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!

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Alex Jones vs. Piers Morgan

I’m sure many of you know that Alex Jones was invited onto the Piers Morgan Show to debate the Brit over his anti-gun stance.  Alex has started a petition to deport Piers, which I think is a bit ridiculous, all things considered.  I’m obviously pro-gun ownership, but there are better ways to get the message across than by screaming at people.

I enjoy Alex Jones for the entertainment value.  He has some valid points, and he seems to be committed the cause, but yelling in people’s faces isn’t usually the thing that changes their mind.  Rational debate backed up by cold, hard facts is far more likely to change minds, and even then, sometimes people just don’t want to listen.  There’s a great quote about open minds and a good many of them needing to be closed for repairs.

My gut reaction to this is that Alex was invited on to make the rest of us Second Amendment fighters look like utter nutcases.  There is nothing that those who would take our guns away would like better than to convince the public that we’re all dangerous whackjobs who shouldn’t be allowed to have a goldfish, let alone an AK-47.  Anyone who knows anything about the anti-establishment movements knows that Alex Jones is one of its most vocal spokesmen.  Unfortunately, Alex Jones often sounds like he’s a bit off the rails, and he could very well be, honestly.  I find his rants entertaining, but I don’t take everything he says seriously.  He has good guests from time to time, but his propensity to interrupt them, rant, rave, yell, and get off-topic don’t make him sound like an intellectual of any sort; they may him sound like a nutter who figured out how to operate radio broadcasting equipment.

In the eyes of the mainstream American public, this does the liberty movement no favors.  It discredits the lot of us, whether that’s a fair judgment to levy or not.  The fact is that people who don’t have gobs of time to research the liberty movement are going to think that most of us are unhinged, and that is not going to make people feel comfortable about the notion of us having guns.  Frankly, they will probably think that we’re the ones who run up in some public place and start shooting, even though that’s not the case.

Honestly, I’m sort of disappointed that Alex went on that show.  He knows how he is.  Did he really think that he was doing us any favors by getting up in Piers’ face and screaming at him?  It was painful to watch.  My husband and I had to turn it off.  I would really like someone to debate Piers Morgan on this issue, but I’d like it to be someone like Tom Woods, Lew Rockwell, or Ben Swann – someone who can keep their s**t together, make valid points, and not make the lot of us sound like loonies.

As for deporting Piers Morgan, well, who cares?  Everyone in this country, citizen or no, is entitled to his/her opinion.  I think he’s completely wrong, but I don’t think that his opinions are a reason to send him packing back to Old Blighty.  Frankly, he’s just another socialist, anti-gun, pro-fiat money blowhard.  I know that calling him names doesn’t make me right, but the facts are out there.  Britain has five times the amount of violent crime per 100,000 people that the US does.  Lack of guns has not made England safe, believe me.  My husband is English, and he has plenty of gnarly stories about knife crime, chavs, kids on street corners beating up old people, and honor killings.  England is not a safe place, no matter what Piers says.

In any case, I really hope that next time someone from the liberty movement gets invited to speak on a national program, he/she makes a better showing than Alex Jones did.  I don’t necessarily think Alex is dumb, but he sure did play into the hands of anti-gun lobbyists on that one.  We need calm, collected, well read, intelligent folks in the public arena, not loose cannons who are more prone to name calling than straight talk.  I think it’s a valuable lesson to be learned for the rest of us, too.  If someone engages you in debate, or if you choose to engage someone else, for God’s sake, make an intelligent argument instead of just getting angry and losing it.  We aren’t winning any points by allowing emotions to overrun our rational minds.

The Gun Debate

As all of you readers are no doubt aware, since Sandy Hook the news has been alight with pundits and policy makers sounding off about the right to bear arms.  As is generally the case for me, I don’t pay much mind to the media, which isn’t too difficult when you’re living abroad.  My Facebook newsfeed, however, has been rife with commentary about guns and gun ownership, and most of the comments have generally been against.  Granted, most of my friends from university are progressive and have never fired a gun in their lives.  Most of them are totally in favor of the bill that Dianne Feinstein is proposing.  I doubt that I need to tell you this, but I’m against any form of gun control whatsoever.

In the first place, crooks are always going to find a way to get guns.  I know that this argument is oft-repeated, but it’s true.  Crazy people will find ways to do crazy things.  To me, it makes zero sense to prevent everyone from having guns because of the actions of a very select minority.  Some people abuse animals.  Does that mean that nobody should have the right to own a dog or cat?  Some people overeat.  Does that mean that we shouldn’t allow anyone the choice of buying super sized McDonald’s meals or 7-Eleven Big Gulps?  Oh, wait…

The point behind this argument is that people who follow the rule of law will continue to follow it.  Most people have no desire to hurt others.  Those few individuals who do have a desire to hurt large groups of people will find a way to do so.  And if memory serves, the biggest school massacre in the US took place in Michigan and involved explosives.  Food for thought.

