The Militant Libertarian

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

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Hero

I wrote a review of the movie "The Hero" starring Jet Li, which I sent out to several friends via email. One of those friends responded questioning the underlying theme of the movie (and the legend it's based upon), which is the "sacrifice of the individual for the national banner" (as she put it).

My response was:
"As I said in my review, it's a Chinese legend and therefore reflects that which is gallant to Asian Man: sacrifice of one for all. It is to the Chinese what individualistic warrior heroes like Ejil are to Westerners. The legend itself is a great story, while the underlying theme is a basic understanding of Chinese (and generally Asiatic) thought on the whole."

Her response is encapsulated in this one sentence of hers: "If our cultures would follow our own legends more closely I think the world would be a better place."

On this point, I could not agree with her more. So, of course, I expounded even more...since I'm such a wordy bastard...

It is an age-old "custom" (if you will) for rulers, leaders, etc. to use legends and ideals as propaganda to further their own schemes. Witness George W. and his pals nowadays over-using the words "freedom" and "democracy" in a way that promotes totalitarianism and slavery.

The mind of man, no matter his race, grasps at things higher than the self. These ideals become driving forces for religion, government, and even business. Usurping those ideals in order to drive men into accepting what is, in effect, the opposite of those ideals is the way one man has controlled another since time began.

You are right, though. If our individual cultures would follow our legends, myths, and true ideals as they are, without bastardising them, we would definitely be better off. Perhaps the Atlanteans did this. Perhaps those ten thousand years before them did the same. Who knows? Or perhaps man is doomed to look towards great ideals while suffering under the plowshare of another.

I am not God and cannot answer these questions for sure. I can, however, postulate that what God wants from us is for us to shake free our chains and strive for these ideals at whatever the cost.

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

House passes Patriot Act renewal

by Thomas Ferraro of

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation on Wednesday to renew the USA Patriot Act, setting up a showdown with the Senate over a centerpiece of President George W. Bush's war on terrorism.

On a 251-174 vote, the House approved the measure, with supporters saying it would properly balance civil liberties with the need to bolster national security.

But a number of Democrats and Republicans vowed to oppose the legislation in the Senate. They charged that despite increased congressional and judicial oversight, it would still give the government too much power to pry into the lives of Americans, including their medical, gun and library records.

Opponents have threatened a Senate procedural roadblock known as a filibuster. It was unclear if they could prevent backers from mustering the needed 60 votes in the 100-member, Republican-led chamber to cut off such a tactic.

A vote was set for Friday.

A Senate Democratic leadership aide said opponents seemed to have from 40 to 46 votes to sustain a filibuster. Republicans said it was uncertain how many votes they would have.

"It's going to be close," a Senate Republican aide said.

Bush weighed into the fray, saying, "The Patriot Act is scheduled to expire at the end of the month, but the terrorist threat will not expire on that schedule."

"In the war on terror, we cannot afford to be without this law for a single moment. I urge the Senate to pass this legislation promptly and reauthorize the Patriot Act," Bush said in a statement.

If Senate proponents are unable to pass the measure, one option suggested by opponents would be to approve a temporary extension of the act as currently written until a new agreement could be reached between the House and Senate.

But Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, said, "I am opposed to a short-term extension," and called on senators to pass the House-passed measure.

"Today's overwhelming bipartisan vote in the House for the Patriot Act -- with the support of 44 Democrats, including members of the House Democratic leadership -- shows that we can all unite to make America safer from terrorism while safeguarding our civil rights and civil liberties," Frist said.


The Patriot Act was first passed after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States to expand the power of the federal government to track down terrorists.

The House-passed compromise would make permanent 14 provisions set to expire on December 31, including ones allowing the sharing of information by intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

In a concession to critics, the legislation would extend three others by four years rather than seven years as proposed earlier.

Those provisions cover rules for tracking "lone-wolf" terrorists, who operate independent of outside groups, as well as wiretaps and court orders for records from businesses, libraries and others in intelligence cases.

