Stop CISPA

The Senate is going to vote today on CISPA, legislation that is remarkably similar to SOPA.  SOPA was heavily protested on the Internet, but I’ve barely heard a peep about this thing.  It has already passed through the House.  If you haven’t already done so, call the switchboard at Capitol Hill or shoot an angry email to your senators.  (You know you weren’t doing anything at work anyway, right?)  Keep the Internet free!

stop_cispa_by_pedobear23-d62be58

Ron Paul Was Right

I ran across the video while I was trolling through Twitter.  It’s a Ron Paul speech from 2002, the year I graduated high school.  I had no idea who he was back then, but his words sort of hit me like a knuckle sandwich to the nose.  It’s not that I don’t already know about these things, but hearing it condensed into a five-minute speech that was made ten years ago really puts the hook in you, to use a phrase from a favorite film of mine.    Ron Paul may not be the only person in Washington who understands what has been going on, but he’s the only person brave enough to stand up and repeatedly tell us the truth.  Unfortunately, all of his predictions made in this video have come true.  All the more reason we need him to be the last man standing.

My Two Cents on the Birth Control Debate

I know, I know, I haven’t been posting much lately, and for that I’m sorry.  I seem to go through slumps with my writing, and I’ve definitely been in one lately.  I think I’m going to fancifully call it an “intellectually lazy” period because that sounds better than saying I’ve just been plain lazy.  I’ve been equally lackadaisical about following the bruja on birth control that has been swirling around the US as of late.  I’m sure it’s just as (intellectually) lazy to admit this, since I have no solid evidence to support this other than Facebook observations, but truthfully, it seems like a bunch of progressives getting miffed because a religiously affiliated university doesn’t see fit to provide students with birth control.  Maybe that’s why I didn’t blink: it’s a Catholic institution.  Didn’t everyone already know that, generally speaking, the traditional Catholic stance has been against birth control?

Of course, then it seems like the religious right proclaiming that nobody should be on birth control, since they don’t believe in it.  And if it’s morally wrong, then nobody should have the right to do it.  I don’t know if that’s exactly what they’re driving at, but it sounds like the sort of knee-jerk statement that would come out of the mouth of someone like, for example, Rick Santorum.  Being as how neither side makes any sense, I’m going to assign both of them a dunce cap and tell them to go sit in the corner.  Much like my student whom I’ve dubbed “the scarecrow” – brains made of straw and a face to match – they probably will neither sit down nor shut up.

Both sides are wrong for a similar reason: they are attempting to force their beliefs on those who don’t share them.  In the case of the left, they are attempting to coerce a group or groups of people to financially support something with which, for whatever reason, they do not agree.  In the case of the right, they are attempting to deny a group or groups of people something that they desire from the marketplace.  Neither has any real legitimate claim to coerce another group, regardless of all the well-intentioned arguments and ideas behind it.

Let’s start with the progressives.  From what I’ve gleaned, they support insurance companies and businesses forcibly providing birth control for medical reasons, such as cystic ovaries.  They have also argued, essentially, that society benefits from the effects of more women being on birth control.  One friend of mine also argued that providing birth control, rather than not providing it, ends up costing the insurance providers and businesses in question less over time.

There are very few, if any, insurance companies that will refuse birth control if it is necessary to save one’s life or prevent more expensive procedures further on down the line.  I find this to be a rather weak argument, so I’m going to leave it where it is.

The argument that “society owes it to itself” is a huge fallacy that was exposed by the late, great Murray Rothbard.  Simply stated, society doesn’t exist.  I know that sounds like a claim from outer space, but let’s look at the facts.  Society is frequently treated as though it is some entity that actually exists, and it doesn’t.  Rothbard, in his brilliant work For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, provides us with the example of a band of ten robbers.  Those ten robbers show up to a home, break in, and take whatever they please.  They are caught and, when brought to court, make the argument that they are a “society,” and they were robbing other people because it was in their best interests to do so.  Naturally, this idea would not hold up in any respectable court.  However, when the number multiplies and suddenly we are speaking of a large number of people seeking to rob another large (or small) number of people, the argument suddenly becomes cloudy and more difficult to perceive.  Interestingly, this argument about “society” can also be used to take blame away from a person or persons who most properly deserve it, thus removing the need for accountability.

