Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Armistice Day!

Or not so happy since we are involved in so many wars right now.

Here's to peace.

Monday, November 1, 2010

We Are Not Free: The Porno Scanners

Michael Chertoff says:

“I don’t know why everybody is running to buy these expensive and useless machines. I can overcome the body scanners with enough explosives to bring down a Boeing 747. That’s why we haven’t put them in our airport.” — Rafi Sela, leading Israeli airport security expert, referring to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport, which has some of the toughest security in the world.

Proof the Porno Scanners Are for Humiliation and Control

TSA Introduces New Pat-Down at Airport

 Pat downs just got worse!

Friday, October 22, 2010

2010 General Election Resources

From the AZ Secretary of State Website
General Election Info
General Election People -->  A more useful list with links to candidates websites: The Green Papers

The Freedom Index for National Politics (Look up Kirkpatrick & McCain, it's useful to look up McCain when he was working during Bush Era)

The Financial Scorecard.  This is also for national politics.

The Report Card for local politics.  For Bennett see this old report card from 2006.  The 2005 was better but not by much.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


As Arizona votes to legalize medical marijuana it necessitates understanding how we can become free by making drugs freer.

Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies

On July 1, 2001, a nationwide law in Portugal took effect that decriminalized all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Under the new legal framework, all drugs were "decriminalized," not "legalized." Thus, drug possession for personal use and drug usage itself are still legally prohibited, but violations of those prohibitions are deemed to be exclusively administrative violations and are removed completely from the criminal realm. Drug trafficking continues to be prosecuted as a criminal offense.

While other states in the European Union have developed various forms of de facto decriminalization — whereby substances perceived to be less serious (such as cannabis) rarely lead to criminal prosecution — Portugal remains the only EU member state with a law explicitly declaring drugs to be "decriminalized." Because more than seven years have now elapsed since enactment of Portugal's decriminalization system, there are ample data enabling its effects to be assessed...

Anarchy = Practicality = Liberty?

 Jesus the Anarcho-capitalist?

James Redford makes an interesting case. 

The Stateless Society: An Examination of Alternatives

The practicality of anarchy.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

We Are Not Free: The War On Ourselves

In the news we often see how the government is using scare tactics against its own citizens.  You know the end of a great nation is coming when the government starts attacking its own citizens.  We saw how the FBI has created "terrorists" groups in our own country and charge them with crimes and sometimes the people, if they're lucky, are acquitted.  (See stories found in and

The latest of these incidents was the witch hunt on anti-war protesters.

We Are Not Free: The System

One of my arguments against government is the system within it works.  It operates in a monopoly of force and hence enables people do that which they might otherwise not do.

When people become cogs in a wheel they tend to do things they otherwise wouldn't, like not use force on others to get them to do something that doesn't even have any consequence.  Or hurt someone because they are in a position of power.

A great example of this is a recent fire fighting incident where the firemen refused to put out a fire because the person didn't pay the annual fee (the firefighters were city employees and the house was on county land, so if the person would have liked the service they could have paid the city $75/year).  People blamed this incident on the free market.  But they don't understand that this incident had nothing to do with the free market.  The firefighters were city employees taking instruction from bureaucrats with no customer satisfaction incentive for them to put the fire out.  Instead of acting with compassion or offering to put the fire out for a certain amount of money or having the customer pay full price they just let the house burn down.  This is not an example against the free market but against government and bureaucracy.  Just as we see this incident we will see similar incidents in the new universal health care as more and more people just follow orders and have no incentive (as found in the free market) to go above and beyond their station in life.

 Power Corrupts
 It's useful to keep this in mind because, while the overwhelming lesson of the last half century of social psychology is that situational influences can easily swamp the effect of individual differences in character, our political rhetoric takes scant account of this. Political campaigns focus heavily on questions of “character”—which especially in the case of “outsider” campaigns should be of limited predictive value. Republican candidates and officials try to portray Democrats as arrogant and out of touch, while Democrats cast Republicans as callous and greedy. In each case, the message is that these are bad people, and their character flaws are somehow related to their specific ideologies. The remedy is, invariably, to replace them in positions of power with better people from the other team. These social science results suggest that this is unlikely to work: The problem is power itself.

Friday, September 17, 2010

We Are Not Free: The Secret Government - The Constitution in Crisis

The Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis, by Bill Moyers

History is so incredibly important to understand the world we live in.  It let's us know the pattern of the world and how it repeats itself.  In this video we see the recent history of the United States during the Iran Contra scandal.  We see how the CIA and FBI are organizations that are counter to a free society.  We see how war is truly the health of the state.  We see how we are repeating ourselves.

The loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or imagined, from abroad. - James Madison

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. . . . [There is also an] inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and . . . degeneracy of manners and of morals. . . . No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. . . .

[It should be well understood] that the powers proposed to be surrendered [by the Third Congress] to the Executive were those which the Constitution has most jealously appropriated to the Legislature. . . .

The Constitution expressly and exclusively vests in the Legislature the power of declaring a state of war . . . the power of raising armies . . . the power of creating offices. . . .

A delegation of such powers [to the President] would have struck, not only at the fabric of our Constitution, but at the foundation of all well organized and well checked governments.

The separation of the power of declaring war from that of conducting it, is wisely contrived to exclude the danger of its being declared for the sake of its being conducted.

The separation of the power of raising armies from the power of commanding them, is intended to prevent the raising of armies for the sake of commanding them.

The separation of the power of creating offices from that of filling them, is an essential guard against the temptation to create offices for the sake of gratifying favourites or multiplying dependents. - James Madison from Letters and Other Writings of James Madison.
  Excerpts from the film:

I wouldn't be here if my father and my brothers were involved in the secret war.  I am here because I have no choice of being here...[The] CIA goofed up because they weren't willing to carry through with their goals.  They think it's so simple that people are like pawns in a game like a chess game.  In a game you can move them wherever you want but you have to understand that human life is very different from playing a game because a game once you lose there's nothing at stake, but when you lose a person's life or devastate a whole country, as they did to my country. - Hmong man from Laos

Can we have perpetual war and democracy? - Bill Moyers

If we continue these policies to rob ourselves in order to feed this national security monster we're going to continue to degrade American life.  That's real national security.  National security for the United States is making the United States a good place to live where people want to be active, intelligent, involved citizens.  For people at the top to say this world is so complicated and so dangerous, just a few of us need to govern it and hold the secrets in, and we will tell you what's good for you.  That is moving down the road to dictatorship. - Roger Wilkins

Oliver North was the Colonel who was spot lighted in the video.  He believed in obeying orders of the president (king) regardless if they were legal or ethical.

The person that posted this video had the following commentary.  Not all his beliefs are necessarily mine.

This is the full length 90 min. version of Bill Moyer's 1987 scathing critique of the criminal subterfuge carried out by the Executive Branch of the United States Government to carry out operations which are clearly contrary to the wishes and values of the American people. The ability to exercise this power with impunity is facilitated by the National Security Act of 1947. The thrust of the exposé is the Iran-Contra arms and drug-running operations which flooded the streets of our nation with crack cocaine. The significance of the documentary is probably greater today in 2007 than it was when it was made. We now have a situation in which these same forces have committed the most egregious terrorist attack on US soil and have declared a fraudulent so-called "War on Terror". The ruling regime in the US who have conducted the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, are now banging the war drum against Iran. We have the PATRIOT act which has stripped us of many of our basic civil rights justified by the terror of 9/11 which is their own doing.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

National News & Blogs 9/9/2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Simple Case for Limited Government or Ordered Anarchy

The Two Party System

If you objectively compare the two parties they are pretty much the same. Lets see, Bush increased socialized health care more than any other previous president, he got us into two wars (one where all the reasons have been proven false), and he took away many of our civil liberties (patriot act, Guantanamo, etc.).  Obama has increased socialized health care more than any previous president, he has continued two unpopular wars (after receiving the Nobel Peace prize) and has expanded or increased them to other countries (Yemen, Pakistan, Iran (economic sanctions is a form of war), etc.), he has taken away our civil liberties (made it possible to kill American citizens by presidential decree, etc.).

