Friday, April 30, 2004

This person nails my feelings about the

supposed "torture" of Iraqi prisoners.

Wow, is that all? Looks like we've been amiss in teaching our armed forces the finer points of Torture 101. This looks more like frat-party frosh-hazing stunts. Then again, maybe the photos of Americans feeding prisoners into plastic shredders, raping the prisoners' wives and daughters, and then feeding them to dogs are still being developed.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at April 30, 2004 at 01:40 PM

I don't feel very sorry for a bunch of Baathist thugs, or any thugs who get a taste of their own medicine, but if I were in charge of these guys I'd arrest the people who were so stupid as to photograph this childish episode for treason. What they've done is as bad as any act of espionage or sabotage.

Lileks Fisks Fifties Food Ads

I know that's not exactly news, but the phrase popped into my head and I had to share it. Besides, it'd be no fun if I read the whole piece without my wife.

He gets my vote for Funniest Human Ever..

The Knudsen stuff is new.

OK, for anybody who cares,

my project for the weekend is to learn how to use trackbacks. I've admitted already that I suck at this game. Maybe I just invited in the peanut gallery a little early in the game.

Update: Sure, insult the audience. That always brings 'em running. ...Throw in a little false humility while you're at it...

Hey! Does anybody have any helpful hints on the mechanics of organizing links. I mean putting in titles and such like.

The Right Coast quotes an example

of why you shouldn't trust the first economic reports the government puts out. The media always trumpet the first reports, they never trumpet the revisions.

The payroll survey counts jobs, not workers. But counting payroll jobs is a questionable way of measuring America's evolving work force, especially in light of declining job turnover. The payroll survey's biggest problem is that it systematically double counts workers when they change jobs. Since somewhere between 2 percent and 3 percent of the work force changes employers every month, payrolls tend to be noisy. The illusion of lost jobs in recent years occurred because job turnover declined after 2000, first with the recession, then even more sharply after 9/11. As a result, 1 million jobs have been artificially "lost" in the payroll survey since 2001.
This is not the first time the survey has been off. That's why the Labor Department warns against using the real-time payroll figures in the footnotes of its monthly release. In 1992, the media proclaimed a jobless recovery based on preliminary payroll data. Only later did benchmark revisions correct the data that the public sees today, which show the net creation of 900,000 jobs in the year prior to the 1992 elections. The next major payroll revision won't occur until January 2005.

E. G. Ross taught me to watch out for that sort of thing. This post doesn't make that exact point, but it's close, particularly the last section, Balancing Context for Positives. If I find the one I'm looking for, I'll update.

Off the point somewhat, here's something everybody should meditate on: "It is the man-made that must never be accepted uncritically: it must be judged, then accepted or rejected and changed when necessary."
—Ayn Rand

When I added the Capitalism Magazine link

I said this:

They don't hold much truck with the belief that poverty is a virtue.
Frankly, if you think you have too much wealth, just lie down for a while and it'll go away. You have to take positive action to acquire and keep wealth. You either have to work hard or arrange a system or invent a machine that will work hard for you.

I should have added, you have to convince others to help you, and threats and intimidation only work as long as the threat is present. People do a work slow-down as soon as the threat leaves the room. People will work hard steadily if they like and(/or) respect you and want you to return your favor. That requires effective persuasion; the carrot is stronger than the stick.

Scroll around there. It's some of my better writing. Some grosse Konfessionen, as Goethe would say, but not every awful thing I've ever done. No bodies in the back yard or anything like that.

Somebody was checking out my archives, and I nervously wandered over to look over their shoulder. For you paranoid types, that doesn't mean I could tell much of anything about the person. Although I'm sure DARPA knows all about you. If you don't know who DARPA is, you're not very paranoid and you can cancel that trip to the psychiatrist.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Ayn Clouter directed me

to this article about Cardinal Sin.

A quote from Herbert Spencer

Thanks to the Mises Institute:

Herbert Spencer Day
Gary Galles

To the question--What is representative government good for? Our reply is: It is good, especially good, good above all the others, for doing the thing which a government should do. It is bad, especially bad, bad above all others, for doing the things which a government should not do.
What are those things?

The bad:

Countless facts prove the Government to be the worst owner, the worst manufacturer, the worst trader: in fact, the worst manager, be the thing managed what it may. But though the evidence of this is abundant and conclusive...Legislators, thinking themselves practical, cling to the implausible theory of an officially-regulated society in spite of overwhelming evidence that official regulation perpetually fails.

And the upside:

Moreover, the complexity, incongruity of parts, and general cumbrousness which deprive a representative government of that activity and decision required for paternally-superintending the affairs of...millions of citizens; do not deprive it of the ability to establish and maintain the regulations by which these citizens are prevented from trespassing against one another...the objections which so strongly tell against it in all its other relations to society do not tell against it in this fundamental relation.

It's one of those articles you should read in full. And Gary Galles links this article from Spencer: Representative Government—What is it Good For? (1857) archived by my friends at The Library of Economics and Liberty.

Good bit of philosophy

from the Mises People (rhymes with Jesus People--as English speakers pronounce Jesus, nobody would spell Mayzoos or maySooss M-i-s-e-s):

Employment at Will

by Erich Mattei

[April 28, 2004]

Demonizing 'preference,' a key characteristic of all human action, by identifying it as an intrinsic evil and labeling it 'discrimination,' is absurd on numerous grounds. This skewed vision does nothing short of steal an individual's most vital of liberties, their right to self-ownership. (Unlike the interpersonal utility comparisons made by proponents of a redistributive welfare state, the fact that self-ownership is the most acclaimed of freedoms is a priori, for attempting to deny it is a performative contradiction.)

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Thomas Sowell

does an astounding thing.

This might be the most important page

at, right now. It's the Rumors of War page.

I just got the email about the UPS uniforms. I can feel smug that the first thing I did was check the supposed source of the information on Google: Kimberly Bush-Carr Management Program Specialist - U.S Department of Homeland Security Bureau Customs and Border Protection - Washington, DC 20229 , and then

"Border Protection," Hah!

I am not alone in thinking of Atlas Shrugged

in conjunction with the North Korean train crash:

A Flashback to "Atlas Shrugged"
Word Count: 510 words

By Adam Reed

North Korea's replay in reality of a fictional incident that Ayn Rand described
in "Atlas Shrugged" half a century ago should remind us of her message: Man's
right to live by the judgment of his own mind is not an optional luxury. Man's
right to live by the judgment of his own mind is a necessary precondition for
human life. Where this right is denied, people die.

Not that there's anything surprising about the Objectivist Center thinking of that, but...
Well, read the whole thing.

Here's a libertarian reading list for you.

As if I hadn't given enough of one already.

I get daily emails from Free-Market.Net. The provide me with some of my material, but fairly often I get POed by the article they choose to lead off with and I just delete it.

I've mentioned that it irritates me when people refuse to acknowledge the wisdom of strategic alliances with groups that might be unsavory. The point is to avoid or minimize violence, not to mention expense. And I see it as the height of wisdom to recruit bad guys somewhere else to risk their lives so that good people back here can sit on their verandas drinking chablis. Or so that high school and college kids can wear ugly, ripped-up black jeans and t-shirts without having to go to work for a living, bitching all the while, "We MADE Osama bin Laden, Man!" The latter behavior exists because our government subsidizes it with free rides for college. Your education tax dollars at "work."

Wow, that tangent veered off into oncoming traffic and caused a 15 car pileup.

Here's the solution to that problem: when we realized al Qaida was like a fire getting out of control and endangering our camp, we needed to extinguish it. Douse it and stir the ashes to make sure there were no smoldering embers.

But uncle Bill wouldn't have any of that.



"Many are forced to perform meaningless, mindnumbing tasks until they die of hopelessness" reports escapee. "Others are simply lined up and shot, or forced into 'shower' rooms, which they then fill with poison gas."

Some words, offered special privileges, turn against their fellow inmates to assist in their destruction. "The worst was a guy named Justice. When he first came, he would make sure people got the respect and rewards they deserved for their work or their behavior... I mean everybody deserves some respect, right? Unless you start hurting others.... But then the Guards got to him and made a trustee. He started putting everybody on this bed shaped just like him and if you didn't fit just right, he'd hack off whatever hung over. Then he'd put the parts in a potato sack and make the guys who were too small carry them around." Escapee was unfamiliar with the story of Procrustes, modern, or rather post-modern, education being what it is.

Many Scientists agree that the purpose of this internment is purely to exercise power. To win everything, on all levels of social confrontation - from a stare-down to total war - at all costs. One social scientist, on condition of anonimity, said, "It's a scorched earth policy, or rather a Pyrrhic victory or both. The ground, once won, will be waste. Combatants and innocents will all be devastated."

I think people are p***ing into the wind

when they expect any political party to refrain from acting partisan. Or to consider temporary strategic alliances to promote progress on an issue to be unforgivable breaches of principle. (Full disclosure: I have worn unforgivable breaches.)

