Saturday, June 28, 2008

Vincent Miller: 1938 - 2008

It is with considerable sadness that I announce the death Vincent Miller, the founder and president of the International Society for Individual Liberty. Vince was born in Canada in 1938 as Henry Vincent Miller, Henry being his father's name. But through his early childhood he was called Sonny by all and sundry. When Vince began school at his local one room schoolhouse he mother wrote that he was now known as Vince to everyone.

Vince was a refugee from the over-regulation mindset that plagues Canada and after numerous attempts eventually secured his Green Card to work and live in the United States.

I first met Vince at an Ann Arbor conference in 1980. It was here that Vince announced the formation of the Libertarian International, the organization that eventual became ISIL. Vince's goal was to encourage the spread of libertarian ideas to nations around the world. And he did. ISIL has held more than two dozen summits all around the world. Speakers at the conferences have gone to become national leaders and thousands of students, in other countries, were first introduced to libertarian ideas. And ISIL continued to try to nurture groups they worked with in these countries.

Vince was vigorous and healthy right up until he travelled to Denver to observe the Libertarian Party conference and to promote ISIL and it's newest acquisition, Laissez Faire Books. But in Denver he wasn't feel well and would spend a periods throughout the day resting in his room. After the grueling two day drive back to the Bay Area he continued to feel ill but resisted going to a doctor. He felt he had too much work to do and was sure that he had the flu and that it was just lingering.

Three weeks ago he was persuaded that to see a doctor and upon examination was rushed to the hospital with presumed pneumonia. In the first few days there was some recovery but his lungs never cleared. With his breathing still returning to normal a team of physicians tried to find the cause. In the end it was believed he had Valley Fever but the physician said that other infections were present as well.

Vince was put on a ventilator and into a medically induced coma due to the great discomfort of the ventilator. Doctors tried for two weeks to bring his breathing back to normal but his body didn't respond. His kidneys began to fail and then his liver experienced problems. In the last hours of his life the hospital added a morphine drip to his treatment to make sure there was no discomfort of pain even though he remained in the coma. This was as an added precaution during his last hours.

Vince is survived by a nephew and niece and their families in Canada. He is also survived by hundreds of friends worldwide and by the thousands of students whose lives he touched through his work.

At Vince's request there will be no funeral service. His remains will be cremated and there will be a small, private ceremony of some of his local friends to scatter his ashes. A memorial celebration will be planned later. Those who wish to honor Vince are asked to do so in a manner that he would appreciate and which would carry on his work. In lieu of cards or flowers donations to the International Society for Individual Liberty are encouraged. A Vince Miller Memorial Fund to finance ISIL projects that were dear to Vince will be established.

Checks may be mailed to ISIL, 836B Southampton Rd. #299, Benicia, CA 94510-1960. Those who prefer to make an online donation may do so through the general donations button here.

Photo: This photo is of Vince Miller speaking to Arturas Zuokas, the mayor Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, at an ISIL summit, in 2003.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

"Libertarian" Barr panders to racists and bigots.

This blog has argued that the reason Barr, Viguerie and other conservatives were trying to take over the (formerly) Libertarian Party was to turn it into a vehicle to attack the Republicans for nominating McCain. They want to strip votes away from McCain on the Right so that he will lose. This, they hope, will bring back the dominance that the far Right previously held in the party, but which they lost out to the neo-cons.

In other words their goal is NOT to build the (formerly) Libertarian Party but to use the party as a means of taking over the Republican Party. The LP is but a tool for their use, which shows the naivety of those Libertarians who argued that having Barr lead the ticket “would build the party”. Of course to accomplish that goal Barr can’t really run as a Libertarian. He doesn’t want the libertarian vote, he wants the conservative vote.

And one result is that we know have the spectacle of a Libertarian candidate playing up immigrant-bashing to pander to the racists that permeate the Right.

Barr just sent out a fund-raiser using “border security” as the key. Border security is the current Right-wing hysteria, the crisis that they use to try to terrify people into supporting them. Terrify the public with some monster and you can rally the villagers into a mob that you can run in front of so as to pretend you are the leader. And, since Barr has not been hesitant to climb into bed with open racists in the past, this sort of pandering comes naturally to him.

Barr sent out a fund-raiser for his campaign about the “crisis” of “BORDER SECURITY”. (Capitalization his own -- it’s scarier that way.) And he trashed the somewhat decent “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” bill that the racist Right managed to defeat a year ago.

Now, please note that Barr is playing a dishonest game of bait-and-switch. He starts out talking about the “crisis” of border security and then conflates that with being anti-immigration. The bill in question did not loosen up border “security” but tried to fix the immigration system that the conservatives have broken one piece at a time. In fact the reforms would have helped solve the “security” issue.

One reason we have millions of people who have crossed the borders illegally is because legal options don’t exist. Instead of pushing millions of people who want to work into illegally crossing we ought to be finding ways for them to enter legally. That would reduce the ability of the actual bad guys from hiding themselves among the millions who cross.

Consider how a real terrorist, who wants to cross illegally, would think. He’d find that its much easier to cross where tens of thousands of “decoys” are also crossing. If he crosses with five others his chance of detection is higher than if he crosses with 5,000. The conservatives, by shutting down legal entry, have actually made it easier to true criminals to enter illegally. Conservatives like to quote the law of unintended consequences but somehow they delude themselves into thinking it only applies to laws proposed by the Left.

Barr tries to scare people into donating to his unlibertarian Libertarian campaign by claiming there is a lack of “border security.” As we have seen that is rubbish. The government has ratcheted up the Big Brother methods necessary to “secure the border” significantly in recent years.

Just as Barr proved to be an easy patsy for the Patriot Act, scare the shit out the man and he caves in on liberty, he is proving to be a patsy for the Big Brother anti-immigration campaign. Exactly how does Mr. Barr think his anti-immigrant, border security, ideas will get implemented.

It won’t come about by making people more free. After terrorism the “border” scare is the main issue that is being used to justify massive state interventions into civil society. Barry rolled over for Bush and now he’s rolling over for the bigots. And when Barr roles over, for some reason, it is civil liberties that get screwed.

Of course, ten years down the road Barr can always have a conversion and apologize for his “errors” -- if it is convenient for his political career.

Barr paints McCain as evil, not for the many issues where McCain deserves to be attacked, but for one of the few issues where he is more libertarian than not --- immigration reform.

Barr’s entire letter was filled with lies, borderline bigotry, fear mongering, and calls for government action. It sounds just like the garbage that the far Right has been pushing for years. What it didn’t sound like was anything remotely resembling libertarianism. This is the sort of rot that the sell-outs in the LP have foisted on the party. Barr’s actions are understandable -- he’s just a sleazy politician. But what excuse do his point-men in the LP have for their disgusting, slimy actions?

What Barr’s letter has done is destroy the lie that he was spreading around in Denver that he would campaign as a libertarian. He isn’t.

Now, Barr will get more votes than the typical LP candidate and the morons will cheer that saying it vindicates their choice. But then running Hillary Clinton would have gotten even more votes if you catch my drift. Selling out libertarianism and pandering to the bigoted Right would win more votes. What it won’t do is further the cause of liberty but hinder it. The Libertarian Party has gone over to the dark side and deserves to die.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Oxfam --- dragging people into poverty.

Bravo for Oxfam, they got this one right. The BBC reports that "Oxfam says so-called policies in developed countries are contributing to the world's soaring food prices, which hit the poor hardest." They report that Oxfam says fuels won't combate climate change.

A spokesman for Oxfam said: "Rich Countries... are making climate change worse, not better, they are stealing crops and land away from food production, and they are destroying millions of livelihoods in the process." The BBC says that the Oxfam report shows that "biofuels have dragged more than 30 million people worldwide into poverty."

I've lived in the Third World and written about how conditions were improving there dramatically for some time. But in a few short years greedy politicians, pandering to Big Agri and Big Energy managed to produce a policy that is good for no one but the politicians and the corporations who benefit from the subsidies and hand-outs. These people are literally starving people to death.

Meanwhile that great advocate of the poor, Barack Obama, is in bed with the very corporate interests who are helping starve people to death. The New York Times reports that Obama has close ties to the ethanol scamsters.

