Twin Towers Alliance Video

Busy day for causes today. Here's one I haven't heard from in awhile, but I'm still 100% behind the effort. A video tribute to the World Trade Center as it was...

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...and plans to rebuild them as they should be. The Restoration Alternative Shows the latest conceptual models of what a rebuilding project on the site might look like.

The surest way to show that we will not be terrorized by terrorists, is to put back what they took from us, to the fullest extent possible.

Health Care Solutions

"There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him."
- Robert Heinlein
Solutions time again.

I've done a bit of blogging on the subject of US Health Care problems recently, and I could go on. One of the CATO daily podcasts last week (State Health Insurance Mandates Raise Prices) highlighted problems with health care created by government intervention in insurance markets. Just another in a long list of government interferences in the marketplace that negatively impact the system; which they then tell you they can fix by interfering in the system to a greater extent. Another podcast, McCain and Obama on Health Care, points out that at least the discussion on health care will be about the right subject, cost, if the presidential race is between McCain and Obama.

[Hillary's insistence on 100% insurance coverage is the wrong answer to an unasked question. Forcing people who don't want insurance to pay for it is not a solution that any self respecting American should embrace. Massachusetts went that way already, and it is failing. Do we want to copy that failed practice at the federal level? Americans want to not have to worry about being bankrupted by an unexpected long term illness. That's a cost issue, plan and simple]

There have been solutions that I've found compelling in the past. One of them, from Downsize DC, I've blogged on before.

Here's another solution:

Congressman Ron Paul has introduced a bill that would solve these problems, immediately. His "Comprehensive Health Care Reform Act" (H.R. 3343) would . . .

  • Give you a 100% refund from your taxes of every dollar you spend on medical care, including insurance premiums.
  • Make it easier for your employer to deposit the money it now gives to the health insurance companies into a Health Saving Account that would belong to you
  • This money would come to you tax free -- you could use it to fund your health care and your insurance premiums
  • This means your health insurance would belong to you, not your employer
    You would have the money to pay small medical expenses with your Health Savings Account, which would allow you to reduce your insurance premiums by buying a Major Medical Plan, instead of a Cadillac Plan
  • You would also earn interest on the money in your Health Savings Account, tax free -- you would get this interest instead of the insurance companies getting it (collecting interest on premiums is how the insurance companies make their money -- these profits could be yours instead)
  • Plus, you would become your doctor's customer, instead of the government or your insurance company being your doctor's customer
  • This would place the consumer in charge, creating competition that would lower prices and improve quality
Of course, neither the insurance companies nor the health care lobbyists want these changes, so you will have to fight for them.
read more | digg story

It's ludicrous to think that the people who brought you 53.3 trillion dollars in unfunded Medicare and Social security debt can fix the health care problem by getting more involved in health care (especially when they are responsible for funding nearly half of our current health care expenditures) the most logical solution is to give the individual back the control of his health care, and let self-interest drive down the costs.

The action item can be found here; and dugg here.

Common Sense 119 - A Delegate Conspiracy and the Establishment Clause

Podcast link.

Excellent first half of the show, Exposing the Super Delegates. How many Democrat voters realize how their party is structured?

I've talked to dozens of people over the years who have whined (yes, I mean you, whiner) about the theft of the 2000 elections by George W. Bush, because the popular vote wasn't for Bush, it went to Gore.

[Never mind that the election was a statistical tie (as was the 2004 election) in most locations around the country. Never mind that the legislatures of most states (including Florida) are empowered to choose who their electors should vote for in the event of no clear victor in a national election. Never mind that the method of selection for national representatives (other than the Senate) is left up to the states to determine, and that includes the President. I'm no friend of election in the first place, so maybe I'm biased. Still, one has to wonder what limitations on majority rule can be maintained when everything becomes a popularity contest, a beauty pageant, first and foremost]

Several people have made a point to tell me that the thing that most needs fixing in our government is the electoral college, because of this outrage. How outraged will they be when their own party takes the popular vote and renders it meaningless by using the super delegates to select Hillary Clinton to compete against John McCain instead of Barack Obama?

Think it can't happen? Then you don't understand your own party. From the Wikipedia:
Superdelegates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention include all Democratic members of the United States Congress, Democratic governors, various additional elected officials, members of the Democratic National Committee, as well as "all former Democratic Presidents, all former Democratic Vice Presidents, all former Democratic Leaders of the U.S. Senate, all former Democratic Speakers of the U.S. House of Representatives and Democratic Minority Leaders, as applicable, and all former Chairs of the Democratic National Committee."

The 2008 Democratic National Convention will have approximately 796 superdelegates. Delegates from state caucuses and primaries will number 3,253, resulting in a total number of delegate votes of 4,049. A candidate needs a majority of that total, or 2,025, to win the nomination. Superdelegates account for approximately one fifth (19.6%) of all votes at the convention.

This has been done before, as Dan pointed out. The truly pointless candidacy of Walter Mondale can be wholly laid at the feet of the super delegates.

What I want to know is how will Bill spin it afterwards? After he uses party muscle (and bribery; er, contributions to super delegates) to get what he wants?

I don't think it will happen, though (sorry Dan) The representative for the district I reside in, Lloyd Doggett, is a long time leader of the Texas Democrat party, and he announced Texas' intention to throw the Clintons under the bus by publicly declaring his support for Barack Obama before the recent 'debates' here in Austin.

So I guess I'll have to revise my prediction of a Clinton victory.

The second half of the show dealt with smaller government. Smaller government as in most government power being in the hands of local and state governments (as the founders intended) rather than in the hands of large federal bureaucracies (as the US government is currently structured) This is a trend that is occurring now, with California and several other states being willing to go head to head with the feds over things like pollution controls and the drug war.

What we are seeing is not new, this is the way that an out of control Washington D.C. is reigned in. The states simply ignore what the federal government tells them to do, or actively thwarts it (as in the case of Medical Marijuana) It was known as the Principles of '98 (1898, to be exact) the first time it was tried, and Jefferson was it's architect. My only question is, why this has taken so long to take root?

In a general sense I have no problem with this. I fly the Gadsden flag for a reason. It hearkens back to the times before the Constitution, when individual land owners within the several states decided to act to secure their rights as free men. Individual freedom first and foremost. State power should be subservient to this. Which is where I draw the line.

The bill of rights for the US Constitution should continue to (and currently do) apply to all governments constituted within the federal boundaries of the United States. Which means there will be no establishment of religion (as Dan calls it, a "god-abama") or various other governmental permutations that would violate the basic rights of the individuals who reside in those areas. If different states really want to secede (like Vermont for example) more power to them. If they want to stay members of the United States, they need to conform to the requirements of the constitution.

I've often wondered why we don't invite other countries into the US as states, rather than drafting these ridiculously convoluted trade treaties. I can understand why other countries might decline, considering the vampiric nature of our current government; but if we could get back to the kind of government we started with, before the cause of individual rights was lost in the political subterfuge of states rights and slavery, what population wouldn't want to join?

March 2nd addition - I completely missed the solution to Dan's God-abama conundrum. The solution goes like this:
If you're homeschooling, teach whatever you like. I'm betting parents that home school aren't going to teach ID. Even if they do, the percentage will be so low as to be insignificant.

Private schools will not teach ID, because they survive on the prestige of their alumni. If the alumni are flipping burgers because they can't fathom critical thinking (all that is required to understand the evolution vs. ID argument) chances are the school won't be in business too long.