Murray Rothbard and his followers left the Libertarian Party for those reasons; Raimondo and Rockwell continue to attack our national defense policy for those reasons. L. Neil Smith left the LP for the same reasons.

I don't blame LibertyBob for leaving the LP because there are still too many people like that in the party.

Work to do! Gotta go!

The Founding Father's Party

is advertising in my comments box right now. They make a point in their forum, where I left a comment, about how bad an idea the draft is. The latter article is where the link leads, so I don't know anything else about them yet.

Update: Apparently Old Whig is already taken over there. My apologies for using somebody else's handle.

Maybe I've been expressing myself poorly

but I fail to see how I've contradicted anything here. Sure, I like to read radicals. It helps me keep awake, but if they're in conflict with the principles so clearly and plainly stated in LibertyBob's post on Government (already linked, in case you haven't waved your mouse over it yet), I usually frown and mutter to myself.

Well, all right, sometimes I leap to my feet, overturning the chair, point at the screen and shout, "(*&$#@(ing morons!1 "(*&$#@(ing civilization'll come "(*&$#@(ing crashing down around our "(*&$#@(ing ears if we do that!!" It's not a good example to my daughters, and they look at me quizzically when I do that, but "(*&$#@(. Sometimes ya gotta.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

There is, as with most conservative sites,

some good stuff here, but I may take time out of my busy day (later, probably tomorrow, it's Tuesday after all) to fisk this guy:

Why I Can't Be A Libertarian
Robert E. Meyer
, 04/26/04

Now many Libertarians are fine and wonderful people, but many also see no relevance in supporting laws that indicate where the needle on the moral compass ought to point. The big problem is a failure to properly understand the true essence of liberty. So often this concept is viewed as right to do anything the imagination may crave, as long as you don't hurt anyone else in the process. This is far too ambiguous. How do you know what is harmful to someone else? This is not the way the founders of this great nation viewed liberty.

I'm adding Cafe Hayek

to my links, with great glee, verging on Schadenfreude, at the opportunity to read free, daily doses of the well-ordered thoughts of Donald Boudreau, former President of the Foundation for Economic Education and current chairman of the Economics Department at George Mason University in Virginia.

The article linked above is actually by Russell Roberts, who wrote one of the damnedest love stories ever, which doubles as an introduction to economics (I'm not sure "delightfully didactic" as George Will called it, qualifies as high praise for a love story). Here, he's promising to fall on the sword, perhaps, for those of us who are sick and tired of Spam.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Once again, I find I've slighted

LibertyBob's erudition. Perhaps this article from his site will contribute to a moderation of American discourse on the subject of Islam, and lead to a path out of this mess we're in.

Just so you don't think

that I suckered for another of LibertyBob's creative writing exercises: I didn't. I was going along with it in the comments section.

That's Bob's (may I call you Bob?) own personally, homemade comments section (as is the whole site) BTW.

Common Sense

Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.

Paine then goes on to advocate the welfare state, thus ascribing to government-the punisher-activities which should be left to the People in our voluntary associations.

Since Todd didn't give a link

and CPF isn't talking yet, I thought I'd give you all a look at the Packers' sixth round draft choice Corey Williams.

Has a big chest, with broad shoulders, long muscular arms, wide hips, good bubble and a thick lower torso with a frame that has the potential to add at least another 15 pounds of muscle mass.

Good God! He's 6'3" - 313 now!

I notice some contradictions between that article and this one.

Sounds like they expect him to contribute right away.

Update: Catholic Packer Fan has weighed in.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Dear Editor:

As Senator Chuck Hagel and others call for the re-establishment of military conscription, it is worth remembering Ayn Rand's words:

"Of all the statist violations of individual rights in a mixed economy, the military draft is the worst. It is an abrogation of rights. It negates man's fundamental right--the right to life--and establishes the fundamental principle of statism: that a man's life belongs to the state, and the state may claim it by compelling him to sacrifice it in battle. Once that principle is accepted, the rest is only a matter of time.

If the state may force a man to risk death or hideous maiming and crippling, in a war declared at the state's discretion, for a cause he may neither approve of nor even understand, if his consent is not required to send him into unspeakable martyrdom--then, in principle, all rights are negated in that state, and its government is not man's protector any longer. What else is there left to protect?"

David Holcberg
Ayn Rand Institute

Copyright © 2004 Ayn Rand® Institute, 2121 Alton Parkway, Suite 250, Irvine, CA, 92606. All rights reserved.

Here's an image

of that boat I was talking about. Courtesy of Google Images and Wiening Marine Photography (It's a Tripod page, so WARNING: POPUPS. And I don't accept cookies anymore, given the choice).

The James E. Ferris. I don't think it had long to live when this picture was taken. It was scrapped when I was in junior high, sometime between '75 and '79. It was owned by Kinsman Marine Transit Co., now S & E Shipping. Which was still being ran by Henry Steinbrenner, George's dad. I'd like to meet George some day and tell him that my dad used to cuss out his. Henry was a very hands on owner, and when Dad needed some part in a hurry, sometimes he'd end up arguing about it with Henry himself.

Actually I'm a pretty inarticulate person when I meet somebody famous, and I'd probably just end up tongue-tied.

Image Hosted by

I believe that's the coal dock in Superior, WI. I was on another boat of the Kinsman line - the William A. McGonagle, I think - one day, walking along the deck toward the ladder to get off, when lightning struck that crane. I thought a bomb had gone off. There was a blinding flash and the sound of an explosion. These days I would assume it was a terrorist attack, but then I couldn't imagine what it could have been. It shut the crane down for a while, but nobody was hurt. Of course, the operator refused to get back in until the weather cleared up.

A good letter from ARI:

Dear Editor:

The Apprentice was the first "reality" show to deal with reality. Its contestants did not compete in worm-eating or political conniving but in solving real-world business problems. It was a weekly demonstration that success is not a matter of "the old-boy network" or "exploitation" or any of the threadbare leftist caricatures, but of effort, planning, honesty, and practical wisdom.

Wordlessly, the show conveyed the message that productive achievement is good, that material success is good--that life on this earth is good. The show concretized The American Dream.

The Apprentice should be beamed to the Middle East.

Harry Binswanger
Ayn Rand Institute

2121 Alton Parkway #250
Irvine 92606 CA
(949) 222-6550 ext 226

Checking my email

I find that Promethea has an update. All those people at Amanda's blog, who recommend reading Nietszche are probably unaware that there is a group who consciously seek to purify and extend his thought.

I believe I've mentioned that Nietszche was a non-deontological egoist, and these guys would like to classify him as an individualist anarchist. Two old saws can clarify those positions for you: "An armed society is a polite society," and - I guess it's not an old saw really - the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction taken to a personal level. Indeed on all levels.

It's "The Cowboy Way" which, I have to admit, I have always adhered to. Basically, you just don't let people #*&@ with you. But, as long as they don't, be friendly and helpful.

I had a bunch of yardwork

to catch up with today. It's been years since I climbed over between my and my neighbor's fences to trim away the crap that's been growing up under my hedge. I was absolutely exhausted by the time I was done. My arms are crosshatched with scratches and I had to take a shower immediately to get the "itchweed" oil off. But it's a good kind of tired. I feel like I accomplished something, although I still have to clean up all the crap I cut out.

"The rains came and the wind blew for forty days and forty nights..."

Well, hopefully not, but God definitely was telling me it was time to go in.
BTW I'm spreading the rumor that Starsplash had his arm amputated. I'm awaiting confirmation. Or denial.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Am I the only one

having trouble with Haloscan tonight?

Friday, April 23, 2004

Ernest George Ross

whose website I read daily for several years, and with whom I had corresponded, passed away on the eve of the Iraq War. He had this to say moments before experiencing the aneurism which eventuated in his death:

In the late '90s [Saddam Hussein] declared war on the US; he tried to assassinate former President Bush when he was visiting the Mideast; he sponsored anti-American terrorist training camps (still does); and he continuously fires on US jets attempting to enforce the 1991 treaty ending the Gulf War—among other hostile acts.

...Iraq is not currently a sovereign state. No dictatorship is. It's an enslaved state with no legitimate government—unless you are trying to tell me that tyrants are legitimate leaders. I hope you've not sunk to that level. We're not going to whack a sovereign state. We're going to whack the thugs that have hijacked a sovereign state and return that state to legitimate rule, as we're doing in Afghanistan, as we did in Grenada, as we've done a number of times before in our history of pro-freedom interventions.

...President Bush grasps the necessity for looking beyond the immediate, beyond the perceptual level. Instead of going tit-for-tat for specific acts, and instead of merely picking off terrorists one by one, Bush wants to do away with the rogue states that make terrorism's existence and growth as virulent as it's become. He's not looking for a tactical response. He's looking for a strategic one.