Pandering to the Big Agri Mr. Obama has been endorsing ethanol and the massive handouts that greedy corporations are getting at the expense of taxpayers. Obama's favorite welfare queens wear business suits. Former Democratic Senate majority leader, Tom Daschle, often travels with Obama. Daschle went from the halls of Congress straight to serving on the board of "three ethanol companies" and "works at a Washington law firm" where "he spends a substantial amount of time providing strategic and policy advice to clients in renewable energy." The Times also notes that one point Obama was criticized because he flew at "subsidized rates on corporate airplanes, including twice on jets owned by Archer Daniels Midlands, which is the nation's largest ethanol producer" and, I might add, one of the biggest recipients of corporate welfare around.

Apparently Obama does love poor black folk provided they can vote in the election. Then he has compassion. When his pandering to the ethanol lobby leads to pushing millions of black folk in Africa back into poverty Obama doesn't give a damn. Obama's concerns about poverty and hunger don't go far. He's a fraud.

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The kinkiest towns in America: they love Bush!

There is a legal case that interested me. A lawyer is arguing that his clients, who sells porn, did not violate community standards -- that legal whisp of smoke that the courts imposed which is impossible to define. His claim is that google searches showed that community members in that area of the country were keenly interested in sex. He used the “trends” function to determine this.

That basically measures what terms people search for and where those people are. For instance, you can type in “roses” and find out that the number one city in the world where people, who search for this word, live, is Buenos Aires, Argentina. I can refine it to tell me the city in America that has the most interest in “roses” and see that it Portland, Or. it will let me know which states have the most interest in the term

And that lead to some wicked thoughts on my part. Given this debate about marriage equality and sexual morality exactly how do the various regions of the US line up. Are “liberal” areas more “perverse” than God-fearing conservative regions? So here is what I found.

I thought I’d check up on who is looking up “wife swapping”. In first place is Cincinnati, followed by Louisville, Norfolk, Indianapolis and Kansas City. In fact out of the top 10 cities eight are relatively conservative areas. Interesting.

For “girls gone wild” the number one city for google searches is Kansas City, followed by Salt Lake City, Louisville, Oklahoma City and Elmhurst, Illinois. Go Elmhurst!

The search term “anal sex” seems to pop up, pardon the pun, most often in Meriden, CT. That is followed by Elmhurst, again; Louisville, Tampa and Rochester, NY. In the top ten we also have Orlando, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Newark and Richardson, TX.

Considering the reputation that San Francisco has regarding sexual tolerance I kept waiting for the city to show up in the list. Desperate to get them into the list once I tried a search on “homosexuality”. Surely as the gay capital of the United States they would have to come out on top -- that pun was unintentional but I’ll leave it in anyway. But no, San Francisco didn’t even fall in the top ten. The top search location for “homosexuality” was Louisville. Maybe its that Kentucky whiskey but Louisville seems to turn up fairly often. It is followed by Baltimore, Columbus, OH; and Cincinnati.

Next I tried “masturbation” -- the search term that is. And our number one city was Elmhurst again. Considering they scored highly with “girls gone wild” and “anal sex” I wouldn’t have thought they’d have time for masturbation. But it appears the people of Elmhurst are proper wankers. Coming in a close second (oh stop it with the puns already) were Salt Lake City; Rochester, NY; St. Louis, and Louisville.

Moving to the fringes of sexuality I put in a search on “animal sex”. The dubious distinction of coming in first in that search goes to Orlando. It is followed by Richardson, TX, Tampa, Newark and Reston, Virginia. Two more cities in Texas come in the top ten.

Who is searching for “kiddie porn”? The number one city was Orlando followed by Albany, Oklahoma City, Tampa, and Cincinnati. Salt Lake City is in the top ten also.

When it comes to “oral sex” our winner, yet again, is the kinky town of Elmhurst with Louisville in second followed by Tampa, Rochester and Philadelphia.

Searching on “teen ass” is another interesting result. As expected the hyper horny people in Elmhurst came first, following by Richardson, TX; Louisville, San Antonio and Portland.

“Dog sex” is searched for most often in Oklahoma City, Louisville, Richardson, TX, Orlando and Indianapolis.

“Mother son sex” is number one in Elmhurst followed by Reston, VA; Richardson, TX, Newark, NJ and Louisville. The folks in Elmhurst also came in first with “brother sister sex” followed by Rochester, Kansas City, Salt Lake City and St. Louis.

It seems that what ever sexual term, no matter how kinky, that I put in turns up a very high percentage of very conservative towns. So what happens when I try searches that are more chaste and virtuous.

The term “fidelity” shows up number in Boston followed by nearby Cambridge, then Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Providence, RI. That's the first time we got more liberal towns in the top five than conservative towns.

“Wedding” came up number one in Charlotte followed by St. Louis, Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia. Also in the top ten are Boston and Minneapolis. Again a much higher representation of liberal towns than before.

“Monogamy” was number in Pleasanton, CA, a town in the Bay Area. Also in the top ten were the liberal Texas town of Austin, Portland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Boston.

Goodness, it appears the liberal towns are searching for monogamy and the conservative town are searching for the index from the latest Hustler. Interesting to say the least. Based on this sampling I’d say the three kinkiest towns in America, in no special order, are Elmhurst, IL; Richardson, TX: and Louisville, KY.

How does this sort of thing work when it comes to the entire world? Are sexually conservative countries more prone to sexual obsession than liberal countries? Here are some of those results. For the sake of brevity I will list the search term and then the top five cities in the world, in order, where it comes to the percentage looking for the term.

Boy sex: Delhi, India; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Chennai, India; Cairo, Egypt; and Jakarta, Indonesia.

Anal sex: Prague; Izmir, Turkey; Ankara, Turkey, Irvine, CA, USA; Montreal, Canada.

Brother sister sex: Lahore, Pakistan; Karachi, Pakistan; Delhi, India; Chennai, India, Hyderabad, India.

Animal sex: Delhi, India; Chennai, India; Rabat, Morocco; Casablanca, Morocco; Mumbai, India.

It does appear that sexual conservative values on the ground do stimulate a higher degree of interest in the practices than does social liberalism.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Going to vote?

The late, great George Carlin explains why he just don't bother voting.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

College girls whistle at builders, here come the politicians.

Let us start with an incident that, under normal circumstances, would be amusing --- along the lines of mailman bites dog. Apparently some girls at West Kent College, in Tonbride, England, have allegedly been whistling at male builders working on campus. Having seen English builders I take this as more of a sign of desperation than anything else.

The school sent an e-mail out to the pupils chastising them for such behaviour and warning them that “making comments to, or whistling at, the builders whilst on site and as they walk around the campus” is “totally unacceptable.” This is “harassment” of the big, butch builders, fragile things that they are.

Oddly the contractors themselves who have hired the builders have said that they have received no complaints from builders whatsoever. None. Not one.

Such comments are annoying under many circumstances and welcomed under others. There are even cases where they may actually reach the level of harassment. Of course for some people just smiling at them sends them into fits of fear and they find that harassing.

But here is the real issue. Under new legislation, The Sexual Offences Bill, that is proposed for parts of the U.K., this sort of gauche behaviour becomes becomes a crime. It will be called “communicating indecently”. Note that indecent communication won’t mean things like politicians lying through their eye-teeth about some crisis or another that needs “urgent” attention and a “firm hand” to “deal with it.”. Their indecent communication, as usual, will remain exempt.

But these college girls having a whistle at some builder could well become criminals. According to the London Telegraph the new legislation not only makes whistling a crime but it would mean the whistler would be “placed on the sex offenders register.”

I have harped on this issue before. My contention has been that once the registers were created bureaucrats and politicians have done everything in their power the definition of “sex offender” in order to capture more and more people. This political class benefits from public panic. To fuel the sex hysteria they have to show a crisis. And an ever expanding list of sex offenders is one way to do that. If there were 10,000 offenders on the list last year and 15,000 this year that allows scare headlines like: “Sex offenses double in last year.”

As long as people don’t figure out that the increases are due entirely to redrawing the boundaries the fear continues. People see these lists and assume rapists. They imagine some adult male raping attacking a small child. They don’t imagine two teens have a romp on a date or a school girl whistling at builder. But the sad reality is that the list of sex offenders is being expanded with precisely these kind of offenses.