Government schools are the only chance for ID to take hold, and that is why it must be resisted without compromise in that arena. If there were no government schools, there would be no widespread issue concerning what science is or isn't, because the blindly religious would maintain their own failing schools or home school, and the rest of the population would rally around verifiable results.

I've often thought that the way to get what we want out of the schools, if we have to pay for them with taxes, is to issue vouchers to the parents directly and let them hire the teachers and maintain the schools. We hand the job of crafting tests and developing standards that verify real educational results to the businesses that demand an educated workforce. And then let the market determine the outcome.

But that wasn't the question asked at the beginning of this thread. The question was about ID in relation to Dan's assertion that we could let the religious have segments of the US as their own playgrounds so that they would leave the rest of us alone.

And in that framework the answer is NO to ID.
A market solution is the only counter to Dan's original conundrum. And it only occurred to me today, even though I've frequented for a few years now.

Separating school and state is the only workable solution short of standing on the establishment clause and allowing the states to secede, because schooling is the major point of contention between the religious and the secular.

FFrF Radio: Human Rights Watch & Grand Canyon Creationism

February 23, 2008 - Guest: Christoph Wilcke, Human Rights Watch

Theocracy Alert features an example of our failure to bring a true understanding of freedom to Afghanistan, while at the same time failing to understand what democracy is ourselves. Democracy demanded the inclusion of sharia law in the Afghan constitution; and yet true freedom has to include freedom of speech, which can bring on the death penalty if you don't say the right things under islamic law.

Sayed Parwez Kaambakhsh faces the death penalty, in a country the US controls, for saying something that we take for granted in the US:
His death sentence, imposed after a closed-door trial during which he was not allowed a lawyer or a hearing, has become a rallying cry for foreign critics who want Afghanistan to hew to international norms on human rights.

The student’s troubles began when he downloaded an article written by an Iranian writer living in Europe that questioned the Islamic precept of allowing men to take several wives. Kaambakhsh, who is also a journalist in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, was arrested in October after he circulated copies of the article at the city’s Balkh University.

He was convicted and sentenced to death on Jan. 22.
read more | digg story

Why are we putting up with this crap? Either he is pardoned (hell, apologized to) or we pack up our troops and head home. What are we spilling our blood over there for? So these people can play their stupid religious games? I don't think so.

Hudsonville Michigan wants to have the mission to Strive to Serve God. Wander by and let them know what you think about the state explicitly serving the church. (kudos to for the link)
"Hasn't Michigan heard of the Bill of Rights?" -Annie Laurie Gaylor.
Julia Sweeney on Craig Ferguson:

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Today's guest, Christoph Wilcke discussed the plight of Fawza Falih Muhammad Ali who is also facing a death penalty, in Saudi Arabia, for witchcraft. Witchcraft? What century is this, again? These guys are our allies? what a (cruel) joke.

Campaigning group Human Rights Watch has petitioned King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to halt the execution by beheading of a "witch" who in 2006 was convicted of "witchcraft, recourse to jinn [supernatural beings], and slaughter of animals".

Fawza Falih Muhammad Ali is currently languishing in Quraiyat Prison having "exhausted her appeals" against the sentence. The illiterate defendant was arrested back in 2005, and allegedly beaten and obliged to fingerprint a confession that she couldn't read.

"Earlier, her interrogators blocked her access to a lawyer and the judges, and denied her the right to professional legal representation, thus depriving her of the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses against her. She claims that some of the witnesses were unknown to her and that others had made statements against her only as a result of beatings."

Following Fawza Falih's conviction in April 2006, an appeals court ruled in September of that year that she "could not be sentenced to death for 'witchcraft; as a crime against God because she had retracted her confession". However, lower court judges "then sentenced her to death on a 'discretionary' basis, for the benefit of 'public interest' and to 'protect the creed, souls and property of this country'".

Joe Stork, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, concluded: "The judges' behaviour in Fawza Falih's trial shows they were interested in anything but a quest for the truth. They completely disregarded legal guarantees that would have demonstrated how ill-founded this whole case was."
read more | digg story

Freethinkers almanac featured WEB Dubois, and Yip Harburg's poem, one sweet morning.

"No Gods, no masters." -Margaret Sanger

2007 Archive episode.

February 24, 2007 - Creationism at the Grand Canyon

Theology Alert features a discussion of media exposure given to FFrF through Jay Sekulow, Pat Robertson's pet Rottweiler at the ACLJ on his radio program. This merits mention because Dan and Laurie take the time to rebut the maliciously uttered lies concerning FFrF and it's merchandise. As usual, they're response to the hatred is full of laughter.

The infamous Gideon Sticker:
The Gideon society placed this bible here for your edification. Just who was Gideon? One would suppose that he was a person of exemplary character and great worth to have a worldwide society named after him. Here are some of Gideon's accomplishments.
  • He slaughter thousands in battle by plotting with the lord to use treachery.
  • He murdered thousands more for worshiping false gods.
  • Gideon tortured and killed still more for daring to taunt him.
  • Gideon plundered the bodies of his victims to fashion a jeweled priestly vestment for himself.
  • Gideon fathered an offspring who killed 69 of his stepbrothers.
Read the bible for yourself. You will find the story of Gideon in Judges, Ch. 6 through 9. The tale of Gideon is just one of many horror stories in the bible, a book that glorifies behavior that you abhor. Millions of people have been hoodwinked by what their clergy and leaders have told them of the bible.

Make up your own mind about the bible, read it for yourself.
Written by Ruth Hurmence Green author of The Born Again Skeptic's Guide To The Bible.

They then finish the subject with a few bible verses that prove that "Warning: Literal Belief in this book may endanger your health and life" is a true statement.

There was also a brief discussion of this segment on the Colbert show:

I voiced my personal thoughts on the subject here.

The interview in this episode was with Jeff Ruch of PEER concerning the faith based parks; political appointees overruling civil servants and ordering them to break parks service rules. Specific to the title of the episode, requiring the parks service to certify a book for publication concerning the Grand Canyon's origin in Noah's flood.

Anyone with children will probably find the subject troubling, since the issue here is formally adopting fundamentalist dogma as official doctrine, and passing this misinformation on to children.

2008 Democratic Debates

I'd just like to point out that I didn't blog on the subject of the Democratic debates, even though they were in Austin, and even though I watched some of the program, and I didn't blog on it for several very good reasons.

First off, that wasn't a debate. It was a town hall meeting. I'll talk about these things when we actually see a debate again. Secondly, Barack Obama cleaned the floor with Hillary Clinton from my perspective, and there was little need to talk about it during the viewing. Third, I still don't like Hillary Clinton as a politician. I don't trust her after her husband's presidency and I don't like political dynasties of any stripe. The trend is downward when you get on that course. So it was just a chance to see Obama shine one more time, not that I'm planning on voting for him in the general, mind you.

The best coverage on the non-debate could be found on KLBJ AM; specifically the lampooning they got on Jeff Ward's show. You can still get Thursday's and Friday's episodes on i-Tunes for a bit longer. Thursday's show featured an interview with Kinky Friedman. Friday's postmortem ended with an hour long tribute to this stunning endorsement of Obama:

Can we not all just agree that, not only were the wrong Kennedy's assassinated, but that the wrong person climbed out of the Chappaquiddick that cold night in 1969? The video at least asks that question.

