The Militant Libertarian

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

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Half a Brain Is Better Than No Brain

by Bob Wallace

All of the research I've seen over the past several years claims that men only use half their brain, while women use all of theirs. This I believe, since I can drive and listen to the radio simultaneously (obviously men use the same side of their brains for driving and music, meaning driving a car is like listening to music!) but if I have to look for an address, down goes the radio volume, since I'm using the Address-Looking-For Side, which doesn't get along all that well with the Music/Driving Side, so I end up like a duck walking in circles because one leg is shorter than the other.

The good thing about this half-a-brain stuff is that men can concentrate on one thing, like writing software and programming a computer for 20 hours straight while subsisting on Coke and Ding Dongs, or studying a fly's eyeball for 20 years, which is why we've invented almost everything, like squirtguns and bubblegum. It comes from being able to tune out most of the world.

Women, on the other hand, supposedly use all of their brains, meaning the poor double-hemisphered things can't tune out the world to the blissful extent that men can, so the end result is that neither sex understands the other. It's also why some women (like all of them except .00000001%) can't drive, or else have to do a 17-point parallel park, because they're paying attention to too many things at once, like driving and talking on the cellphone and putting on their make-up while looking in the rear-view mirror and rear-ending my Chevy Cavalier twice in one day.

...for more go to

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More Not-so-Funnies

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Friday, April 16, 2004

Why Are the Arabs Afraid of the Brits??

Just Ignore Them

by Roderick Long

Here’s a cheery thought on this gloomy Tax Day: government is one of the few problems that can be gotten rid of by ignoring it. In this respect it compares favourably with such hardier ills as tornadoes, swarming piranhas, and male pattern baldness.

There’s a catch, of course. If only a few people ignore the government, it won’t go away; instead it will come down on those few people like a ton of CS gas. But if the number of people ignoring the government – treating its commands as one would treat the commands of some delusional street person – were to reach critical mass, the power of the state, resting essentially as it does on the complaisance of the governed, would melt away like butter in the Arizona sun. As Étienne de la Boétie wrote in his classic essay Discourse of Voluntary Servitude (read it online or buy it):

Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces.

This is one of the advantages of anarchism as a political program...

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Thursday, April 15, 2004

Patrick Henry: Enemy of the State

by Ryan McMaken

Little is said today of Patrick Henry. He still makes it into a book on American history here and there primarily because he was without a doubt one of the greatest (if not the greatest) orator of his generation, and when the American revolution became imminent in the 1770’s he was among those who had the greatest grasp of when the conflict would come and what it would bring.

The episode in his life that apparently warrants mention by mainstream historians is his speech to the House of Burgesses – which was meeting illegally without the consent of the Crown’s governor. It was late March 1775 – before the farmers of Lexington and Concord had had the opportunity to humiliate the most powerful army on Earth – and Henry knew that a clash of arms was near. In an effort to win support for a bill that would raise an army for Virginia and illegally appoint officers without the consent of the Crown, Henry clamored for the Virginia militia to take arms against the British:

"The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms…Let it come. I repeat, Sir, Let it come…Is life so dear or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

Today, these comments are treated as hyperbole, a mere gentleman’s exercise in arousing legislators to action. With Henry, nothing could be further from the truth. For as Murray Rothbard has pointed out numerous times, the court historians of our age would have us believe that the American revolution was no revolution at all, but merely an unfortunate disagreement among refined compatriots. But for Patrick Henry – and he was certainly not alone in such sentiments – British rule was nothing short of barbaric tyranny, a despotism to be ripped from American soil no matter what the price in blood. read on, follow this link.

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Tax Day...

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004


I'm pretty bent out of shape right now. Fuckin' pissed is the right way to put it. I expected some shell games at today's hearing with Orrin Hatch. I expected them to try to stack the bets a little, but not nearly to the extent that they did.