Pro-gun control advocates are often quick to cite the fact that the US has the highest murder rate in the Western world, and they link this to the fact that we are allowed to own guns.  Interestingly, in the 60s and 70s, Canadians owned twice as many guns per household as the US, and yet the murder rate in the US was over two times that of Canada.  This statistic alone would suggest that perhaps guns themselves are not the problem but, wonder of wonders, it’s a societal problem.  One would expect that, the more firearms present in a country, the higher the murder rate.  This mantra is repeated over and over ad nauseum by those who are in favor of gun control, but history shows us that this simply isn’t true.

Unfortunately, a good number of people in this country don’t fully understand why we have the right to bear arms and what that means in relationship to the Constitution and our rights not only as US citizens but as members of the human race.  I have yet to meet a true libertarian who didn’t believe in natural rights.  If you believe in natural rights, you most likely recognize property ownership as the basis of society, which is also the basis for wanting peace.  If you believe that one person does not have the right to deny another individual of his or her property, this will necessarily extend to their person.  That is, you may not kill or injure another person without just cause, as this deprives that person of the basic thing that they own – their body.

Some will argue that there are other ways to protect oneself, one’s family, and one’s material property.  I argue that if someone is going to come up in my house with an illegally-gotten gun, I damn sure don’t want to be bringing a knife to a gunfight.  I don’t want to be that woman trapped in a dark parking lot with an ill-intentioned assailant on my tail and nothing to defend myself with save my bare hands.  I’m not interested in becoming a statistic.  I am not okay with someone coming into my home with the intent to rob me and kill or injure my family.  I believe that I have the basic right to defend myself by whatever means I see fit, and I don’t believe that the government has the right to tell me that I can’t do that.  Is the government going to come and defend me and mine in the middle of the night?

The other major issue at stake that I have seen a depressing number of people laugh about is the notion that we don’t need guns to protect ourselves from the government.  One of my former professors, for whom I have deep respect and admiration, posted a ridiculous statement that Americans have never needed to use guns to protect themselves from their government and therefore didn’t need guns at all.  There are plenty of examples of the government infringing on the people’s rights, but the honest truth is that a disarmed populace is ripe for tyranny.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look at these examples.

The Ottoman Turks disarmed from 1915 to 1917.  After disarming the population, somewhere between one and one and a half million Armenians were slaughtered.

The Soviet Union went through a gun control process from 1929 to 1945.  Afterwards, over 20 million people were killed as a result of Stalinist brutality.

Nazi Germany disarmed the entirety of its occupied territory, and approximately 20 million people were killed.

Nationalist China removed guns from the picture, and approximately 10 million of its people died afterwards.  Red China continued this trend from 1949 on through the 60s, and an additional 20-35 million perished.

Guatemala began disarming its citizens in the 1960s, and anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 Mayan Indians were slaughtered.

Uganda disarmed its citizens beginning in 1971.  Approximately 300,000 Christians were murdered.

Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge killed over 2 million of its citizens from 1975 to 1979.  I have visited Cambodia and been to the Killing Fields and S-21, and I will attest to the fact that the massacre of the Cambodian people is something really horrifying to learn about.

In 1994 in Rwanda, 800,000 Tutsi people were murdered after gun control was introduced.

 

These examples are all from the last century.  If someone says, “That’s history, and it can’t happen here,” they’re living in a fantasy.  It can happen, and it does happen.  Firearms are often the only thing keeping a tyrannical government at bay.  In my opinion, the American people are harassed enough as it is.  We are made to go through X-Ray scans at the airport or face invasive pat-downs in airports.  Our president has the authority to essentially issue death warrants.  Thanks to the Patriot Act, there are a number of horrible violations of citizens’ rights, include wiretaps and warrantless searches.  The Constitution legally guaranteed that none of these things would happen, and yet our legislators have chosen time and again to ignore the highest law of this land and run roughshod over it.

Do I really think that the US government would massacre its people?  I say nothing is outside the realm of possibility.  If someone thinks the US government is incapable of such things, well, visit the reservations and talk to the Native American people.  See how disarmament turned out for them.  I think, given the right circumstances, tyranny will run rife, and it doesn’t matter if you think you’re invincible; the fact is that, in this day and age, when the government can decide who political dissidents and terrorists are based on completely arbitrary guidelines, nobody is safe.

My final thought on gun control is that there shouldn’t be any.  Arm every man and woman in the country.  Teach the kids gun safety.  The police shouldn’t be the only ones who have guns.  Look at what happened to the student protestors in California when the police had mace and they didn’t.  Would you really want to be unarmed around armed cops?

