yours to bear, good or ill.

And from Dale:
I have yet to comprehend what the Reverend, or anyone else for that matter, means by "responsibility" or "social responsibility." [Aaron's note: the minister's remarks mentioned only "responsibility"] Responsibility to whom? The collective? The collective good? Who decides what that is? Even if the distillation of that definition was a truly democratic process (it never is), what evidence from history suggests that placing authority for the disposition of wealth (the means to do things "collectively") in the hands of the collective is likely to yield a benign outcome?

History suggests that collective human endeavor, when brought about through the use of coercion has, in fact, almost always produced malignant results. The problem is in the acceptance of the concept of the "collective" in the first place. There is no such entity. There are only groupings of individuals. A faction of the individuals in any "collective", regardless of the original mission of the group, will always seek supremacy over the group's other members. The compulsion to dominate other men, and the ready, institutionalized means of doing so, have always proven to be too great a temptation -- George Washington being the exception to the rule. Its called human nature. When the thugs take over, the original intent of the collective becomes superfluous. This is part is called gang rule.

The only preventative to this evolution (an evolution that has been documented hundreds of times in our lifetimes alone) is the removal of coercion from the process. Without the threat of brute force, no "collective" action that does not serve the interest of the participating individuals can be perpetuated. The institution that serves as the guarantor of this prohibition on force (more accurately, the prohibition of the initiation of force) is private property. What was it that Ayn Rand said? "Without property rights, there can be no human rights." Without the institution of private property, whatever its inherent inequities, there can be no permanent rule of law. Instead, there is the rule of despots and the bureaucrat bastards that serve them.

Does making private property sacrosanct guarantee the process of social evolution -- you know, the path to the holy grail of every Democrat utopian? Who knows? And, if it inhibits the process of social devolution (progressivism), which we are now in the thick of, who cares.

If society is going to evolve, like the education of an individual, the process will advance on the basis of personal volition -- not by dint of social engineering forced on us by a "guiding class." What the institution of private property can do, despite all the societal warts that it may fail to remove, is keep the gulags from being established and filled up. If all that we accomplish as a generation is the avoidance of the mass internment of dissidents and "unreliables", we will have exceeded the generations before us by light years.

How many more hundred millions are going to have to die before the statists/altruists among us apprehend the lesson of history: Consolidated government is the bane of mankind!

I am responsible to no man for the welfare of himself, his family or anyone else -- until I do him harm. Only I can designate what is my responsibility. Until someone can prove that I interfered with his prerogatives, the prerogative to determine my own responsibilities must remain solely with me.

Got comments? Email me, punk!

Site Updates

Well, the website has updated to include links to several of my favorite sites around the 'Net (see "links" button to the left). If you have any to ad, just lemme know.

I'll be updating the documents section this week as well, which will finish off the site as far as content. Of course, more will continue to be added, but this will officially make the site "complete" for the search engines and other picky types.

I'll be adding search capability and maybe a few other wingdings as time goes on.

Got comments? Email me, punk!