This understanding of our present situation, which would be labelled "Neocon" by Justin Raimondo, of, has struck me as the most prescient in light of later events. Ross's untimely death precipitated my entry into the blogosphere.

I just want to say, that if you want to be a dumb-f**k, be one like Justin Raimondo. Oh, I should have mentioned him in my previous post about gays who are smarter than me. (Contradiction alert!!! You said, "dumb-f**k...smarter than me." I should leave such comments to the peanut gallery. LibertyBob...?)

Update: I thought I'd exhausted Ross' prescience. Check this out:

We brought down Afghanistan's tyrants and now we're going to bring down Iraq's. If other terror-sponsoring states don't learn the lesson after that, then they could be in the US's sights, too. That's why we're encouraging the Iranians to overthrow their theocrats. It's why we've got a military build-up going against North Korea and are working with the Chinese to pressure Kim Jong-Il to wind down his belligerence.

Update update: Christ! There's more! Go to the link!

Great humor

from Catholic Packer Fan.

If you need a little Norman Cousinsish healing, this'll help.

I hate to be a plain wuss blogger

but I've got a major case of writer's block. My problem is that I've been reading some of the really great blogs. Fred on Everything has four links of writers that kick my ass all over the parking lot. Fred kicks my ass. Of course, these are actually people who take their time and plan what they're going to write.

Of course Fred seems to buy into The Bell Curve argument (which I'm about to criticize without having read--just like the "liberal" media).

I think I'll take an opportunity to defend Blacks, Hispanics, women and gays. Hey, maybe I'll "get some" out of the deal. [Not from the wife, after that crack. Good thing she's terrified of getting addicted to the computer.]

Blacks and Hispanics (and Native Americans): Even if the their IQs test lower than those of whites, asians and jews, there is still room for huge numbers of them to be smarter than I am. Let alone you average people. [My IQ is 154. What's yours? ...Yeah, I know, prove it. I'm workin' on it.] Examples: Blacks: Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, (see Rice,

[Danny Aiello is endorsing Sean Hannity in the background. He says, "Capitalism gives the opportunity to grow." He's selling CDs of his singing. Buy The Last Don. But the era of Italian oppression is over.]

Colin Powell... Several people I know personally.

Hispanics: Hernando de Soto is doing more good for humanity than anyone, other than Norman Borlaug, has ever done. His namesake's contributions weren't inconsiderable either.

American Indians: I'm a big fan of Russell Means. Read his autobiography Where White Men Fear to Tread. He signed my copy personally at the Minnesota Libertarian Party convention in 2002. I don't agree 100% with him, but I think he's pretty brilliant.

I haven't earned any fame myself, but I carry a card from the BIA that says I'm a Creek Indian.

Women: Margaret Thatcher, Ayn Rand, Isabel Paterson, Rose Wilder Lane (who turned her mother's narratives about her experiences into the Little House series and wrote The Discovery of Freedom), Dr. Mary Ruwart and Virginia Postrel. I mention only strong women.

Gays: Peter McWilliams, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. Once again, I know many personally whose contributions are quite impressive.

And FFF sends this quote:

Politics is the business of getting power and privilege without possessing merit. A politician is anyone who asks individuals to surrender part of their liberty - their power and privilege - to State, Masses, Mankind, Planet Earth, or whatever. This state, those masses, that mankind, and the planet will then be run by ... politicians.

-- P.J. O'Rourke, All the Trouble in the World [1994]

ARI takes a strong stand

Dear Editor:

Israel's targeted killing of Abdel Aziz Rantisi was as justified as would be America's targeted killing of Osama bin Laden.

Rantisi was the leader of Hamas, a terrorist organization responsible for the murder and maiming of hundreds of innocents, and he got what he deserved.

That heads of state from London to Paris criticized Israel's action instead of applauding it reveals, once again, their utter moral bankruptcy--and their seemingly endless willingness to appease evil.

But as logic suggests and history demonstrates, appeasing evil only emboldens it, and those who fail to learn this lesson invariably become targets of evil themselves.

David Holcberg
Ayn Rand Institute

2121 Alton Parkway #250
Irvine 92606 CA
(949) 222-6550 ext 226

This makes me want to rebel

and sign up with GMail. This is the kind of nannyism I can't stand.

On the other hand, since I already have 3 email providers, I can pretty much choose the level of privacy I want.

A bit of an update on the kid with cancer

From his Grandma:

Date: Thu, 22 Apr 2004 21:21:53 +0000

The kids left for Florida this morning. They were all so excited!!! I'm hoping and praying they all have a very good time, and forget all that they've been thru for a few days. D___ was feeling better, and eating better. It's funny the things that we get excited about around here these days, like a 2 1/2 year old growing hair, and eating more than a few bites of something. A___ and I got him to eat quite a bit of scrambled eggs Tuesday, then yesterday morning the phone rung, I answered it and this little voice says " I want eggs, I said "you want eggs, and he said "uhuh, I want more eggs", I said did you eat eggs for breakfast and you want more", he said "uhuh, want more eggs", I said "is mama out of eggs and you want more", he said, "uhuh" So needless to say Nana, was there in 5 minutes with more eggs. Hopefully his appetite is coming back and he will start eating a variety of things again. He's so cute, we can't believe how dark his hair is now that is coming back in, I will have to send you a picture soon. They will come home next Wednesday, April 28. Thanks for your prayers!!! B___

Make-A-Wish is sending them to Disney World. I hope he has a good time and remembers it for many years.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

There are no Atlases left

in North Korea.

Update: A more in depth report on the fuel train collision in North Korea. A quote:

The communist country's infrastructure is dilapidated and accident-prone. Its passenger cars are usually packed with people, and defectors say trains are seldom punctual and frequently break down.

Sometimes, trains are stranded for hours at stations until their electricity supply is restored enabling them to continue, some defectors say.

The trunk line on which Thursday's accident reportedly occurred, the main rail link between China and North Korea, was first laid during the Japanese occupation more than 60 years ago.

They need to at least do as China is doing and allow ownership of investments.

Sure, why not split 'em up?

The articles I mean. I accidently hit the publish button.

Brent Bozell:

Perhaps what causes many people to tremble is the idea that the security of the United States and the cause of world freedom will be left in the cynical clutches of John Kerry and the manipulative media elite that shares his reverence for diplomacy over democracy, for process over principle.

My comment here is that the last phrase is a bit vague. I think it was Thomas Sowell who said that the American system of government doesn't concern itself with the content of free speech, press, religion, "persons, houses, papers and effects", it merely defends them. This, of course, is a principle which prescribes, in barest terms, a process. Actually, I suppose it proscribes several processes, one of which is negotiating away these things. But that's a quibble.

This bit explains what Bozell means:

...John Kerry thinks the solution in Iraq doesn't have to include democracy or freedom, but whatever stable dictatorship will allow us to disengage, as he told reporters in Harlem on April 14: "I have always said from day one that the goal here ... is a stable Iraq, not whether or not that's a full democracy. I can't tell you what it's going to be, but a stable Iraq. And that stability can take several different forms."

Bruce Bartlett:

Of course, one cannot know whether a more open and honest debate on Iraq would have led to a different result. But I for one would not have supported the war if I thought that its principal justification was the liberation of the Iraqi people, which is what the White House now says was its primary mission. Our military exists to defend the nation, not be the world's policeman. If there is a linkage, President Bush has yet to make it.

I wonder why Bush hasn't made the case that the reason we had to do something about Iraq was that the situation we, and the Iraqi's, had been enduring was unsustainable. Bush I had attempted to go along with UN mandates and it wasn't working. Hussain certainly wasn't going along with UN mandates, most notably the Universal Declaration of Rights.

But Bozell's right. We're not the world's policeman. The only reason for us to do it is to keep the UN from doing it.

Good stuff at today.

Some points I think require my own comment:

Ann Coulter:

Since Bork, Republican presidents have put three justices on the court. Two of the three gaze upon a document that says absolutely nothing about abortion or sodomy and discern a "constitutional" right to both. (But try as they might, they still haven't been able to discern a woman's constitutional right to defend herself from rapists by carrying a pistol in her purse.) Because of the court's miraculous discovery of a right to sodomy last term, gay marriage is now on the agenda in America.

There is a very interesting discussion of the Ninth Amendment - "The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." - at Talk Left, dated July 24, 2002. Clayton Craymer, who outed Micheal Bellesiles' fraudulent gun research, puts in a comment that I mostly agree with, except to say that good political thinking didn't end in 1791, though anybody doing anything but building on that thought is likely not doing good political thinking. Quite frankly, I don't think it's possible to effectively ban "buggery" or abortions that no one is complaining about (if someone is complaining that makes them assaults; or at least torts), without creating more disorder than these
activities cause.