I view the argument that “society” owes it to itself to be a completely erroneous and frankly illogical argument.  In order for a “society” to truly exist, it must be homogenous with identical beliefs, hopes, and standards.  Obviously, this “society” or utopia, if you will, has never and will never exist.  Even if everyone else were in favor of doing something, if one person doesn’t consent, then that person has a right not to be coerced.  Put differently, it is not moral or ethical to force me or anyone else to pay for something that you want, if I do not wish to provide it of my own free will.  This applies to taxes just as easily as birth control and a host of other things.

The savings argument is an interesting one, and I have not seen any articles or statistics on it, though I will freely state that statistics can be skewed to go the way the person reporting wants them to go, in many cases.  One might ask why, if there are such great savings to be had, businesses and insurance companies are not already taking advantage of these great savings.  Honestly, why?  The only reason I could think would be if there were some sort of government subsidy that provided more money and thus negated those potential savings.  Knowing how heavily government is involved in the medical and insurance industries, this would not be unexpected, though I have no evidence to back it up; it is merely a hazarded guess.

Ultimately, birth control specifically and reproductive rights generally are a deeply personal issue for most, if not all, women.  Women should have the right to choose, of course.  Nobody should be asked to cosign another individual’s beliefs, whatever they may be.  However, being forced directly or indirectly to subsidize those choices is demanding that acquiescence.  The only way to forever settle this issue is to forget this notion about what is good for society and let people take care of themselves with their own money.  Leave the government out of it.  Leave the church out of it.  I have the right to decide for myself, and so does everyone else out there.  Don’t let anyone, left or right, tell you otherwise.

Freedom Watch Booted from Fox Business

I am so disappointed to be writing this to you, readers.  Freedom Watch on Fox Business has been cancelled.  For those of you who don’t know about it, Freedom Watch was a show hosted by Judge Andrew Napolitano.  Judge, as he is commonly known, showcased Austrian economics, libertarian philosophy, and real news issues.  Judge was probably the only libertarian on the news, and now he’s been cancelled.  If you’ll allow me a moment of perfect candor, the first thought that I had when I was saw this headline was, This is bull$h1t!  I’m angry.

Judge was shining a bright light on the Fed, the NDAA, and the tomfoolery that goes on daily on the Hill.  Judge was the only host bringing us real straight talk about the economy and the state of the world today.  I watched his show often in clip version, as we don’t get it in Korea, and found every segment to be enjoyable and informative.  I will admit, of course, that he was preaching to the choir.

Why can’t libertarians have a newsman of their own?  I don’t believe that there weren’t enough viewers, because there are plenty of libertarians, and more are coming to the fold every day.  Judge was a great voice for liberty, and that voice has been silenced.

I, for one, don’t intend to take this lying down.  I love Judge’s show, and he is probably the only person on Fox – or TV, generally – for whom I have any respect.  If you are libertarian but you haven’t watched his show before, I suggest you head to Fox and watch some clips before they get removed.  I’m sure there will be plenty of devotees who have him on YouTube, as well.  I will continue to reuse and distribute his clips, as I think they are interesting and informative.  I’m also going to send an angry letter to Fox and tell them exactly what I think about this.  If you love Judge and refuse to let him go quietly into the night, I suggest you do the same!

Freedom Watch: Ron Paul Will Be On GOP Ticket

Continue reading on Examiner.com FreedomWatch with Judge Andrew Napolitano has been cancelled – Wilmington Civil Rights | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/civil-rights-in-wilmington/freedomwatch-with-judge-andrew-napolitano-has-been-cancelled#ixzz1m4uTqKet

**Addendum: Fox has apparently been inundated with emails about Freedom Watch.  Judge has posted on his Facebook page that, while he appreciates the show of support, the people at Fox are getting pretty irked about the constant emails, and he is requesting that people stop immediately.  We must respect Judge’s wishes on this matter.  Please DO NOT email Fox News about Freedom Watch.  I have taken down the links to the Fox exec’s emails.  