Mea culpa review 2017. I just experienced another moment of existential pain in leaving that joke on this post. Oh, My. God. I think to myself, and I'm not even religious to start with, how crass can I get? In addition to leaving that atrocious joke in the entry, I took out the thought bubble below and instead listed the beliefs I held at the time. Beliefs I had for my hatred of Hillary Clinton. It's not that I thought about anything that deeply then other than World of Warcraft and finding a new purpose in life, but I did have my reasons and I still don't like her.

However. I started to delete the following thought I had imposed in the middle of the article, but then I realized I needed to save this most of all. I needed to preserve it as an example of just how blind the average person can be to their own biases.
Hillary's mouth opens, fast forward till it closes. Listen to Barack Obama talk. Repeat process. The 'debate' was a remarkably one sided victory for Obama when viewed that way
This. This is misogyny in a nutshell, and I would have told you at the time that I didn't hate Hillary Clinton because she was a woman. That is how subtle this crap is in our heads. Just more food for thought and one more post in the errata label series.

Don't even know what they're voting for

Classic example of bureaucracy in-action:

Last week the Senate passed the Conference Report of the 137-page Intelligence Authorization Act (H.R. 2082). The big media story about the bill is its ban on waterboarding, which will apparently prompt a Presidential veto.

If so, President Bush would veto the bill for the worst possible reason, but it may give Congress a fresh start. The problem with H.R. 2082 is that it could just as well be called the Don't Read the Bill Act. Or maybe, the Not Really a Bill Act.

You see, the bill authorizes funding for the federal government's various intelligence agencies, but it doesn't tell us the amount that will be spent. That's "classified information." Of course, we don't expect an itemized list of the cost of every intelligence operation, but the people - and apparently, most members of Congress - aren't even allowed to know the total cost of the bill. If there is a "national security" reason to keep that information classified, then "national security" can be the excuse to justify all kinds of corruption and abuses of power.

Why can't Congress even know the total amount they're spending on our behalf? Whose money is it, anyway?

And why would any self-respecting member of Congress permit this to happen?

Probably because this is their standard operating procedure. They normally don't know what's in the bills they pass. As long as government grows, they're happy. As long as they can say they're "protecting America" by passing bloated, secret intelligence bills, they can't be bothered with the details.

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This is, of course, the latest salvo in the ongoing struggle to get Congress to Read the Bills. You might think they'd take the time to read legislation that they intend to pass into law; but as the above shows, they not only don't read most of the bills, sometimes the bills don't even contain verbiage sufficient to describe what it is they are voting on.

The blog entry over at DownsizeDC includes a detailing of the other bills passed by congress over the last two weeks, but most likely not read as well.

End the Inflation Tax

"Inflation has now been institutionalized at a fairly constant 5% per year. This has been determined to be the optimum level for generating the most revenue without causing public alarm. A 5% devaluation applies, not only to the money earned this year, but to all that is left over from previous years. At the end of the first year, a dollar is worth 95 cents. At the end of the second year, the 95 cents is reduced again by 5%, leaving its worth at 90 cents, and so on. By the time a person has worked 20 years, the government will have confiscated 64% of every dollar he saved over those years. By the time he has worked 45 years, the hidden tax will be 90%. The government will take virtually everything a person saves over a lifetime."

-- G. Edward Griffin
I actually beat DownsizeDC to the punch and promoted the End the Inflation Tax action item before they did by incorporating it into this previous post and digging it. Of course, I don't have nearly the reach that DownsizeDC has but...

Well, Perry Willis' blog entry on the Inflation Tax subject is here.

Social Security the Ponzi Scheme, and the Duck Test

Arguing on a forum today, I was forced to defend my assessment of the Social Security system as a Ponzi Scheme.

It's not like this is a novel concept. The local talk show host, Jeff Ward, refers to Social Security in this fashion repeatedly. (he even has a sound bite of Republican front runner John McCain calling Social Security a Ponzi Scheme. I was listening to the show when he said it, and I was listening to the show when Ward found the clip again. I wonder if McCain would be willing to repeat and affirm his words today?) It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out.

A Ponzi scheme is a
fraudulent investment operation that involves paying abnormally high returns ("profits") to investors out of the money paid in by subsequent investors, rather than from net revenues generated by any real business.
I closed with the observation "Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck" which is an expression I've heard dozens of times. However, when I plugged it into Wikipedia, by accident, I came up with a bit of trivia that I didn't know.

The Duck Test is an attributed quote, and it describes not just inductive logic, but is apparently highly useful in certain types of programming. Go figure.

The important point to remember about Ponzi schemes is, no matter who runs it, the Ponzi scheme eventually fails. It's funny, Charles Ponzi's investors were always certain that the schemes would work, if only the government wouldn't get in the way and stop them. Now the government is running it's own Ponzi scheme and insisting that it won't fail.

Good luck with that.

Victory at Sunset - Protect America Act is no more

Downsize DC sent out a notice earlier this week that I failed to blog on:

68 Senators violated their oaths of office

This is their oath:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter."
And they violated this oath (blatantly) by
They voted to pass S. 2248, a new law designed to replace the so-called "Protect America Act." This bill violates the Bill of Rights . . .

* It permits the President to spy on Americans without a warrant.
* It grants retroactive immunity to tele-communications companies that collaborated with the Bush administration in previous warrantless spying, thereby creating an incentive for other companies to engage in similar crimes in the future (only Qwest Communications insisted on warrants).

Will this new, un-constitutional power, prevent future terrorist attacks? Of course not, nothing can do that, just as there is no law or power that could completely stop murders by domestic criminals.

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Kay Bailey Hutchison essentially bragged that this was what she was going to do in canned responses to my requests that PAA be allowed to sunset. Citing unnamed threats to national security she (like most conservatives) was all to willing to give up our freedom for the appearance of greater security.

At least she answered letters sent to her office. John Cornyn has never responded to a single request that I have sent him.

If only Texas allowed for a method to recall Senators from Washington, I'd be agitating for that right now. As it is I think it would be a crime to send either of them back to Washington. It was the job of the government to protect us from 9-11 in the first place, not remove our freedom as a consequence of their failure.

All is not dark on the subject of illegal spying on us by our government, with the duplicitous assistance of our telecommunications companies. Perhaps the House understands the Constitution, or at least the will of the people:
Speaker Pelosi announced the sunset of PAA. She pointed out that the government still retains all the powers it needs to spy on suspected terrorists under the old FISA law, which remains in place. She also talked about the need for the government, and the telecommunications companies, to operate under the rule of law.
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Goodbye Protect America Act; which is the next best thing to not passing it in the first place.

Some serious house cleaning is in order at the federal level. The problem is that the house cleaning needs to go deeper than those individuals who can be removed by the people through election. Don't ask me how we achieve this goal; I only wish there was a tool suitable to the job at hand. I've often thought that anyone who draws a salary paid directly with taxes should be able to be fired directly by tax-payers. That would be a suitable tool. Don't hold your breath on it's being crafted any time soon.

FFrF Radio: War of the Billboards & Alabamification

Podcast Link.

February 16, 2008 - War of the Billboards

(This episode marks the first time I caught the live stream from The Mic92.1. Still waiting for an Air America affiliate in Austin)

The episode starts with Dan Barker's trip to Brazil for the "Nova Conciencia" (Far away from the Carnival?) tolerance conference, which was picketed by evangelicals. Lively conversation.

Freethinkers Almanac featured Galileo Galilei and Susan B. Anthony amongst others.

The interview featured an anonymous FFrF member who, while passing numerous religious billboards, thought to counter them with one encouraging participation in a non-religious group, FFrF. The Imagine no Religion billboard spurred the erection of two opposing billboards; one of them a disclaimer from the billboard owner, and another from an evangelical group out of Virginia (it's actually a rather frightening image) which asks why do atheists hate America?

