The Militant Libertarian

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

Saturday, July 15, 2006


Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website:

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website:

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Nannies Want To Outlaw Internet Gambling

Once more, our nannies in Washington have decided that something on the Internet is bad for us. This time it's online gambling.

Today, the House will be voting on a bill that would ban credit cards and electronic payments for gambling debts. This basically means that online gambling sites cannot bill credit cards or electronically debit checking accounts from their customers - so, in essence, they can't collect from their clients.

Opponents to the bill say it would be better to regulate and tax the industry rather than try to police the internet. Why isn't this an option to Mr. Congressman? Well...because almost all online gambling houses are based outside of the United States thanks to our already overly-restrictive laws against gambling. So taxes would be difficult, impossible, or even illegal to collect from those gambling establishments.

So, the Catch-22 is that we've created an environment where a business cannot thrive legally inside our nation, plus we have technology that makes that a non-issue, and we obviously have consumers who want the product that business sells (gambling, in this case). So the market has pushed for a solution, in this case those gambling houses are off-shore and operating online so that consumers who want their services can access them. Now the government wants to control online gambling (like they want to control everything else), but the gambling houses aren't located inside our nation...

So the government proposes going after the banks that facilitate the transfer of money from the consumer to the business.

Wouldn't want to just eliminate the laws that make it impossible for these businesses to do business inside our borders... No, the moralists who want to force everyone to have their religious morals can't have that!

Here's the really interesting bit that shows how these "moralists" and "nannies" are full of shit: there are two exceptions in this proposed legislation to allow horse racing and lotteries to continue legally online.

Now, wait a minute. These same pulpit-pounding nannies are screaming that "online gambling is the crack cocaine of the Internet" and that we have to "do something about this plague affecting our nation," but at the same time are allowing some forms of gambling to stay...


Seems kind of hypocritical to me.

Once again, we follow the money. Race betting (horses specifically, but also dogs) have a very large lobby in key states, such as Iowa where Jim Leach (one of the sponsors of this bill) is from... Many states have state-run lotteries that supplement their tax income and representatives from those states know it would be political suicide to shut down their state lotteries...

Arizona has a state lottery and their Senator, Jon Kyl, is pushing very hard for this legislation.

Even those who want to force their morals on everyone else, like Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition, say that this legislation is stupid because you can't have "carve-outs" if you're going to prohibit gambling.

Of course they can, Mrs. Lafferty. Even during prohibition, some types of alcohol were not prohibited in this country. Our current "War on Drugs" only targets specific types of drugs while ignoring others that are far more harmful to those who take them.

In the end, this is about control and money (both the same thing, really). Our hired nannies in Washington are concerned that their children (that's us) are going to be hurt by online gambling. They're also concerned that their precious income (taxes) might be missing a possible source of new revenue if gambling can't be "controlled."

Viola, we have anti-online-gambling legislation. Of course, the stuff that's already benefitting them will be exempted (horses and lotteries).

How about we take a gamble and throw out all those jackasses racing for control of our lives in Washington?? I'd roll those dice.

Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website:

Monday, July 10, 2006

The plot to defeat our liberty

By Robyn E. Blumner

For any form of tyranny to succeed, there have to be people who roll up their sleeves and get the job done. Repression doesn't just happen. It has to be organized, arranged, justified and marketed to a willing populace. In other words, it takes a team.

Most tyrannies aren't the epic variety involving a Stalin or a Hussein. They are more subtly subversive, sapping freedom from a fragile system that precariously depends on the integrity of those in charge. It doesn't take much more than a corrupt sheriff, a mayor who helps a developer grab private property with eminent domain or a president who claims that terror suspects have no rights to negate our foundation of liberty and fairness.

And aides to petty and great tyrants alike have a central role in this. Their job is to dispense with the rules that protect the vulnerable from the strong, and make the strong stronger.

In a nation of laws like the United States, it is the lawyers who are the most helpful in this regard, and the Bush administration has had two standouts: David Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney's current chief of staff, former counsel and longtime associate; and John Yoo, a law professor at UC Berkeley who worked in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, a small office that advises the executive branch on the constitutionality of policy.