We had a panel of SEVEN people total. Only five of us knew the others were going to be there. Five people and a total panel of seven... We also did not know that we were the "second" panel for the day and that some Deputy Attorney Yadda-Yadda and some other Utah Homeland inSecurity Hoodey-Hoo was going to be there.

Looking at the lineup of the seven I did expect, I figured that they would "stack the deck" and put at least one of the government-can-do-no-wrong apologists as the last of the speakers.

Here's what they actually did: first, two attorneys (both obviously FOR the USAPA's provisions) gave testimony and question and answers for an hour. The questions Hatch asked them and, for the most part, their responses were obviously pre-planned and possibly scripted. Not to mention they have untold resources for preparing thier testimonies that none of us had.

Then our panel spoke. Interspersed in the panel were two "pro-USAPA" people. I'd expected that. In fact, I even expected the lineup to be basically what it was.

However, the questions to us, after the five minutes a piece commentary, was short and not very leading. Not to mention he virtually demanded that we show him how the powers of the Act had been abused. Hello! That's all "national security," how we are supposed to frikkin' know what they're doing? jesus.

At least I got my question about the FISA warrants answered.

The whole event today was a sham. A complete con made to make those of us who were against Hatch's wishes look like nay-saying morons while those who are for it looked shiney and upright. No doubt they had weeks to prepare their in-depth testimony while the rest of us had not even seven days...

I hate government.

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Testifying Before Senate Judiciary Today

I am testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee today and will be looking Senator Orrin Hatch right in the eye.

If you are local to Utah, you can see me live on FOX News (channel 13) on their morning news program at 7:30am.

Anyone who gets CSPAN-2 can see the hearings live from 10:00am (noon Eastern).

The testimony of all panelists is available online on my other website:

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Tuesday, April 13, 2004


A bum, who'd obviously seen more than his share of hard times, approached a well-dressed man on the street. "Hey, Buddy .....can you spare two dollars?"

The well-dressed man replied, "You're not going to spend it on liquor are you?"

"No, sir, I don't drink," the bum responded.

"You're not going to throw it away on fishing gear, are you?" the gentleman asked.

"No... I don't fish either!" answered the bum.

"You wouldn't waste the money on a deer lease, would you?" asks the man.

"No, I wouldn't!" says the bum, "I don't hunt!"

So the man asked the bum if he'd like to come home with him for a home cooked meal. The bum accepted eagerly. On the way to the man's house, the bum's curiosity got the better of him. "Isn't your wife going to be upset when you bring a guy like me to your house for dinner?"

"Well, probably," said the man, "but it'll be well worth it for her to see what happens to a man that doesn't drink, fish or hunt".

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Monday, April 12, 2004

Go Here...NOW

Common Sense: We Need Adult Supervision

"We Need Adult Supervision"

A $275 billion highway bill just handily passed the House. The president demanded that the bill cost no more than 256 billion. Priorities, people! But the House went ahead anyway with the extra 11 billion. You see, our representatives were not content to fill potholes and fix bridges, they were engaged in -- you guessed it -- pork.

The Chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure is Don Young. It doesn't much matter that he's a Republican. What matters is that he's from Alaska. It's no surprise that he found ten million dollars for a brand new bridge in Ketchikan. And for Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Houston, why, 16 million for pedestrian walkway improvements was
pocket change!

It's a little more surpising that Congress decided to dish out money to Pago Pago and American Samoa, or to throw millions at non-roadway projects. But once you start spending, it's hard to stop.

That's why Jeff Flake of Arizona, who's limited his own terms in Congress, dared an amendment to cut all the special riders allowing the pork. But on April Fool's day the House voted it down, 367 to 60. Next day, the pork-laden bill passed.

Representative Flake now beseeches the president. "This bill is out of control. This Congress is out of control and in desperate need of adult supervision." He's urging the president to veto.

Word is, the president has hauled out his veto pen. Why bother, you ask, since the bill appears veto-proof? Simple: for responsibility's sake.

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Sunday, April 11, 2004

My Testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday

As requested by several people, here is the full text of my submitted written testinmony for the Senate Judiciary Committee for this coming Wednesday (April 14). I will be giving oral testimony on Wednesday and will put that here as soon as it is available.