Two articles were posted in the local paper (Chambersburg Public Opinion) the first of which was quite inflammatory, quoting extensively from an interview with the hate-filled christian who sponsored the second billboard. If the coverage had stopped there, there would be much to get irate about. Luckily, a second story was published featuring Annie Laurie Gaylor which corrected the flaming diatribe that was previously published.

I have to agree with the assessment that the addition of "in god we trust" to the Feds money, and "under god" to the pledge in the 1950's has disenfranchised the freethinker segments of the US population. The devout out there now take it for granted that it was always this way, leading to atheists being the last group that it's ok to discriminate against.
Instead of Why do atheists hate America; the question should be, Why does America hate atheists?
FFrF is looking to expand the billboard campaign. Wouldn't mind seeing one in Austin. It'd be a nice break from the usual mix of beer, anti-drug and church sponsored billboards that we get around here.

"Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputations... can never effect a reform." -Susan B. Anthony

2007 Archive episode.

February 17, 2007 - The 'Alabamification' of the Nation

Theocracy alert covered Bill Maher's visit to Ham's Creation Museum in an episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, which airs on HBO (podcasts are available on iTunes) I can't find a video capture of it, but I'm sure it was priceless. Dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden? What will the creationists evolve into next?

Also, the Gum Game merited a mention. One of the abstinence only gov't funding recipients (the Rockville Maryland Pregnancy Center) conducted a classroom lesson (for 9 years, no less) which involved all the students in a class chewing the same piece of gum as a demonstration of how STD's are transmitted. I wonder how many diseases were spread during the course of this lesson?

The guest this week, Pamela Sumners, wrote an article for Freethought Today (the associated newspaper of Freethought Radio) entitled "Alabamification" of America Continues, What Is Happening to Our Judiciary? The interview in this episode traveled down a similar vein.

My main complaint? Her rejection of democratic controls when they don't align with her agenda. Term limits helping the Religious to elect people who think like them. Initiative and referendum being an access point to get religious based laws on the books. If you think voting solves anything (and I don't, but most progressives do) then you have to accept that the majority opinion is what is important, even when it is at variance with your opinion.

[As far as the article goes, I have to take exception with her overly simplistic categorization of all people who support a return of states rights as white supremacists and misogynists. In fact, I found very little to agree with in the article other than a shared view of a relative lack of value in the the majority of current occupants of the Supreme Court (a la the Kelo v. City of New London gutting of private property rights. Or Gonzales v. Carhart the symbolic right-to-life victory over an abortion procedure used in less than 1% of abortions; but does, in fact, set a precedent of congress intervening in standard medical practice when it is deemed necessary.) other than that, I'd have to say that Ol' Joey would label her a Femmenazi; and I'd have a hard time disagreeing. This guest, like Rothschild, showed a fair amount of political dogma.]

A brief discussion of Judge Roy Moore (the ten commandments judge) and the Federalist Society and the changes they have wrought in the appointment of justices warrants mention. The interview finished up with a discussion of a lawsuit in Pike county Alabama concerning four Jewish children whose rights were being infringed, and were in fact being physically assaulted and intimidated for not being christian. Apparently you don't want to live in Alabama and be anything but devout christian.

Freethinkers Almanac featured Giordano Bruno and other victims of religious persecution.

This episode also included Intelligent? Design?, a song created from a poem written by Philip Appleman. It sums up the problems with creationist theory with a bit of humor. I've played this bit for a few friends, and it's always gotten a laugh.

Mayor Bloomberg rips George Bush's rebates

As heard on Jeff Ward. Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York, on the latest round of tax rebates:
"They want to send out a check to everybody to stimulate the economy," Bloomberg said. "I suppose it won't hurt the economy, but it's in many senses like giving a drink to an alcoholic.

"This country has a balance sheet that's starting to look more and more like a Third World country," Bloomberg said.
read more | digg story

Is it a crime if I say "I agree with him completely?"

If you read the article at the Arizona Republic, you might notice that it will take from 3 to 10 months to get the dollars to the recipients. Recipients that are already on file with the IRS, in records that the IRS already maintains. It will take at least three months and 300 million dollars to get the job done.

Can you say bureaucracy? I knew that you could.

I just want to know how long this bubble will take to float downstream and further increase the inflation rate; or are they planning on subtracting this 'rebate' from next years taxes?

Fellow Travelers

I passed a stranded car on the way into the neighborhood to pick up the wife last night (early this morning, whatever) she wanted a soda for wake up time in the morning. I was almost home from another errand, so we agreed we could just go back out and get it together. On the way back out of the neighborhood I noticed the car was still there.

Man and a woman, standing on the side of the road, gas can in hand. Clearly in need of assistance.
You never know what you're in for these days, stopping to help people on the side of the road; but they were in our neighborhood, not out on the highway. It was late, and she did have the gas can.

So, with the wife's assent, I stopped and asked if I could help them. The woman was overjoyed, and shooed her husband back into the car while she climbed into the back seat of our road worn Saturn.

She thanked us over and over again, and amongst the other small talk the occurred during the short drive, she voiced her incredulity that "none of her people would even stop to help her".

Anyone who's read this blog for awhile will know that I don't believe in drawing lines based on skin color and calling that 'race'. However, her skin was black, so I can only assume that she meant black people wouldn't stop and help her. At the time, I was focused on driving and muttered something about "not knowing what you are getting into, stopping to help people on the road these days"; which were my reservations, originally.

The wife, who has had to make hard decisions about helping people in the past (including picking up a half naked girl in the park, who was being loudly pursued by a boyfriend intent on killing her. That's another story, though) kept up a lively chatter as we fruitlessly tried to find an open gas station. Third time was the charm though, and we got the woman safely back to her car and husband, wished her good luck and a safe drive, and headed back toward the house.

If I had been thinking about the subject at the time, I would have liked to let her know that she was picked up by one of her people. Both the wife and I have been stranded by the side of the road before, because we failed to notice the emptiness of the gas tank; not to mention the times our cars have just flat out failed us. On those occasions, fellow travelers have come through for us, and helped out when they could. They were our people then, and we were her people, now.

We are all fellow travelers on the road, just trying to get from point A to point B on the map. Anyone who helps you achieve that goal is someone you should be glad to have met. A friend in need, one of your people. Glad to be of assistance.

Disagreement over Marketing

Perry Willis over at DownsizeDC thinks these are marketing words of wisdom:
  • The first time a man looks at an advertisement, he does not see it.
  • The second time he does not notice it.
  • The third time he is conscious of its existence.
  • The fourth time he faintly remembers having seen it before.
  • The fifth time he reads it.
  • The sixth time he turns up his nose at it.
  • The seventh time he reads it through and says, "Oh, brother!"
  • The eighth time he says, "Here's that confounded thing again!"
  • The ninth time he wonders if it amounts to anything.
  • The tenth time he will ask his neighbor if he's tried it.
  • The eleventh time he wonders how advertisers make it pay.
  • The twelfth time he thinks it must be a good thing.
  • The thirteenth time he thinks perhaps it might be worth something.
  • The fourteenth time he remembers that he's wanted such a thing for a long time.
  • The fifteenth time he is tantalized because he cannot afford to buy it.
  • The sixteenth time he thinks he will buy it some day.
  • The seventeenth time he makes a memorandum of it.
  • The eighteenth time he swears at his poverty.
  • The nineteenth time he counts his money carefully.
  • The twentieth time . . . he buys it.
  • And then he begins telling his friend what a wonderful thing he's acquired.
I've got news for him. The twentieth time someone attempts to market a product to me that I don't already think I need (the previous 19 times having failed to persuade) he's more likely to get a boot up his ass than he is to get any of my money.

