Saturday, April 28, 2007

April 28, 2007_So Ah...Where'd Those Posts Go?

DEEP down the memory hole, I hope. See, the problem here for me is that anything I write (even opinions) seems to draw me into deep and detailed arguments more suited to grad students, professional policy wonks, and politicians. For every thing I say or profess to believe, someone will object or offer some little known or obscure source which I then have to carefully analyze and judge the credibility of and respond to in kind, and which I don't especially relish doing. After all, I'm not trying to convince you, dear reader, of anything; I'm giving you my opinion FWIW to you, which you can take or leave, as you see fit.

I got into a bad flame war a few years over at over an article I wrote and I should have learned from that experience that it's probably best to leave the serious writing on economics and political theory to the big-brains who have the time, brains and education for such things, and just live my short happy little life kibitzing from the sidelines. In essence to, “leave the writing to the smart people,” as one of my ASC critics so helpfully put it.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

April 22, 2007_Do It Cuz I Said So, Citizen!

I see from perusing the NY Times that good 'ol NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to levy an $8 fee to anyone driving into Manhattan from 0600-1800 M-F. For the "public good" I suppose. At least that's what he said at the press conference he called to announce it. But don't worry folks, the expected (by him anyhow) $400 million that this fee would raise will be paid mainly by suburban commuters and who cares about them? And screw 'em anyhow see, cuz they don't vote in NYC, eh? Such cynicism.

You folks reading this that live in my village take note; this and similar shit is the kind of thing you should expect to see in the near future if the Village Council decides to hire a police force or contracts with the Lenawee county Sheriff's Department to assign Deputies in lieu of a police force. And never mind that a small portion of the revenue from tickets and fines levied will be kicked back to the village.

I'm told that in many Turd World nations the army, militia and police and other "unofficial" bandits regularly set up impromptu road blocks and rifle through the possessions, cargo, and wallets of whoever wants to pass through. And which is probably better too, in that a quick on-the-spot bribe inhibits commerce less than what is currently being proposed. And it's less worrisome than always fretting about where or when a cop car is gonna pop up behind and give you a ticket for whatever "crime" you've committed while driving to the store or picking up your kids after baseball practice. I was looking a the fine schedule posted on the wall at the courthouse in Adrian recently, and the cheapest fine that I noted was $125 (for expired tabs). Something to think about eh?

Technorati Tags:
Icerocket Tags:, , ,

Saturday, April 21, 2007

April 21, 2007_ Interesting Stuff from the Web

Anthony Gregory Reviews Idiocracy
“ 'Some libertarians might find the movie a cheap shot on capitalism, but insofar as it is, it is not the free market version being attacked. The film takes place where corporation and state have become so mixed as to be indistinguishable.' If you have not yet seen this hilarious film yet, do yourself a favor and rent it tonight. You’ll be glad you did.” (Strike the

[Don] Imus's Real Crime
He empowered the charlatans Sharpton and Jackson, says Imus-fan Elizabeth Wright. (

'MySpace will fail..' Says Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales
"There's way too much advertising and they're not really respecting their own community."

The Ethics of Labor Struggle: A Free Market Perspective
I also recall seeing a lot of tsk-tsking from Paul Birch and others of like mind in some discussion forum several months back, about what blackguards union workers were for demanding higher wages when their labor was most needed. Golly, aren't these the same people who defend "price gouging" by the oil companies? It's not very consistent to go from 'caveat emptor' and 'fooled you twice, shame on you!' in every realm except labor relations, to spelling 'God' E-M-P-L-O-Y-E-R within the workplace. The hostility is quite odd, assuming the person feeling it is motivated by free market principle rather than a zeal for the aggrieved interests of big business. They seem, in fact, to implicitly assume a model of employer-employee relations based on a cultural holdover from the old master-servant relationship.” An essay by Kevin Carson. (Via

The Sun's Atmosphere Sings
“In the cosmic equivalent of a guitar pick, so-called microflares at the base of loops could be plucking the magnetic loops and setting the sound waves in motion, the researchers speculate. While solar flares are the largest explosions in the solar system, microflares are a million times smaller but much more frequent; both phenomena are now thought to funnel heat into the Sun's outer atmosphere.The acoustic waves can be extremely energetic, reaching heights of tens of miles, and can travel at rapid speeds of 45,000 to 90,000 miles per hour. 'These [explosions] release energy equivalent to millions of hydrogen bombs,' von Fay-Siebenburgen said.” (