I also think marriage is a social matter which doesn't require government sanction. The one compelling right that the gays argue for is the right to visit their lovers in the hospital. I don't get any justification for ever denying that. I suppose the AIDS victim's (or whatever) family get upset sometimes and raise a stink, but that's a good reason for the hospital to kick them all out and try to determine the victim's wishes in the matter. It's definitely a problem if those wishes contradict the reality that those people just aren't going to get along. Perhaps they'd learn how not to get kicked out of the hospital.

Brent Bozell:

Perhaps what causes many people to tremble is the idea that the security of the United States and the cause of world freedom will be left in the cynical clutches of John Kerry and the manipulative media elite that shares his reverence for diplomacy over democracy, for process over principle.

Bruce Bartlett:
Of course, one cannot know whether a more open and honest debate on Iraq would have led to a different result. But I for one would not have supported the war if I thought that its principal justification was the liberation of the Iraqi people, which is what the White House now says was its primary mission. Our military exists to defend the nation, not be the world's policeman. If there is a linkage, President Bush has yet to make it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

The government exists to keep us and our stuff safe.

If it's not doing that, it should be eliminated.

Budget cuts are setting convicts free

In L.A. County, 47,000 prisoners were released early last year.

By Daniel B. Wood | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

LOS ANGELES – Every day for the past year, Los Angeles County jail officials, who oversee the largest local jail system in the world, have been releasing prisoners before their sentence is up: as many as 600 in a day, and 47,000 in a year - nearly enough to fill Dodger Stadium.
While the offenders are nonviolent - drunken drivers, shoplifters, car thieves - the early releases have stirred controversy over whether the savings in tax dollars is worth what many see as a threat to public safety. As agencies report drops in violent crime, so-called "quality-of-life" crimes are soaring. To critics, the trend goes hand in hand with weakening deterrence.
The collective result: far more burglars and convicted drunken drivers back on the streets than lawmakers bargained for.

Looks like time to revive the Hammurabian Code, though we'd have to drop the class distinctions.

A Massage, as Inspector Clouseau would say,

From the Liberty Committee:

Elect, Never Appoint U.S. Representatives

On June 20, 2003, we issued the following alert: "The clock is ticking. A well-orchestrated, well-financed
campaign to quickly amend the Constitution is underway. A proposed constitutional amendment would
take away your right to vote for your U.S. representative. We can't and won't stand by and let our republic
be gutted by this amendment."

This alert was in response to the "Continuity of Government" (COG) report made public on June 4, 2003.
The report calls for a constitutional amendment that would allow for the appointment of members of the
U.S. House of Representatives under vaguely defined circumstances. During the June 4th press
conference, COG touted their proposed constitutional amendment and predicted there would be no
opposition to it. In addition, they predicted Congress would pass their proposed amendment and be
ratified by the states within 14 to 18 months. Their predictions were wrong, as is their proposed
constitutional amendment.

On July 23, 2003, The Liberty Committee presented opposition at a briefing for congressional staff
members. Congressmen Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Vic Snyder (D-Arkansas) spoke persuasively against
the COG proposal, as did Charles E. Rice, professor emeritus of Notre Dame Law School.

On July 24, 2003, Representatives Sensenbrenner, Dreier, Miller, Cole, Chabot, and Paul introduced
the Continuity in Representation Act of 2003 (H.R. 2844) as the alternative to the COG proposal. H.R.
2844 is the practical and proper solution because it requires states to promptly hold special elections
of U.S. House members; not special appointments.

On January 21, 2004, the House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 2844. The U.S. House will vote on H.R. 2844 on Thursday, April 22, 2004.

Take Action: Urge your U.S. representative to vote "yes" on H.R. 2844. Click here.


Sensenbrenner, Dreier, Ney Letter April 19, 2004

Cato Policy Analysis: Restoring the U.S. House of Representatives Feb. 17, 2004

House Committee on the Judiciary Press Release Jan. 21, 2004

Congressman David Dreier Sept. 9, 2003

Congressman James Sensenbrenner July 24, 2003

Professor Charles E. Rice June 17, 2003

Phyllis Schlafly June 16, 2003

Congressman Ron Paul June 4, 2003

Congressman Vic Snyder Nov. 19, 2001 (pdf)

Privacy Statement

© 2004 The Liberty Committee

Here's what I was looking for

at Phylaras' site. It's pretty sick. Go through the link here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Ok, so "phylaras russian" isn't

on a par with Planet Sidna. I suppose it's not shocking that I'm the only person who ever put those two words together on the whole bleepin' internet. My Greek dictionary is a bit inadequate, but I think "Phylaras" means, perhaps not unexpectedly, "guardian."

Monday, April 19, 2004


I searched google for "phylaras russian" and I got this.

Here's a guy with a big heart.

And still growing.

I just ran down the line

and caught up with the comments. As to that, I'm sure I'm not alone in this, but my policy is, if I let you get the last word, it's because you earned it. I don't like to put in 'heh' or 'lol' as a last word, though a couple times I wanted to say 'eat me.'

This seems to be becoming a mantra

But I'm perfectly willing to help beat the drum for it:

The Threat of the Paternalistic State (it'll be available to you regular folks too, soon)

By Peter Schwartz

A precondition of freedom is the recognition of the individual's capacity to make decisions for himself. If man were viewed as congenitally incapable of making rational choices, there would be no basis for the very concept of rights. Yet that is increasingly how our government views us. It is adopting the role of a paternalistic nanny, zealously protecting the citizen against his own actions. In the process, our freedom is disappearing.

...[T]he government is making two declarations. The first is that you are not responsible for your decisions, and that if you are stricken by emphysema--or are injured in a car accident or become too fat, society will take care of you. The second is that, as a consequence, you cannot be given the freedom to make those decisions in the first place--i.e., your freedom to smoke cigarettes or to drive without a seat belt or to eat what you want will be restricted. Once your life is deemed to be the responsibility of the state, you are no longer permitted to incur "social costs" by making undesirable choices.

Mr. Schwartz is chairman of the board of directors of the Ayn Rand Institute ( in Irvine, Calif. The Institute promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.

Copyright © 2004 Ayn Rand® Institute, 2121 Alton Parkway, Suite 250, Irvine, CA, 92606. All rights reserved.

And think about this while we're at it:

The greatest [calamity] which could befall [us would be] submission to a government of unlimited powers.

-- Thomas Jefferson, Declaration and Protest of Virginia [1825]

The latter thanks to The Future of Freedom Foundation. I hope nobody minds me combining the two messages. (It wouldn't stop me anyway.... Well, maybe...)

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Kling has a good article at TechCentralStation

What's Wrong With Paternalism? By Arnold Kling Published 04/16/2004, in which he argues that there are three good arguments against increasing taxes and the size of government. He calls them the pure libertarian position, the utilitarian position and the Public Choice position.

I would say that all three are libertarian points and I'd call them the moral, the practical and the who-died-and-made-you-God positions. The three... Well, let's quote Kling:

Individually, none of these arguments is decisive. However, together, they undermine the left's presumption that those of us with a moral outlook should be rooting for more taxes and bigger government. Under close examination, the case for more paternalism is not nearly as strong as it might first appear.

That's my only quibble with the article.

Read this

at The Moderate Voice.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Ok, here's a reason not to go for

my corporate tax plan: Stop the Tax Madness

Let's face it, the U. S. tax system is hopelessly broken and is beyond repair. It is a massive collection of patchwork fixes to real or imagined problems, special favors for selected individuals and groups and attempts to implement social engineering to control or influence the behavior of all Americans. Every attempt by Congress to correct something "wrong" with the tax code results in additional layers of complexity.

For every tax break or credit one group receives, another group must make up the difference. For every child tax credit a parent receives, a childless individual or couple must pay. For every mortgage interest deduction a homeowner claims, a group of renters must pay. For every tax credit received by businesses in one industry, a small business in another industry must pay.

My plan to tax only corporations and scrap the income tax would not eliminate special interests. It would only strengthen the corporate special interests and eliminate associations of private citizens like the Tax Payers League of Minnesota and the National Taxpayers Union. I don't think a National Sales Tax would have the same effect.

There are bills in both the House (H. R. 25) and Senate (S.1493) to implement the Fair Tax). [a National Sales Tax] and abolish the income tax. (The text of both bills may be found by searching the Thomas database at

Give them a look.

You'd think they'd learn

Once again, Detroit pays a lot more for land grab

Jury says riverfront parcel is worth $25 million
April 16, 2004


A jury has ordered Detroit to pay $25 million, twice as much as the city wanted to, to the former owner of riverfront property seized by the city.

The Wednesday verdict was the latest in a string of examples going back at least to the Poletown case a quarter-century ago in which the city has been told to pay more for land seized through condemnation proceedings than it had anticipated.

The People keep telling them to knock it off, but they just won't listen.