Governmental or Non-governmental Systems

God said, “Thou shalt not steal” and “Thou shalt not covet.” He has also given us commandments to help our neighbors and treat them well, these commandments are individual mandates, not group mandates.

What does it mean to steal? Wiktionary says this: "To illegally, or without the owner's permission, take possession of something by surreptitiously taking or carrying it away."  What does it mean to covet? Again, Wiktionary says this: "To yearn, have or indulge inordinate desire, notably for another's possession."

So how does that equate to political philosophy? The government steals and covets the wealth of others. Therefore, the only moral government would be one that only taxes those who voluntarily contribute to its cause. This would necessarily create a small, limited government.

What about the golden role? It’s said in the scriptures "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."  Government necessarily doesn't do this. I would not have someone come into my house, kill my dogs, terrorize my spouse and children all because I have an ounce of marijuana.

Government is a monopoly of violence and consequently will attract those who love violence. It is also a monopoly. Monopolies tend toward inefficiencies since they have no true competition. Hence the reason no matter how much we vote and care government will continue to grow and do things that no one can agree on. It's the nature of the beast, it can't be stopped.

Government also likes to take credit where credit isn't due. Take unions. They were once completely voluntary organizations (well, I don't know the entire history but they weren't forced to begin with) and they created great changes in how labor was done. The government first was against unions but then embraced them and said they were responsible for them and now create unions. This can be said for the civil rights movement too.

I know government isn't all bad, some things they do are good, but immoral actions will have immoral consequences. What's the best solution? I don't really know. If the necessary evil is true then give me limited governments that protects our individual rights. If the necessary evil is not true then give me voluntarism (ordered anarchy).

What do I worry about anarchy?  Will it lead to tribalism?  I think that depends on the righteousness of the people, just like any governmental system.  Take the quakers of the 16th and 17th century.  They had brief periods of anarchy (as mentioned in the book "Conceived in Liberty" by Murray Rothbard) and had a wonderful non-taxed people with little or no violence.  The only thing that was bad about it is that they were unable to fend off the greedy men that wished to rule over them and take for themselves that which was not theirs.  Apparently the Irish lived in anarchy for some time but I haven't read about it yet.  Also, some Asians purposely lived a subsistence life in the mountains to avoid living under governmental control.

The Israelites at one point lived with less laws and compulsion as the scripture says "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes."  This scripture alludes to two things.  That the people were free but that also the people were not united which caused great evils to occur.  Anarchy needs a united and righteous people to function properly.  But even with this great evil the Israelites were warned against kings.

Case study, Greece by Stefan Molyneux see also The Stateless Society: An Examination of Alternatives.

AZ US Representative Primaries (District 1)

Wrote this some time ago but never posted it.

The number of candidates for the Republican nomination is quite amazing.  I'll go through each one and give my opinions.  I'll also give the resources where you can find more information about each candidate.

  • Bradley Beauchamp 
    • Link to audio interview 
    • Immigration: This guy wants a police state on our national border.  He doesn't address the core issues, like the drug war (etc.) that is causing the border problems so it doesn't seem like he is a deep thinker when it comes to politics.
    • Member of the NRA.  Not too conservative and not a freedom loving organization.  There are other Rifle associations (like Gun Owner's of America , etc.) that actually supports the 2nd amendment.  Listen to Ernest Hancock talk on the corrupt NRA with Sherriff Mack.
    • Government Healthcare:  He says we shouldn't have nationalized healthcare but turns around and says we should keep medicare/medicaid.  Where's the principled stand?
    • Energy:  He says the government should be involved and that it shouldn't be led by the free market.
    • Overall view:  I think Beauchamp doesn't understand the principles of freedom.  Although he seems like a good guy I can see him losing his "principles" quickly once in Washington.  Beauchamp doesn't stand for individual freedom.
  • Russell "Rusty" Bowers 
    • Rusty was a state legislator for nine years starting in 1992 and state senate for five years.  Here's what he has posted on his legislator record :
      • Growing Smarter Land Planning:  That sounds bad but I don't know enough abou it to have an opinion.
      • Senate Appropriations Chairman and Senate Majority Leader:  He sounds seasoned.  Should I be afraid of this guy?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

War & Social Security

  • This is the desire of those who proclaim war
  • ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it’
    • ...the chain of historical events which led up to today’s National Security State and the American empire. From Harry Truman to Barack Obama, we have seen an out-of-control executive branch wage unconstitutional, undeclared wars by centralizing power in the presidency. How did this all come about? Here are three exceptional documentaries which introduce that history. The first film is the 1987 PBS documentary, The Secret Government: The Constitution In Crisis, narrated by Bill Moyers. It explores the comprehensive background of the secret covert government established in 1947 by the National Security Act. In particular, this powerful video compares and contrasts the Iran-Contra affair of the Reagan era with that of the Watergate scandal of 12 years earlier which brought down Richard Nixon. The second documentary is the exceedingly rarely seen 1988 Coverup: Behind the Iran Contra Affair, narrated by Elizabeth Montgomery. As you watch this extraordinary story unfold, you will see precisely why this incredible film has been shoved down the Orwellian Memory Hole for many decades. It discusses not only the hidden dimensions of the Iran-Contra affair but also the October Surprise scandal of 1980; CIA complicity in the global narcotics trade; CIA assassinations and covert activities; and FEMA, REX84, and the suspension of the U. S. Constitution.

    • Many of the Reagan administration criminals and nefarious characters featured in both of these first two documentaries will later turn up in the George W. Bush administration — “continuity of government.” A key component to the Iran-Contra affair was the secret shipment of cocaine from Central America to the United States under the cover of the National Security State. One of the major delivery points of these narcotics was Mena, Arkansas. The third documentary, The Clinton Chronicles, details how then governor Bill Clinton and his administration were up to their eyeballs in these illegal covert activities. For more information on these matters, please consult this book list.
    • Get the links
  •  Social Security & The Ponzi Scheme (by Christopher Manion)
    • In 1956, my father got Pearl-Harbored (one might say he was almost Hiroshima’d) for suggesting on his popular radio show that Social Security was a “Ponzi Scheme.” He told the story of Ponzi’s arrest, incarceration, and ultimate deportation to Italy — and then made some poignant observations about the Social Security program:

      “Ironically, Ponzi was hardly out of the country before the same federal government that had imprisoned him for fraud proceeded to adopt the Ponzi “get rich easy” scheme as its very own. Ponzi had represented his financial jackpot as a “securities exchange.” The federal government proceeded to call it “Social Security.”

      The federal government was able to add some important features to this bizarre shell-game that were unavailable to Ponzi. First of all, the federal government cannot be prosecuted for fraud. But more important than that is the exclusive governmental feature of compulsory participation.”

      Today, 54 years later, Paul Krugman exonerates the Federal Ponzis, insisting that “cruel attacks” on its solvency are baseless because “Social Security has been running surpluses for the last quarter-century, banking those surpluses in a special account, the so-called trust fund.” But just in case — how could the Compassionate Krugman resist?—- he one-ups Ponzi with his usual bromide: tax the rich.