Judge has also stated that the decision was based purely on business and not on the content of the show.  He says that he accepted the decision cheerfully and feels that there will be another opportunity or project for him some time in the near future.  I can only hope this is true.  In any case, please don’t email Fox anymore, guys!

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Haven’t we all been waiting for the day that a TSA agent tried to stick his/her hand down Rand or Ron Paul’s pants?  I mean, honestly.  Based on personal experience, I’m aware of the fact that the government doesn’t always employ the most intelligent people to do their dirty work, but how stupid can you be?  Of all the people they could have chosen to give some government-approved guff to, they had to give it to Rand Paul, a libertarian senator whose father is running for president.  Did they really think that this man wouldn’t run to the media and raise hell?  This is like goosing a rattlesnake from behind and expecting him not to turn around and bite you.

Of course, I think Senator Paul is well within his rights to be annoyed as heck.  Does anyone just love being groped by strangers at the airport?  Isn’t it bad enough to we have to sit next to them on airplanes and endure their various sounds and odors?  I don’t know of anyone who likes or approves of the TSA, and I’m here tonight to make a strident case for getting them out of our airports and out of our unmentionables.  There are few, if any, strong arguments in favor of the TSA, but there are quite a few reasons why they shouldn’t be involved in our lives.

In the first place, total security, which is what the government seems to want to provide us in this day and age, is an illusion.  We can never be totally secure, and the only way that we could be totally secure would be to involve the government in even the most minuscule details of our day-to-day lives.  I hardly think that the invasion of privacy would be worth the feeling of being completely insulated from terrorism.

As Robert P. Murphy writes in his article “The TSA’s False Tradeoff,” this can be explained by an economic comparison.  Using the old communist planned economies as an example and and then applying that to the TSA, we can see how flawed the current thinking about security really is.  Ludwig von Mises critiqued socialist planned economies by saying that it is impossible for government to decide the most efficient use of resources in the market.  For one thing, assuming that the government can do it better assumes that those in government are always going to do the right thing, which is clearly not the case.  It also assumes that it is possible to calculate the best places to allocate scarce resources, and it isn’t.   This is known as a calculation problem.  Murphy provides a car factory as an example.  This car factory is operating efficiently, and it uses steel, rubber, and other things to produce cars that the citizens enjoy.  However, who is to say that those resources couldn’t be diverted elsewhere to create products that the citizens would enjoy even more?  This is the point where one should have an “a-ha” moment, as many of you will recall tales of goods shortages back in the USSR.  Ultimately, the market is a better planner than the government could ever be.

Let’s take this knowledge and apply it to our situation with the TSA.  Murphy points out to us that even if there is never another terrorist incident involving airplanes, it doesn’t necessarily prove the effectiveness of the TSA.  To start with, it is possible that there are other methods – less invasive methods – of providing security that don’t harass and cause discomfort to travelers.

Murphy goes on to note, however, that it is possible that “the ‘efficient’ number of terrorists – for the rest of US history – is not zero.”  In other words, no matter what we do, it is always possible that terrorists will find ways to evade the system and cause harm.  Murphy asserts that we are asking the wrong question when we ask exactly how much security we need to be safe.  The answer is that there is no answer, because nobody – not even a bloated, self-important government who will promise the moon – can ensure safety.

What might happen if security was taken over by private companies and left out of the hands of the government?  For example, what if some Americans would be willing to fly on a cheaper airline that provided minimal or no security, in exchange for the low cost?  One would be completely responsible for the fact that one chose that airline, and in buying one’s ticket and taking the ride, one would agree to the terms of flying with a minimum-security airline?  Conversely, if a flyer felt that he/she wanted the extra security, that individual could pay extra and fly on the airline that gives you a pat-down and body scan as part of its boarding procedure.