The bottom line is that you and I and every other person in America has the right to protect themselves.  We have that right irrespective of where the threat comes from: stranger, neighbor, government, or otherwise.  I will not give up my right to bear arms without a serious fight, and I think if the US government thinks that Americans are just going to hand over their guns and call it a day, they have another thing coming.  I have only one thing to say to someone who tries to come into my house to tell me that I am no longer able to defend my family as I see fit: Molon labe.  

 

The Supreme Court Ruling on Obamacare or; How I Learned to Stop Thinking and Love Totalitarianism

If I wasn’t pregnant, this would definitely be a night or two that involved a glass of whiskey.  The Supreme Court has ruled the individual mandate of Obamacare is constitutional.  I guess five justices bought into the last-minute argument that the $1,900-per-year penalty is a tax.  Because we don’t have enough of those to go around.  I’m sure that a good portion of the progressives I know are going to be throwing a party tonight.

Here’s the issue.  Constitutionally, Congress isn’t allowed to tell you what you will and will not buy.  It’s that simple.  You don’t have to be a constitutional scholar to understand this stuff.  Does that sound like it’s throwing shade at the five justices who voted in favor of the mandate?  It is, and it should be.  They have no more respect for the Constitution than I do for communists.  (That’s very little, not that I needed to tell you.)  To me, it takes nothing less than audacity to think that a penalty “tax” for not purchasing something doesn’t count as regulating individual commerce.  A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and the words “tax” and “penalty” are practically interchangeable to me.

As an expat, what I’m concerned most about right now is the possibility that I will be forced to pay this penalty, in spite of the fact that I’ve lived outside the US for over three years.  I have full coverage health insurance where I am now.  The original version of Obamacare mandated that even expats living outside the US take out a US health insurance policy or face the penalty, as it as called every day prior to the Supreme Court hearings.  Supposedly it was left out of the final draft, but frankly, I haven’t read the final draft, and if the Supreme Court is willing to rule that Congress can effectively tell me what I must and must not buy, then I wouldn’t put it past them to shove the penalty down my throat.

Do you want to know how much $1,900 is to me?  It’s almost a month’s salary, and from that salary, I already pay into my health insurance plan over here, as well as my state pension.  I also have to report my earnings to the IRS, which it doesn’t tax, since I’m obviously not a high earner.  I also pay property taxes to the state of Illinois, which went up this year in the spite of the fact that my property value has plummeted since 2008, and I couldn’t get rid of that land if I wanted to.  And I’d love to.  If anyone wants to buy some prime development land in a nice, upscale subdivision, feel free to email me!  But the point that I’m making is that it goads me – nay, pisses me off – that I am expected to pay rent on my own property, a portion of my earnings to the government as though I have no right to them in the first place, and perhaps even a penalty for being satisfied with my out-of-country health care plan.

I am a sovereign individual, as is everyone else who reads this post and everyone who doesn’t.  You owe the government nothing.  You have the right to keep every penny of what you’ve earned, and they have no right to take it from you.  The very notion of income taxes rests on the idea that the government owns your earnings, and they may redistribute them as they see fit.  This is legalized plunder.  Call it any other name – remember the rose – but it still has the same stench of theft.

Let it be said that I love my country.  I really do.  I ache for the wilderness and the spread of the North American continent.  The prairie is in my veins, much as the bored, fed up teenager in me hates to admit it.  But I do so very much hate our government right now.  They would take everything from us, if they thought they could get away with it, and we are heading increasingly in that direction.  There is more freedom and prosperity in other nations than in the US, and that is the honest truth.  The ideals of the constitutional republic, much as it saddens me to think this, seem to be alive only in the hearts and minds of a committed few, and some of them are getting the hell out of Dodge.  I think any truly honest libertarian would vow allegiance to himself and the principles of freedom long before he or she would ever vow allegiance to a morally and financially bankrupted government.  I am teetering tonight on that point myself.  As much as it pains me to say this, my mind is turning towards the idea of getting out for good, in spite of the 15% escape tax and wondering where I would go from there.

Times like this, I think of Daniel Day-Lewis in his role as Hawkeye in Last of the Mohicans.  He is a man doesn’t consider himself subject to much of anything, and he refuses to live by another’s leave.  He is speaking frankly and yet eloquently about freedom, and if the absence of control by another is true freedom, it is no longer to be found in the US, the land which once so jealously guarded its freedom.  I hope things will change.  I really do.  There are a lot of people out there who are working towards it, but sometimes it seems like one step forward and two steps back.

I hope we will eventually see Obamacare repealed, but the blackguard cynic in me suspects that at least some parts of it will survive in the US tax code and health care Goliath that already give us so much headache.  Maybe I’m wrong.  But I doubt it.

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.

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”

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