And now for some good news

Homeowner kills intruder


"A man who kicked in a family's door wound up dead when the homeowner
shot him in the head. Detroit police say the victim had been
threatening the family for quite some time. It was around 3:30 a.m.
Friday morning that Detroit police say a 20-year-old man kicked in
the door of a Runyon St home. The 55-year-old man who lives in the
home picked up his own gun and fatally shot the 20-year-old once in
the head. " (04/09/04)

Actually, I can't find their archives quickly, so here's the Google cache.

Sounds like the guy might need some support, "Police say the 55-year-old homeowner is in custody at the ninth precinct. A warrant has been typed up, but it will be up to the prosecutor’s office if charges will be filed."

Update: I haven't seen these guys before: Gun News Daily. They've got the same link though; under "Victims Who Fought Back and Won."

Update update: I got the original link from RATIONAL REVIEW NEWS DIGEST.

I just got this for a spam message,

"Dogs&Cats Samples." Whatever they're sellin', I'm sure I don't want it.

Vox Day now has a link to

Hello Cthulhu. I wonder if I can take credit for that.

Naw, he probably reads den Beste.

One of his fans recommended Homestarrunner, which I'm watching while I type this.

Dru Sjodin's body has been found.

I decided it was inappropriate to leave this in the previous post. There's more news, but I can't take much of that sort of thing.

update: further edited for spelling.

Vox Day is going to be on

Northern Alliance Radio. If you're in the Cities (Mpls., St. Paul and suburbs) check it out on AM1280. He's from Arden Hills. Here's his World Net Daily archive. Still no streaming.

I didn't listen to Dave Thompson as much today because he was talking about how the Minnesota State Senate is blocking Gov. Tim Pawlenty's appointments.

Ron, notice Day has no blogads. "Vox Dei" means voice of God, by the way.

I've been trying to find

the name of that philosopher who blew everybody away at Amanda's blog a while back. Since I wiped my offline content, I don't have a link to him anywhere, and Amanda has done something odd to her archives so I can't access them.

Oh, wait! He's the guy I apologized to. Maybe I should link this page instead.

Arnold Kling of EconLog fame,

links to a PDF article questioning the value of the WTO and GATT. Kling says, "...I find it plausible, since I think of these international trade organizations as just make-work for lawyers and bureaucrats."

It's 47 pages, but it only took a minute to load on my slow modem.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Scotty the Menace

explains why Corporations Never Pay Taxes.

Anybody who quotes Kuehnelt-Leddihn is cool.

I ran across this

while searching my archives. I feel I should reiterate it from time to time:

I expect to learn something from this gentleman. He has been, to me, an inspiration, a scourge, an idol, an embarrassment and a role model. He's been teaching me things of all kinds since I was born.
He's my older brother, Ron (Starsplash) Erkkila. Family loyalty is a bourgeois value.

It's easy to identify

with Hello Cthulhu.

It's that damn den Beste's fault.

Now I'm talking like him.

Sorry. Just got back from the hospital.

I was sitting there at work feeling fat, dumb and happy, as the saying goes, when I started to get the shakes. I began to feel queasy. Sweat broke out on my forehead. Pretty soon my shirt was soaked. Next thing I know, I'm on my back with a tube down my throat and a horrible sucking sound coming...out of me!

Finally I heard the doctor say, "we seem to have got it all." He looked at me. "How you feelin'?"

With the tube in my throat I could only nod a little and blink. They removed the tube. I must have been numbed, because it didn't hurt a bit.

"What happened?" I asked.

The doctor grinned, showed me a gallon jar of gray goo, and said, "It's too much moderation. You were drowning in it."

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Well, my accountant (my wife) finished the taxes

and we went to the post office to mail 'em in.

I hate to admit this, anarchist that I am, but I would have paid more for the services I've received. I don't like their methods or attitude about collecting, although Reason Mag and Sprint have both actually been ruder to me personally than the IRS. We don't use Sprint anymore, and sometimes I'd like to change the provider of some of the government services, but the past year has actually gone pretty well. The things that did go wrong were my own damn fault.

I still get Reason and I recommend it. Though it's kind of like recommending a French restaurant with rude waiters, they've got good stuff and I enjoy the ambiance.

You can guess by my magnanimity that we're getting a refund from Uncle Sam's Saving and Loan. Enough to cover what Minnesota's taking. My wife wants new furniture, she must have been expecting this. All our old stuff is inherited from her grandparents.

I feel like posting

The Song of the Lazy Farmer, by Anonymous (If you wrote it, You'll be given proper credit).

I think my reputation for avoiding every kind of chore
Just doesn't very acc'rately reflect my true philosophy.
No matter what my critics, state it isn't work itself I hate
My peeve is that what most jobs need is handling with the utmost speed.
Now I don't mind the sweat and strain and backaches with a lot of pain
That come from plain old fashioned toil like tending stock and tilling soil.
No matter how pooped I might be, I am the first one to agree
The feeling of a job well done is satisfying and it's fun.

But I don't wear out happily if there's a stopwatch held on me.
If I can't take my own sweet time, there is no reason and no rhyme
In sweating over anything no matter how big or challenging.
I'll gladly tackle any task as long as no one tries to ask
That I must do it speedily unless I am prepared to be
Accused of shameful laziness. That is a lot of silliness.
There's nothing that I can't get done at least as good as anyone
If can have two hours or three to do a one hour job, by gee!

Kind of a forced rhyme at the end there. Originally it was written in paragraph form and it was up to you to realize there was a rhyme and meter.

This is what happens to me when people start talking about Arkansas in my presence.

My favorite article of the day is

Robin Hood, Friend of Liberty, by Adam Young.

The wrap-up 'graphs:

Taxes are the engine of tyranny and are resented and opposed by the people of every century. The legend of Robin Hood appeals because of that; the refusal to accept as legitimate what we all instinctively know is not.

As so much in legends, the historical truth isn't what matters. Instead it is the legendary deeds of Robin Hood that excite us. The man who challenged the state, who dared to take what the rotten government claimed to own, the man who not only did these deeds himself, but also recruited others to help him and in doing so, gained the trust and affection of his people. It’s a legend that will never lose its appeal.

So let us all sally forth (what's she doing here?) in his spirit and expropriate that which has been expropriated from us. Or something.

The Objectivist Center celebrates Tax Day

Click here for Cato. And Townhall links over a dozen articles: here's a nice one.

April 15: A Day of Moral Shame
by Edward Hudgins

Americans celebrate July 4 with pride as the day we gained our independence.
However, we should lament April 15 - tax day -- as the day that too many of us
all too willingly surrender our liberty and opportunities in life. Here's why.

All free individuals want to run their own lives. When we leave the loving
protection of our parents we should express our love for those who raised us by
showing ourselves to be independent adults. As grown men and women we look
forward to the challenge of discovering and creating the goals and purposes that
will give us joy in life; of acquiring the knowledge and skills we need to make
a living; and of earning the resources necessary to realize our dreams.

We should consider it an insult if others - whether from well-meaning or
paternalistic motives -- take us by the hand and say, "There, there, little boys
and girls, I'll take care of you." And we should be embarrassed if we allow
ourselves in a moment of weakness to be so treated.

Yet this is just the relationship between most citizens and politicians.
Politicians tell us, "We know you're not up to the burden of raising your own
children, earning enough money to educate them, insuring yourselves against
illness or unemployment, saving for your retirement, tying your own shoes or
wiping your own noses without our help. Don't worry, we'll give you all you

If we have any integrity we should spit on such offers. We should resent the
theft of our opportunities to experience the pride that comes from taking
responsibility for our own lives as well as the theft of our money by tax
collectors to make good on these politicians' promises. Rather, we should tell
our government to protect our lives, liberties and property -- that is, our
freedom and independence -- and otherwise leave us alone. Instead, a majority of
citizens applaud politicians and candidates who drag them further down into the
depths of dependency.

Many Americans concede liberty but console themselves by pleading for the return
of some of their money in the form of government loans for their kid's college,
a Medicare prescription drug benefit or trade protection for the company for
which they work. But this misses the full moral picture. As responsible
individuals we should feel anger and resentment at the politicians who created
and perpetuated this system, who are turning us into beggars. When such
politicians offer us more handouts, we should react as we would if they offered
us heroine. We should see politicians as pushers who addict us to government.

Taxes are the fuel that feeds big government and April 15 is the day when we
must surrender to this system.

If the choice were offered, many of us would give up our government benefits and
handouts in exchange for having most of our taxes eliminated, which would leave
us with tens of thousands of dollars of our own money for our own purposes and,
most important, would restore independence and control to our lives. Those of us
who would make this trade should make it our mission to rescue our fellow
citizens the way we might rescue an alcoholic or drug addict from their
self-destructive ways.

We should appeal to their reason, pointing out that a system that punishes the
most productive people by taking a greater portion of the wealth that they
create will inevitably make us all poorer. We should appeal to their moral
sense, pointing out that it is wrong to maintain a tax system that encourages
us, through our politicians, to pick each other's pockets. We should appeal to
their deepest sense of self-respect, pointing out that there is no higher joy
than taking responsibility for our own lives.