And, if you think about it, that would have to be the case. There has been no significant increase in real sex offenses. If anything they would have declined. As the Washington Post reported in 2006, “The number of rapes per capita in the United States has plunged by more than 85 percent since the 1970s...” They noted that a “stunning reduction in sexual violence” has been “consistent over the past two decades”.

As an aside I might point out something about this decline. Since the 1970s the internet has become ubiquitous. And, like it or not, anyone who wants porn can get more than they can possible view, free of charge, in less than 30 seconds. As a test it took me 8 seconds to open up google, images and type in the word “porn” and to have the first batch of photos on my screen. Eight seconds! What that means is that more and more people are viewing porn and real sexual offenses, like rape, are declining. By the way, Judge Richard Posner theorized in his book, Sex and Reason, that increased porn would lead to fewer real sexual offenses not more. He was right and the feminist-fundamentalist alliance was wrong -- again.

With real sex crimes declining the only way to keep the sex panic going was to find more and more offenses. Ever since those registers were created the definition of sex crimes have been expanded well beyond anything that is actually a crime. Remember the fundy prosecutor in Maricopa County, Arizona tried to force a 16-year-old boy to register as a sex offender because he showed a copy of Playboy to some school mates. In Utah they prosecuted two 12-year-old kids as sex offenders because they had sex with each other. In Washington they tried to prosecute kids as sex offenders for running around school and slapping each other on the butts.

The sex offender hysteria has gone out of control. And now we hear that whistling at someone might be enough, in the UK, to get one registered as a sex offender! Of course the officials say that it will only be used in extreme cases. We’ve heard that line before. It is always used to justify the camel’s nose in the tent and then they go hog wild.

The only way this is going to stop is that people have to keep spreading the meme that this has happened. Case histories illustrating this hysteria need to spread. And people need to understand that these registers aren’t “protecting” kids but making them less safe.

One interesting point that has been made regarding the accumulation of information is that an increase in information means, after a certain point, a decrease in actual police efficiency. Just as increasing taxes, after a certain point, decreases revenue the accumulation of worthless data makes one less efficient in finding important data.

Previously the pool of potential suspects was a smaller one with the most likely suspects listed. But as the pool expands, with fewer and fewer real criminals included the search time to process that information expands as well. Surveillance cameras in England didn’t increase crime prevention. All it did was hand police massive amounts of tapes to search through. The politicians are overloading the system with useless information.

The reality is that if one uses the sex offender data base to find real sex offenders one is going to be spending a good deal of time chasing down innocuous people who shouldn’t be on the list at all. Information overload means that the real information gets buried under layers of minutia. That doesn’t protect anyone except the real offenders.

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Angela is a lucky girl.

It’s a two minute drive to the grocery store from the house, just down the hill from here. The weather was lovely and as I coasted down the hill the waters of the bay were stretched out before me. The hills on the side were a perfect backdrop for a sail boat gliding past.

Before I picked up groceries I stopped in for a quick bit to eat at the local fast food outlet. As I walked in I didn’t pay much attention to the other customers. But when I had my meal I sat in my usual spot and could see across the seating area.

A woman ate in one booth by herself. In the corner was family, two adults, a teen and three children. And a few feet from me was black man with his daughter. While eating I observe, not in some voyeuristic way where I stare but I listen to what is being said and, out of the corner of my eye, I watch.

And I’m so glad that I did. Often the world is a ugly place. We seem plagued with two major problems: meanness and dumbth. Meanness is just people who nasty in one way or another. Perhaps they boss others around, try to hurt them, or in some way make life unpleasant for others. Dumbth is stupidity taken to a higher level. Sometimes dumbth is mean but usually not intentionally -- those are people who do mean things in the mistaken believe that they are doing good. Politics is almost entirely meanness and dumbth or some combination of the two.

But what I saw in the restaurant actually gave me reason to smile, something to celebrate. It was simple goodness, decency and kindness in action.

The object of my interest was the father and his daughter. In only a few minutes I learned a great deal about this man and about his daughter. Dad continued to talk to the small girl, he engaged her in conversation on a constant basis. She was never bored and she clearly felt safe, loved, and important.

I never learned Dad’s name but his daughter was named Angela. I know because he used her name when talking to her. And everything she did was attentive teaching on his part. Not in a didactic way but in a supportive, nurturing way.

She was playing with a plastic animal. He showed how the tail on the animal allowed it to stand up on the table. It was gorilla like creature which stood on two legs. But with just two legs it was unstable. The tail allowed Angela to stand it up. Dad showed her how the leg gave the toy “stability.” “See, it’s stable now,” he explained.

The figure had two fingers held up in some way that I couldn’t really see from where I was. Dad asked Angela how many fingers the animal was holding up. She didn’t answer. He just explained that it had two fingers up. “Two is a number,” he said. “What is your number?” Angela said “four”. Dad said: “Four is how old you are. What is your number?” She again said “four”. No worries, Dad was patient. He repeated and Angela said something I couldn’t hear. I think she repeated her phone number. He smiled and told her that she was right.

On the food box there were pictures of numerous animals. Dad took the time to show Angela all the animals and ask her if she knew what they were. He patiently told her the names. When they looked a picture of a praying mantis she asked what it was. He told her it was an insect.

Throughout this Angela cuddled up next to her father. Not once did he ignore her. Not once did he ask her to stop talking. It was total and complete attention.

I looked at the other family. The kids sat in the middle. They too played with toys but the adults with them paid them no mind. There was no conversation, no interaction, no touching. They were just people in the same room.

When Angela finished eating her Dad told her how to throw away her empty packages. The small girl boldly approached the large garbage can with her cup. Dad told her to push on the flap. “Push it all the way in so the cup goes in the garbage,” he instructed. She pushed but it resisted her almost infantile strength. Dad didn’t jump up. He just encouraged her to keep pushing. She used her other hand to push and succeeded. She dropped the cup into the garbage. Dad told her she was “great” and smiled at her. She must have felt like she had conquered Mount Everest.

She came back to the table as Dad packed some things into a bag. And then he told her it was time to wash her hands. She didn’t want to but he explained: “You don’t want to be dirty, do you?” She didn’t seem to mind anymore and happily went with him to wash her hands.

I finished my meal and went to my car. By coincidence I was parked next to them. As I backed up them came out of the restaurant, Dad holding her hand. Just as I was leaving her was putting her in her car seat.

What I thought was how lucky Angela is. So many children today have parents who have not learned to be parents. Many still act like children themselves. To them children are not a blessing but a burden, an obligation. They want as little to do with them as possible -- they get in the way. They send them off to government prison camps for children, know as schools, where kids are warehoused more than educated. After school they pay as little attention as possible. They often have no idea where the kids are or what they are doing. And they don’t want to know.

There are parents who think that cash will be a good substitute for love, that a cell phone is a replacement for parental concern, the state schools can replace parental teaching. They think the television is ample “adult” supervision.

They don’t teach. They rarely love. They don’t talk to their children and when their children talk they don’t listen. They don’t ask questions as much as bark orders. Of course so many of these parents eventually ask themselves why their children are so messed up. The reality is that many kinds have a biological father and mother present but they don’t have parents.

Angela is different. She is a very lucky four-year-old. I find it hard to even list all the messages that she got from her father in the few minutes I witnessed them together.

She learned that she is important and loved. She learned things about stability and numbers and names of animals. She learned that she can accomplish things if she keeps trying. She learned that cleanliness is good. She got respect and thus learned respect. She got love and thus learned to love. Another thing she got, is something she won’t use for many years yet. She learned how to be parent herself.

Yes, Angela was a very lucky girl. And I feel I was lucky too for having seen a glimpse of her life. I smile knowing that Angela has an incredible, caring father to guide her through life.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Christianist burns students and preaches to them.

Sometimes it is hard to tell who is crazier. Some of the lunatic religionists who get way out of line or those who defend them.

John Freshwater was hired to teach science in Mount Vernon, Ohio. Instead he taught theology. He used his classroom to promote his brand of Christianity, kept religious literature on his desk, presumably for the students, spread Bibles around the classroom and prosyletized. He used his class to teach a theological belief about the origins of life instead of science.

And to top it off, for some reason that I’ve yet to fathom, he used an electrostatic device to burn crosses into the skin of students. This part just sounds crazy. Perhaps he thought he was protecting them from the Devil, evil spirits or whatever. But he did use this device to burn the skin of students. He claims that last part is a lie. He says he only burned a large X into the students arms! And that this was a science experiment.