      In the mid-1980′s, a stalwart senate staff colleague of mine decided to find this “Social Security Trust Fund.” She finally found it, literally, in the desk drawer of a mid-level federal bureaucrat somewhere in West Virginia — handwritten numbers representing the “value” of the “trust fund” for each passing year. Of course, the “bank account” had no money in it: Congress had already spent every penny.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Random News

  • Researcher claims solution to P vs NP math problem
    • Vinay Deolalikar, a mathematician who works for HP Labs, claims to have proven that P is not equal to NP. The problem is the greatest unsolved problem in theoretical computer science and is one of seven problems in which the Clay Mathematics Institute has offered million dollar prizes to the solutions.

      The question of whether P equals NP essentially asks whether there exist problems which take a long time to solve but whose solutions can be checked quickly. More formally, a problem is said to be in P if there is a program for a Turing machine, an ideal theoretical computer with unbounded amounts of memory, such that running instances of the problem through the program will always answer the question in polynomial time — time always bounded by some fixed polynomial power of the length of the input. A problem is said to be in NP, if the problem can be solved in polynomial time when instead of being run on a Turing machine, it is run on a non-deterministic Turing machine, which is like a Turing machine but is able to make copies of itself to try different approaches to the problem simultaneously.
    • My thoughts:  It will be interesting how this turns out.
  • Early puberty for US girls raises health risk
    • According to a new study, US girls are reaching puberty earlier than ever, a trend that raises some health concerns.... Though the study didn't address why US girls were reaching breast development earlier, it found that heavier girls reached puberty earlier.... Scientists and researchers are also worried about chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA) and atrazine that could disrupt growth hormones. The chemical industry says that these chemicals are safe and are harmless to humans.

      Herman-Giddens also said that it can be confusing to hit puberty at a young age. Girls reaching puberty at a younger age are more likely to attempt suicide. Also, earlier puberty can cause low self-esteem and depression and at adulthood, girls who reached puberty earlier are more likely to have breast cancer and endometrial cancer.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Religious Roots of Liberty

Click on the link to read the whole thing.

Religious Roots of Liberty

Mises Daily: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 by Rev. Edmund A. Opitz 

Every variety of tyranny rests upon the belief that some persons have a right — or even a duty — to impose their wills upon other people. Tyranny may be fastened upon others by the mere whim of one man, such as a king or dictator under various names. Or tyranny may be imposed upon a minority "for their own good" by a democratically elected majority. But in any case, tyranny is always a denial — or a misunderstanding — of the mandates of an authority or law higher than man himself.

Liberty rests upon the belief that all proper authority for man's relationships with his fellow men comes from a source higher than man — from the Creator. Liberty decrees that all men — subject and ruler alike — are bound by this higher authority which is above and beyond man-made law; that each person has a relation to his Maker with which no other person, not even the ruler, has any right to interfere. In order to make these conceptions effective for liberty, they must be deeply ingrained in the fundamental values of a people. That is to say, they must be part of the popular religion. There was one people of antiquity for whom this was true, the people who gave us our Old Testament. It was among the ancient Israelites that the conviction took hold and emerged into practice that there was a God of righteousness whose judgments applied even to rulers.

All over the Middle East, patient researchers have turned up monuments and vainglorious inscriptions carved into rock or pressed into clay at the behest of proud kings. Except in Palestine! [This remind you of DC and Mount Rushmore?]

An authority states that there is not a single royal inscription from any of the Bible kings. The Prophets saw to that! No boastful king in ancient Israel would have presumed to leave an inscription dedicated to his own glory, much as he felt he deserved such.

Now, no people live together without conforming to a commonly accepted code, and without having recourse at times to law. The people of ancient Palestine lived under authority, not in a condition of anarchy. If the king was not the source of their law, there must have been another and higher source. There is no doubt as to what their authority was: they looked to God as the source of their law.

Nearly every man was learned in this law, and also deeply involved in the religious relation to God in which the law was rooted — and liberty was a precious by-product of these conditions. Establish these conditions — that is, widely held religious values in which God is regarded as the source of authority and justice, superior to any earthly power — and they provide a firm foundation for political liberty.

In these circumstances there is a continuous check to tyranny, should any such attempt to raise its head. Neglect these conditions, and liberty has no roots. It is like a cut flower which has no vitality in itself and does not last beyond the life it derived from the plant. The way is prepared for tyranny.

Collectivist regimes, in the nature of things, must be profoundly irreligious, even to the extent of pressing a corrupted religion into service to shore up tyranny. Genuine religious experience entails the recognition of an inviolable essence in men, the human soul. It inculcates a sense of the worth and dignity of the person and breeds resistance to efforts to submerge individuals in the mass.

Men whose personal experience convinces them that they are creatures of God will not become willing creatures of the state, nor attempt to make creatures of other men. For them, God is the Lord, whose service is perfect freedom; and Caesar is the ruler, whom to serve is bondage.
It was upon such a faith that this country was founded. Those who migrated to these shores in the early days did not always see the full implications of their beliefs, and sometimes acted contrary to them. But in the end those beliefs prevailed, and they are recognizable in American institutions.

An experiment based on those principles was launched on these shores less than two centuries ago. It was the result of a conscious effort to forge an instrumentality of government in conformity with the higher law, based on the widely held conviction that God is the author of liberty.

So long as men accepted the basic affirmations of religion — that there is a God of all people with whom each individual has a personal relationship — our liberties were basically secure. Whenever there was a breach in them, we possessed a principle by which we could discover and repair the breach. But when there ceases to be a constant recurrence to fundamental principles, our political freedom is placed in jeopardy. Political liberty is not self-sustained; it rests upon a religious base.

All men desire to be free, and the will to be free is perpetually renewed in each individual who uses his faculties and affirms his manhood. But the mere desire to be free has never saved any people who did not know and establish the things on which freedom depends — and these are the things of religion. The God-concept, when cherished in the values of a people, is the universal solvent of tyranny, for, as Job said, "He looseth the bond of kings" (Job 12:18).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

AZ New & Blogs 8/10/2010

  • Goddard calls for end to private-school credits
    • Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry Goddard is calling for the suspension of tax credits for private schools and the return of state funding for all-day kindergarten as part of an education plan released Thursday.

      Goddard, the current attorney general, also called for more local control of education, saying state lawmakers spend too much time micromanaging classroom teachers.

    • My thoughts: We must fully brainwash your children.  If we don't have them in schools 24/7 then we cannot properly do that.  Oh, and we want you to have local control over your classrooms by making it so you can't give your hard earned money to the schools of your choice.
  • AZ Capitol Times 2010 Election Site
  • Federal Appeals Court Declares Connecticut's Matching Funds System Unconstitutional
    •  Today, the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals barred the matching funds provisions of Connecticut's version of government funding for political candidates. The unanimous opinion mirrors the Goldwater Institute's arguments in a federal lawsuit that prompted the U.S. Supreme Court to block Arizona's matching funds provision on June 8, 2010.

      "The First Amendment requires matching funds to be struck down," said Nick Dranias, Goldwater Institute director of constitutional studies and lead attorney in the lawsuit against Arizona's matching funds provision. "Political speech by one candidate cannot be silenced by the threat of government campaign subsidies to the opposing candidate."