Those who repent their support for this system can redeem themselves by
rebelling against politicians who offer us the Faustian bargain that in the end
leaves us morally as well as materially impoverished. Then, someday, April 15
will cease to be a day of shame and instead mark the time that subjects stood
and became free citizens, reclaiming their lives, liberty and property.

The Objectivist Center is a national not-for-profit think tank promoting the
values of reason, individualism, freedom and achievement in American culture.
For more information, please visit To unsubscribe to
this list, or to subscribe to the Center's Web Update List, please visit

This man thinks funny.

Link thanks to Instapundit.

I was going to complain about how

everything in the world is scheduled for Tuesdays these days. I got nothin' goin' on on weekends, people! I got 5 things to do every Tuesday! Knock it off with the Tuesdays!

But then I got too busy to write it. Now its time to get ready for work.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Blatantly ripping off a post

From the Staunch Moderate:

Give 'n' Take: Free trade works, my friends. The United States is receiving more "outsourced" jobs than it's giving. That is, more countries are outsourcing to us than we're outsourcing to them. Plus, India is one of the countries giving us the jobs.

(I found the India story at the Moderate Voice, and Joe there found it at A Little More to the Right. Spread the word.)

Now I'll go and actually read all those articles.

LibertyBob Continues His Relentless Harassment of the Amish

See comment to this post on The Bugbear Zone.

Yes, I'm still borrowing LibertyBob's links.

Update: Speaking of Bugbears, why would goblins find it to their advantage to take the shape of bears?

Well, much to the consternation of my wife,

I spent about 5 hours last night chasing crap out of my computer. It's not completely clear yet, but I think it might be usable again. I may not have to wipe the hard drive and reload everything (which would have taken less time, but I'd like to get our pictures onto discs before doing that).

My big mistake is that I haven't updated my boot disk since 2001, so it's unable to actually clean any viruses that are out, though it seems to have the power to kick the crap out of them, and the buttload of adware that got dumped on me, enough so that I could use the antivirus software I have.

Time to upgrade a few things though.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Barry Bonds hits #660.

I suppose the steroid flap and the war kept his approach to this great milestone from getting much hype. I had forgotten all about it.

Whatever you think about the allegations of steroid use, he has a lifetime batting average of .298. (Here are his stats.) He's a great hitter. Steroids don't help that and usually hurt you that way.

Maybe I'm mistaken, but I understand he's pretty good in the field as well. I can't make heads nor tails out of fielding stats. Looks like very few errors and quite a few putouts. I don't watch NL games much, hence my ignorance.

I'm afraid Ron's neighbors

are trying to prove LibertyBob right.

Segregated Proms Anger Students

Reported By: The Associated Press
Last Modified: 4/11/2004 6:43:46 PM

LYONS, Ga. (AP) -- It was hard enough to choose whether to attend the white prom or the black prom at Toombs County High School, but Yuri Flores hit another roadblock after she made her decision.

When the Hispanic student and a friend tried to purchase tickets for the white prom, a girl with the prom committee wanted to know if their dates were white, black or Hispanic.

"She told me that it was a white prom -- not a Mexican prom, not a black prom," Hart said. "It made me feel mad. That's not right. I wanted to put my fist in her face."

So Flores rallied their friends and formed the Hispanic/Latino Prom Committee for their own celebration to be held May 8 -- the day after the white students' event. Three weeks before that, black students are holding their prom.

The three separate celebrations may be a first in Georgia, where few public high schools still resist integrated proms. Johnson County High School also has held separate proms for whites and
blacks, and Taylor County recently integrated its prom but then added a white prom again the next year.

Well, it's certainly a way to get more people involved. Actually, except for the "fist in her face" line, the other quotes in this story don't support the contention that students are angry. I'm not saying they aren't, but the story doesn't prove it.

The Commissar is concerned

that we little guys are squandering our scarce resources to feed the greed of the great corporate fatcats of the blogosphere who are stealing bandwidth that rightfully belongs to us.

He rightly praises den Beste's egalitarian method of "blogrolling" though I think he's giving him more credit than he's due, from the Commissar's perspective (is that sufficient to recover my pronoun referents?). This petit bourgeois shopkeeper sees it as simply keeping the stock moving. I'm stingy with my shelf space myself. Only the best for my customers. [My schtick is growing, thinking about this.]

The Commissar's words are a call to Revolution, but is it to be a tidal wave of destruction like those brought on by the French Rationalist Enlightenment, or one that will actually succeed in building a better world, as was created by the English Empiricist Tradition.

I'll tell ya...

As soon as people start saying nice things about me, Satan himself comes after me. Kinda makes ya wonder.

Well, between McAfee,

SpyBot Search & Destroy, and my own diligent work I think I've destroyed 2/3 of the crap I've been attacked with since my buddy Todd got famous. There's still a bunch of shit bogging down my own machine (*&%%$##@$$$!) but here's a post to let you all know I'm still here.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Holy %$@#@$!

My buddy Todd hit the big time!

That may account for my own sudden burst over a thousand hits. They came through his link.

Congratulations Todd! And thanks for the link.

Haloscan appears to be overloaded

at the moment, so I'll just shoot off my big mouth here and see how it goes.

My brother seems to have got a good catch: Living in Babylon. The poor sap really is living in the belly of the beast. This is his description of his site:

News, Right-minded commentary, examples of the left's hypocrisy, and hopefully some humor from a right-wing-conservative-fundamentalist-evangelical-christian-white-male living on the left coast (Seattle). Dedicated to defending Christians and Christianity, traditional family values, and the Constitution of this Great Nation (including the 2nd amendment) against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

There are those who think that should be a description of my site, but truthfully, I'm more concerned about the Freedoms which our Founders were concerned to protect. A-a-and real Freedoms (those which do not conflict with the freedoms of others) which have been discovered since then.

I frankly do not believe that it is my calling to advance theology. I may be wrong, and I may very well actually do so--several of the Old Testament Prophets did exactly that--but I am concerned with moral and political thought. And I have always been interested in what motivates atheists, so perhaps that is my burden.

Trust me, I understand the argument. Why must I accept something I can't see as an explanation for what I can see. I mean "see" as in any perception by any means: natural senses or any technologically enhanced senses. There have proven to be natural causes for everything science has come to understand, why should I doubt that that pattern will continue.

The other argument is, "Why is there so much evil/pain in the world?" Somebody argued (I think on HAC's blog) that it is because Free Will is real. People want to test or defy God (I originally typed Gog) and God really does allow it. But "the Laws of Nature" usually catch up with those who do that. The question is, does the orderliness of Nature prove the existence of a God, or is it just the nature of Nature.

Check out the latest on

Moller's Skycar.

Cue Trumpet Fanfare

Image Hosted by

Grammar God!
You are a GRAMMAR GOD!

If your mission in life is not already to
preserve the English tongue, it should be.
Congratulations and thank you!

How grammatically sound are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

The Austrian Theory of the Business Cycle

in a nutshell:

Monetary expansion cannot go on indefinitely or without consequence. The bust, then, is the period where market forces tack back toward where they would have gone without the fog of monetary intervention leading them astray. This requires liquidation of projects and businesses that no longer appear profitable. Workers and capital are redeployed to more profitable lines.

From Japan's Bust: An Austrian Critique of the Fed's Explanation, by Christopher Mayer Posted April 12, 2004]. An Explication of how the love of money (or religious faith in it) is the root of all evil.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Here is a well-written (and actually readable)

argument for Initiative and Referendum.

Do-it-yourself government
Paul Jacob

April 11, 2004
Politicians do not listen. With all the advantages of incumbency, they don't have to listen. Worse yet, they do not believe they should listen to what you and I think. Sure, they say they are fighting for us little guys, but they treat us not as sovereigns, certainly not as their bosses, not even as their equals. To them we are simple-minded serfs in need of their legal guardianship.
You can make this happen by voting and working for initiative and referendum at all levels of government. If you live in an initiative state, use the process to do good. It gives those battling for what's right at least a fighting chance, because initiatives don't change their mind after they win. They're written in black and white.
If you want something done right, sometimes you have to do it yourself. We need initiative and referendum at every level of government. I trust the people a great deal more than I trust the politicians. How about you?

I came to that story via Mr. Pterodactyl and his links from this post.

Es werde Licht!