That the man thinks that is a defense is amazing. The problem with his defense is that while he may be deeply, fanatically religious, he is also a bald-faced liar. Photographs of the arms of the students he burned were taken. And those photographs are pretty clear that he had indeed burned a cross into their skin. I guess putting Jesus first means putting him before the truth as well.

But look across the internet and you will find that every Right-wing lunatic out there is defending this man. After all he waved a Bible at students and that makes him godly. Consider this defense of Freshwater from one friend of his, Dave Daubenmire, “With the exception of the cross-burning episode, ...I believe John Freshwater is teaching the values of the parents in the Mount Vernon school district.” Yep, just ignore that tiny incident of burning a cross into the arms of students and he’s just peachy.

By the way this friend is himself a religious fanatics who runs something called Minutemen United.

For a moment consider what these religionists would do if a teacher, who was an atheist, or a homosexual, or anyone else they love to hate, like a Muslim, had burned images into the skin of students. They would be forming a lynch mob instantly. They would be braying for the head of the infidel who dared do this to the “poor, little children” in the classroom. But the moment this is done by some Bible-quoting resident of Bedlam they rally to his defense.

Some of the Christian sites have left the cross burning incident out of their reports in order to portray Freshwater as a victim. Others tried to downplay it saying the burns didn’t damage the students. Sorry folks, a burn is a burn and is damage by definition. Again it seems they can’t tell the truth when it comes to defending their lunatic fringe. Reports are that the arms of the students showed visible burn marks for three to four weeks, so this was not exactly a minor incident.

The school board in Mount Vernon investigated the incident and they confirmed that the Freshwater was a liar. “Contrary to Mr. Feshwater’s statement he simply made an ‘X’ not a ‘cross,’ all of the students describe the marking as a ‘cross’ and the pictures provided depict a ‘cross’.”

Freshwater used his classroom to tell students that they can’t trust science when science contradicts a fundamentalist, literal interpretation of the Bible. He told them carbon dating is false because it shows the earth to be older than the Bible says. In other words, like every fundamentalist, he has to twist reality to fit his faith.

The fundamentalist fighters for Freshwater claim that his right to have a Bible is being violated. And they pretend that the school tried to take away Freshwater’s “personal” Bible. The school board investigation found that Freshwater had scattered numerous Bibles around his classroom. While he made a big display of his own Bible, for all the students to see, he had “other Bibles” spread around the classroom as well. This is proselytizing in class not him reading Scripture during a tea break. In another incident the school found that he had “two boxes of Bibles in the back of his room”. Certainly that wouldn't be two boxes of "personal" Bibles as the Right pretends.

Freshwater claims that God has given him the right to use the classroom as his personal pulpit. He claims that preventing him for doing this violates his free speech rights.

What a crock! First, Christians like him don’t believe in free speech rights except for themselves. They frequently lobby and demand restrictions on speech. And that includes private speech where no tax money is involved. You can’t claim that you support a “right” if you willingly deny that right to others. They do.

If a Muslim was teaching a class on science, and taught the student that the Qu’ran is the world of God and God is named Allah, you can be these Christians would be leading the campaign to burn the teacher at the stake along with his holy book. They would not argue that the teacher has a free speech right to teach theology in his science class.

The local Mount Vernon newspaper actually showed that Freshwater’s supporters are against freedom of religion for others. The paper says that many of the Christian students who defend Freshwater “indicate that acceptance and religious tolerance is a one-way street for many concerned.” One mother with a daughter at the school said that one student, who is Jewish, wanted to defend religious freedom in support of the Christian students. He brought his Torah to school only to have the Christian students ridicule him and tell him, that as a Jew, he can’t support the teacher in question. It isn't religious freedom they are after but religious domination and that is not the same thing.

Fundamentalist students started a campaign to “support” Freshwater by demanding that other students wear t-shirts with crosses on them. One Christian wore a t-shirt that said “I don’t need to wear a special T-shirt to be a Christian.” The newspaper says: “that individual was reportedly pushed into the lockers and called a stupid atheist b****.”

One student, who was burned by Freshwater, has filed a law suit over the burning incident. Students who are merely friends of that boy are being harassed by the Christian students. The father of two boys ,who are friends with the injured boy, said his sons “have gotten harassed because they are friends with the boy. In our county, everyone’s allowed their religious opinion, but some of the middle school kids are just jumping on a bandwagon. If you’re not for Mr. Freshwater, you are going to be harassed. That is flat out what is happening in the middle school. Therefore, I think a lot of the kids are for Mr. Freshwater because they don’t want to be harassed, they don’t want to be singled out. And who wants to be against the Bible? Nobody.”


There is no free speech right to use tax money to promote religion. I would also say that there is no free speech right to promote atheism in the classroom. A teacher has no more business telling his students that there is no god than he has telling them that there is. If a teacher was handing out books on atheism in science class I would argue the teacher is outside his proper course of study and that government schools have no business teaching religious view, pro or con. The schools, as long as they exist, ought to be neutral on the matter.

A science teacher should teach science not theology. You will have the facts taught in classes contradict religious beliefs. That is inevitable. Religion is not generally in sync with reality so such conflicts are unavoidable. The school should not attack the religion just teach the facts and allow religion to use their pulpits to contradict the facts. If some cult said that 2 plus 2 is 6 the school is not teaching atheist by giving students the correct answer. Schools teach and they must do so without regard to what quirky beliefs that students, or their parent, may have. Nothing else is possible.

The Christian fundamentalist will not abide by this neutrality. They demand the right to use tax funds in order to promote their religion to an audience of students who have little to no choice in being there. Gary North, a right-wing fundamentalist has openly stated that the goal of the Religious Right is to take over the country and impose theocratic rule on everyone. He says that their demands for “religious freedom” are merely a tactic until they take power they they “will get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God.”

Photo: This is not the best photo. I had one that much more clearly showed the burn but couldn't find it.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Suffer the little children

Now I want to make something clear, right off from the start, this post is not about defending social security. I happen to think the evidence is overwhelming that social security is a rip off for almost everyone and that few groups or individuals wouldn’t be better off investing their social security payments in private annuities. I just want that out of the way because this does deal with social security and a recent case. Unfortunately you have to get to the end of the story to find out what is that really disgusted me.

The case in question dealt with a lesbian couple, Karen and Monique, who have a civil union in Vermont in 2002. In 2003 Monique gave birth to Elijah. On the birth certificate Karen was listed as “2nd parent” and on other document is listed as “civil union parent”.

In 2005 Karen was found eligible for disability benefits. She then applied for child’s insurance benefits for Elijah. That is when a parent is disabled and receiving benefits because of this disability the child usually receives benefits as well since the child is wholly or partially reliant upon the parent. This is not uncommon when a disability benefit is given to someone with dependent children.

What complicated the matter is the disgusting Defense of Marriage Act. Under DOMA the federal government is forbidden to recognize a same-sex relationship in regards to anything. So the question that the Social Security Administration was trying to decide was whether or not Elijah was ineligible for insurance benefits because the parent who was disabled was in a same-sex relationship.

The SSA people ruled that Elijah was qualified. They argued that child’s insurance benefits go to the child regardless of the marriage status of the parent. That is, even if the parents of a child are unmarried that does not disqualify the child from insurance benefits. What is being recognized is the legal status of the child Vis-à-vis the parent and not the related to the marriage of the parents at all. For instance, the child may even qualify if the parent is not biological parent of the child -- a grandparent raising a child who is disabled may mean the child qualifies for some benefits as well. Elijah’s benefits were derived from his status as the legal child of Karen and not from the the civil union status of his parents.

Of course, had Karen been deceased then Monique, her partner, would not be eligible for anything. This would be the case whether or not she was entirely dependent on Karen for her income. DOMA mandates that gay couples pay into the system equally but are that benefits be given out unequally.

Since I think the SSA did the right thing in recognizing Elijah as Karen’s legal, dependent child then what precisely about this case has me upset.

While SSA saw this as an issue of the child’s relationship to a parent and not about same-sex marriage the lovely Christians over at the Family Research Council are upset. Peter Spring, from this hateful gaggle of fundamentalists says that this ruling allowing Elijah to have benefits is “disappointing”. He noted that the Department of Justice, which made the ruling “could have and should have taken much more firm pro-family positions.”