The legislation would amend the ability of law enforcement agents to obtain library records, requiring a court to be satisfied the records were relevant to a terrorism investigation.

In a "Dear Colleague" letter, nine senators -- five Democrats and four Republicans -- called for additional changes.

They charged the measure would allow "fishing expeditions targeting innocent Americans," and said the government should be "required to convince a judge" that records they want are connected to a "suspected terrorist or spy."

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told Reuters during a visit to New York the Patriot Act "has proven to be a very effective tool in fighting terror."

"I don't think there has been any real case made that it's been abused," he said.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Not To Me...

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

We'll Miss Saddam

by Charley Reese

When they finally hang Saddam Hussein, we'll probably miss him. He has, after all, been an obsession of American politicians since 1991. Since the Washington media obsess over whatever the politicians obsess over, Saddam's face has adorned our television screens for 14 years. He bears a strong resemblance, by the way, to the late actor Walter Matthau.

Saddam, without a doubt, has gotten more air time and more ink than any dictator in the post-World War II world. Never before has so much attention been lavished on a man who, on the world stage, has always been so insignificant.

Iraq, being a relatively small country, with a population of about 25 million people divided into three quarreling groups, never in its history posed a threat to the world. The demonization of Saddam has always been political bull. The only country Iraq ever conquered was Kuwait, which is a postage stamp of a country.

The Kuwaiti leadership fled in their Mercedes, Rolls-Royces and Cadillacs at the sound of the first shot. I've never forgotten an anonymous quote in a Wall Street Journal story. The reporter had asked someone, apparently a Kuwaiti leader, why he was not fighting for his country. "That is what we have our American slaves for," he is quoted as saying.

The Iraqis fought Iran, much to the glee and with the assistance of the United States, but they lost. And Iraq was never a significant factor in any of the Israeli-Arab wars, all of which Israel won. So Saddam's record was only 1-1, assuming you want to call the invasion of Kuwait a victory. It started in the morning and was over by the afternoon.

The fact that Iraq developed and used chemical weapons in its war with Iran is not significant at all. Those weapons were developed in World War I and were used by both the Allies and the Germans. Iran also used them in the 1980s war. It should be noted, as further proof of the basic dishonesty of the American government, that when the chemical attack so often cited by the Bush administration as proof of Saddam's evil actually occurred, an official U.S. government investigation blamed it on the Iranians.

Now Saddam is entertaining us again with his phony trial. "Hey, you with the glasses," he shouted recently, referring to the judge. He asserts that the trial is illegal because our invasion was illegal, and therefore, from a legal standpoint, he is still the president of Iraq. What's funny is that he's right – not that that will save him.

But it really is true that our invasion of Iraq was illegal. Iraq was not at war with us, was not preparing to go to war with us and was not a threat to us. Furthermore, Iraq had complied with United Nations resolutions and gotten rid of its weapons of mass destruction, despite the torrent of lies to the contrary that the Bush administration unleashed.

We committed what international law forbids – a war of aggression. And it is true that American invaders are, in effect, trying Saddam. The law and the courts were set up during the occupational government, and the judges were trained by Americans. Saddam was arrested by Americans and is being held in prison by Americans. It will go down in history as an American-sponsored kangaroo court.

Nobody should misconstrue any of this as a claim that Saddam is not a killer and a thug. He most certainly is. He was known as the Butcher of Baghdad even in the days when the United States government supported him. The U.S. government has supported a lot of killers and thugs, and if it continues its imperialistic foreign policy, it will keep on doing so because our foreign policy completely lacks any morality.

The irony is that a two-bit dictator in a six-bit country has provided American politicians with the opportunity to forever soil America's reputation. We are now considered by most of the world as a rogue nation. Thus Saddam, as he steps up to the gallows, can take perverse pleasure in the fact that he was the cause, though inadvertently, of great and lasting damage to the United States.