Testimony Submitted to the
U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on
"Preventing and Responding to Acts of Terrorism: A Review of Current Law"
Aaron Turpen
Libertarian Party of Utah

April 14, 2004

Chairman Hatch, distinguished Members of the Committee, I thank you for the opportunity to testify on the state of our freedoms and the USA PATRIOT Act's impact on current law and our natural rights.

My name is Aaron Turpen and I am Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Utah. I am also the webmaster for and work with several action groups protecting our rights under the Constitution of the United States of America.

I applaud your oversight and dedication to our beloved Constitution. While it is not always easy to preserve our liberties from encroachments, however good their intentions, it is always right to do so.

Mr. Bob Barr stated it correctly when he said, before this same Committee, "The question before us today-whether the government response to those [9/11] attacks has adversely affected our individual liberties, including the right to privacy-could not be more important. It is at once complex and simple."

The threat of terrorist attack on this nation, following the tragedy of September 11, 2001, is considered real and present. While the danger of further attack is ever present, the danger of losing what we most cherish is even more so.

Our nation was founded on the principles of liberty: soon after ratification of the Constitution, the founders of this nation thought it necessary to ensure protection against government encroachment on liberties, and so, in 1791, the first ten amendments to the Constitution-commonly known as the Bill of Rights-were enacted.

The hastily-drafted and hastily-enacted Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (commonly known as the USA PATRIOT Act or the Patriot Act) was an attempt to give federal agencies the powers they needed to combat and prevent future terrorist attacks on our nation. However, most members of Congress have now admitted that they did not read the Act and many have stated that they no longer support the powers given by it.

In response to that, many acts of legislation have been proposed which would amend the USA PATRIOT Act to bring it more in line with the rights of the people. Among these are Senate Bill 436 (the Domestic Surveillance Oversight Act of 2003), Senate Bill 1709 (the SAFE Act), and Senate Bill 1552 (Protecting the Rights of Individuals Act). I and the Libertarian Party of Utah strongly support these bills and ask that the Judiciary Committee move them out of committee and onto the Senate floor for a vote.

Our concerns with the powers given to agencies of the federal government by the Patriot Act are many. Without digressing into a discussion of basic libertarian thought and the state of our nation today, I would like to address provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act specifically and their ramifications-both documented and theoretical.

The Act changes the purview of three major parts of the federal code: Title III, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The latter meant solely for foreign intelligence gathering.

Section 206 of the Act expands FISA to permit what is termed a "roving wiretap" authority from "specified in court-ordered surveillance" to instead include unnamed and unspecified third parties: thus opening the authority up to generic orders that could be used to infringe on the privacy rights of untold numbers of people, especially those who access the Internet via public libraries, schools, and cyber cafes. Because these are issued in secret, no accountability for the execution of these warrants is given. This is a direct violation of not only the First and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution, but also to the checks and balances therein. Not to mention the intended jurisdiction of FISA itself.

Further, Section 212 allows for nearly the same powers to be demanded by the Department of Justice of an Internet Service Provider or telephone company-whether a search warrant is issued or not. To ad insult to injury, this power, which was to sunset in 2005, was made permanent by the passage of the Homeland Security Act (Section 225).

The often-touted Section 213 of the Act allows for what are commonly known as "sneak and peek" warrants to be used. While the idea of a "sneak and peek" warrant has been heavily debated against the Fourth Amendment protection of "probable cause" and "oath and affirmation," the Act's vague definition of "reasonable period" is often overlooked. This definition is used to describe when such a warrant is to be announced to the searched person or persons. Even the Department of Justice's own Field Guide advises that this is a "flexible standard." In addition, these searches apply to all searches for material that "constitutes evidence of a criminal offense in violation of the laws of the United States." Clearly not just terrorism investigations!