Murphy points out that some may ask the question: What happens if one of these low-security planes is boarded by a terrorist, which ends up causing massive damage to people and/or property?  Wouldn’t the airlines insurers potentially face bankruptcy?  Murphy replies with this question: What happens to the TSA if a terrorist boards a plane and causes damages to people and/or property?  Will the TSA be gotten rid of?  Have their budget cut?  Will John Pistole be fired?  Will the government be forced to pay damages?  Of course, in the case that it will pay damages, one must also take into account the fact that it is essentially the tax payers being forced to pay for compensation.

Another issue to look at that Murphy doesn’t go into is the effect it has on the population as a whole.  Although you may not view it in this light, by allowing yourself to be patted down or scanned, you are allowing yourself to be viewed as guilty until proven innocent, which is not a principle upon which our system was founded.  If everyone is guilty until they prove themselves innocent, then we are all potential terrorists in the eyes of the government.  We are all criminals.  Does this sound like the United States to you?  Frankly, it reminds me a lot more of Cold War Russia.  Is this what our government is trying to do – to force us, especially our young people, into believing that we are all criminals and deserve to be treated as such?  That is not the country in which I was raised, and that is not how I want my children to be raised.

On top of all of this, we have no idea what sorts of long-term effects those high-level radiation scanners may have on the passengers or the TSA operators.  What we do know is that repeated exposure to high doses of radiation is extremely detrimental to a person’s health, and may cause cancer, among other things.

Not exactly a pretty picture, is it?  We are giving up our privacy and freedom in the hopes that we can be protected from an enemy we can’t see or can even be sure exists.  However, there is one force against which we must always be vigilant, and that is the force of government, which by its very nature seeks to usurp and control.  It is time that the American people ask themselves if this is really what they want for themselves and their country.  Will we retake our freedom and accept the risks that are inherent to human life, or will we shrink from confrontation and content ourselves to be “safe” at the price of our freedom?  I don’t know about you, dear readers, but for me, it’s no question at all.

If you would like to read the source article, click the link below:

Robert P. Murphy: “The TSA’s False Tradeoff”

The NDAA & Obama’s Demagoguery

I have posted previously on the NDAA – the National Defense Authorization Act – which was passed by the Senate back in November and was signed by President Obama on New Year’s Eve.  I guess that was intended to be the final and sincerest middle finger of 2011 to the American people and the US Constitution.

The bill, as I’ve said before, was written by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Carl Levin (D-MI).  Prior to this new information I have just found, I was ready to lay the bulk of the blame for its loose language and detention of US citizens at their doorstep.  Well, ladies and gentlemen, I was wrong.  As it turns out, Senator Carl Levin received a letter from the office of the President back when this bill was still in committee.  The letter stated that President Obama wanted – yes, wanted! – the indefinite detention clauses added to the bill.  In case you have forgotten, those clauses are sections 1031 and 1032, respectively.

President Obama publicly stated that he intended to veto the bill, which obviously didn’t happen.  He also stated that he had serious reservations about the indefinite detention sections.  Once again, the President has blatantly and knowingly lied to the American people.  Senator Levin went on record speaking to Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), stating that he received the same aforementioned letter from the president requesting the addition of sections 1031 and 1032.  Apparently, McCain and Levin had no plans for those sections in the beginning.

If this is the so-called “change” that Obama promised, he can keep it and shove it where the sun don’t shine.  For everyone who has ever defended this president, called him a champion of liberty, or called him a man of peace, they are either fools or blind, deaf, and dumb.  President Obama is no friend to freedom, nor is he a friend to the American people.  He is a liar, a traitor, and a demagogue of the worst sort.  He must be voted out.