These men successfully embroidered the legal justifications for a kinglike presidency that may disregard federal law, constitutional rights and the express terms of ratified treaties if the president believes it furthers national security.

Emanating from this one tyrannical idea has come an entire legal regime giving the president the power to approve torture, secret prisons, indefinite detention, kangaroo military commissions and warrantless domestic surveillance. These are all programs contrary to law and, not irrelevantly, our moral code.
New York Republican congressman Peter King has been throwing around the term "treason" against the New York Times for informing the American people about the Bush administration's surveillance of international financial transactions. But what the New York Times did in disclosing a follow-the-money program that the administration has been essentially crowing about for years is piffle compared to the acts of Yoo and Addington. These men, working at the behest of Bush and Cheney (okay, mostly Cheney), have conspired to undo our checks and balances by enabling the president to assert despotic powers. Theirs is sabotage from within.

In a thoroughgoing piece in the July 3 New Yorker, reporter Jane Mayer lifts the veil off the secretive Addington and describes a man obsessed with setting forth a "New Paradigm" in which the commander in chief may "disregard virtually all previously known legal boundaries."

The plan predates 9/11, according to Bruce Fein, a Republican activist who worked in the Reagan Justice Department and has known Cheney and Addington for decades. "The idea of reducing Congress to a cipher was already in play," Fein told Mayer. "It was Cheney and Addington's political agenda."

Insiders told Mayer that administration lawyers who raised questions about the plenary powers being seized by the president were dismissed by Addington as giving away the store.

This doctrine also fit the thinking of John Yoo, who quickly rose in the OLC to be the go-to legal analyst on war powers questions. His popularity had to do with his answers, which were always tilted toward expanding presidential power.

Yoo was a primary author of the notorious memo giving legal cover to torture, and he opined that the administration may deny the Taliban and prisoners captured in the "war" on terror the protections of the Geneva Conventions. On these points, Yoo's reasoning was as dangerous as it was strained.

But the U.S. Supreme Court has just made mincemeat of Yoo's manifesto on executive branch unilateralism, and he has been on the sputtering defensive since.
In Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld, five members of the court said the president didn't have the authority to put Guantanamo detainees through show trials of his own making. The court retrieved Common Article 3 of the Conventions from the dustbin into which Yoo had thrown it, and said its fair trial protections for prisoners do apply to the detainees at Guantanamo.

The watershed ruling was a moment of sense and salvation for our nation, and a respite from the disastrous course on which we've been set by All the Vice President's Men.

Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website:

Sunday, July 09, 2006


I know I am supposed to talk about political stuff here, but life is more than politics...most of the time. :)

I just watched one of the greatest movies I've seen in a very long time. I originally rented it because it has two of my favorite actors (Jet Li and Morgan Freeman) in it. I was surprised to see both of them in the same flick, since it would seem that their movie types (action/martial arts vs. drama) are not compatible.

I was wrong.

The plot line is simple: Jet Li plays a man who was literally raised from a small child to be like a dog whose only skill is fighting and killing. Morgan Freeman is a blind piano tuner whose step-daughter is destined for Carnegie Hall as a pianist. The two lead separate lives until Li's "handler" is killed and he is set loose upon the world with all the social understanding of a 5-year-old child.

Obviously, the two worlds are going to collide. That's what the movie's all about. What sets it apart from most failed attempts at this type of plot is the excellent acting of both Jet Li and (of course) Morgan Freeman. In fact, if anyone but Freeman had played his part, the movie would have been just another martial arts flick with a flimsy excuse to show ass-whooping.

What you get are superb performances by those involved. Even the bad guy (usually the part reserved for the worst actor in the martial arts film) is very well done. I don't recall his name, but you'll recognize him when you see him.

And see him you must, because this movie is one of the best movies I've seen in a very long time. The core theme being that humans are humans, not animals, when given the chance to be so.

I believe this to be so, though I'm not going to stand around and let someone beat on me until they figure that at (neither does Jet Li, by the way). :)
Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website:

Blatant Self-Promotion

Got comments? Email me, dammit!
Permanent link for this article which can be used on any website: