Thursday, August 31, 2006

For once, Rumsfeld's right

Donald Rumsfeld, August 29, 2006:
"We face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising of a new type of fascism."

"And that is important in this 'long war' where any kind of moral and intellectual confusion about who and what is right or wrong can weaken the ability of free societies to persevere."
It's surprisingly true. America is fighting against a new form of fascism, and it threatens Americans at home, at work, at school, at birth, at death, in their cars, on the road, in the air, in their hearts, in their minds; it threatens Americans everywhere because it is an all-pervasive evil: totalitarian "democracy".

Digg it.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Government can't follow its own regulations

49 more innocent people would be alive today if government followed its own rules. The Federal Aviation Administration has admitted that it violated its own rules by only having one air traffic controller in the tower at the Lexington, Kentucky airport from which Comair Flight 5191 took off using a runway too short for the plane, causing it to crash into some trees at the end of the runway.

Though Canada's government-controlled health care system is even worse then our government-meddled one, its privatized air traffic control system is far superior, because it actually suffers when it fails to produce results. Let's take a cue from the Far North and give our air traffic controllers a reason to care.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Preemptive emergence?

Preemptive strikes on perceived threats have been healthily and soundly excoriated since the months immediately preceding the current debacle in Iraq. The government doesn't restrict its ridiculous preemptive tactics to the military, however. Preemptively declaring a state of emergency has become accepted practice among the governors of those states subject to natural disasters, which, considering that a thunderstorm is now considered a "natural disaster", means all of them.

Declaring a "state of emergency" isn't just an obviously chronologically challenged statement of concern. It opens the area covered to a flow of taxpayer dollars. Considering the state of modern telecommunications, any governor could declare such a state as soon as there actually was a disaster.

These declarations days before anything bad could possibly happen are thus political games, serving as another example of politicians enriching themselves with your money right before your eyes, in a completely legal (but repugnant) manner.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

What's worse than a hurricane? Government help.

The general consensus in America seems to be that the government hasn't done enough to help Americans after hurricanes. If you agree with this, however, you have several difficult questions ahead of you (as well as a hurricane):
  1. How much government help is "enough"? The government already provides housing and food for hurricane victims, as well as insurance to encourage people to live in areas vulnerable to hurricane damage.
  2. Why is it the government's responsibility to help people who have been living irresponsibly (by living in areas vulnerable to hurricane damage)? Why is it an Iowan's responsibility to pay for the flood damage incurred by a Louisianan, or that Louisianan's responsibility to pay for an Oklahoman's tornado damage?
  3. What do you do when the government doesn't do everything perfectly? Elect people who promise bigger, "better" government? That's worked well the past 230 years, hasn't it?
The bottom line is, about the only thing that government natural disaster help has ever done well is proven that it sucks. Private charity did more for Katrina victims than public charity did, and had FEMA gotten out of the way, it could've done even more. The next hurricane will be bungled even more by the government, and eventually, people will realize that governemnt is never the answer.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

UN can't keep Congolese from civil war

Despite the fact that the United Nations has its largest "peacekeeping" force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it cannot keep election issues from rapidly decaying into civil war in the capital nad largest city, Kinshasa. 17,000 well-armed troops ought to be able to bring most such situations under control, so why don't they?

That's a mystery, but the bottom line is that they don't, and that UN peacekeepers rarely, if ever, effectively stop fighting from happening, whether they're in Congo, Lebanon, or anywhere else in the world.

Monday, August 21, 2006

John McCain: Proof that Republicans are unprincipled.

The New York Times had a front-page story today about John Mccain's assemblage of helpers for his 2008 presidential campaign. They include Republicans who helped him with his 2000 campaign, Republicans who are anit-neocon, and hardcore neocons.

McCain's apparent belief that all these people will work together demonstrates his lack of concern for what his right - he wants to win, and principles can go crawl in a hole. The Times's lack of surprise at the combination - the obvious possibility for conflict was not mentioned in the article - demonstrates how little most Americans care.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Arnold Schwarzenegger: A true authoritarian

Concerned that his huge spending programs are angering California Republicans, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is sliding further toward the "authoritarian" or "populist" corner of the Nolan Chart. He now wants to crack down on illegal immigration by aligning himself with the foamy-mouthed, hydrophobic Minutemen and Constitution Party types.

Schwarzenegger, who has recently requested huge amounts (tens of billions of dollars) in bond programs, also had this wonderfully hypocritical exchange with the group of hardcore GOP supporters he was talking to:
"What do we say to more taxes?" he shouted.

"No!" they called back.

"What do we say to more government spending?"

The poor Californians duped by this farce are truly wasting their votes. They've got a better choice: Libertarian Art Olivier, the former mayor of Bellflower, CA. He would agree with "no more taxes" and "no more government spending", but he would actually mean it.

Unfortunately, Arnold Schwarzenegger is closer in political philosophy to European socialists than heis to where these Republicans think they are. This is because of a significant barrier to spreading the Libertarian message: most people's political opinions are based on what they think government should do, not what it shouldn't do. In fact, I have no answer to what I think government "should" do (at least long-term). I'll let you figure out why.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

FDA delays another great idea

The FDA just approved a meat treatment of six bacteriophage viruses to disinfect meat. It's nice that they're not preventing such a great idea from coming to market, but why did it need to be approved? No company would put out a product that killed its customers, and no company would put something like this out without testing it to make sure it doesn't kill people. Neither the FDA approval nor that testing would eliminate all possibility of something tragic happening, but if people decide that eating harmless viruses is less frightening than dying from food poisoning (which happens to hundreds of Americans each year), they'll buy it. Otherwise, they won't. If the product does kill somebody, the company will be appropriately sued.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Dictators in need of attention

Certainly the personal lives of American presidents have been occasionally splashed acoss the headlines, especially when moronic opposition leaders decide that offenses related to personal mistakes are what they will choose to impeach on, rather than their blatant disrespect of Constitutional government (of course, they'd have to censure themselves, too, if they went the second route).

But with dictators, especially, recently, Communist ones, it seems that they want the personal attention. Fidel Castro releases pictures of himself in a sickbed, ostensibly recovering, and sends letters filled with encouraging personal details to "his" people.

Kim Jong Il, however, is the true master of using his government to get attention. Enormous statues of him adorn public places. Whenever he decides that the rest of the world isn't freaking out over him enough, he threatens to blow something up. The rest of the world spoon-feeds him the attention he wants, by encouraging him with incentives to not split atoms. These incentives help him feed the people that are left behind by a command economy with insane military spending.

Communism is a sad thing for the people that it controls and a frustration for the leaders of the "free world", but it would help the people under it most if those leaders simply ignored it, did not send it their people's money via the UN, and let it collapse.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Could we get two declared Libertarians in Congress?

Michael Badnarik has long been the favorite to win a seat for the Libertarian Party in Congress this November. Now, however, Bob Smither appears to have as good a chance at a seat, if not an even better one. A Google News search for him shows why: the GOP, as well as the numerous Republican voters in TX-22 (formerly represented by Tom DeLay), is in a bind: No GOP candidate will appear on the ballot, and a write-in campaign is essentially a pipe dream.

Smither is already picking up endorsements from Republicans around the state and nation, especially now that he's promised that if elected, he would vote for a Republican Speaker of the House. Smither is no wolf in sheep's clothing, though - his website shows that he is a true Libertarian. Two Libertarians in the House, plus Ron Paul, would be a significant step towards the LP becoming a national force.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

New airport rules are a placebo

It isn't exactly a huge surprise, but some of the new airport security measures don't accomplish anything. The federal government's fear-and-security package deal is looking increasingly lame.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Since when are these felonies?

I'm gratified to read about recent terrorism charges being dropped against American-born Muslims who were arrested in the Midwest last week, but one paragraph confused me:
The men - brothers Adham Othman, 21, of Dallas and Louai Othman, 23, of Mesquite, and their cousin Awad Muhareb, 18, of Mesquite - were stopped by police Friday outside a Wal-Mart store in Caro, Mich. They were charged with gathering material relating to terrorism and surveillance of a vulnerable target - apparently the bridge - felonies with a 20-year maximum penalty.
So if I buy some ammonium nitrate fertilizer and photograph the American Airlines center more than most people would think is normal, I can be charged with not one, but TWO felonies, felonies which have no discernable victim and are already covered in some form of conspiracy charges?

It seems that these men were simply being good capitalists:
While local authorities in Michigan and Ohio feared the cell phones could be used in terrorism attacks - they've been used to detonate bombs in Europe, the Middle East and Asia - the men's relatives and friends said the men are innocent entrepreneurs buying cheap phones for marked-up resales. They were targeted, supporters said, because of their Arab heritage.
Pretty much any electronic device can be used to set off a bomb, if you're creative enough. Random Arabs being creative entrepreneurs should not be charged with obtuse felonies simply because they're Arabs being creative entrepreneurs.

How much doesn't get done because we have too many rules?

One of my wierd habits is browsing, which even though I don't know that much about computers I find entertaining. Today I happened upon this, which made me think: how many people would be productive in "RL" (real life), but aren't, simply because there are too many rules?