      A three-judge panel for the Second Circuit declared that Connecticut's matching funds "imposes a substantial burden on the exercise of the First Amendment right to use personal funds for campaign speech."
  • Escaped murderers kill NM couple, flee to Yellowstone National Park
    • Escaped murderers Tracy Province, 42, who was serving a life sentence for murder and robbery, and John McCluskey, 45, serving 15 years for second-degree murder, aggravated assault and discharge of a firearm; and Casslyn Mae Welch, 44, McCluskey's cousin and fiancee who helped the men escape from a medium-security prison near Kingman.
  • New Study: Speed Cameras Cause Bad Driving, Increase Crashes
    • We’ve known since they first appeared, but now it’s official: Speed cameras cause bad driving. A recent poll by UK car insurance provider Liverpool Victoria, 81% of drivers said they looked at the speedometer instead of the road when a camera appeared, and 5% admitted to braking suddenly when in sight of a camera. Liverpool Victoria managing director John O’Roarke was quoted as saying, “…while they may reduce speed they also appear to impair driving ability or, at the least, concentration on the road. As this report shows some drivers behave erratically and, at worst, dangerously around speed cameras.”
    • To prove the point that the opposite is true – that removing cameras reduces accidents – the Telegraph reported Saturday on newly reduced data from Swindon (UK). Swindon turned off their cameras 9 months ago, and similar to Arizona, experts predicted a bloodbath. Redflex’s Shoba Vaitheeswaran predicted, “…watch for a large increase in aggressive, dangerous driving” after Arizona ended its statewide contract. Instead, the opposite has happened. Since the cameras were turned off, injury and fatality crashes were down by 4% and 50% respectively in the entire area. At the camera sites themselves, fatalities dropped from 1 to 0 and non-injury accidents dropped from 13 to 12. We expect similar results in Arizona.
  • A good news local public school story
    • There's a wonderful story in today's Star about Principal Ray Chavez and Apollo Middle School in the Sunnyside district, and the positive changes since he took over a few years ago.

      The story is so glowing, it almost sounds too good to be true, but I'm going to take it on face value.

      The story it brings up that old question, if this school can do it, why can't others? My tentative answer is, others can do it as well, but it's not as simple as "Let's see what they're doing at Apollo and do it here." Educational success doesn't transport easily. Education isn't like McDonalds where you can drop a new, identical franchise and expect it to function just like the others around the country. Educational success is much more complicated and fragile. It takes a certain level of genius and determination from administration and staff, and a chemistry that works.

      The story is well worth a read.
    • My thoughts: Public schools = Regression to the Mean
      •  If you are really good at what you do, you have a problem. Some of your peers are gunning for you – not to beat you by outperforming you, but by taking you down or out. To understand why, you would be wise to know the story of Jaime Escalante.
  • U.S. Senate candidate Deakin facing foreclosure
  • CD1 Candidate Beauchamp Named in Lawsuit
    • The suit, filed in Gila County Superior Court on June 21, 2010 (CV2009-0340), charges Trent with intimidation and coercion against current and ex staff members at Globe High School. Beauchamp, a Globe attorney and former GUSD school board member, has been cited as conspiring with Trent to intimidate and cause the termination of staff members at GHS. In one case, Patrick A. Ward, a former teacher at GHS and defensive coordinator of the GHS football team, had 3 potential employment contracts either cancelled or rescinded after Beauchamp or Trent directly contacted the Superintendents of the schools in New Mexico which had offered Ward employment contracts.
  • Texas ranches overtaken by Mexican drug cartels
    • In a series of articles, the Cypress Times has reported that two ranches in Laredo, Texas were seized by armed members of the Los Zetas Mexican drug cartel. The initial report, with links to Diggers Realm, can be read here.

      Today, it is confirmed that multiple ranches have been taken over by drug gangs.
    • My thoughts: Yep, solution is easy.  Legalize the production, distribution, and consumption of all drugs.
  • Is Stuffing Lucrative Private Prisons with Immigrants the Real Motive Behind SB1070?
    • Channel 5 investigates and makes Governor Brewer flee in terror from their questions about links between her key advisors and the private prison industry.
    • My thoughts:  Is this for real?  Don't know.  But neither would I be surprised.
  • Valedictorian speaks out against schooling in graduation speech
    • The following speech was delivered by top of the class student Erica Goldson during the graduation ceremony at Coxsackie-Athens High School on June 25, 2010
    • ...This is the dilemma I've faced within the American education system. We are so focused on a goal, whether it be passing a test, or graduating as first in the class. However, in this way, we do not really learn. We do whatever it takes to achieve our original objective.

      Some of you may be thinking, "Well, if you pass a test, or become valedictorian, didn't you learn something? Well, yes, you learned something, but not all that you could have. Perhaps, you only learned how to memorize names, places, and dates to later on forget in order to clear your mind for the next test. School is not all that it can be. Right now, it is a place for most people to determine that their goal is to get out as soon as possible.

       This was happening to me, and if it wasn't for the rare occurrence of an avant-garde tenth grade English teacher, Donna Bryan, who allowed me to open my mind and ask questions before accepting textbook doctrine, I would have been doomed. I am now enlightened, but my mind still feels disabled. I must retrain myself and constantly remember how insane this ostensibly sane place really is.
      I am now supposed to say farewell to this institution, those who maintain it, and those who stand with me and behind me, but I hope this farewell is more of a "see you later" when we are all working together to rear a pedagogic movement. But first, let's go get those pieces of paper that tell us that we're smart enough to do so!  
  • Grigori Rasputin Bailout
    • Sending billions of federal taxpayer dollars to teachers and other public school employees is the bailout that just won’t die. It’s been sliced, shot up in a firefight between Democrats, and even had a battle with food stamps, but it just can’t be killed!

      Now, let’s be clear: This is not some wonderful crusade all about helping ”the children.” It is pure political evil, a naked ploy to appease teachers’ unions and other public school employees that Democrats need motivated for the mid-term elections. It has to be, because the data are crystal clear: We’ve been adding staff by the truckload for decades without improving achievement one bit. Since 1970 (see the charts below) public school employment has increased 10 times faster than enrollment, while test scores have stagnated.
  • Presidential Dictatorship: Not Thinking Things Through
    • In fact, Obama is not materially different from his predecessor in any significant way. Mssrs. Christian and Robbins depict Obama as a unique threat to our "Anglo-Saxon" tradition of liberty protected by law. But it was Bush -- acting under the influence of his Sith Master, Dick Cheney -- who disemboweled the habeas corpus guarantee, the foundation of common law protections of individual rights. Granted, Obama has embraced and enlarged on Bush's actions, but the damage was done before the "alien" occupied the Oval Office. Perhaps Christian and Robbins intend to intimate that the threat Obama poses to the "Anglo-Saxon" tradition is a matter of identity, rather than performance, given that the chief damage was done by Bush the All-American Boy, rather than Obama the "alien."

      When Awlaki's father -- working with the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights -- filed an emergency appeal for an injunction to prevent the extra-judicial state murder of his son, "a significant and extraordinary problem arose," notes Greenwald: Regulations issued by the Treasury Department under the Bush administration "prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in any transactions with individuals labeled by the Government as `Specially Designated Global Terrorists,' and those regulations specifically bar lawyers from providing legal services to such individuals without a special `license' from the Treasury Department specifically allowing such representation."

      "On July 16, roughly two weeks after Awlaki's father retained the ACLU and CCR to file suit, the Treasury Department slapped that label on Awlaki," Greenwald continues. "That action would have made it a criminal offense for those organizations to file suit on behalf of Awlaki or otherwise provide legal representation to him without express permission from the U.S. Government."

      Timothy Geithner, the career criminal in charge of the Treasury Department, has condescended to issue the requested license, thereby permitting Awlaki's father to press his legal challenge. This also preserves the supposed authority of the executive branch to grant or deny -- on any whimsical basis it considers appropriate -- permission to attorneys seeking to defend the legal rights of people on the president's "kill list."