Enemy of the State
“My own sheltered childhood ended with the Cultural Revolution. My parents were denounced as 'stinking intellectuals' and 'counter-revolutionaries.' Our house was ransacked. Under the new policy, I went to a nearby school of workers’ children, some of whom threw rocks at me and even left human excrement on our balcony. But Jianguo thrived amid the social turmoil, and became a leader of a Red Guard faction at his school. He seldom came home. When he did, he dressed in full Red Guard fashion: the faded green Army jacket and cap, the Mao button on the shirt pocket, the bright-red armband. He was tall and broad-shouldered, and, with his manly good looks, he seemed to me larger than life. I was shy and tongue-tied in his presence.” (The New Yorker)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

April 19, 2007 _ Proudhon's Old Saw is as Sharp as Ever

So old that it is often passed aside for consideration as a cliche, it still rings true as ever to my way of thinking. This quote from Jean-Pierre Proudhon that it is:

"To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be governed is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorised, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the public interest, to be placed under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolised, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonoured. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality. " - J.P. Proudhon

That rant I posted yesterday made me think of Proudhon's words yet again. Our village "governs" itself just fine actually, and we won't be any better off hiring cops. Every busybody, prude, buttinsky, and scold will look to the Village Council and its cops to enact their every notion, thought, fancy and whim into law and prohibit, regulate, tax, and outlaw whatever it is that they don't like or approve of. They'll find a pretense or cause for everything that ever happens, did happen or could happen, and propose a "legal remedy" for it, and along with a schedule of fees and fines to make it turn a profit for the village and of course men with guns to back it up.

If someone has a faulty electric outlet or forgets to turn the flame off a stove burner and burns their kitchen up, why then, the buttinskys will no doubt say, we need to require by law, a smoke detector for every room and fire extinguishers as well. And how will we know people are complying? The village ordinance compliance officer can go to each home and inspect it. And what if the home resident doesn't want to comply or admit the OCO? She can then call the Village Cops to make them admit her, crashing the door in if need be, eh? This is totally insane. Prudent people will do the smart thing (as they see it anyhow) whether it's the law or not; and the feckless and shortsighted won't. And all the laws and cops won't matter one damn bit.

If we are stupid enough to step into this quagmire, how the hell will we ever get out again? Something to think about folks.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

April 18, 2007 – Some “Law and Order” Issues Roiling My Village

One of the main things I like about where I live now, a rural village of 2600 people in Michigan, is the fact that it has no police. Oh, it has some badge carriers, but they are unarmed, non-uniformed sorts with very little status or power. It has an “ordinance compliance officer” (formally known as the Village Constable; her main “power” is to give you a warning notice or a ticket if you violate some strictly local ordinance, such as
burning trash in the summer or not keeping your dogs off other people’s property, and such like matters) and the school crossing guards on some street intersections duringschool hours. But beyond those two types, nothing.

We don’t even have an “Andy Taylor of Mayberry” type of town sheriff, never mind some overzealous Barney Fife style goof. See, we don’t really need ‘em here. We don’t have any “crime” of the violent and destructive sort. And never mind the “official stats” because as we all know by now, “figures never lie, but liars sure do figure”. Of course there are violations of Michigan and Federal law that occur here, but nothing people really care about or that hurt anyone. Certainly nothing that hurts them in a material way.

If my neighbors like to get high, have expired license plate tags, don’t pay their child support on time, smoke where they shouldn’t, don’t mow their lawns regularly, have loud mufflers, or any of the other numerous laws that get violated here with impunity, who really cares? Who is hurt by it? No one actually, so it’s no skin off my ass what people do, and so I don’t care one bit.

And, if by some odd or rare circumstances, some villager should actually require the assistance of the police, well, we have a Sheriff’s substation about ten miles down the highway and a Michigan State Police post about the same distance in the other direction and a countywide 911 telephone system for that. Local volunteers handle fire and ambulance services when needed. And so we get along just fine. Nearly every home in the village has at least one firearm, should it ever be needed, for serious security issues. But that never seems to come up. Not to my knowledge anyhow; all of our public safety and security needs are covered by our present set-up already, thank-you very much, very nicely, very cheaply, and very subtly. Or so I thought.

But now though some busybody sorts that can’t seem to get along with this one family of bad neighbors a proposing a new system. The troublemakers in this case here are a family of drunken louts. An older woman lives with her two “boys” (who are both in their mid thirties, at least) and both of whom are “work-disabled” and receive state assistance, so they need not maintain employment. They like to drink to excess and have loud arguments some times, often really, and I fully understand why this annoys people.