I found a great video that includes Senator Levin’s chat with Senator Kirk.  It also includes an excellent analysis of what went down behind the scenes.  It appears to be from a local news station.  I need to find out more about where they are, but props to this anchorman for getting out the truth to the American people.  I am still attempting to find a copy of the letter sent to Senator Levin, but something tells me that it’s going to be a difficult, if not impossible, item to find.  Stay tuned…

Reality Check: Obama Ordered Sections 1031 & 1032 of the NDAA

Why a Non-Interventionist Foreign Policy is Safer Than Nation-Building

Ron Paul has been catching a lot of flack from other Republican presidential hopefuls lately for his ideas about foreign policy.  It is no secret to those who have been watching the campaign with some degree of regularity that Ron Paul is not interested in policing the world.  He wants to wrap up Afghanistan immediately, bring troops home from South Korea and Germany, and end various other overseas engagements.  He has also taken a “soft” stance on Iran, saying that it is none of our business if they have nuclear capability or not.

Honestly, I have no idea how mainstream America really feels about this, because most of my friends are quite liberal and are directly in line with Paul’s thinking on this.  So am I.  I don’t believe we have any business starting unconstitutional wars or spending decades and literally trillions of dollars on endless foreign engagements.  For one thing it is foolish.  For another, we simply do not have the money.  There are plenty of Americans at home who need help right now, and because we are spending so much money on foreigners, we are unable to take care of our own.

Still, there are some people out there – I don’t know them, but I’m sure they exist – who fear the US taking a less aggressive military stance.  The argument is that if we “allow” Iran to have nuclear weapons, that they will surely use them on us.  Another argument, of course, is that they might destroy Israel.  In that same line of thinking, some people are religiously motivated to protect Israel at any cost.  The final argument is the one that seems to emerge most often and to me seems like nothing more than a scare tactic: if we go home, the terrorists will come out in full force and destroy life as we know it.  Let’s address these fallacies one-by-one.

There are several points to make about Iran generally and nuclear weapons particularly.  First off, the US is mainly taking a hard line against Iran because of Kish Island and the fact that Iran refuses to trade using T-bills.  In other words, Iran has refused to help the US monetize its debt, given the fact that the US has been sanctioning Iran since the 1970s.  As I’ve mentioned before, Saddam stopped trading in T-bills prior to the US invasion, and look how that turned out for him.  Gaddafi apparently had plans to create an African gold dinar, which would help bring wealth back into Africa and allow Africa to have some bargaining power in a post-petroleum world.  From a strictly common sense standpoint, this is not a bad idea.

Of course, we all know what happened to Saddam and Gaddafi.

On the subject of nukes, it is frankly none of our business what Iran or any other country wants to do with their military defense arsenal.  How would Americans react if suddenly Great Britain was threatening to invade us because we have nuclear weapons?  I don’t think most Americans would react warmly to that scenario.  In fact, I think they would be downright ticked off.  It is none of our business how Iran spends its money.

This is usually the point where people argue that Iran is planning to do bad things with its theoretical nuclear arsenal.  How do we know that?  What proof do we have?  Iran doesn’t have the capability to launch a missile all the way to the US.  In that sense, they are not a direct security hazard to Americans.  The next argument that usually pops up is that they are a direct threat to Israel.  What most people seem to forget is that Israel is armed to the teeth.  They have a sizable nuclear arsenal.  They are more than capable of managing their own defense without our help.  In fact, one might make the argument that giving Israel monetary and military aid only makes them beholden to another country, which directly undermines that country’s sovereignty.

People say that we have a religious duty to protect Israel.  I argue that in our country, according to our founding laws, there is a clear and distinct separation of church and state.  Our government is not allowed to endorse one religion over another.  Religious conflicts are none of our business, and by giving Israel guns to kill Muslims, we are effectively condoning the Hebrew faith and throwing Islam under the bus.  I know that Christians and Muslims don’t have the best history, all told, but we should not be endorsing religions with gun power.  It breeds animosity and puts American, Israeli, and other countries’ citizens in mortal danger.