      Last January, after Awlaki was accused of inciting the attempted Christmas bombing of Northwest Flight 253, his father was asked why he didn't encourage his son to return to the United States to confront the charges.

      "I will do my best to convince my son to do this," Awlaki told CNN, but he understandably doesn't trust a government that claims the right to execute his son without trial -- or even formal criminal charges.

      "They want to kill my son," he pointed out. "How can the American government kill one of their own citizens?"

      The unsettling answer to that troubling question is one terrifying word: "easily." Obama's conservative critics want to make this task even easier still. They really haven't thought this through, have they?
  • President of Mexico Calls for Debate on Legalization of Drugs
    •  For the first time ever, Mexican President Felipe Calderón said yesterday that it was “fundamental” to have a debate on the legalization of drugs. Calderon, from the conservative National Action Party (PAN), had until now been reluctant to pay heed to the growing calls in Mexico and Latin America for a hemispheric debate on drug legalization. Once they left office, two of Calderón’s predecessors—Ernesto Zedillo and Vicente Fox—have also engaged in the debate, calling for the need to legalize drugs as a way to battle the drug violence that is crippling Mexico. Others, such as Jorge Castaneda, former foreign minister of Mexico, have also called for an end to prohibition.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Patriotism: What is it?

Wikipedia defines it thus:
Patriotism is love and devotion to one's country or homeland.

My wife defines it like this:
A positive appreciation of those who came before you and a willingness to create a better community.

The first definition I have a problem with since it creates a blindness and unwillingness to create the better community (it is necessary to look at yourself with a critical eye in order to see what needs to be made better).  The first definition creates the support for unjust wars, fallacious concepts, and continuance of policies that have proven to be false.

Under my wife's definition a patriot could be just about everyone and you lose the partisan politics.  Both Bush and Obama could be patriots (to the consternation of their foes).  It's difficult to see into the hearts of our leaders and be able to tell what they truly believe.

Under my wife's definition even I become a patriot since I truly am grateful for what the founders of our country did by creating the freest country, although not entirely free.  But I am grateful that we are closer than ever before to becoming a free people.  So what is it that I do to improve my community?  Right now I'm trying to be productive by contributing to the market place (hopefully I'll finish my project soon) and I am also trying to help people think more critically and not fall back into partisan politics but think of the truly best way to fix our problems, you could say I'm trying to help free minds.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sharing Political Views

I can relate to the interviewer (whether I am right or wrong I do not know, but I like to think I am):

Thursday, July 29, 2010

As Arizona Goes, So Goes the Nation: How Medicaid Ruins the States' Fiscal Health

As Arizona Goes, So Goes the Nation: How Medicaid Ruins the States' Fiscal Health

No. 6, July 2008
All is not well in Senator John McCain's home state. Confronted with a general fund budget shortfall of more than $1.3 billion, the Arizona legislature in June enacted modest cuts (primarily in community college and prison budgets), a stepped-up traffic enforcement system to produce some $90 million in speeding tickets, and $2 billion in new debt--half of it to close the hole in the $10.9 billion budget. (The other half will fund university construction.) The budget is a stopgap measure that bodes ill both for next year's budget and for the state's fiscal future, and no Arizona politician pretends otherwise.
Measured as a percentage of the state's fiscal year 2008 general fund, Arizona's projected FY 2009 deficit was the most serious shortfall of any state, exceeding even California's....
Arizona's fiscal crisis is due chiefly to the state's expansion of its Medicaid programs. That decision, in turn, is largely attributable to the perverse incentives created by Medicaid's inordinately generous transfers to the states. To oversimplify slightly, states get into fiscal trouble not because the feds shirk their obligations, but because they have made promises to pay in the first place. While Arizona's problems are exacerbated by a dysfunctional political system, the state's predicament illustrates a pervasive structural crisis.
Despite a relatively conservative political climate, Arizona used to be a high-tax state. Over the decades, however, Arizona's tax burden has remained roughly constant, while that of many other states has risen. As a result, Arizona has improved its position relative to other states. By the most widely used measure (the Tax Foundation's index of state tax burdens), Arizona is now near the median in terms of combined state and local tax burden on citizens....
However, the fiscal effects of federal-to-state transfers are not unambiguously positive, even for net recipient states like Arizona. While federal grant programs may have some fiscal substitution effect, on balance they increase state and local taxation and spending. By making program expansions look cheap and making cuts look outrageously expensive, federal matching grants ratchet up spending and taxes and tend to exacerbate the states' boom-and-bust budget cycles. All else equal, those effects increase in proportion to the matching program's size and generosity....
Under Medicaid, the federal government reimburses between 50 and 77 percent of a state's qualifying expenditures, depending on the state's wealth. Put differently, a state can purchase a dollar's worth of Medicaid health services at a cost of less than fifty cents to itself. Less happily, it cannot cut a dollar from its domestic budget without "losing" federal transfers....
Some states now cover families with incomes of up to 275 percent of the poverty level. Almost all provide long-term care for the poor and low-income elderly. In a few states, one-third of the population is now on Medicaid. In Arizona, about one-fifth of the population receives health care coverage through AHCCCS [Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System]....
Unsurprisingly, Medicaid expenditures constitute an ever-growing share of state expenditures. In 1987, that share amounted to slightly more than 10 percent. In 1992, the number was 17.8 percent; in 2006, 22.2 percent....
In Arizona, the crowding-out has been far more severe and rapid. The state's involvement with Medicaid did not begin until 1982, with the creation of AHCCCS. Previously, Arizona had been the only state to reject federal Medicaid funds. (Individual counties provided a piecemeal system of health care for the state's indigent.) AHCCCS was the first statewide Medicaid program to use managed care, offering recipients a variety of private and public health plans that channeled them into private physicians' offices. As recently as 2002, AHCCCS was cited as a model Medicaid program.
But AHCCCS has since caused much fiscal and budgetary trouble. These difficulties can be traced to the enactment of Proposition 204 in 2000, which substantially expanded Medicaid-eligible populations and services. Proposition 204 significantly loosened eligibility requirements for several AHCCCS programs. (For example, it allowed persons with incomes above the poverty line to spend down their income on medical bills to qualify for coverage.)...
The option of finding offsets for increased Medicaid spending elsewhere in the budget is illusory. Only the general fund and "other appropriated funds"--less than half of all state expenditures combined--are actually subject to the legislature's appropriation authority. "Other" appropriated funds are earmarked, and even within the general fund, about 60 percent of spending is essentially nondiscretionary, as it is automatically set to increase or decrease each year.[9] Thus, short of closing down community colleges and state prisons (or, perhaps, launching an aggressive pro-smoking campaign to raise short-term revenues and long-term mortality rates among Medicaid consumers), the Arizona legislature can do only what it has, in fact, done: enact phony cuts, use traffic enforcement as a revenue device (not a tax and therefore not subject to the Proposition 108 two-thirds requirement), and issue a pile of new debt....
 Arizona instead resorted to aping the Bush administration's major domestic policy innovation: the tax-free, debt-only finance of a major public health program.
No state can avoid the choice between more debt or rip-roaring tax hikes, combined in some way. The only plausible solutions to the states' Medicaid-induced fiscal troubles are to be found in Washington. Those solutions, however, have foundered and will continue to founder--paradoxically, due to the opposition of the states.