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The Victims of the Public School System Guide to the Bill of Rights
Robert Greenslade

As a recovering victim of the American public school system, it took many years of independent study before I finally discovered the true intent of the Bill of Rights. With the 214th anniversary of the adoption of the Amendments only days away, the Bill of Rights remains, next to the Constitution itself, the most misunderstood document in the history of the nation. The recent vacancies on the United States Supreme Court have made the Bill of Rights front-page news and a major topic of discussion. Unfortunately, editorials and talk shows continue to misrepresent the original intent of the Amendments. Since a vast majority of the American people suffer from the "victims of the public school system syndrome" that plagues the nation, the author felt this was the perfect time to offer some information that might help them overcome their affliction concerning the Bill of Rights.

When I was in civics class many years ago, I was never taught that the Bill of Rights contained a preamble that spelled out the intent of the Amendments. The preamble states that the purpose of the Amendments was to prevent the federal government from "misconstruing or abusing its powers." To accomplish this, "further declaratory and restrictive clauses" were recommended. The Amendments, when adopted, did not create or grant any so-called "constitutional rights" as I was taught in school, but placed additional restraints or prohibitions on the powers of the federal government. Thus, the Amendments are simply enumerated denials of power.

The author decided the best way to explain this principle was to re-write the Amendments through the preamble. This re-write illuminates the original intent of the Amendments, without resorting to the preamble, and makes them easier to understand. Some words have been changed to reflect modern usage and the sentence structure has been slightly altered in a few of the Amendments. The author suggests the reader, after reviewing the preamble, compare the wording of each Amendment to the original.

Article I. Congress is expressly denied the power to enact any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Article II. Because a well regulated Militia is necessary to the security of a free State, the federal government is expressly denied the power to infringe the people's right to keep and bear Arms. (Footnote 1)

Article III. The federal government is expressly denied the power to quarter any Soldier in any house, in time of peace, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, except in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Article IV. The federal government is expressly denied the power to infringe the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the federal government is expressly denied the power to issue Warrants, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Article V. The federal government is expressly denied the power to hold any person to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall the federal government subject any person to a prosecution for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall the federal government compel any person in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor shall the federal government deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall the federal government take private property for public use, without just compensation.

Article VI. In all criminal prosecutions, the federal government is expressly denied the power to negate the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law; nor shall the federal government deny the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; or the right to be confronted with the witnesses against him; or the right to have compulsory process for obtaining Witnesses in his favor, or the right to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

Article VII. In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the federal government is expressly denied the power to negate the people's right to a trial by jury, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re-examined in any federal Court, than according to the rules of the common law.

Article VIII. The federal government is expressly denied the power to impose excessive bail, excessive fines, or cruel and unusual punishments.

Article IX. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to grant the federal government the power to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Article X. The powers not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Even through the Constitution established a government of limited enumerated powers, and every power not granted was denied, the States decided that "further declaratory and restrictive clauses" were needed to prevent the federal government from "misconstruing or abusing its powers." Thus, the author's insertion of phrases like "the federal government is expressly denied the power" is consistent with the original intent of the Amendments.

After establishing the original intent of the Amendments, three things are certain. First, the purpose of the Amendments was to place additional restraints on the powers of the federal government. Second, the Amendments did not create or grant any so-called constitutional rights. Third, the Amendments did not grant the federal government the general power to secure any of the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights.

In the author's opinion, the American public school system is suppressing the preamble and the original intent of the Amendments because government wants it that way. If government wanted students properly educated on the Bill of Rights, then it would insist that the civics curriculum incorporate this information into classes and textbooks.

The bottom line is the original intent of the Amendments is a threat to the federal government's power. By advancing the myth that the Bill of Rights creates or grants constitutional rights, the federal government has been able assume the role of "protector" of those rights. This has allowed it to transform a denial of power into a grant of power.

If the Founders had written the Bill of Rights in a manner that incorporated the original intent into each Amendment as the author has done above, the Amendments would be easy to understand and the preamble would be an after thought. However, since the original intent has not been inserted into each Amendment, the preamble holds the key to understanding the Amendments.

Now that the reader knows how to properly read the Amendments, don't be a victim of the public school system on December 15th when the nation celebrates the 214th anniversary of the adoption of the Bill of Rights.

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