Obviously such people are lazier than they should be, but there's a spectrum of laziness among humanity, and the harder it is to do something the further up the spectrum the line distinguishing between who does do something and who doesn't moves. Furthermore, those people who do choose to be productive in a difficult environment will be less productive because they must deal with those rules.

It's a question that bears extrapolating to other arenas. How many drugs aren't developed because of the FDA's silly and cruel (to animals) regulations? How many inventions aren't invented because high taxes make it too hard to get the capital to invent them? How many businesses aren't founded because the goods they deal in are pointlessly illegal or simply difficult to obtain?

When anything goes wrong in the business world, the solution of both the left and the right is to impose more rules, ignoring the fact that things like Enron wouldn't have happened had there not been regulations for those companies to play with. They need to take away rules to let the free market rule.

A choice that has to be made

As everyone who hasn't been living under a rock since about 1999 knows, America is currently threatened by Islamist terrorists who want to destroy it. This is bad.

This has presented America with a choice: fight the terrorists and anybody who might be a terrorist, or attempt to placate them. This is also bad, because one choice involves war, and the other feels like giving up.

The parties in power have made their choice. They chose war, and the results are obvious: the number of people killed by terrorists has not decreased, and the Muslims world harbors ever more hate for us. This is really, really, really bad.

Since our first choice has backfired, only one rational option remains: to switch gears and make the second one: Pull our troops out of the Middle East (except, for the moment, Iraq, where some semblance of stability, and by stability I mean partition, must be established), leaving nothing for the Islamists to stir hate over but memories, which fade rapidly when they lead to death. Use our troops and intelligence agencies to guard our borders, preventing people and equipment associated with the residual organized hatred from coming in until it wears itself out.

That is the only way America will ever be secure, and the faster we do it, the faster security will return.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The failure of "progressive" social policies

Europe is renowned worldwide (most especially in Europe itself) for being very "progressive". The etymology of the word makes it so that anything "progressive" is regarded as inherently good. But the astounding amounts of anger seen in Europe's minorities put the effectiveness and rightness of social progressivism into doubt.

Last year's French riots demonstrated the failure of French socialism, as the abject misery of life in France's immigrant housing projects spilled into anger, paralyzing the country. France's enormous taxes make it difficult for anybody to hire anybody else, and with the hint of racism inherent to a people who have rarely before shared a country with anybody else, those who get hired are the "real" French. Instead of lowering taxes, the French government instead builds housing projects, leading to disaster.

The radicalism of Britain's Muslim population (note how many more British Muslims have been arrested in conjunction with terror plots than American ones) despite an official British policy of forced integration of schools and to some extent neighborhoods also demonstrates how poorly "progressive" social policies fare in the real world. Let people do what's best for them, and soon enough, racial and religious tensions will ease.

(The American South was kept in a state of permanent racial inequality because of government, before somebody brings that up.)

Why disgruntled Texas Republicans should vote Libertarian.

My mother mentioned to me that she was planning on voting for James Werner, the Libertarian candidate for Governor of Texas, in this November's election. Wanting to capitalize on this opportunity, I did some research and found some good reasons why disgruntled Texas Republicans like her should vote Libertarian:

US Senator:

Republican Incumbent: Kay Bailey Hutchison

Libertarian Challenger: Scott Lanier Jameson

Hutchison is Texas's most popular politician. Banking on this, her campaign site completely ignores issues. History shows, however, that she is one of the “good ol' boys” allied with the religions right in the Republican party.

Jameson aligns closely with the general Libertarian platform. He also wants a constitutional amendment guaranteeing a public review period for all Congressional bills, to help eliminate pork-barrel spending.

Lieutenant Governor:

Republican Incumbent: David Dewhurst

Libertarian Challenger: Judy Baker

Dewhurst played a key part in the mid-decade re-gerrymandering of Texas US House districts, suspending the rule that 2/3 of the Legislature must be present to vote on a bill. He also opposes school vouchers.

Baker's main issues are education, prisons, and property. She supports devolving education control to localities and individual citizens. She wishes to focus law enforcement on violent crimes to end the overcrowding of prisons with nonviolent, victimless offenders (which also catalyzes the release of violent criminals), and opposes the use of eminent domain.

Attorney General:

Republican Incumbent: Greg Abbott

Libertarian Challenger: Jon Roland

Greg Abbott was crippled when a tree fell on him while he was jogging in Houston. Abbott promptly sued the owner of the tree as well as a company that had trimmed the tree a few weeks before the accident. In other words, he's an opportunistic scumbag. This should be about all you need to know to vote against him.