It is tempting but wrong to view Medicaid's stupendous, irresistible growth trends and its effects on state budgets as accidents. Medicaid is designed to be fiscally unsustainable--but politically self-sustaining....
Medicaid has created a political wonderland: to a man and woman, public officials who know the program to be ruinous to their states nonetheless clamor for more of the same. There is no will or incentive in Washington for a call to reality--not among Democrats, who rightly view Medicaid (and SCHIP) as HillaryCare on a bicycle, and not among Republicans, who are receptive to the intergovernmental lobby's call for "states' rights" and its clamor against "unfunded mandates" (and never mind that Medicaid is neither).
Eventually, Medicaid will fall victim to the late Herbert Stein's law: something that cannot go on will eventually stop. No one knows on what terms it will stop. We do know this, though: before it stops, there will be a lot more Arizonas.

My thoughts:  ...And socialism sucks.  I still can't excuse our legislatures for our debt.  They are there to be leaders and to tell the truth not lie and be cowardly.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

We Are Not Free: 40 Years of the Drug War

On how, after 40 years, drugs are more plentiful, accessible, and cheaper than ever before.  Also, on how we have become a police state because the war.

We Are Not Free: Politicians and their fear of the free man

In light of Arizona politicians refusing to uphold the freedom of the individual mandate found in the Arizona constitution I thought it appropriate to explore this a bit further.
Arizona's constitutions says the following:
Article II.
Section 1. A frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is essential to the security of
individual rights and the perpetuity of free government.
Section 2. All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their 
just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain
individual rights.

It seems to find an honest politician is very rare as they seek power and not the defense of liberty.  This story goes into how an Idaho politician has been berated by the system and his "fellow republicans" for not upholding the power of the state.

The Plunderbund's Persecution of Phil Hart
Rep. Hart's actual offense was not withholding payment of taxes, but rather refusing to surrender to the IRS the names and contact information of the thousands of people who purchased his self-published book Constitutional Income: Do You Have Any?, a detailed, scholarly examination of the history of the federal income tax.  

"I read your book `Constitutional Income: Do You Have Any?'" Hart was notified in a letter from IRS agent Barbara Parks announcing that the state-sponsored terrorist clique employing her was beginning an "investigation" of the book. The purpose of that inquiry, she continued, was "to determine whether or not your statements are commercial speech and whether this activity causes harm to the government."

With the help of the Center for Individual Rights, Hart successfully sued the IRS to interdict the agency's demand that he turn over the names of everybody who had purchased his book. Four years later, the IRS retaliated against Hart by issuing a final audit report denying all of his business deductions for eight years, hitting him with an additional tax liability of roughly $125,000.

Already under siege by the world's most despicable terrorist syndicate (no, not al-Qaeda -- the IRS), Hart now has to contend with spurious charges of seeking "special treatment" and "financial gain." Yet state Rep. Ken Roberts remains secure within the Idaho Republican Party in spite of the fact, recently disclosed by the Lewiston Tribune, that Roberts has received nearly $370,000 in farm subsidies since 1995.

Roberts, who ritualistically reviles subsidies directed at others, insists that when he's on the receiving end of plunder he's not redistributing wealth, but rather "recycling wealth." Predictably, nobody in the state Republican leadership has proposed that Roberts be subjected to an ethics inquiry.

My thoughts: Typical of politicians.  They have no moral grounding.

We Are Not Free: The kingship of the presidency

Dan Carlin talks about how Vietnam proves that the Senate abdicated it's war power to the presidency and how the power of the purse given to the House of Representatives is a false power.  Listen to the whole thing here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Response to an Anti-immigration Forwarded E-mail


Ha ha. Yes, it's great to know we live in a freer country by seeing what other authoritarian regimes do. It's a great reminder of how we should be, and not be. I never really understood the anti-illegal immigration thing since it's just people freely moving from one place to the next and the only thing that makes it illegal is some arbitrary law made by politicians that are bought and paid for by some special interest group. Did you know there that if we had more of an open border we would see up to 90% of the immigrants from Latin America return home (they would come for work and then leave)? Did you know that it wasn't until 1921 (the period of US history was one of the darkest with the creation of the federal reserve and income tax which led directly into the great depression) that the US even had a limit on immigration? Did you know it is really the responsibility of each individual state to have their policies on immigration (the constitution only says the federal government is only responsible for naturalization and stopping invasions, nothing about immigration)?

Now let me address the list:

1. Freedom of contract is the greatest thing that the people of this country have. We should be able to hire whomever we want at whatever terms we want. This right is slowly being taken away by people that don't love freedom.

2. Yes, the driver's license. The government should even own roads. This is a private matter that should be left to private businesses.

3. Yes, socialism sucks. It leads directly to an "us vs. them" mentality. Instead of people focusing on the root cause of the problem (socialism) they start fighting with their brothers and sisters in God that happen to have citizenship in other countries. Did you know because of socialism and the great immigration debate that a national ID is being pushed like never before? This is leading closer and closer to a police state where the government can ask for your papers. Representative Jeff Flake is calling for the SS card to have biometrics, which would lead us closer to a national ID. Is this what you really want, a police state? Oh, how soon do people forget what freedom really means.

4. See #3. Get to the root cause, get rid of socialism. How could we have nearly open borders for over 150 years? Because we didn't have the drug war, socialism, etc.

5. See #3 and 4.

6. Freedom of contract, ain't it grand?

7. Freedom of contract. Of course, we need to get rid of the federal reserve and Fannie and Freddie Mac so the contracts on truly free and not based on socialism.

8. See #3 & 4.

9. See #3 & 4.

10. If we lived in a truly free country the federal government would be so small that we wouldn't need lobbyists.

11. If we lived in a truly free country we would need so much permission to conduct business and live. Another sign of our freedoms being taken from us.

12. I think we've determined that we don't live in a constitutional free loving republic any more. Besides that. 99% of wars that are fought now days are not fought out of a search for freedom for the US but out politicians bloodlust and contractors love of money. The wars in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan (the very beginning was but once we chased out the terrorists we should have left), and every other country we invade are not for our freedoms, the wars are anti-freedom.

13. If we lived in a free country I'm sure they would have more respect since they would be able to return to theirs after working here for a short period of time. If you look at immigration from the historical and from other countries points of view you would see that in every country the "us vs. them" mentality is alive and well, this is not a unique problem to the U.S.

Hope this addressed your concerns and fears. Remember if the government is telling you to fear something you know they have an agenda up their sleeves. In this case it is more power and national ID.

Original e-mail:

If you cross the North Korean border illegally you get 12 years hard

If you cross the Iranian border illegally you are detained indefinitely.

If you cross the Afghan border illegally, you get shot.

If you cross the Saudi Arabian border illegally you will be jailed.

If you cross the Chinese border illegally you may never be heard from

If you cross the Venezuelan border illegally you will be branded a spy
and your fate will be sealed.

If you cross the Mexican borders illegally you will jailed for two years.

If you cross the Cuban border illegally you will be thrown into political
prison to rot.

If you cross the United States border illegally you get:

1 - A job
2 - A driver's license
3 - A Social Security card
4 - Welfare
5 - Food stamps
6 - Credit cards
7 - Subsidized rent or a loan to buy a house
8 - Free education
9 - Free health care
10 - A lobbyist in Washington
11 - Billions of dollars in public documents printed in your language
12 - Millions of servicemen and women who are willing to - and do - die
for your right to the ways and means of our constitution
13 - And the right to carry the flag of your country - the one you walked
out on - while you call America racist and protest that you don't get
enough respect.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

AZ Historical Expenditures

It's difficult to find data about how much AZ spends which makes it difficult for residents to make intelligent choices when voting.  Fortunately we should start getting better information here soon according to Sunshine Review: Arizona currently has no statewide, official spending database online. However, a database will be placed online on or before January 1, 2011.