Of course, the final and usually most vitriolic argument is that if we withdraw from all of these countries that we will be annihilated overnight.  I hardly think that will be the case.  Bringing our troops home means that our nations’ borders will be protected.  How about devoting some troops to the US-Mexico border to help crack down on illegal immigration?  I certainly support that over building a fence.  (The thing to remember about fences is that they can just as easily keep people in as out.)

Some think that by withdrawing from places like Korea and Japan that we will be more at risk from China, a country that is clearly on the way to becoming a formidable military power in and of itself.  I have a lot of faith in American submarines, and I believe that a strong submarine patrol will go a long way towards maintaining our national defense, in that respect.

Most neocons would never admit this, but we create more problems for ourselves by trying to force other countries to bend to our will.  The CIA has admitted that terrorist events are largely the unintended result of a foreign policy that tells everyone else what to do: what weapons they’re going to have, who their leaders will be, and what they’re going to do for us.  Contrary to popular opinion, most suicide bombers are motivated by anger and disillusion, not by religion.  Religious groups tend to be a lightning rod for disenfranchised individuals who are making a protest.  Think about it: would you seriously consider blowing up an embassy in the Middle East because you hate Islam?  Probably not.  Again, contrary to popular belief, Muslims are not completely insane, irrational people.  I would be willing to bet that they are far more angry about American drones blowing up their houses or their grandmother being shot to death by US troops.  That would be a far more likely reason to join a retaliatory group.

The fact of the matter is that most of these terrorist cells are not a direct threat to American citizens.  They have neither the means nor the know-how to carry off mass plots against the US.  The US government talks about “terrorism” as though it is a person, as though a particular group of people or countries directly embody “terrorism.”  Terrorism is a tactic, not a person, not a country, and not a war.  We will never be through fighting a war against terrorism, because there will always be terrorists.  The notion that we can defeat a tactic is foolhardy and dangerous.

Far more dangerous, at this point, is the US government directly intruding into the lives of US citizens in the name of “security.”  The TSA putting their hands down your child’s pants does not make any of us safer.  What is does do is instill the notion in our minds – especially in the minds of young people – that we are all criminals, guilty until proven innocent.  The sheer notion of doing these dangerous X-Ray screenings and invasive pat-downs rests on the fact that you must prove your innocence.  Our country was founded on the principle of “innocent until proven guilty.”

A last point that I would like to make is from an extremely practical standpoint: we can no longer afford these lengthy foreign engagements.  As of the moment I wrote this article, the US national debt was tallied at $15,172,262,100,000, approximately (I can’t type quickly enough to keep up with it, actually).  The US debt per citizen is at about $48,000 per person and $134,00 for each taxpayer.  This information can be gotten from the US Debt Clock.  You may also be interested to know that over 47 million people receive food stamps, about 23 million people are unemployed, there are almost 67 million retirees/Social Security claimants, and 4.3 million federal employees out of a total population of 312,877,758 people in the US.  That means that 15% of the US population receives food stamps, 21% receive Social Security benefits, 1.3% are employed by the federal government, and 7.4% are unemployed.  Does that sound like a population that can afford to be building a new military base in Australia, keeping up an Iraq embassy bigger than the Vatican, and fighting on in Afghanistan, among other places?

From a philosophical standpoint, we shouldn’t be in these countries.  From a practical standpoint, we can’t afford it.  So why in the world are we there?  And why in the world are some of the Republican candidates beating the war drums against Iran?  What are they thinking?  Have they completely lost their minds, or don’t they know how to do simple math?  In either case, I worry a lot for the state of our nation.

At the end of the day, there is only one candidate who is talking about real change, and that’s Ron Paul.  He’s talking about getting out of our foreign entanglements, ending the perpetual monetization of our debt, and getting us back on the road to prosperity.  What are the others talking about?  Imposing their religious beliefs on others?  Attacking another nation for refusing to fund our credit addiction?  As for Obama, I think his record speaks for itself, particularly his willingness to sign off on the NDAA.

It is time for peace.  It is time to dial down the debt.  It is time for our country to have some good old-fashioned common sense again.  We will be infinitely better off for it.

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