Which makes me think. See Catholic Packer Fan (see links) for the translation of this:

Johannes Kapitel 20

1 An dem ersten Tage der Woche kommt Maria Magdalena fruehe, da es noch finster war, zum Grabe und sieht, dass der Stein vom Grabe hinweg war.
2 Da laeuft sie und kommt zu Simon Petrus und zu dem andern Juenger, welchen Jesus liebhatte, un spricht zu ihnen: Sie haben den Herrn weggenommen aus dem Grabe, und wir wissen nicht, wo sie ihn hingelegt haben.
3 Da ging Petrus und der andere Juenger hinaus und kamen zum Grabe.
4 Es liefen aber die zwei miteinander, und der andere Juenger lief voraus, schneller als Petrus, und kam zuerst zum Grabe,
5 schaut hinein und sieht die leinenen Binden gelegt; er ging aber nicht hinein.
6 Da kam Simon Petrus ihm nach und ging hinein in das Grab und sieht die Binde gelegt
7 und das Schweisstuch, das Jesus um das Haupt gebunden war, nicht zu den Binden gelegt, sondern beiseits, zusammengewickelt, an einen besonderen Ort.
8 Da ging auch der andere Juenger hinein, der quest zum Grabe gekommen war, und sah und glaubte.
9 Denn sie verstanden die Schrift noch nicht, dass er von den Toten auferstehen muesste.

So that's what it's all about. And ya'll thought I never quoted the Bible.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Well, let's see how far we get.

I get the impression, Blogger is POed at me for repeatedly pinging the fresh list last night while I was editing my pictures. I do have a bit of a tendency to remember something I meant to say after I've hit the publish button.

I'll shut off the pinger. I don't know if I get very much traffic by that route anyway. Maybe a couple hits/day. I'd say that commenting on somebody else's blog generates much more traffic.

This looks like a guy I'll like.

Heartless Libertarian.

I think he'd like this quote.

H.L. Mencken on freedom of speech:


I believe there is a limit beyond which free speech cannot go, but it's a limit that's very seldom mentioned. It's the point where free speech begins to collide with the right to privacy. I don't think there are any other conditions to free speech. I've got a right to say and believe anything I please, but I haven't got a right to press it on anybody else. .... Nobody's got a right to be a nuisance to his neighbors.

I am a bit surprised that FFF

would post this quote, but here goes:

Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined. -- Patrick Henry

I'm listening to David Strom on Taxpayers' League Live (I'll link them when they start audio streaming) interview Vin Weber. He's ripping John Kerry. Strom had some nice things to say about Jonathan Edwards, but only because the Dems didn't choose him.

Of course, he would have been the greater threat to American Freedom and the economy as a trial lawyer would got filthy rich by raping and pillaging it. Bankers and subsidized industries (who get protections and taxpayer money we ordinary citizens don't) may have been the greater threat to the American economy, but the trial lawyers have not attacked what is really wrong, they've just jumped on the bandwagon. Hell, all these safety labels are just a subsidy to the printing industry. Or rather, a few printing companies.

Kerry, of course, is a threat to American safety and sovereignty.

OK, I promise to keep the pictures to a minimum.

I figure one a week, and only if it's topical.

Back to business, here's a snippet from ARI's latest Op-Ed:

American Appeasement in Iraq

The way to avoid a disaster in Iraq is to stop apologizing for our
presence, and to start forcefully asserting our principle of
individual freedom

By Peter Schwartz

On the military front, our soldiers face continuing attacks,
but political considerations prevent us from disarming the populace.
Attendees at funerals and weddings regularly fire automatic weapons,
as their means of "emotional expression." We are at war, but our
military planners apparently believe that a methodical, house-to-house
search for guns--let alone a disarming of private "militias" in
Fallujah and elsewhere--would be too "intrusive." Iraqis--again,
brandishing automatic weapons--stage public demonstrations designed to
incite violence against us. Yet none are arrested, presumably because
we don't want to be regarded as overly assertive.
In postwar Japan, it was Gen. Douglas MacArthur who
unilaterally drafted a new constitution--over the objections of many
Japanese--and paved the way for a radical shift from tyranny to
liberty. Emulating MacArthur, by imposing upon Iraq a U.S.-written
constitution that champions the principle of individual rights,
including the separation of mosque and state, would be an ideal means
of asserting our interests--along with the interests of those Iraqis
who genuinely value freedom.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Two more pix.

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This is me.

Look! No more helmet hair!

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Sorry to annoy all you folks looking at the fresh list.

I'm messing around with my ability to post pictures. John at Catholic Packer Fan showed me how. I'm also cheap. If you want to do it too, go to

Here is a picture of a shrine to our family in my mother's house.

The McGonagle was a lake boat (as we call them) my dad was Chief Engineer on when it was scrapped. Don't tell George Steinbrenner.

Update: Whoops! A little on the massive side. For those of you who see it before I shrink it, my brother's the studly lookin' dude on the left, and I'm the goofy lookin' helmet-haired guy on the right. Hey! I was 17 in 1980.

The James E. Ferris was my favorite of Dad's boats. It was the last ship on the Great Lakes capable of maneuvering into the Salt Dock slip in Duluth, about 111 feet long. So when they scrapped it it became impossible to ship salt on the Great Lakes, so it went by train thereafter, and the salt dock closed.

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I'd like to acknowedge

the all around goodness of this post by LibertyBob: Defeating Terrorists

I think I may read

The Asia Times more often. This is objective reporting:

US newspaper ban plays into cleric's hands
By Nir Rosen

BAGHDAD - Thousands of Iraqi Shi'ites staged a demonstration in Baghdad's al-Hurriya square on Sunday to protest the closure of al-Hawza newspaper, the mouthpiece for radical Shi'ite leader Muqtada Sadr. They demanded an apology from the Americans for insulting the Shi'ite seminary, and all Iraqis.
The occupying forces have already punished alJazeera and al-Arabiya, two Arabic satellite news networks, for broadcasting programs the Americans found distasteful.
An editorial [from al-Hawza] stated that "everyone knows that the West is a bitter enemy to Islam. No sane man can believe that America supports the interests of Muslims". The editorial speaks of "the many insults against religious figures ... statements denigrating the religion of Muslims ... the perversion of anything said by Muslims to make it sound like they support terrorism".

This article is worth reading. In the first paragraph it tells you what al-Hawza means.
...Oh, all right! Here: "Al-Hawza [the religious seminary] is our leadership."
I mention this to explain what looks to be a confusion in the first paragraph cited. I.e. the protesters seem to believe that Bremer closed down the seminary, instead of a small circulation partisan newssheet.

Update: And objectivity requires that other points of view be recognized as well. There are more that two sides to every story. Here's another side.

I just realized that, although I like

The Commissar very much, I can never remember his URL. And since he's all over some of the sites I visit most I usually surf through them and he doesn't get into my drop down addresses. So his link goes up.

I have a problem with this statement

in the Christian Science Monitor: "Al Hawza was closed March 28 for what US administrators deemed its tendency to incite violence." Whether the paper was inciting violence is an objective question. Can't the reporters check it out? And maybe report on it?

The article is: In Iraq, a 'perfect storm'

Think this'll help?

Gibson's movie unlikely box-office hit in Arab world

By Nicholas Blanford | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

Many Muslims see political parallels between the Jewish treatment of Jesus in the film and Israel's treatment of the Palestinians today.

That would be the secular take.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

More or less Random Thoughts while reading transcripts.

The Sanctions on Iraq were analogous to the Versailles Treaty. But Saddam Hussain was not Hitler, he was more of an Idi Amin. But, then nobody was strafing or bombing Germany on a regular basis while Hitler was doing his military buildup. They were just protesting at the League of Nations, and in Parliament and the French Parlament.

There is a lot of odd news coming out of India these days. I think it's because their press is now freer than it used to be, and abuses are being publicized. This is the proper function of a free press. Plus the internet has made Indian news available to the world.

I just added three links to my link bar.

Instapundit, just for quick access for me.

Steven den Beste's USS Clueless, same. I'm sure LibertyBob was getting tired of me borrowing his.

And Reason Magazine's Hit and Run. Always lot's of good stuff there. When you read it, remember, their not conservatives, democrats, liberals or republicans. They're libertarians (i.e. unherdable cats). Their arguments don't support your enemies. They trust you to do what's best for yourself and your family, morally and economically.

Three links on Condi Rice's testimony

to the 9/11 Committee:

#1 The AP Story.
#2 Transcript of her prepared remarks. Todd panned them.
#3 Q & A.

Volokh discusses the Porn War.

I'm not asking whether porn is bad, or whether porn should be constitutionally protected. I'm certainly not asking whether we'd be better off in some hypothetical porn-free world (just like no sensible debate about alcohol, drug, or gun policy should ask whether we'd be better off in some hypothetical alcohol-, drug-, or gun-free world). I'm asking: How can the government's policy possibly achieve its stated goals, without creating an unprecedentedly intrusive censorship machinery, one that's far, far beyond what the Justice Department is talking about right now.

Tom Sowell at

Says this:

Counting the costs: Part II

All the political noises being made about importing pharmaceutical drugs from Canada, or other schemes to reduce drug prices, do not face up to the 800-pound gorilla staring us in the face -- the $800 million it costs to develop a new drug.

You can control the price of drugs all you want, whether by imports from Canada or in numerous other ways, but if that $800 million is not covered, you are not going to keep getting new drugs created at the same pace. That's when sick people will pay the real cost in needless pain and preventable deaths.