Below is a graph of how much the state spends each year with the GDP included.  Thanks to US Government Spending and the Goldwater Institute via AZ Rural Times for the information.  The spending estimates are based on Goldwater Institute (from AZ Rural Times) numbers.

We Are Not Free: The War on Milk

  • The Regime's War on Food
    •  "I drink raw milk, sold illegally on the underground black market," admits organic farmer and polymath Joel F. Salatin in the foreword to David Gumpert's book The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America's Emerging Battle over Food Rights. "I grew up on raw milk, from our own Guernsey cows that our family hand-milked twice a day. We made yogurt, ice cream, butter and cottage cheese. All through high school in the early 1970s, I sold our homemade yogurt, butter, buttermilk, and cottage cheese at the curb market on Saturday mornings."

      This was possible only because our rulers -- who plunder our earnings to subsidize production of government-approved toxins such as high fructose corn syrup, and don't hesitate to confer the "safe foods" label on Twinkies and other hydrogenated wads of incremental death -- hadn't yet decided to protect us from the scourge of unprocessed natural foods, such as raw milk.

      That oversight has since been corrected. As a result, explains Salatin, home dairy producers like the family in which he grew up are forbidden to sell their products at a contemporary farmer's market.
    • My thoughts:  Read the whole article it's interesting. This war has been going on for some time.  I know it seems ridiculous (and it is) but this is a definite sign that government has grown far to large.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

AZ New & Blogs 7/22/2010

  • To Jim Deakin and his followers: 
    • That said, he will NOT win. But he may be in a position to affect the outcome of the election.   Staying in the race could make the difference between electing a new senator or sustaining the same-old-same old; that is, assuring that John McCain becomes the Republican candidate and probable US Senator for the State of Arizona for a third term.
    • My thoughts: Hhhmmm…vote for two guys that received the same freedom index score (~40%) from the New American website or vote for the outlier. I’ll vote for the outlier. If Deakin wasn’t in the primary election I would not vote for either. I’ll probably vote 3rd party in the general election. I only vote pro freedom. This compromising stuff is what has lead us down the path of tyranny. The comments about throwing your vote away by voting your what you believe instead of voting for the person you already know is going to win is ridiculous. Should I have voted for Obama because I knew ahead of time that he was going to win? I think not. Neither will I vote McCain or Hayworth, they’re the same.
  • Should the U.S. Restrict Immigration? 
    • Recent debates about Arizona’s new immigration law have taken as self-evident that immigration restrictions are good policy, with the only question being which level of government should enforce the law, and how. Yet the case for immigration restrictions is far from convincing.
    • Advocates of these restrictions rely on four possible arguments. First, that immigration dilutes existing languages, religions, family values, cultural norms, and so on. Second, that immigrants flock to countries with generous social welfare programs, leading to urban slums and inundated social networks. Third, that immigration can harm the sending country if the departing immigrants are high-skilled labor. Fourth, that immigration lowers the income of native, low-skill workers.
  • A Top U.S. Government Murderer Admits He Likes Murdering 
    • Well, duh, that’s why he got a job where he can get paid to indulge in his criminal pleasure. Of course, he’s been warned since he made this statement to keep the truth to himself if he wants to keep his job.
  • Buz Mills quits the race 
    • What Mills is saying is that SB 1070 has sucked all the oxygen out of the room for any discussion of the serious problems facing Arizona: a depressed economy and the fiscal mismanagement of this state.
    • Jan Brewer cannot succeed as a demagogue on her own. It takes a complicit news media to allow her to focus attention on SB 1070 rather than to hold her accountable for her actions and inaction as governor.
  • Obamacare looks unhealthy for businesses 
    • White Castle, which has offered health insurance to its employees since 1924, is considering dropping coverage entirely as one possible way of off-setting the expected financial hit. That would leave the company’s 10,000 formerly covered workers to seek health insurance on their own — most likely from the federal exchange. The feds will impose $2,000-per-person fines on companies that don’t offer coverage, and whose employees turn to federally subsidized insurance instead, but the article cites an IHOP franchise owner who expects the fines to cost roughly half what coverage costs under the new federal scheme.
  • The Immigration Problem Resolved 
    • With all the efforts being made by states and cities to address the so-called “illegal immigration” problem — including making it a crime to rent to or employ such people — I wonder why the most obvious solution has not been offered.  An Arizona statute gives the police power to stop and question those who, on the basis of skin color, might be such an “illegal.”  But this raises too much uncertainty.  Why not require every “illegal immigrant” to wear a symbol on their clothing — perhaps a yellow star would do the trick — and then the police would not have to resort to questionable “equal protection” practices.  Later on, if the “problem” continues, those wearing the required yellow stars could be rounded up, put onto trains, and transported to “relocation centers” in Utah and Nevada — all in the interest of “national security,” of course.
    • BTW, for those who get upset that people who are emigrating to California do not speak the language of resident Californians, bear in mind that the early English-speaking immigrants entered a state in which Spanish was the prevailing language and culture!
  • Falling prices prompt concern over home values 
    • Home prices in metropolitan Phoenix have been slipping during the past month, prompting concern about a double dip in the region's housing values.
    • The average price-per-square-foot of metro Phoenix home sales fell to $89.38 this week, according to Mike Orr's Cromford Report, which analyzes daily sales data from the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service and public records. Current sales prices are down about 4 percent from a month ago when the average square-foot sales price was $92.90. The low for the region's home prices during this downturn was $82.11 per square foot on April 6, 2009.
    • The housing market received a boost from the federal homebuyer tax credit. But most of those sales have now been recorded. Some housing-market analysts believe Arizona's new immigration law is impacting home sales and foreclosures in the state. But whether the impact is negative or positive isn't clear yet.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

We Are Not Free: Ending Tyranny Without Violence

This essay was first published under the title of The Political Thought of Étienne de La Boétie....

In the ferment of his law school days at Orléans, Étienne de La Boétie composed his brief but scintillating, profound and deeply radical Discourse of Voluntary Servitude (Discours de la Servitude Volontaire).[4] The Discourse was circulated in manuscript form and never published by La Boétie. One can speculate that its radical views were an important reason for the author's withholding it from publication. It achieved a considerable fame in local Périgordian intellectual circles, however....

In fact, however, La Boétie's concentration on abstract reasoning and on the universal rights of the individual might better be characterized as foreshadowing the political thinking of the eighteenth century. As J. W. Allen writes, the Discourse was an "essay on the natural liberty, equality and fraternity of man...."

The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude is lucidly and coherently structured around a single axiom, a single percipient insight into the nature not only of tyranny, but implicitly of the State apparatus itself. Many medieval writers had attacked tyranny, but La Boétie delves especially deeply into its nature, and into the nature of State rule itself. This fundamental insight was that every tyranny must necessarily be grounded upon general popular acceptance. In short, the bulk of the people themselves, for whatever reason, acquiesce in their own subjection. If this were not the case, no tyranny, indeed no governmental rule, could long endure. Hence, a government does not have to be popularly elected to enjoy general public support; for general public support is in the very nature of all governments that endure, including the most oppressive of tyrannies. The tyrant is but one person, and could scarcely command the obedience of another person, much less of an entire country, if most of the subjects did not grant their obedience by their own consent.

This, then, becomes for La Boétie the central problem of political theory: why in the world do people consent to their own enslavement? La Boétie cuts to the heart of what is, or rather should be, the central problem of political philosophy: the mystery of civil obedience. Why do people, in all times and places, obey the commands of the government, which always constitutes a small minority of the society?...