...Which is why I'll rely on someone like Michael Cloud to communicate persuasion techniques, and leave agitating the body politic to DownsizeDC. In both cases, they are well suited to the task at hand. Explains why I support both The Advocates and Downsize DC.

Convenience Clinics & Science vs. Big Gov't & Religion

First up, CATO Daily Podcast Regulation Blocks Convenience Clinics which skims the issue of rent-seeking medical associations making it nearly impossible to create low-cost health outlets in some states due to restrictive regulations being put in place governing the practice of Nurses and Nurse Practitioners.

Then you have the CATO Daily Podcast Three Parents and an Embryo (based on an article in Scientific American) which addresses the pressing issue of Religious Right interference in today's medical research; and also begs the question "what procedures will be effectively outlawed when the government controls health care?"

Which gets us back to the issue of professional associations doing a disservice to the public because it financially benefits their members. They've abused the system for so many years that now the chickens are coming home to roost. A majority of their own members (like the general public) just want out of the current system.
Out of the frying pan into the fire
But consigning our health care to the champions of good bedside manner, those lovely people who staff the local DMV office, carries other penalties as well. Take the sitting president's delusions of conversations with his god, and then give that the force of health care policy. Birth control and family planning? No longer available within the US. Stem cell research? Dream on.

Every whim of whichever lackluster executive next sees the inside of the oval office will be virtually written into health care practice with a simple executive order. How good does a single payer system sound now?

Ron Paul on the Economy, CATO on the Gold Standard, DownsizeDC on both

I stumbled across this teaser on digg the other day:

The full interview | digg story

CATO ran a related subject on the daily podcast recently, titled Is the Gold Standard Still the Gold Standard among Monetary Systems? Personally, I don't even know how you would justify a different standard. All the counter arguments have now been discredited.

...and the dollar continues to fall, while gold and silver continue to rise.

Downsize DC has been agitating for HR 2756, "Honest Money Act" for quite some time now.

However, they have finally added HR 4683, the "Free Competition in Currency Act" to a new action item entitled End the Inflation Tax. should come as no surprise that the greatest boom and bust in American history happened immediately following the Fed's birth in 1913. Fed inflation put the inflationary "roar" in the "Roaring Twenties" followed by the biggest bust ever, the Great Depression.

All past inflations, booms, and busts were created through essentially the same process, including the recent stock market and housing bubbles. The Fed is simply the government's latest-and-greatest tool for legalized counterfeiting.

How You Can End This Con-game

Imagine what would happen if FRNs had to compete with gold, a form of money that can't be significantly inflated or deflated because of its scarcity and durability...
  • People would begin to have gold accounts that they would use to buy and sell. The ownership of the gold would be transferred back and forth using checks, debit cards, paper certificates (currency), and a few coins, just like with FRNs.
  • When you went shopping you would start to see two prices, one in FRNs and one in a certain weight of gold.
  • If the Fed inflated the number of FRNs you would see the FRN prices rise while the gold price would stay roughly the same.
  • You would begin to prefer to pay the gold price, so you would want to be paid in gold too.
  • How could the Fed stop the flight to gold? Only one way. Stop inflating the number of FRNs.

Congressman Paul has hit upon the easiest way to end inflation, and the booms and busts that follow in its wake. Simply repeal the legal tender monopoly enjoyed by FRNs, and the coinage monopoly held by the United States government. Allow monetary competition. Not only would this help to end inflation and recessions, it would also limit the ability of politicians to hide the true cost of government through the inflation tax. But that's not all . . .

Forcing FRNs to compete with gold would also confer one other benefit. Over time the prices you pay will tend to fall as increases in economic efficiency (for example, technological improvements) lower the cost of production and increase the supply of goods and services. A stable money supply tends to become more valuable over time, unlike an inflationary currency that constantly loses value.
read more | digg story

Both of these pieces of legislation would be a benefit to those of us seeking shelter from the continuing weakening of the dollar; which is probably why neither of them will see the light of day. Still, nothing happens without effort.

The text of Ron Paul's introduction of the Free Competition in Currency Act can be found here.

Common Sense 118 - Which Evil do You Prefer?

Entitled Crazy Alien Mutant Whigs (Dan, where do you get these titles?) and with a nod to Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America) Dan once again quotes from a very good article. Written by Sriram Khe it asks the question "what is the previous year truly relevant to this one?" His suggestion? Not 1968 or 1964. No, it's 1979:

If ever there was a competition for which year since World War II will qualify for the title of Annus Horribilis, 1979 could be a leading candidate. First, a list of some of the events from that year:

Jan. 16: The shah of Iran flees the country, and goes into exile.

Feb. 1: Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returns to Iran, and is warmly welcomed by millions of Iranians.

April 4: Former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto is hanged in Pakistan.

July 3: President Jimmy Carter signs a directive to support the opponents of the pro-Soviet government of Afghanistan.

July 16: Saddam Hussein becomes the president of Iraq.

Nov. 4: Americans in the U.S. embassy in Tehran are taken hostage.

Dec. 25: The Soviet Union begins to deploy troops in Afghanistan.

read more | digg story

I had to repost it. Good points, good article. Not so for the article from William Kristol, a New York Times OpEd piece entitled Dyspepsia on the Right from which the following quote was highlighted:
"It’s not easy to rally a comfortable and commercial people to assume the responsibilities of a great power."
Kristol fashions himself as a Neoconservative, but I prefer the label that actually describes the political positions he favors. He is a Fascist. The statement above has all the flavor of something Goebbels might have said in the time leading up to WWII. If we follow people like Kristol to where they want to go, we will be the bad guys the terrorists have tried to paint us to be.

Dan draws a parallel between the phrasing above, and Britain during it's empire phase, saying that it's false. "The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must." (Thucydides) is, in fact, closer to a true observation of the events unfolding around us (there isn't much difference between an imperial monarchy and a fascist dictatorship) and that it would at least have been a wash, politically, if we had not gotten involved in the Middle East in the first place.

Which is what this is all about. Kristol's piece is all about how the Republicans must rally behind McCain because he is truly the "lessor of two evils". That supporting someone dedicated to victory in the Middle East is better than allowing someone admitting defeat to gain office. Khe's piece is no more and no less a list of the evils we have brought about through our involvement in the Middle East.

Is securing the supply of oil from the region really worth the cost it has inflicted? Don't kid yourselves people, that is what our involvement has always been about (Common Sense 115 goes into this) and in the end, all those millions of dollars, and all those thousands of lives have bought nothing more than that. How do you define victory in a war against a tactic? (terrorism, similar to a point made by Dan way back in episode 61) and is it worth the price? If a change in policy yields more funds to find alternatives to oil, and consequently deprives Middle Eastern regimes of their number one funding source, how is that not also victory?

A brief nod to the last part of the show, talking about the fat police and recent findings in a study of socialized health systems in Europe. The future of American health care is something that I've voiced my opinion on in the past. In a recent Dutch study, it's been shown that people who are healthy actually cost the socialized systems more than people who eat, drink and smoke to excess; because the people who live unhealthy lives die early and cost the system less.

So, get out of my face, fat police. I want my burger and fries now.