But the politicians do not have to count any such costs, especially if those costs materialize only after the next election.

This AP story on developments in Iraq

is probably what you'll be seeing in your local paper in the morning. It looks like the Star-Tribune has printed it verbatim. Not that I'm criticizing them for it, I'm sure the Strib doesn't have the budget to keep any reporters over there.

And I haven't seen any other stories that weren't just parts of this one.

The WaPo's got a good editorial though. Ah, crud. It looks like the only way back is though Google News. Maybe it'll work. And now their linking a good original take:

Anti-U.S. Uprising Widens in Iraq; Marines Push Deeper Into Fallujah
Cleric's Force Tightens Grip In Holy Cities
By Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, April 8, 2004; Page A01

Important point:

Iraq's most influential Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, issued his first official comments about the violence Wednesday evening, condemning the U.S. approach to dealing with the Shiite uprising. In a written statement bearing his seal, Sistani called for both sides to pursue a peaceful resolution and "refrain from escalating steps that will lead to more chaos and bloodshed."

But across Baghdad, Sistani's moderate message appeared to have been drowned out by an increasingly vocal cry from mosque minarets for people to resist the occupation and to donate money and blood to help resistance fighters in Fallujah. In perhaps the clearest sign yet of the convergence of Sunni and Shiite uprisings, announcements from Shiite mosques called on people to help Sunnis in Fallujah, while residents of Sunni neighborhoods lauded Sadr and his followers.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

For anyone who actually ran across my link

on The Insight, here's a little Eastern Religion for you. As I say, by way of taking a few deep breaths.

The Sarangama Sutra feels a little heavy to me at the moment, so I'll give you a little of Laotse's Tao Te Ching, The Book of Changes.


The student of knowledge (aims at) learning day by day;
The student of Tao (aims at) losing day by day.
By continual losing
One reaches doing nothing (laissez-faire).
By doing nothing everything is done.
He who conquers the world often does so by doing nothing [By moral influence].
When one is compelled to do something [By ordering people about],
The world is already beyond his conquering.

The translation, in case you forgot, is by Lin Yutang. I've put the footnotes in brackets. Everything else is as he published it in The Wisdom of India and China.


Out of Tao, One is born;
Out of One, Two;
Out of Two, Three;
Out of Three, the created universe.
The created universe carries the yin at its back and the yang in front;
Through the union of the pervading principles it reaches harmony.

To be "orphaned," "lonely" and "unworthy" is what men hate most.
Yet the kings and dukes call themselves by such names.
For sometimes things are benefited by being taken away from,
And suffer by being added to.

Others have taught this maxim,
Which I shall teach also:
"The violent man shall die a violent death."
This I shall regard as my spiritual teacher.

Catholic Packer Fan's got a good

review of the of The Passion of Christ.

I may just take Frank J.'s route,

"Whitler, who we all know isn't the most frequent writer, has written something specifically on this subject, and he's a lot better with words than I am."

I think TV ruined my brain.

Never mind the beer, etc.

Scatterbraining for a moment: The Moderate Voice has a new look. I like it. I just went over there to see what the moderates had to say before deciding on my own extreme position.

Let's hope this line from an article Joe links proves true, "The 30-year-old al-Sadr, however, does not have a large following among majority Shiites many see him as a renegade, too young and too headstrong to lead wisely."

Hugh Hewitt read this on the air last night:

April 5, 2004, 9:55PM

A soldier assures us: Our progress is amazing

The news you are hearing stateside is awfully depressing and negative. The reality is we are accomplishing a tremendous amount here, and the Iraqi people are not only benefiting greatly, but are enthusiastically supportive.

And Hewitt has this to say today:

This phase in the war on terror has brought us into near-direct conflict with the mullahs governing the theocracy next door, the ones with the nuclear ambitions that must be thwarted. America would prefer to help the Iraqis build a democracy that would put pressure on the Iranian regime to reform, and the radicals in Teheran know the consequences of such a state on their border. So the big push to seize the new Iraq for radical Islam is underway.

The reporters...are right to write about those who want Iran and its brand of theocracy to rise in Baghdad, but wrong to omit the huge resistance within Iraq to such a turn of events. It may well be a very tough six months to a year ahead, but as President Bush said Monday, those months present a challenge which the United States cannot afford to fumble.

Read this post from ginmar, who spent the night pinned down in Kut.

I think people are wondering what I

think of events in Iraq. Not waiting breathlessly perhaps, but wondering where I stand.

I spent a lot of time yesterday catching up at USS Clueless. Stephen den Beste says this:

Our primary goal in Iraq is to establish a multi-ethnic tolerant liberal democracy, one which supports free expression. This is quite radical; there's never been anything like that before in an Arabic-speaking nation. And there's a natural tendency for those living in Iraq to wonder whether we're serious or hypocritical. After all, everyone believes in free speech when that speech agrees with them. Even under Saddam, anyone was free to praise him anytime they wanted.

The real test was whether we'd tolerate speech critical of us, and so far we have. Which is in the long run good. But it also meant we had to leave hands-off a lot of people in Iraq which we knew represented a terrible threat in the long run.
Now, however, we now have been given the opportunity to take the worst of them out without damaging broader Iraqi confidence in our commitment to freedom. We have proved that we will tolerate peaceful dissent, but we never promised we'd tolerate armed rebellion.

I'm not going to exerpt all the good stuff for you, as usual den Beste has much more analysis of our strategy and is generally positive about the chances of success.

This is a pretty good piece of analysis on the other side:

ANALYSIS-Arab Rulers' Worst Fears on Iraq Come True
Wed Apr 7, 2004 10:57 AM ET
By Samia Nakhoul
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (Reuters)

Arab leaders had said loudly and repeatedly that a U.S. war against Saddam Hussein would unleash chaos in multi-ethnic Iraq and the region and open a Pandora's box of radicalism.

With U.S.-led forces now battling Shi'ite Muslims in several cities, they now feel their ominous prophecy has come true.

The leaders fear that clashes between Shi'ites loyal to firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and occupation forces could lead to civil war -- and spill over their borders.

"This is what we've been warning about. We told the Americans Saddam Hussein was only five percent of the problem. The other 95 percent just wasn't visible to them," a Gulf Arab diplomat said. "It's a very dangerous situation. It's painful."

Qatar, a staunch U.S. ally, said it feared civil war could break out in Iraq and that the country was becoming a "fertile ground for (various) terrorists."

"The developments in Iraq are alarming and we fear that we are facing a civil war in Iraq like Afghanistan and Lebanon," Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said.

"We cannot leave Iraq in this state because this disease will spread and I believe the situation is out of control."

LibertyBob (links all over everywhere) calls this site "A veritable melange of various stuff." I suppose I'm pretty much a linker, more than a thinker, but let's try to get down to it.

First a news update: Fierce Fighting Sweeps Iraqi Cities, Shi'ite Areas.
Wed Apr 7, 2004 11:24 AM ET.

Let me publish this because of the breaking story, and I'll get on with my thoughts when I have more time.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

I suppose if I add LibertyBob

to my links, I'll have to break down and learn something new about html tags, and organize that mess up there. But I'll just go ahead and add him first, and do the studying when I get the time.

His Bloody Mary post is funnier'n hell.

Sorry about doing all these changes one at a time, thereby keeping myself on the fresh list (so I hear) for minutes at a time.

If you haven't read

this article by LibertyBob, you ain't shit.

In case you didn't check out

Fred on Everything when I first recommended him, here's a taste from

Why Drugs Won't Go Away

In my years on the police beat, it has seemed to me that the anti-drug effort has had a curiously pro-forma feel. We throw a lot of young blacks into prison on drug charges, largely I suspect because they’re easy to catch. If we wanted to catch white kids selling drugs, it would be easy, but I note we don’t much do it. The efforts we do make against drugs don’t make a dent in the problem. The effects of law-enforcement are easily measured by checking the availability and price of drugs on the street. They are cheap and easy to get. The war on drugs is a joke.

Here's an article for those of you who hate Libertarians.

Power industry faulted in blackout report
Investigators warn of repeat without regulations
The Associated Press
Updated: 5:36 p.m. ET April 05, 2004

WASHINGTON - The power industry’s disregard of its rules intended to ensure the reliable flow of electricity contributed significantly to last summer’s blackout in eight states and Canada, investigators said Monday in their final report.
The power industry has an array of voluntary requirements aimed at preventing blackouts. They are administered by the private North American Reliability Council, which lacks the ability to hand down penalties.

Many reliability rules were ignored and the council could not do much about it, investigators have found.

How about going public? Do you think the public doesn't care about these things? Raise a frickin' stink! The only reason these people didn't is because they wanted to foist responsibility off on the government. Which doesn't accept it either.

Note: I just went back and ran spellcheck. It wanted to replace frickin' with Frisian. The budding Frisian Nationalist movement might object to that.