I’m curious why people allow these bastards to get away with such rotten and dishonest language. To them the “pro-family” thing to do would be to say that a child with a disabled parent is ineligible to collect insurance benefits merely because the parent of the child is gay. In other words, because they are obsessed with a hatred for homosexuals, they feel that government must act in a manner to punish children for the sexual orientation of their parents. And this is called “pro-family”. Sickening.

Of course this rot about “pro-family” is a lot of rubbish. I’ve known these people up close and personal and they are often vicious to their own family in the name of their religion. The fact is that their hate far exceeds their ability to love.

When conservative Alan Keyes discovered that his loving daughter, Maya, was gay he threw her out of the house and stopped paying for her college education. Sweet. Religious Right leader Randall Terry found out his son Jamile was gay. He issued public statements attacking and insulting his son in some of the most vicious language I have ever seen a parent use.

Sadie Fields, the leader of the Christian Coalition in Georgia found out her daughter was gay. She showed up at the daughters job screaming at her. She told her daughter that she was now “dead” to the family. California state senator Peter Knight was famous for his antigay legislation. He found out that his son, a graduate of the Air Force Academy, was gay. He rejected his son with the same viciousness that he rejected his gay brother.

Rev. Jimmy Swaggart cheated on his wife with prostitutes. His “family values” was exhibited when he tried to convince a hooker to bring her underaged daughter into the sex scene that Swaggart was seeking. Rev. Ted Haggard, leader of the National Association of Evangelicals. was using drugs with a male prostitute and having sex with him. Rev. Jack Hyles ran the largest fundamentalist church in America for decades, while having a blatant affair with his secretary -- something he flaunted int he face of his wife. Jack’s son followed in daddy’s footsteps but didn’t stop when he had an affair with one woman. He had affairs with dozens of them. He dumped his wife to marry a “swinger”. And it got worse after that, leading to the death of one infant. Rev. Bob Gray pastored one of the largest fundamentalist churches in America as well. He also preyed on small girls sexually and had been doing for almost half a century before he was finally caught. And how did “moral majoritarian” Rev. Jerry Falwell deal with the actions of Rev. Gray. He went to Gray’s church and told the congregation that it was a “bump in the road”. “That’s all it is. You’ve got to move on.” But as one activist put it: “When 22 people report having been sexually abused as kids by a church’s founding pastor, it cannot rightly be minimized as a mere ‘bump in the road.’”

These are all prominent figures in the Religious Right and all of them are viciously antifamily. Look at how they treated their own family members. If you think about it you will realize that what they are doing is trying to make the law as vicious as they are. What upsets them is that most Americans would not treat their own family members this badly and certainly not in the name of being “pro-family”. So these fundamentalists are manipulating the laws in order to make the government punish these people because their own families aren’t.

In this case they wanted the federal government to punish a five year old boy because these Christians don’t like the fact that boy’s parents are lesbians. And they say they want the child punished to save the family. Apparently the relationship between this child and his parents aren’t “family” to these people. I have nothing but contempt for such cruelty and viciousness. Such cases are a good example as to why so many young people are walking away from the church. And I’m glad they are.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Teen vamp victimizes men with court's help.

Take a look at the photo you see here. I want you to try to guess a couple of things about this woman. Do you think she is engaged, single, married or divorced? How old would you think she is?

I confess that I’m a terrible judge of age. If I’m asked how old someone is I usually stumble around and get it wrong. So maybe I’m not the best judge here. I would guess that she is somewhere in her twenties. What did you come up with?

Get it wrong and you can go to jail. In fact two men have already gone to jail because they got it wrong.

Morris Williams was approached by this young woman and she started flirting with him. She called him and spent time with and all the time she told him she was 18 years of age. On her MySpace page this woman, Alesha Dean, says she is 19 years old and divorced. She was lying about all of it. She is not divorced and was never married and she is actually 13 years old. Since some publicity came to the case Dean has altered her page and now claims to be 16 years old -- still a lie of course.

Morris Williams didn’t know she was 13. After all she was rather aggressive sexually and she looks far, far older than she really is. She acts like a very sexually experienced woman who likes picking up strangers and having sex with them. Her family admits that they can’t control her. She stays out far later than a girl her age normally does and she is clearly pushing herself sexually on her MySpace page.

Williams says that Dean had been the aggressor and picked him up on the street. And we know she lies about her age -- her MySpace page proves that. And it is clear from her photos that she looks more a pole dancer than a child. In fact one news source says there is “footage of Dean dancing and ‘shaking her womanly booty like she’s working the pole.’”

Williams then heard that she was lying about her age. He went to speak to her father to find out if this was true. And that was when he learned she was 13.

Of course that was when Dean’s father learned about Williams and had him arrested as a child molester. Sorry folks, but in my opinion the child molester in this case is the child who was molesting men. It was the lying would-be Jezebel who portrays herself as a divorce seeking hot men for pleasure.

You might also want to know that Morris Williams is not Ms. Dean’s only victim. She had done the exact same thing to 24 year old Darwin Mills. She seduced him, she lied to him about her age and apparently her family had him arrested and sent to prison as well.

So instead of taking care of the teenage slut that they are raising they wait for her to victimize someone who has no idea that he is being bamboozled. Then the family pounces on him, the police arrest him for sexual abusing a child and the courts then send the man to prison.

Does anything think it fair? Are we really saying that every sexual encounter in America must be preceded with a mandatory REAL ID check? Should adults be forced to “e-verify” their sexual partners or face prison terms? Or should common sense prevail?

In this case the common sense is that clearly Ms. Dean dresses and acts and looks more like a street walker than a school girl. She is lying to men and she is seducing them. These men are not seeking out children for sex and they don’t know that this stacked seductress is actually well under the legal age.

But the sex hysteria has reached such a pitch that men who were seduced by this out-of-control teenager are then victimized by the state. Morris is going to spend the next year in jail and then five years on probation with an ankle monitor so the police can track the child molester. And while news accounts don’t say I would think both these men will have to register as sex offenders as well.

I doubt that when people think of “sex offender” that they are thinking of men like Williams and Mills. But these men will be listed on some data base, they will have to register with the police, and strangers will look them up on the internet, see that they were convicted for having sex with a “child” and make their lives a living hell.

The actual circumstances of their arrests won’t be listed. No one will see the picture of the “victim” with her large breasts crammed into a tiny top bending over to draw attention to their size. They won’t see the her claim that she is a 19-year-old divorcee. They won’t know she prowled the streets picking up men. If anything they will imagine some Shirley-Templesque fantasy being viciously raped by a monster. These web pages of sex offenders are very poor at actually conveying facts to people. But when it comes to sex offenders people don’t feel they need the facts.

It bothers me that Williams and Mills were victimized by Dean but it bothers me more that our legal system is so irrational as to victimize them even worse.

It is a crime to have counterfeit money yet we don’t treat that the same way as this case was treated. Imagine you go down to the local grocery store and they give you some bills in change. You don’t realize it at the time but one of the bills is counterfeit. After some time you notice things that make you uncomfortable about the bill (and I don’t mean that it worthless paper backed by a bankrupt government). So you take the bill to the local bank and they confirm it is fake. They don’t thank you instead they have you arrested and you are sent to prison for a year. Obviously that is wrong. You didn’t produce the counterfeit bill and you didn’t even know it was counterfeit. And when you suspected it was you turned it in. So should you be punished?

Mr. Williams didn’t know that Alesha wasn’t an adult as she claimed to be, and importantly, as she appeared to be. When he thought he was being duped he made the effort to find out. Yet he was convicted as if he knowingly went down to trawling at some school playground for jailbait to play with.

But in the world of sex hysteria the letter of the law is obeyed because no one wants to be seen as condoning child abuse. And that fear is preventing the courts from doing the one thing that justifies their existence -- doing justice. But I guess our legal system long ago stopped being in the justice business. Today they are law enforcers not judges of justice.

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Because the gays are getting married.

It has been 24 hours now and chaos is breaking everywhere. The shock of it is hard to describe.

Right before my very eyes social disintegration, destruction, death. Can the apocalypse be far behind? But why fear it? It would be a blessing now, a relief from the horror.

Yes, for 24 hours those “activist judges” in our largest state, along with the approval of the state legislature and the governor, are letting gays get married.