For the rest of them (minimal data is available on any candidates for these offices):

If you're disgruntled with the current direction of the Republican party, they'll only get worse if you continue voting for their candidates. There's only one rational choice for disgruntled Texas Republicans, and that is voting Libertarian.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Kentucky's governor is above the law

According to Judge David E. Melcher, the governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Ernie Fletcher, cannot be prosecuted while in office because of executive immunity. This was, scarily enough, a compromise - the charges are essentially delayed until Fletcher is impeached or his term expires. Fletcher had requested that the charges be eliminated altogether.

Far from the righteous anger that ought to be coming out of the Kentucky attorney general's office (and when I call for righteous anger, something is seriously wrong), a spokeswoman said that the ruling "affirms the principle that no person is above the law."

Fletcher's lawyers are still arguing for a full dismissal:
there are other considerations as well which lead to the motion to dismiss. That is the important need of this state to return to normalcy, and get back to the operation of government as it should be without the cloud hanging over it.
I'm sure if Arthur Andersen's lawyers had argued that they needed corporate America to "return to normalcy" and therefore the charges of mega-corruption dismissed, they would have incited furor. Yet apparently nobody in Kentucky remembers that we are the government's boss, that the government can answer to nobody above us, and that the government must answer to us. For this man to want to keep giving special political appointments or at least not to get in trouble for his last ones so that government can run smoothly should be offensive to every American.

If you're not annoyed yet, this final bit should push you over the edge:
Mr. Fletcher pleaded not guilty last month. Last summer, he issued a blanket pardon for any administration member who might face charges, except himself.
Clearly the best interests of the people of Kentucky are not this man's main focus. Even if they were, I imagine he'd do a crappy job, but as it stands, his actions are not merely the misguided ones I expect of jackyderms, but criminally reprehensible.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Fun with referrals.

Part of the reason I use Sitemeter (on the sidebar at right) is to determine how many people are coming here, but part of why I use it is to see what bizarre ways people get referred here. A disturbing number of people have been referred by searching Google for "nudist youth". "Getting made fun of" is still a popular search that leads to this site, and this site is still No. 1 for that search. Today provided a mildly amusing search referral and one that either gives me hope for India's future or greatly concerns me, depending how it's interpreted. The first was somebody searching from Cornell University who was led here by a Google search for ""easiest classes" at cornell". The second was somebody from Pande, India searching for "why does government need taxation?"

The public interest does not require public money.

Bill Gates, no matter what you may think of his corporation, is a great boon to humanity - and to the arguments that libertarianism is practical.

Gates has donated billions to research cures for and treat diseases which are not especially profitable for drug companies, like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Evidently, government isn't needed for science in the public interest to continue.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Lieberman loss a "loss for centrists"? Good riddance.

The Dallas Morning News published an editorial today decrying Senator Joseph Lieberman's loss in the Democratic primary as a "loss for centrists".

If being a "centrist" means adopting the worst ideas of both the Republicans and the Democrats, Senator Lieberman's primary demise is nothing to cry over. While Republicans favor economic freedoms and are willing to compromise personal freedoms, while Democrats do the opposite, Joseph Lieberman is quite willing to compromise both, putting his political philosophy closer to authoritarianism than either of the philosophies the two major parties claim to champion.

As Hammer of Truth writer (and LPHQ worker) Stephen Gordon said, "what America needs is not watered down tyranny, but extremism in defense of liberty."

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Surprise! The UN is ineffective!

The United Nations, having supposedly been helping the world's peoples beat their swords into plows for the past sixty years, can't seem to do anything to prevent Israel and Hezbollah from blowing up each other's plows, and civilizations, for that matter.

Along with the fact that the UN helps totalitatarian governments like that of North Korea survive (via food aid), its utter ineffectiveness, reminiscent of the Articles of Confederation, should demonstrate adequately that it does not merit United States support.

Unfortunately, our federal government is busily conferring with other nations on things which it has no business interfering with - namely, the foreign policies of Israel, Lebanon, and Iran. (Iran overtly funds Hezbollah.)

A write-in candidate to replace DeLay?

Doing just about the only thing he could, Tom DeLay has withdrawn from his US House race and hopes that the TXGOP will get a write-in candidate to run in his place. This will make that district's race very interesting, as it is a race between a Democrat, a moderate Libertarian, and a write-in Republican in a highly Republican district.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Real ID chokes

A German hacker has figured out how to clone biometric passports such as those used in the UK, Australia, and to be introduced in the USA under the Real ID Act. This is amusing in light of this post, but it's also awesome, in that it demonstrates that in the modern world no tyranny can function.