The Militant Libertarian

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

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Who Owns It?

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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Update on America's Criminal Class


Mark Twain said it best: “America is a nation without a distinct criminal class...with the possible exception of Congress."

Using Twain’s observation as a guideline we took a long, hard look at the 535 men and woman who make up the House and Senate of the United States in 1999 and found a collection of rogues, con artists, scofflaws and bad check artists. We found Twain was right. Congress comprises a distinct criminal class.

It’s been over five years so we decided to take another look. Over the past several months, we have checked public records, past newspaper articles, civil court cases and criminal records of current members of the United States Congress. We talked with former associates and business partners who have been left out in the cold by people they thought were friends.

Using a scoring system developed by American Express, we ran credit checks on members of Congress and applied the financial and criminal record scoring procedures used by the Department of Defense to determine eligibility for a Top Secret security clearance.

All checks were made through public records. We did not break any laws or misrepresent ourselves to obtain any information. What we found, once again, was a disturbing group of elected officials who routinely avoid payment of debts, write bad checks, abuse their spouses, assault people and openly violate the law.

Some abusers from our last investigation are gone, but many remain. They include Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla), whose trail of bad debts, lies to Congress and misstatements to the Internal Revenue Service have spawned a number of investigations. Then there is Rep. James Moran (D-Va) whose wife charged him with abuse, who assaulted other members of Congress on the floor of the House and who is a former stockbroker whose judgment in trades is so bad he is broke from poor investments.

Since our last investigation, Democratic Congressman Jim Trafficant of Ohio has gone to prison for racketeering. Republican Jay Kim copped a plea for accepting a quarter million in illegal campaign contributions and House Republican Leader Tom DeLay is under grand jury investigation for fraud and money laundering.

Our research on the current Congress finds 111 members of the House and Senate who have run at least two businesses that went bankrupt, often leaving business partners and creditors holding the bag. Seventy-nine of them have credit reports so bad they can't get an American Express card on their own (but as members of Congress, they get a government-issued Amex card without a credit check).

Sixty-four have personal and financial problems so serious they would be denied security clearances by the Department of Defense or the Department of Energy if they had to apply through normal channels (but, again, as members of Congress they get such clearances simply because they fooled enough people to get elected).

Thirty one members of the current Congress have been accused of spousal abuse in either criminal or civil proceedings. Thirty three have driving while intoxicated arrests on their driving records (34 if you include President George W. Bush, but he never served in Congress).
Twenty four are or have been defendants in various lawsuits, ranging from bad debts, disputes with business partners or other civil matters.

Nine members of Congress have been accused of writing bad checks, even after the scandal several years ago, which resulted in closure of the informal House bank that routinely allowed members to overdraw their accounts without penalty. Seventeen have drug-related arrests in their backgrounds, six for shoplifting, five for fraud, four for assault and one for criminal trespass.

These numbers vary little from what we found in 1999. Some are slightly higher, others slightly lower. What they show is that the legislative body charged with creating laws for other Americans to follow is overrun with abusers of not only the law but also the trust of the public that put them into office.

© Copyright 2004 by Capitol Hill Blue

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Monday, March 14, 2005

Why I Don't Have A Concealed Weapons Permit


I am relatively well known for being adamant that whenever possible, an adult should carry a weapon. The state is not responsible for your individual safety, and this has been affirmed by numerous court decisions, up to and including the Supreme Court.

Given this, many have asked me at one time or another why I don't have a CCW or CHL permit. The answer to this is very simple: I abhor the very idea of asking the state for permission to defend my life and property, paying a fee for that right, or jumping through varied and numerous legal hoops to exercise that right. In addition, my experience has been that government is not to be trusted in any activity that requires registration of firearms or firearms owners. There have been numerous times when the so-called 'registrations' have been used to confiscate weapons and/or arrest or detain firearms owners, most notably in New York City and in Washington, D.C.

No matter what any politician or political body says, registration is ALWAYS a prelude to confiscation. It may take years, or even decades, but the politicians who solemnly promised that those registrations would "NEVER" be used against gun owners will eventually be out of office, even if they meant the promise in the first place. The members of the opposing party will then undertake to undo all the good work the original party in power did.

This may be because of 'terrorists', it may be 'for the children', it may be as a result of some idiot using his weapons in an unlawful or violent manner without due cause. No matter what the excuse is, there will always be those who cannot stand the idea of self-confident and courageous citizens defending themselves, or as they put it, taking the law into their own hands.

Well, that is exactly where the law is SUPPOSED to be in this country, in the hands of the citizens!

Many have said I am paranoid. To some degree, this may be true. However, when all you have to go on is the history of what has happened on a particular issue, and this in turn gives you a negative image of those charged with dealing with that issue, is it really paranoia? I don't really think so.

So, that is why I don't have a CCW permit. At this point in time, I don't really see that changing. It may, however. At some point I may decide that the advantages of having a CCW permit outweigh the potential disadvantages. If I do, I will go through the training, pay the tax on defending my life like a good little citizen, and get the piece of paper that says I am entitled to exercise the Divine-given right of self-defense. I will do this with my stomach churning madly, and total disgust with both myself and with the system that puts itself above the Divine. In the meantime, I will still be armed, and will still defend my self, my family, and my home against anyone who attempts to violate any or all of these.

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Sunday, March 13, 2005

Bad Dog

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Torture and Defeat

The February edition of Reason Magazine has an interesting little "soundbite" Q&A with Seymour Hersh regarding torture.

Since breaking the My Lai massacre story in 1969, Seymour Hersh has reported on illegal CIA surveillance of Americans, U.S. involvement in Chile's 1973 coup, and the abuses at Abu Ghraib. In his eighth book, Chain of Command (Harper Collins), Hersh draws on his extensive contacts in the intelligence community to paint a disturbing picture of a war managed both immorally and indeptly. Assistant Editor Julian Sanchez spoke with Hersh in November.

Q: Explain "special access program."

A: "Special access program" is just a designator within the Pentagon, usually for programs used to build weapons secretly, like the stealth bomber. In this case it was a group set up, highly classified, with a number of military men operating not as Americans but under foreign passports and identities. They call it "sheepdip," when you put someone out as part of the private sector, not overtly tied to the American government. They were sent [around the world] in December of 2001 and January 2002 to find bad guys and grab them.

Unfortunately, whatever rules you use for determining who the bad guys are, especially operating in secret, aren't going to be perfect. So you'll find yourself grabbing someone, undressing them, filling them with barbiturates, throwing them on a plane in chains, and discovering that they have nothing to give you. It was this group detailed to Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.

Q: You don't buy the "few bad apples" explanation.

A: The abuses at Abu Ghraib were known about in the White House as early as late summer and fall of 2002. There were meetings about it which Condoleeza Rice and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld attended, and to the dismay of many of my contacts, it wasn't takne very seriously.

The idea of using sex, exposing men to shame as part of teh breaking down process, photographing them naked in front of women or simulating homosexual acts--it's inconceivable that a bunch of kids from West Virginia knew the most sophisticated way to humiliate Arab men. And the purpose was not really to break down those people--often they had nothing to give--but to photograph them in a compromised position and say: "Go home, find the insurgency, join it, and report back to us or we'll show these to your relatives and people in your village."

Q: What's the best-case scenario for Iraq now?

A: We lose. The faster we lose the better: There are still a lot of targets to bomb.

We're told we're fighting an insurgency there. "Insurgency"? No way. They're the people we went to war with: the Sunnis, the people we thought we beat. It's not an insurgent movement; it's the original war, now being fought on their terms.

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