And you know the worst part about this horror --- it is not readily apparent. It is chaos that disguises itself as calm -- the very worst kind.

As I drove the California highways today I couldn’t help looking at the happy families in their cars oblivious to the menace. Just down the road radical, homosexual, lesbian, feminist, pinko, activists were defying God and getting married. Even worse, they have an agenda. They always have an agenda.

What will happen when those happy families degenerate and fall apart? They may not even know that it was the fault of those damn liberal,activist judges and their homosexual agenda.

Some will think the marriage fell apart because the man was exercising his biblical mandate to be the head of the family. How else was the wife supposed to submit and the kids obey if he didn’t follow God’s word and smack them around a bit?

Others will think it is because they were cheating on each other. And while God cries when they cheat, at least he smiles because it is a normal perversion. Better a philandering husband than a monogamous gay couple. God prefers Adam cheating on Eve than being faithful to Steve.

Little does the world know that an angry God will inflict his wrath if people dare love one another against his will. And he will do it by making sure that other people are miserable. Look how God destroyed so much of the South with Katrina because he didn’t like a gay party in the French Quarter of New Orleans! Only God in his infinite wisdom can explain why he didn’t actually destroy the French Quarter.

Watch the video above if you want some idea of the pernicious effect of allowing gays to be married.

PS: for the brain dead this is called satire.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Why politicians benefit from destroying jobs.

It is fascinating how durable are certain fallacies. While much of economics is counterintuitive the basics are not that difficult to understand. Yet some highly intelligent people continue to say to the same dumb things over and over again.

Just a few moments ago I was listening to some politician prattle on about how some government proposal would create “thousands of jobs”. Of course that simply isn’t true. Government programs don’t create jobs. Government programs can’t create jobs. At best they merely redistribute already existing jobs. In this sense creating jobs is like creating wealth. The government doesn’t create wealth. It can merely change the pattern of distribution.

When government confiscates wealth from one segment of the economy and gives it to another segment no new wealth is created. That is obvious. In fact the redistribution makes the economy poorer. It does so for several reasons.

First, when government redistributes wealth it consumes a good portion of that wealth on the process of redistribution. For each dollar the government confiscates at the beginning of the process it returns pennies at the end of the process.

Second, government has to tax those sectors of the economy that are actually productive. It is hard to confiscate wealth from those who don’t have it. To be profitable an industry must produce something which people want and are willing to pay for. That means it has to produce something which people value higher than the money they spend on the product. So people get less of the things they value.

But where do the redistributed funds go? They go to sectors of the economy that people value less. So government takes money from areas which people want more of and give it to sectors where people want less. It encourages the production of services or goods people want less while punishing the production of goods or services which people want more. The net result is that less valuable things are produced more and more valuable things are produced less. That makes everyone poorer. Government never actually redistributes wealth, it redistributes poverty. Government “redistribution” of wealth destroys wealth.

How wealth is redistributed is relatively open and apparent. And it is pretty easy to see how wealth is destroyed in the process. But how the same thing happens to jobs is hard to see.

The reason it is more difficult to notice is that government doesn’t actually go out and confiscate jobs. It doesn’t appear at the door of a successful company and orders employees out of the building, and then takes them to an unproductive plant where they are forced to work. If that happened it would be clear what is going on.

The way government redistributes jobs is actually the same way it redistributes income. Of course, politicians never admit they are redistributing jobs. They pretend they are “creating” jobs. How does this magic take place?

They find some project or endeavor that they decide ought to be showered with tax money. As the money goes rolling in we see “new” jobs. They are visible and obvious. In fact, the politicians go out of their way to show you these “new jobs”. It might be highway workers standing around a ditch looking serious and filling in the hole that they just dug, or it might be more “supervisors” in the education department, or additional surly desk clerks at the Department of Motor Vehicles. If the politicians are being smart they pour the money into so failed industry so that it appears they are “creating” private sector (another word for productive sector) jobs.

Let us say they pour money on some ethanol plant. You see new workers hired to produce a fuel that consumers don’t want and which is worse for the environment. But hey, that’s okay, it creates jobs! You can see them yourself.

How did they create jobs?

First, they took money out of the productive sector of the economy. That reduces demand in those areas and reduces employment there. But who notices? It’s not like the politician will call in the press to have his photo taken at the company that reduced employment due to higher taxes. The “new” jobs are visible while the jobs they destroy are not so obvious.

Sometimes the jobs destroyed are even less obvious. A company that might have expanded puts off the expansion. They might now lay off employees but they slow down their hiring. Often the jobs destroyed are jobs that were not yet created.

In the case of our ethanol plant notice what else the politicians did. By increasing the demand for corn for ethanol they drove up the price of corn for consumption by humans or as animal feed. The net result is more expensive food. While they created additional wealth for the billionaires who tend to own ethanol plants they harmed the working people who face higher food prices.

So what do you do when food prices go up? Do you stop eating? Not likely. Instead you cut down on other things. You might skip a vacation this year. But the politicians say it is worth it and your sacrifice is minimal. But when you didn’t take that vacation that means less demand in the tourism sector. It means lower profits there. It means less demand for employees there.

Maybe you stop eating out as much. As others do the same the demand for restaurants goes down. Some entrepreneurs who own restaurants lose their business. A lot of waiters, waitresses, dishwashers, counter-help, cleaners, etc., find they either lose their jobs or have their hours cut back.

All over the productive sectors of the economy the same thing is happening. Government “jobs” programs destroy productive jobs. And the results are interesting.

Since the bureaucrats consume much of the money they redistribute they create fewer jobs than they create. If they eat up only 25% of the total (and it is more) then for every $1 million worth of jobs they destroy they create $750,000 in other jobs. Often the jobs they create are better paying than the jobs they destroyed so even more are destroyed than created. It is possible that for every job they create two jobs have been destroyed.

Now if they actually increase unemployment and make the economy poorer then why do they bother?

First, the typical voter is clueless as to what is happening. They actually fall for the baloney that these programs create jobs. Even the politicians who know the smidgen of economics necessary to see through this fraud play the game because they benefit by the delusions of the public. In the end they worry more about being elected again than they do about some poor schmuck who loses his job because of their “jobs program”.

And these politicians know that in doling out the funds that “create jobs” they win favors from special interest groups and votes from the members of those groups. When jobs are actually created in the productive economy the politician can’t claim the credit. They can’t use those jobs as favors to be called in during the election. The jobs they appear to create actually give them power. By destroying jobs through this process the politician actually ends up better off politically.

That is one of the sad truths of politics. Far too often the politician gains the most by during his worst. The successful politician knows how to use the system to stay in office. And in the end the only job he really cares about is his own.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

You call that small!

I find conservatives to be a fraudulent bunch. They spout how they are advocates of “small government” and they continually whine that government is big enough on the issues that concern them. Take this outfit that calls itself SmallGovTimes as a prime example of the hypocrisy.

Take a look at these two charts which indicate the amount of money that our immigration “enforcement” agents spend every year. Remember this data is before the big increases in recent years. Also note the number of personnel specifically hired to patrol the borders and close every avenue of escape, I mean entry. These are very large increases in a very short period of time. And that is only at the federal level and doesn't include the massive expenditures by local cops who want to play G man.

Our nascent police state, in the form of the dictatorial and misnamed Department of Homeland Security, is well funded to attack immigrants, the Bill of Rights, and other examples of “terrorism”. These brownshirts are getting $40 billion for their budget next year. That is $2.2 billion than they flushed down the toilets this year.

They added $800 million for armed agents to track down dishwashers and gardeners committing the heinous crime of working without a permit from a politician. They allocated to the Immigration gestapo just under $5 billion dollars. There is $775 million to install cameras on the borders. And don’t forget the $50 million being used to force the states to implement the internal passport system known as Real ID which will crack down on those Americans who think they have a right to exist without state permission.

So what does this have to do with SmallGovTimes and why do I say they are hypocrites. Simply put this outfit is a bunch of paranoid lunatics who are whining about illusionary plots like the alleged “North American Union” while bitching that “our federal government has done almost nothing to rectify the situation” of immigrants getting in to work.

Almost nothing! Billions flushed down the toilets. Walls being built on the borders. Controls put on every company in America in regards to hiring people, forcing Real ID down the throats of every citizen, cameras along the borders, thousands of more “agents” scouring the borders and the country. Controls, regulations, rules, and billions and billions of the productive economy squandered to chase down dishwashers. And this conservative says this is “almost nothing”.