I'm going to end where Dan began. Defining where all of us misfits stand politically. We know we aren't left or Democrat, or right and Republican. But that doesn't mean that we are Martians or Whigs. What it means is that two parties (actually, it's one party with two heads, one fascist, one socialist. Choose one if you dare) and a left - right political spectrum doesn't begin to describe the varieties of views that are possible.

There is a reason that the Advocates call their booths Operation Politically Homeless; and there is reason why David Nolan created the Nolan Chart, and that wasn't just because he wanted to promote the Libertarian Party. His reason is probably similar to my reason for promoting the Advocate's World's Smallest Political Quiz whenever I get the chance. I do it because, in order to change people's views of the world, you have to change their philosophy. The most basic principal in today's (erroneous) political philosophy is that there are two sides to an argument, and those two sides can be adequately expressed as right and wrong or left and right.

I see it all the time in poll questions. Do you favor or oppose expanding government involvement in the health care system? Those sorts of questions exclude a broad range of viable alternatives; including my favorite, getting the government the hell out of the health care system. But the false left - right dichotomy forces people to choose the lessor of two evils, more government health care (it's actually the greater of two evils, but that's an error in perception relating to the popularly held belief that we have a free market health care system now. We don't) and couches all the arguments that follow within that frame of reference.

I'm not saying that all political misfits are libertarian (the anarchists who claim ownership of the label would have massive coronaries at the prospect of having to expand libertarianism to that extent) what I'm saying is that we as a people really need to acknowledge the fact that the political system, and the philosophy that governs it, is completely out of touch with reality; and needs to be revamped or replaced. And the place to start the process is defining where we stand politically, so that we can see who we are standing next to, and what our leaders are really asking for. If you don't know that, everything that follows is simply so much hot air.

Happy birthday Charles Darwin

I finally found someone the daughter could be proud to share a birthday party with. Happy birthday Charles Darwin. Have some cake, she doesn't want any.

Microsoft Responds to Yahoo! Announcement

I don't know about you, but I think this statement:
It is unfortunate that Yahoo! has not embraced our full and fair proposal to combine our companies. Based on conversations with stakeholders of both companies, we are confident that moving forward promptly to consummate a transaction is in the best interests of all parties.
read more | digg story

Should be read with a Darth Vader respirator wheeze in the background.
"I find your lack of faith most disturbing."
I maintain several lists on Yahoo!groups as well as a Yahoo! mail and IM address. If Microsoft successfully takes over Yahoo!, I will be ending my use of all Yahoo! services.

I refuse to be bullied by the monopolist from Redmond.

Kennedy & Obama

Ted Kennedy's Contribution to Obama's Campaign:

(I don't have a credit to put to this image, any suggestions?)

Common Sense 117 - Terrorists and Liars

Going through the backlog of Common Sense (with Dan Carlin) episodes that I wanted blog on.

Entitled Fanatical Deradicalization the first half of the show is about options in the War on Terror. Personally, I'll stick to the observation that there isn't any way to win a war on a tactic, any more than there's a way to win a war on a substance or a market.

However, I thought about what would happen if we began using the methods described (Fighting terrorism with terrorists) in the second piece, essentially breaking the thought processes (or lack of them) that the terrorists currently use to justify their actions; deprogramming them and sending them back to their people to change them as well. That was back during the Clinton years when the terrorist tried to bomb the World Trade Center the firsts time. If it works, I think we should do it.

The first piece (by Gary Anderson) proposes an interesting method for turning the populations of the Middle East towards our cause by painting the terrorists in the proper light by buying ad time on popular TV stations in the area. But I have to agree with Dan that the more interesting proposition is simply letting the people in the region experience the return to Islam that the radicals want to impose on the Middle East. The suggestion was that we use it as a threat, I suggest we just vacate the premises and let the chips fall where they may.

Be careful what you wish for, it may come true.

The second part of the show dealt with lying Presidents and what their punishment ought to be. I'm solidly behind the idea of impeaching presidents. I think we should have started with Woodrow Wilson (The Federal Reserve alone is worth impeaching him over) and every President afterwards to the present day. All of them were impeachable, and at least some of them should have been (Clinton should have been removed from office. But not for lying about sex; talk about a minor charge) Let's start now. It's not to late to teach the bureaucracy that there are consequences to their actions.

Common Sense 116 - Voting for Cake & It's Not the Environment, Stupid

Going through the backlog of Common Sense (with Dan Carlin) episodes that I wanted blog on.

I had to go digg up the article that Dan referenced in the first half of the show, it's that good:
The big lie of campaign 2008 -- so far -- is that the presidential candidates, Democratic and Republican, will take care of our children. Listening to these politicians, you might think they will. Doing well by children has now passed motherhood and apple pie as an idol that all candidates must worship.

A moral cloud hangs over our candidates. Just how much today's federal policies, favoring the old over the young and the past over the future, should be altered ought to be a central issue of the campaign. But knowing the unpopular political implications, our candidates have lapsed into calculated quiet.
read more | digg story

This guy is 'spot on' (as the English say) and he doesn't pull any punches. Not even Ron Paul has had much to say on the subject, because what is there to say? Hey, old people, you're going to have to give up your benefits? Hey, young people, we're going to raise your tax rates another 40%? No, neither of these solutions work, and yet one of them will have to be imposed; and sooner rather than later.

The sad thing about the Social Security situation is the same story as the situation with foreign policy. Anyone who's been paying attention knows the system is "broke and broken" but no amount of pointing this out to the politicians for the last 20 years or so has made any difference.

Bush's half-hearted attempt to introduce 'private' (they weren't, but that's what they were referred to as) accounts early in his first term met with such a backlash from seniors and Democrats that I doubt anything will be done to solve this problem. It looks like the 'third rail' of the political arena will simply be allowed to 'go to ground' (bankruptcy) where it will be effectively be rendered harmless to the politicians who remain. Good luck with that.

The second half of the show involved the introduction of the Tata Nano, and the effect that industrializing the third world will have on the environment.

All the issues in this show are presented as having to do with can people vote against their own short term best interests, in favor of long term best interests of the world as a whole; or at least, a larger group than the single person casting a vote.

As far as Social Security goes; as the population ages, and as the taxes start rising on those who are still working, you will see cuts in benefits to the elderly. That move will benefit the people who hold the power at that point in time, and the citizenry they cater too. No amount of whining by the then shrinking pool of boomers will matter that much. Considering it was the boomers who failed to act when the problem became apparent, I'm not going to shed too many tears over the prospect, even if it's my benefits that get cut.

However, the case for environmental degradation resulting from third world industrialization is hardly a cut and dried matter. Expecting the rest of the world to stay undeveloped just so that we in America can continue to enjoy massive levels of consumption is building castles in the sky. People are going to do anything to improve their lives, and if that means they need a car, they'll be buying Nanos. Consequently, we may be growing crops in Greenland again in the near future, and sea levels my rise a few inches. Global warming isn't what we should be worrying about.

I realize the average person prefers to be scared rather than informed; however, the briefest step back from agreeing to whatever draconian measures the enviro-whackos want to impose on us, will reveal several rational objections that make good arguments for doing something else entirely. Arguments like this one from CATO and Indur Goklany:
The world can best combat climate change and advance well-being, particularly of the world's most vulnerable populations, by reducing present-day vulnerabilities to climate-sensitive problems that could be exacerbated by climate change rather than through overly aggressive Green House Gas reductions.
read more | digg story

The report is written in college level English, I'm sorry. I've listened to the audio, and the average person shouldn't have a problem understanding that targeting greenhouse gas emissions (what environmentalists are doing when they worry about more cars on the roads) will produce a less positive result than targeting things like Malaria prevention, for example.