Section 215 of the act, also often mentioned, allows for FBI access to "any tangible things." In the popular press, this has been touted as the direct attack on libraries and book stores. Not quite as well known is the scope of the authority given, which applies to any record relevant to the individual and held by a third party. This could include hospitals, places of worship, schools, civic clubs, and more. All without showing "probable cause," but with only the claim that the records may be related to an ongoing investigation "related" to terrorism! Worse yet, those served with the warrants must comply and divulge these records and are under a federal gag order (with criminal penalties) to not disclose that the records were requested and given! This provision allows for potential wholesale record-gathering and database building on persons for literally any reason the Justice Department may deem needful now and in the future.

It is important to note that the powers listed above (Section 215) were available to the FISA Court before the USA PATRIOT Act was enacted. It is equally important, however, to understand that there were two major safeguards countering this power which were removed by Section 215. These checks included a definition of specific records that were available under this provision and the requirement that the FBI present the FISA Court with "articulable facts giving reason to believe" that the person being investigated was a spy or terrorist. Both of these protections, again, were removed by Section 215.

Moving into Title III of the Patriot Act, we come to Section 315, which authorizes extended powers for foreign corruption offenses and money laundering crimes. With the designations of these crimes and the definitions thereof, it should be well noted that these basic laws have been in effect for years now under prevue of the Department of the Treasury. Money launderers and multi-national fraudsters have been flouting these same laws since their inception with relative impunity. There is little chance that foreign terrorists would not use the same techniques in their actions.

I could write volumes on the various aspects of the forfeiture clauses of Section 806 and its corresponding attacks on personal and private property rights. Property forfeiture without due process is, itself, a fundamental attack on the rights of the People and cannot be lambasted enough. The discussion of it, while bearing mention here, is somewhat out of the scope of this testimony.

Beyond the technical aspects of the Patriot Act itself, one with a libertarian mind is forced to consider the further Constitutional ramifications of the Act's consequences. In our nation's constitutional framework exist three separate and distinct branches: the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary. The balance of powers between these three branches is what we term "checks and balances." These checks and balances assume a certain amount of visibility and accountability for each branch.

One of the heaviest of the erosions to this balance is the general loss of accountability for the Executive Branch. In 2002, the House Judiciary Committee demanded that the Department of Justice answer questions about how it was using the new authorities given by the USA PATRIOT Act. Touting "national security issues," the Justice Department refused to give anything more than the letter of the law required. It was only after intense public pressure that the Executive acquiesced and produced more information.

This erosion of accountability resulted in a heavy mistrust of the Executive branch and illustrated the relative weakness the legislative branch now holds in weighing its side of the checks and balance sea-saw.

Related to the issue of accountability and the checks and balances of our government the overall issue of new attitudes and regulations within various government agencies regarding Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests has also been disconcerting. A general "closing of the doors" has been witnessed and recounted by many journalists, lobbyists, activists, and others who have come to rely on the general availability and openness of information available from, about, and thanks to our government agencies. Many records which were previously openly available have become closed under the guise of "national security." This circling of the wagons by agencies of the government appears to have done little to safeguard our nation and much to undermine trust in our nation's government.

Ultimately, in our representative republic, those chosen to serve in the name of the People are accountable to those who asked them to serve. Consequently, those laws which are enacted by those called to serve are also accountable to the People for which they were written. Therefore, the laws with which the People are not content may be revised or removed to suit the Will of the People.

The USA PATRIOT Act has shown its ability to galvanize the Will of the People against its draconian provisions. Regardless of political ideology, religious belief, or lifestyle choice; people around the nation have come together to voice their opposition to the tyrannies they perceive coming from the Patriot Act.

That you are holding this hearing today shows that you, as servants of the People, have heard our collective voices and are willing to listen to our requests for change. We the People are asking that you, as our elected representatives, reconsider the actions taken in 2001 and revise the USA PATRIOT Act to restore the natural rights bestowed upon us and enumerated in the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America.

Thank you for this opportunity to speak with you today in support of the principles of freedom upon which our nation was founded.

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