If this is “almost nothing” then how many more billions do they want? How many more armed federal agents do they want smashing down doors and raiding “chicken processing” plants? How many more walls? How many new rules and regulations are they demanding?

And they have the audacity to call themselves “small government” advocates. Sure they are --- much the way Mussolini was a small government advocate -- at least when compared to his friend Adolph.

This Birch Society inspired lunacy spends a great deal of time lamenting the alleged lack of “fighting” immigration while bitching about the phantom North America Union. And like good paranoid nutters they alleged the two are connected. Actually they are, both claims are bogus, but that is all they have in common. The government is doing a lot of fight dangerous Mexican yard workers and there is no NAU plot.

But our friends at Big Government Times, as they ought to be known, claim that the secret plotters are refusing to do anything about immigration because “the free flow of humans and money facilitates something known as ‘the North American Union’.”

Consider what this person is saying. He clearly is against the “free flow of humans and money”. How do you prevent people and their wealth from moving? The only way to do that is to impose massive amounts of control. That means massive government. That means government interfering with individual liberty over and over again. You can’t have “small government” while stopping the “free flow of humans and money”.

Yet this author calls himself a “conservative-libertarian”. That makes no sense to me. Hayek wrote that libertarianism is in the corner of a triangle. At equal and opposite distances are the two other corners, one occupied by socialists and the other by conservatives. There is no such thing as a “conservative-libertarian” anymore than we can have dry-water.

And what I find is that these so-called “conservative libertarians” are always conservatives first and libertarians last. There is barely a freedom that they wouldn’t sacrifice in the name of their conservative values. The author of this clap trap on immigration and secret plots claims he writes in support of “small government” and “open markets”. But does he?

There are three major components to open markets. One is the free flow of goods and services. Many conservatives do hold to this position. Not this author who whines about free trade agreements which actually bring about increased trade. But the other two aspects of an open market is the free flow of labor and of capital. In other words it is the “free flow of humans and money”. But that is the very thing he said he is against.

The free exchange of goods and services is merely one third of the “open market”. When you advocate that government control two-thirds of the market you are not advocating a free market but a state-controlled market. Now if you want to call that “conservative” go right ahead. Conservatives have always been lovers of state power and imposed order. But don’t call that “libertarian” and don’t pretend you are advocating “small government”. Embrace your inner fascist and admit that you hate freedom. Be honest with yourself and with others.

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EU politicians booted up with whips in hand.

Europe’s political classes are intent on doing what Hitler and Napoleon only dream of -- having total control of Europe.

There is much about the European Union that is good and much that is bad. It is good that they have basically pulled down the borders and allow the free movement of capital, labour and goods. The creation of this sort of free trade zone is beneficial to the individual nations and the European economy as a whole.

But the EU bureaucrats are not satisfied with doing a few good things. They wish to meddle across Europe and control every product, every laborer, every business and every euro that is earned. They want a political body which has complete control over the European continent.

The first set of measures I discuss encourage competition and wealth creation. But the rules and regulations that the political class wish to impose destroy both competition and wealth. In reality the good from the first set of measures will be wholly undone by the pernicious effects of the second kind of measures.

These are morons who want to impose European-wide regulation regarding such unimportant issues as the length of sausages. The political classes are obsessed with control and with their own alleged ability to centrally plan every aspect of human existence. And they don’t want anything to get in the way of their aspirations to achieve power. This includes their flagrant disregard for democratic processes.

Consider that the EU treaty, what is supposed to be a constitution fo Europe, was actually put to a vote of the public in France and the Netherlands. This “constitution,” that is hundreds of pages long and is a monument to dirigistic attitudes of the petty bureaucracy, was turned down by the French voters and by the Dutch voters.

So what did the political classes do? They simply said “thank you” to the voters and then said their approval or disapproval doesn’t matter. After both France and the Netherlands rejected this monstrosity of a constitution the EU political elite announced that future votes were not needed. They also said that they would tinker with the document a bit here and there and that was all that needed be done.

As for the voters having a say as to whether or not they approve of the new tinkering, well the bureaucratic elite says that is no longer necessary. In other words they told the voters in both those nations: “Screw you, we intend to go ahead with this no matter what you think.”

Ireland had to put the popularity of the EU treaty to a vote. Signing the EU treaty requires Ireland to change its own constitution and that requires approval from the electorate. The Irish voters turned out to vote on the matter in larger numbers than expected and the EU was handily rejected by them.

So here is a third time when the actual voters are allowed to speak on the matter and the third time that they have said, “No, thanks.” And once again the EU political elite it making it clear that they don’t give a damn what the people actually want. All that matters is what the political elite want. One wire service reports: “European leaders vowed Saturday to press ahead with a major EU reform treaty despite Ireland’s shock rejection....”

Actually the polls showed the measure going to defeat. The only people “shocked” by the rejection were the political classes who are used to the voters obeying their orders. Jose Manuel Barros, the president of the European Commission, “insists the Lisbon Treaty is still ‘alive’ and has urged other countries to continue ratifying it, as 18 EU members have already done.” Now not that the other EU members ratified the treaty by avoiding allowing their voters to have any say in the matter. In each case the political ruling classes have forced the measure through the local parliaments and refused to allow any public expression of approval on the matter.

Jean-Pierre Jouyet, a petty French government official, said that there is “no other solution” to this rejection problem than to force the matter to another vote. This sounds like a promise to keep bringing the matter up, again and again, until the voters relent and give the politicians what they are demanding. But Irish politicians are saying such a move is politically impossible for them. They are saying there is no chance of a second vote and that a second vote could be worse. In this election the turnout was high and the margin of defeat significant enough not to ignore.

The left-of-center Guardian newspaper says that German and French politicians are moving “to isolate Ireland...after the Irish dealt the architects of the union’s new regime a crushing defeat.” As they note these bureaucrats are: “refusing to take ireland’s no for an answer... by trying to ringfence the Irish, while demanding that the reform treaty be ratified by the rest of the EU.”

The original promise was that every EU nation would have to approve the treaty for it to come into force. French and German politicians say that those promises should be ignored -- after all what are political promises for, if not to be broken. They demand the “other EU states ratify the treaty as soon as possible to quarantine the Irish, and then come up with some legal manoeuvre enabling the treaty to go ahead.” German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said: “We’re sticking firmly to our goal of putting this treaty into effect. So the process of ratification must continue.”

Angela Merkel, the great sell-out of German politics, said, “We must carry on.”

What we have is a stand-off. The political elite of Europe are lusting after the power that the EU treaty offers them. The people of Europe like the free movement of labor, capital and goods but don’t want brainless bureaucrats in Brussels ordering them about on every niggling matter. The politicians are telling the people that they should shut up and that their wishes really aren’t important. Certainly those few nations that allowed the matter to go to a vote faced the embarrassment of rejection so, for the most part, the political classes simply never allowed the public to have any say in the matter.

The Guardian says that it appears that the EU politicians want to offer some “soothing words” on various issues to the Irish and then “stage the vote again”.

All we can say for sure is that the European power elite in the various governments are livid that the people had any say over who shall rule them. The assumption of most such politicians is that the voters are utter fools with no rights but those granted by the beneficent, and superior, political classes. While, now and then, some pretence of concern for “democratic processes” has to be made, the reality is that the public is a horse and the politicians are the riders, booted up, spurs attached, with whip in hand.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

The smearing of Judge Kozinski

Most bias in newspapers is subtle. Now and then some journalist comes of the closet with a piece so biased and distorted as to out himself. One such “journalist” is Scott Glover of the Los Angeles Times. He wrote an article that can best be described as a “hit piece” regarding Judge Alex Kozinski.

Let us get some background here. Kozinski is a strong advocate of the First Amendment. He is a friend to civil liberties. While he was appointed to the federal court by Ronald Reagan, Kozinski is more libertarian than conservative.

Kozinski was the presiding judge at an obscenity trial in Los Angeles. The trial dealt with some very fringe sexual material that most people would find unappealing. The prosecutors in the case know that Kozinski happens to take the First Amendment seriously and that meant they were gunning for him. They argued he should step down due to a conflict of interest claiming he has a “sexually explicit web site with similar material to what is on trial here.”

Let us note that the prosecutor is lying intentionally. Here are the facts as we know them.