It is evident from the above passages that La Boétie is bitterly opposed to tyranny and to the public's consent to its own subjection. He makes clear also that this opposition is grounded on a theory of natural law and a natural right to liberty. In childhood, presumably because the rational faculties are not yet developed, we obey our parents; but when grown, we should follow our own reason, as free individuals. As La Boétie puts it: "If we led our lives according to the ways intended by nature and the lessons taught by her, we should be intuitively obedient to our parents; later we should adopt reason as our guide and become slaves to nobody."  Reason is our guide to the facts and laws of nature and to humanity's proper path, and each of us has "in our souls some native seed of reason, which, if nourished by good counsel and training, flowers into virtue, but which, on the other hand, if unable to resist the vices surrounding it, is stifled and blighted."  And reason, La Boétie adds, teaches us the justice of equal liberty for all. For reason shows us that nature has, among other things, granted us the common gift of voice and speech. Therefore, "there can be no further doubt that we are all naturally free," and hence it cannot be asserted that "nature has placed some of us in slavery."  Even animals, he points out, display a natural instinct to be free. But then, what in the world "has so, denatured man that he, the only creature really born to be free, lacks the memory of his original condition and the desire to return to it?"

La Boétie's celebrated and creatively original call for civil disobedience, for mass non-violent resistance as a method for the overthrow of tyranny, stems directly from the above two premises: the fact that all rule rests on the consent of the subject masses, and the great value of natural liberty. For if tyranny really rests on mass consent, then the obvious means for its overthrow is simply by mass withdrawal of that consent. The weight of tyranny would quickly and suddenly collapse under such a non-violent revolution....

The more one yields to tyrants, La Boétie points out, the stronger and mightier they become. But if the tyrants "are simply not obeyed," they become "undone and as nothing." La Boétie then exhorts the "poor, wretched, and stupid peoples" to cast off their chains by refusing to supply the tyrant any further with the instruments of their own oppression. The tyrant, indeed, has nothing more than the power that you confer upon him to destroy you. Where has he acquired enough eyes to spy upon you, if you do not provide them yourselves? How can he have so many arms to beat you with, if he does not borrow them from you? The feet that trample down your cities, where does he get them if they are not your own? How does he have any power over you except through you? How would he dare assail you if he had not cooperation from you?  

La Boétie concludes his exhortation by assuring the masses that to overthrow the tyrant they need not act, nor shed their blood. They can do so "merely by willing to be free." In short, 

"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 in pieces."

For while the assassination of a tyrant is simply an isolated individual act within an existing political system, mass civil disobedience, being a direct act on the part of large masses of people, is far more revolutionary in launching a transformation of the system itself. It is also more elegant and profound in theoretical terms, flowing immediately as it does from La Boétie's insight about power necessarily resting on popular consent; for then the remedy to power is simply to withdraw that consent.

The call for mass civil disobedience was picked up by one of the more radical of the later Huguenot pamphlets, La France Turquie (1575), which advocated an association of towns and provinces for the purpose of refusing to pay all taxes to the State. But it is not surprising that among the most enthusiastic advocates of mass civil disobedience have been the anarchist thinkers, who simply extend both La Boétie's analysis and his conclusion from tyrannical rule to all governmental rule whatsoever. Prominent among the anarchist advocates of non-violent resistance have been Thoreau, Tolstoy, and Benjamin R. Tucker, all of the nineteenth century, and all, unsurprisingly, associated with the non-violent, pacifist branch of anarchism. Tolstoy, indeed, in setting forth his doctrine of non-violent anarchism, used a lengthy passage from the Discourse as the focal point for the development of his argument. In addition, Gustav Landauer, the leading German anarchist of the early twentieth century, after becoming converted to a pacifist approach, made a rousing summary of La Boétie's Discourse of Voluntary Servitude the central core of his anarchist work, Die Revolution (1919). A leading Dutch pacifist-anarchist of the twentieth century, Barthelemy de Ligt, not only devoted several pages of his Conquest of Violence to discussion and praise of La Boétie's Discourse; he also translated it into Dutch in 1933.

Read the rest with foot notes here.

My thoughts:  To sum it up.  Just ignore them and they'll go away.  Of course, you need a critical amount of the population to do the ignoring, about 20% or more.  So how to we get to the point where there will be a critical mass to resist tyranny?  Education.

AZ New & Blogs 7/17/10

  • Chino school board adopts budget, increases tax rate 
    • Officials counter critics, say it's not a new tax; state delaying payments
    • My thoughts:  Yep, officials always like to tell you it's the opposite of what it really is.
  • 'Sovereign Citizens' claim freedom from Arizona, federal laws 
    • They don't like taxes and they don't like government telling them what to do.
    • But unlike Tea Party protesters, a number of Arizona residents are acting on their beliefs in an unusual way, filing paperwork to become "sovereign," trying to declare themselves U.S. Nationals rather than U.S. citizens.
  • 1.65 Million Properties Receive Foreclosure Filings in First Half of 2010 
    • [RealtyTrac released its] midyear 2010 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, which shows a total of 1,961,894 foreclosure filings — default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions — were reported on 1,654,634 U.S. properties in the first six months of 2010, a 5 percent decrease in total properties from the previous six months but an 8 percent increase in total properties from the first six months of 2009. The report also shows that 1.28 percent of all U.S. housing units (one in 78) received at least one foreclosure filing in the first half of the year.
    • Arizona registered the nation’s second highest state foreclosure rate in the first half of 2010, with 3.36 percent of its housing units (one in 30) receiving a foreclosure filing, and Florida registered the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate, with 3.15 percent of its housing units (one in 32) receiving a foreclosure filing during the six months.
  • Mills Suspends Campaign 
    • "I entered the race for governor because the solutions being proposed to solve the state budget and economic crisis were grossly misguided. Higher taxes, unsustainable spending, and more debt will continue to depress job creation in Arizona and delay a recovery. There is no doubt in my mind that fiscal and economic issues are the most important issues facing Arizonans."
    • "SB1070 has regrettably taken the focus off of job creation and fixing the state budget. So even though the chasm between Brewer’s policies and mine is dramatic, SB1070 has politically mitigated those issues. I have therefore decided to suspend the campaign."
  • Mills drops out of governor’s race 
    • After spending $3.2 million of his own money on his campaign, Northern Arizona businessman Buz Mills bowed out of the governor’s race, leaving Jan Brewer virtually unopposed in the Republican primary.
    • My thoughts:  Wow, I don't know if we truly are free anymore.  The most likely person to win the governorship is a known liar and is not truly conservative (believes in raising taxes even though she has always says the opposite).  Ernest Hancock is right, there is no true election process.  How come we always get hard core statists as our governors?
    • “The choices before Arizona voters cannot be more clear between the advocates of bigger government, uncontrolled spending and unaccountable education policies and those of us committed to smaller government, job creation, fiscal discipline, and quality education,” Brewer said.
    • My thoughts:  Um, you're a statist Jan.
  • Obamacare Begins -- In Idaho 
    • When the Regime sets prices, this is called "applied compassion."
    • When producers organize to complain about price controls, and then freely decide not to offer their services at the artificially low price, this is called "a criminal conspiracy to fix prices."
    • This is the central claim of the "consent decree" inflicted, at gunpoint, on a group of Idaho orthopedic surgeons by the Obama Regime -- with the eager collaboration of the Idaho State Attorney General. Under the terms of that extorted agreement, it would be tantamount to a criminal offense for a doctor to complain to his peers about regulatory actions that may drive accomplished medical specialists out of business.
  • Restore Free Markets to Health Care 
    • [Eline van den Broek] comments on how the American health care system was a mess even before Obamacare are particularly important and echo many of the points made by Mike Tanner and Michael Cannon.
    • She also talks about the Norwegian country where she is from got screwed by their national health care.