So, I wouldn't ask the Indains and others to forgo buying automobiles; it's a waste of time anyway. Either individual liberty (the ability to make choices for oneself) leads to long term survival for the species, or the species is doomed no matter how you slice it. Pretending that smart people (read as environmentalists) can save us from ourselves, if we hand our freedom over to them, is just another form of magical thinking.

It won't work.

Common Sense 115 - Storming Heaven & more Foreign Dragons

Going through the backlog of Common Sense (with Dan Carlin) episodes that I wanted blog on.

115 was titled Waterboarding the Bureaucracy; and other than wanting to second the motion, yeah let's waterboard 'em, I really don't have anything else to say. Except that if you want to research the history of drugs in America (including the CIA's programs, to some extent) I'd recommend the book Storming Heaven. It's more about exploring why we experiment with drugs in the first place, but it still addresses the problem with powerful people using drugs to alter the perceptions of others. I found it fascinating, myself.

[I've been looking for an excuse to plug that book for awhile now]

As for the second half of the program, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto; again, my observations are limited. Military dictators tend to oppress their oppositions with violence. Why would you not think she was killed by the sitting dictator?

Should Pakistan have democracy? That would be up to Pakistan. Getting involved in the politics of other countries, suppressing the free expression of political thought (even in this country) increases the chance of a later violent backlash; worse than any violence we might face by not interfering in their politics now. Dan takes longer to say it, but it's just as true in the short form.

This has been an issue widely discussed in Libertarian forums from Strike the Root to to to and on to more traditional places like CATO. The list is nearly as long as the history of ill advised American intervention abroad. It's just too bad that government bureaucrats don't read libertarian publications (outside of the CIA, that is) or they might be more aware of the mess they make every time they decide to dabble in other countries politics.

But then, what the hell do we know? We've only been saying that terrorism was going to visit us here in the US if we kept meddling in other peoples politics since about 1971. Wasn't 30 years warning enough?

FFrF Radio: Matthew Chapman & Matthew LaClair

Podcast Link.

February 9, 2008 - Matthew Chapman, Darwin's Great-Great Grandson

February 12th is Charles Darwin's birthday. More American's believe in the devil (62%) than accept Darwin's theory of evolution (42%) as revealed in a recent Harris poll. The good news is that the people in the US who do not believe in a god has gone up to 18%. Here's hoping for that trend to continue. The episode also mentions Darwin's restored autobiography and quotes from Inherit the Wind. (I really need to watch that film)

Matthew Chapman discussed his books Trials of the Monkey and 40 Days and 40 Nights: Darwin, Intelligent Design, God, OxyContin, and Other Oddities on Trial in Pennsylvania. I was quite moved by Chapman's frank ability to get past the contentiousness of the issue, and to strike up friendships with people on both sides of the trial, and then discuss his insights in the interview.

It's that kind of level-headed ability that I see in others that I most admire, because I'm probably never going to have a moment of it myself. Being able to have a discussion with William Jennings Bryan College students about how Charles Darwin is only slightly less hated than the devil. Nope, I don't think I would be capable of keeping my temper in that sort of climate.

He finished up with a discussion of the need to inject more reason into seeking the next President of the United States, to which I heartily agree.

"No Gods, no masters." -Margaret Sanger

2007 Archive episode.

February 10, 2007 - Matthew LaClair: Exposing Teacher-Preacher

Theocracy alert discussion of Mary Cheney and her pregnancy; and how the religious right friends of her father all roundly denounced her for her actions.

Matthew LeClair is the student who recorded his American History teacher proselytizing during classtime. His interview is a rather enlightening journey into how a story morphs from the events that create it, to the time it breaks onto the news. This would not have been in the news at all if the teacher in question had simply admitted to his errors when confronted with them. Instead he denied it, and Matthew was forced to produce the recordings in order to defend himself. Luckily he was in the habit of carrying a recorder for the purpose of clear note taking, and had the forethought to turn the machine on when the preaching continued over several days.

National news stories reported on how this was an incident of baiting or entrapment, or how Matthew set out to get the christian teacher. None of which is true.

The sad footnote to the story? They banned the use of recording devices in classrooms, not disciplining the teacher. Matthew did eventually win his case.

A lengthy Freethinker's Almanac finishes up this episode, including a mention of local Texas celebrity Molly Ivins, Who had died the week before.

Common Sense 114 - Sortition!

Going through the backlog of Common Sense (with Dan Carlin) episodes that I wanted blog on.

114 was titled the Government we Deserve and was about the beauty pageant that we call elections in this country, and the way that government excess can be laid right at the feet of the common voter.

Every time I hear people complaining about election results, wasted votes, blah, blah, blah, I immediately want to just throw out the entire concept of election. It was the wrong form of democracy for us to choose in the first place.

Why do we appoint government officials by holding a beauty contest? By deciding who is the most popular? What does that gain us? The problem with most of the people who run for election, who want to be popular, is that they want the job in the first place. If they want the job, they'll do anything to keep it, and that's a bad precedent to set. Most of the problems with legislation and bad government (as I've pointed out elsewhere) comes from influence peddling; which government officials engage in to enhance their ability to stay in office.

So let's not do that anymore.

What if we simply qualified all the people who could hold office (and when I say quailify, I mean you have an IQ above X and an education above Y. No other qualification metric should be allowed) You put all those names in a hat, and then you pull out the names of the people who will be appointed to office. You're name comes up and "Congratulations congressman Doe" off you go to Washington.

The system is called Sortition. It was practiced by the ancient Greeks, and I think it's a practice we should revive. And we better do it soon.

There would have to be accompanying legislation that allowed for heightened ability to recall representatives (so that those being represented can remove representatives they feel are out of line) but I think the average monkey could do a better job than the current congresscritters.

Liberty Dollar set to Move Up (again)

Got an alert in the inbox today from Bernard. Looks like my silver rounds will soon be worth a good bit more, again. I held eLD and ALD through the last move up, and it proved to be quite profitable. I'll be holding ALD through this one as well.

I would be holding eLD, but the FBI stole it from the people who were storing it for me a few months back (I'm sure it was all just a misunderstanding, right?) Maybe we'll get it back some day.

Here's the text of the alert titled 30DMA Hits $16 - Liberty Dollar set to Move Up to $50 Silver which can also be found here.

Liberty Dollar Set to DOUBLE+

BINGO!!! Yesterday, February 7. 2008, the 30 day moving average (30DMA) for silver closed at exactly $16.00 for the first time…. And catapulted the Liberty Dollar into the 45 day slot to Move Up to the new $50 SILVER BASE!

Buckle UP! Silver is going to the moon and we want you all to come along. This is without a doubt - the third most important event for the little currency that could… Of course the first was its birth on October 1, 1998 and second was its serendipitous Move Up to the $20 Silver Base on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2005.

Liberty Dollar will Move Up on Easter Sunday, March 23 if the 30DMA for silver stays over $16 for 45 consecutive calendar days. Behold a new monetary system arises just as the US dollar descends into a pit of debt. Serendipity may strike again!

If you were onboard for the first Move Up then your money DOUBLED! This time it is even better! Now you can TWO AND HALF TIMES (2.5XY$) your money!!