Judge Kozinski had a private web site which was not promoted to the public or advertised in any way. The site had some files on it which had some images that included sexuality or nudity but the context was entirely different from what the prosecutor was implying. Most of the material was of a humorous nature. None of it was commercial. None of it even came close to being “similar material to what is on trial here.” The prosecutor does what he was paid to do -- lie through his eye teeth in order to destroy the First Amendment. To access the files you had to have the precise url address.

But what got worse was that Glover at the Los Angeles Times then stoops to smearing Kozinski by distorting beyond recognition the actual material that was on the site. Glover had to know he was twisting facts in order to make Kozinski look at bad as possible. If that were not the case then Glover never actually saw the material in question. Much of the material has made the rounds on the internet for years. It is widely available and unlikely to be classified obscene anywhere.

For instance, Glover says one video showed “a half-dressed man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal.” I thought, when I read that, “what the hell is going on here?” It surprised me. I’m sure such material exists but still I doubted that Judge Kozinski would be collecting it. It turns out that Glover’s description is blatantly twisted and distorts the facts beyond recognition.

What I found surprised me. It surprised me because it was a film which I had seen aired on television, and I don’t mean cable. It was on broadcast television because it was funny. Glover carefully tells the truth but in a manner that the truth is no longer recognizable. The farm animal was a donkey. And the donkey was rather excited. The “half-dressed” man wasn’t quite half dressed and the term “half dressed” actually doesn’t say much. Responsible journalists wouldn’t use such a vague term. As for “cavorting” that is a distortion as well.

To “cavort” is to have “lively or boisterous fun”. Well, that wasn’t quite what was going on here. As I remember the video in its entirety this donkey was in a field in a sexually aroused state -- something which can’t be hidden on a donkey. This man climbed over the fence to have his picture taken standing next to the donkey. But the donkey apparently had other ideas in mind and charged at the man.

In the film the man is not “cavorting” with the donkey but actually trying to fend it off. He is pushing it away and trying to deflect its attention. The humor was that he wanted a funny picture of himself and the donkey decided he was the only live option around for some relief. So for a couple of minutes you see this man trying to escape the attention of the donkey. He can’t turn and flee since the donkey was taking that as an invitation. So he keeps turning around and pushing the donkey away.

The man was wearing somewhat loose trousers. As he is fending off the donkey the waistline of his trousers starts falling lower and lower exposing his underwear. The man is now trying to pull up his underwear and fend off the donkey, and flee, all at the same time. That was on television but in the LA Times is it described as a “a half-dressed man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal.” (Please note that the video below is the video in question. It is so obscene that Youtube runs it.)

Did Mr. Glover actually see the video which he was reporting on? If he didn’t see it then he had no business reporting what it showed. If he did see it then he twisted the content and context to such a degree that he is guilty of a breach of common journalistic ethics. Either way Mr. Glover has no business pretending to be a journalist on a major newspaper.

Glover says that Kozinski “defended some of the adult content as ‘funny’....” Since Glover did not accurately portray the content in his article he makes Kozkinski look as if he is defending, as humorous, a film depicting bestiality. No such film was on the site. Kozinski’s response that material was funny is accurate. Only Mr. Glover’s false portrayal of the facts made Kozinski look jaded.

Kozkinski said that the material in question was not in a public area of his web site. Individuals had to have the file names to find the pages in question. And he, like everyone else on the net, sent funny images or videos to friends.

Glover then twists in the knife even more by claiming that after the LA Times released its smear story “the judge offered another explanation for how the material might have been posted to the site.” What Glover should have written is that he offered an additional explanation for some material not “another explanation.” Glover implies that Kozinski was lying and trying to come up with a new excuse.

Kozinski offered no excuses. He said that he added videos and images he found amusing to this collection and sometimes sent that material to others. Virtually everyone I know does something similar. Kozinski said that he didn’t remember adding some of the images or films in question. His adult son, Yale, says he also added images to the site. So both the father and the son had access to the site and both periodically added material to the files that were there. That sounds reasonable.

So how does the sleaze merchant Glover describe this: “By Wednesday afternoon, as controversy about the web site spread, Kozinski was seeking to shift responsibility, at least in part, to his adult son, Yale.” Glover is journalistic slime.

Kozinksi says that Yale called and told him that some of the material was uploaded by himself.

Of course Glover then goes bottom crawling by seeking comments from Senator Dianne Feinstein -- a smarmy politician if ever there was one. I never liked her from the day she took over as mayor of San Francisco. She has always had a moralistic streak that would ride roughshod over the Bill of Rights. Feinstein immediately said that: “If this is true, this is unacceptable for a federal court judge.” If what is true?

Notice that Feinstein is stupidly responding to a question put to her by Glover and she is even more stupidly relying on his description of the content. She should have said that she had no comment since she hadn’t seen the material in question. But no Senator wants to look uninformed. Her remarks are then used by Glover to indicate that Kozinski had done something seriously wrong.

But Feinstein is merely responding to Glover’s description and we have already seen that what Glover printed is a gross distortion of facts. He is was so inaccurate in his printed story one can only wonder how much worse his verbal descriptions were.

Another item that Glover wrote of “was a slide show striptease featuring a transsexual”. That is also false. According to various individuals who have seen the slide show it is not that at all. It is a series of photos of women except some of the women are actually men dressed as women. The viewer is asked to decide whether the woman is a biological woman or a man dressed to look like a woman. After they guess the outfit is removed to show the actual gender of the person involved. This is hardly a “strip tease” by any stretch of the imagination. [Update: Since writing this I have seen the slide show in question and Glover's description is utterly false.]

Glover writes: “Among the sexually explicit material on his site that he defended as humorous were two photos. In one, a young man is bent over in a chair and performing fellatio on himself.” What Glover leaves out is the entire context of that photo. By doing so he makes Kozinski look absurd by referring to the photo as humorous.

The photo in question was put into a bogus Mastercard ad featuring the “priceless” slogan that has been the target of satire regularly. The photo is of a young man performing oral sex on himself in front of his computer screen. The text says:

“A Mastercard bill you would not receive.”
Internet connection: $19.99/month
CyberSex Chatroom membership: $9.99/month
Hidden cam your little brother bought $69.99

Your brothers revenge on you for years of torment by posting a ‘private moment’ picture of you on the internet: Priceless!! supports Kozinski. They say that his description of the files as funny and part of life is accurate. They contend that what he had were “the type of ‘viral’ videos and images that are commonly circulated among men of a certain humour by e-mail.” Kozinski said these were photos and films that various people sent him and when he found them amusing he saved them to the private file -- remember this was never a file he made public intentionally.

One has to question what the hell Glover was thinking to write trash like this. Is his output so meager or pathetic that he has to bolster his writing with flagrant, sensationalistic distortions? One can understand why the smarmy prosecutors would want to smear a First Amendment advocate like Kozinski, but why would a journalist want to do this? And we shouldn’t forget how quickly and easily Feinstein stuck her nose into the matter without bothering to find out what the facts were.

The First Amendment is under assault by the Religious Right and the feminist Left. Judge Kozinski is one of those rare justices who stands by the Constitution -- certainly far more so than most. To have him smeared in this sensationalistic manner is shocking. To have the Los Angeles Times acting as the mouthpiece of a federal prosecutor who is trying to gut the Bill of Rights is inexcusable.

Photos: The infamous self-fellatio photo is here but cropped so you can see the text that accompanies it -- text which Glover failed to mention. Another photo from the site is attached as well. This is a Halloween costume and the “child” is a rag doll. Numerous morons on the net are fuming because they are incapable of telling a live child from a doll. The costume is funny and one that I saw distributed widely after it first appeared. Most of the items that Kozinski filed away were of a similar nature. This pretty much shows that the prosecutors were lying. I’m wonder if Glover is sleeping with one of the prosecutors given the quality of his reporting.

PS: I don't want anyone to assume that if Judge Kosinski had clearly pornographic images on his computer that would mean he had violate judicial ethics. Such images are not illegal. The computer was a home computer not a work computer. And somebody should pay attention to the fact that someone bypassed the security on Kosinki's site. It may not have been good security but this was clearly a private file that was accessed without permission. If this had been taken from a file cabinet it would be called breaking and entering. We seem too lose about what people (and police) are allowed to do with computers.

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