Just imagine… In the same timeframe that Bushwacked has been president, the $10 Base Liberty Dollar will have Moved Up to the $50 Base and increased 500%…while the US dollar has lost 50%! What would you rather have? A currency that has increased FIVE TIMES or one that has lost HALF its purchasing power? Do you need a calculator?

Is there anybody opposed to doubling your money? Isn't 'protecting your purchasing power' one of the key benefits of the 'inflation proof' Liberty Dollar? Absolutely! Just imagine what it could do for your family, your business, or your community! Just image what it could do for our great country!!

Is the Move Up some wild wacky idea to defraud you of your hard earned US dollars? Hell No. The Liberty Dollar defrauds nobody. It is the government money that is defrauding you!!! Since the day the Liberty Dollar was introduced on October 1, 1998, I have specified the exact monetary structure for the new currency to respond to higher silver prices and published the "Move Up" points:

Move Up point from the $10 to the $20 Silver Base is $7.50 30DMA completed
Move Up point from the $20 to the $50 Silver Base is $16.00 30DMA pending
Move Up point from the $50 to the $100 Silver Base is $41.50 30DMA future1
Move Up point from the $100 to the $250 Silver Base is $84.00 30DMA future2
Move Up point from the $250 to the $500 Silver Base is $211.50 30DMA future3

When the Liberty Dollar Moved Up to the $20 Silver Base all Liberty Dollars DOUBLED. Now, when the 30DMA for silver stays over $16 for 45 consecutive calendar days the Liberty Dollar will Move Up to the $50 Silver Base and all Liberty Dollars that you have will increase TWO AND HALF TIMES!!

Now for the mechanics: It would be beneficial for you to understand that time is a critical factor when designing or even considering money. Just as $20 today does not buy the same twenty gallons of gas as it did ten years ago, I incorporated time into the Liberty Dollar model twice. First by using the 30DMA instead of silver spot rate and second by lengthening the time the 30DMA must be maintained to Move Up to each new Silver Base. Whereas the Move Up to the $20 Silver Base was achieved after the 30DMA was maintained for 30 days, the Move Up to the $50 Silver Base now requires 45 days. The Move Up to the $100 requires 60 days and an additional 15 days per each Move Up.

As the Move Up point is so important, the Liberty Dollar uses an independent, third party source for its 30DMA. This definitive information is readily available, total transparent and easily verifiable by everyone. The 30DMA is one of the econometric stability-inducing features that protect the Liberty Dollar from the erratic actions of free market silver. You can check the 30DMA by simply going to ScotiaMocotta, which is a division of the Bank of Nova Scotia, a Canadian Bank, at: The 30DMA is listed at the bottom of page 2. And just above the List of Moving Averages, please note the chart for silver. All averages are up and the 100 day moving average is up very sharply. Double since March 2006! There is no doubt silver is headed to the moon and the US dollar is… well we all know… headed down.

And on the technical side, please note the Commentary on page one that states: "Silver's outlook is more bullish than gold's as it didn't break its short-term up trend and most studies have yet to turn outright bearish. In addition, open interest has increased, which implies that the market remains somewhat confident on further upside in silver. Support comes in at the upward trend line of $16.44, while resistance comes in at intraday congestion of $16.93." (Please note that both figures are well over the $16 Move Up point.)

Do you want to 2.5XY$? Get some Liberty Dollars… BEFORE it Moves Up. The last day may be Friday March 21 at 5:00 PM CST... as the Office will be closed on Saturday and Easter Sunday.

Remember: Doesn't it just make sense that when the underlying commodity that backs the currency increases in value, shouldn't the purchasing power of that currency also increase in value? Of course. And isn't that the essence of an "inflation proof" currency? Absolutely! In fact, when you think about it, the only way the Liberty Dollar can accommodate higher commodity prices is to increase its Face Value.

The Liberty Dollar is a private voluntary barter currency. It is specifically designed to function dollar-for-dollar with the US dollar - regardless of how much it depreciates or how much silver appreciates - so you can protect your purchasing power in the market place. Does that mean that the Liberty Dollar should be used as "Legal Tender", "Current Money" or "Coin"? No! Absolutely not! It is only to be used between consenting adults. You cannot pay taxes with it. Nobody is forced to accept the Liberty Dollar. But why would you want to use anything else?

So you don't have to use the Liberty Dollar? Of course not! You can keep your head in the sand and your money in depreciating US dollars and lose your ass, your home, your business, everything that is denominated in US dollars. Is the Liberty Dollar opposed to the US dollar? Absolutely not! We love the US dollar as defined by the Mint Act of 1792. We love the US dollar that made the United States the greatest economic power in the world. We love the US dollar that represented real value and maintained its purchasing power. We are opposed to any money that is made out of thin air and rips off The People. That is morally wrong. And for the government to use that fiat money primarily for a 'war of aggression' is a sin against The People and an assault against world peace.

So what are We The People supposed to do? PROTECT YOUR PURCHASING POWER! Don't sit around and watch your nest egg, retirement funds, college saving account, or even your weekly allowance disappear. You have no obligation to go broke to save the country, or the government money that is ripping you off!

Sure buying silver is the best thing possible. Yes, it is much better than gold. Sure it will be good for you and your family. But it will do nothing for our great country. Our country needs a value based currency and it needs it damn quick. That is why I designed and developed the Liberty Dollar in spite of being under criminal investigation by the FBI. So if you think I am a criminal, please do NOT get any Liberty Dollars!

CLOSING: A lot of great things are happening with the Liberty Dollar. Walk-in customers are way up. Two new RCOs just joined and others are in the wings. A new digital Liberty Dollar will be available soon so it will be easy to 2.5XY$ BEFORE it Moves Up!!! Amir Hirsch is closing out the last Ron Paul Chocolate Dollars for Valentine's Day. Please order from before Saturday and they should arrive by Thursday the 14th.

Can you type? You are invited to the Move Up Party!!! The biggest problem with the Move Up to the $20 Silver Base was keeping up with the orders. Seems like everybody wanted to DOUBLE their money. We anticipate this will happen again and are looking for about six people to come to Evansville for the Data Entry Party... Come for a day or two or more during the last two weeks of the 45 day slot: from March 10 to March 21. Your costs will be covered and you may even get a few 2008 Liberty Dollars to boot. Please email with PARTY in the subject field for particulars if you are interested in partying with the Liberty Dollar Team. Karen, no undercover agents need apply.

My fellow Americans: It is critical that we address the monetary problem in this country. But how? The government does not listen. All the politicians are a bunch of CFR "bellybuttons" except for Ron Paul. The IRS is a criminal gang. I am even under criminal investigation for trying to return America to value - one Liberty Dollar at a time!

The simple solution is for you to take your monetary matters into your own hands. After all - it IS your money. The quicker the better!! Buy silver if you want to protect your ass-ets. Get some Liberty Dollars if you want to return our great country to value. Just don't sit there! Either change your money or lose it!

I know not what course you may take, but for me -
give me Liberty (Dollar) or give me death!

Bernard von NotHaus
Monetary Architect / Editor

Additional info about the Move Up is available at:

As long as the spot price of silver stays above $16 an ounce, the Daily Moving Average will also stay above $16. Kitco chart link. Considering the upward trend of silver of late, I'm inclined to think that the move up will occur the first time that Silver's DMA reached $16, this time.

The $20 move up DMA level was $7.50, and silver flirted with that price at least 3 times before finally staying above it for the required period. I'm betting that a repeat of this will not occur.

Considering the current weakness of the dollar, I'm beginning to wonder if the time to the next move up ($100 base, Bernard?) will be measured in years, or months?