So to remedy this situation, the busybodies want the village to levy a 1-mil tax on all real estate (that is to say a tax of $1 per thousand dollars of assessed value, so the owner of a $100k house would need to pay $100), to hire three full time police officers. And principally just to tell the aforementioned drunken louts to pipe down because people are trying to sleep.

The thing is folks, if we hire cops for the village, suddenly there will be someone who “cares” that we like to get high, have expired license plate tags, don't pay our child support on time, smoke cigarettes where we want, don't mow our lawns regularly, or have loud mufflers. They'll “care” enough to arrest us, fine us, jail us, spy on us, and anything else they decide to, up to and including killing us if need be. Is all that really a good trade off here? More tax money spent and way less liberty than what we have now, just to deal with what is, in the end, a ver minor problem. I say no, it isn't. Just shun them, eh?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

April 18, 2007 – Euro-Statism is Just as Bad as Our Own

I was reading about the upcoming election in France and and this article in the on-line edition of the New Yorker captures perfectly the intransigent nature of the statist mind whatever its nominal political leanings or beliefs may be.

The French” says the article, “are often accused of being trapped in their Cartesian categories. A cold sandwich cannot morph into a hot sandwich without considerable mental accommodation on the part of the person putting it together. In politics, the left cannot creep toward the center, let alone the right, without a deep, if not intolerable, sense of ideological betrayal. The right rarely even considers the possibility of creeping. Change, on the right, is more a matter of cosmetic surgery. For most of the French, the 'center'—call it a third way or Clinton’s way or Blair’s way or simply a free-market, social-democratic consensus—has been a contradiction in terms, perhaps because they remain so deeply devoted to the protective and protectionist state, l’État protecteur, that both the left and the right have helped create. The state has been reified, even deified; it carries the imprimatur of a historic compromise with reality.”

Yeah, right. Like reality can be “compromised with”, eh? The French really are different from us, but not as much as we think.The only thing states protect is their own power, privilege and prerogatives and if any actual good comes from it, well, that's just plain ol' luck or happenstance. The care and feeding of the state itself and its political base, always come first. And all this blather about “right”, “left” and “center” as a dynamic political continuum is just bullshit. Proudhon, Bastiat and Cantillon must be spinning in their graves right about now.

Icerocket Tags: ,
Technorati Tags:

April 17, 2007- Urbanization and the Heavy Hand of Leviathan

In my county of residence (Hillsdale) in rural Michigan relations between people and the local units of governance are still pretty informal. That doesn't mean that the government at all levels isn't an expensive, onerous and stifling presence, because it is. However, that said and stipulated, it isn't nearly as bad as it is in the urbanized counties to its immediate east and north. When I have to “do business” with the local bureaucrats I have to visit them at their sinister mirrored glass civic palaces, they don't come to me. And the worse thing of all is the security arrangements. In Lenawee, Washtenaw, and Jackson counties you are herded into lines and forced to empty your pockets, (and the contents are inspected outside your view), you must surrender your purses, backpacks, briefcases, lunch bags and all else for “inspection” too; and it only gets worse. If you're wearing a belt, you have to remove it and hand it over until you leave. And ditto with cell phones, anything metal, pens, and/or anything else the creepy little private security types think bears closer examination. And further, just to add to the “compliance milieu” there is an armed uniformed Deputy Sheriff eyeballing you while the security team “processes” you.

Now keep in mind that this is all for ordinary people to come inside a government building which they paid for and maintain in order to pay their taxes, buy dog licenses, get building permits and other licenses, or look-up or file records (birth, death, deeds, etc).

I could see perhaps the need for security at this level at a courthouse or jail where criminal elements are being held or tried, because I do recognize many of the defendants are dangerous people. But all this just to file a remodeling plan for a bathroom or a garage addition? And for crying out loud I am so sure al-Qaeda operatives in their little caves in Tora Bora are continually scheming to get a suicide bomber into the Lenawee County Building or the Jackson County Civic center, eh? Maybe it's just me; as I grow older, I find that this kinda overkill on security operations is degrading to have to deal with. And “deal with” is the operative term. It isn't like you even can go anywhere else for the piece of paper that the state requires you to have to live your life or do your business in compliance with the law either.

So I already feel queasy just going there. But it is the flagrant abuse toward your privacy and dignity that just push me over the edge. Deputy Pig at the Lenawee courthouse waited for the person in front of me at the entry line to go inside the inner sanctum, and then took his very nice and expensive Blackberry cellphone/PDA out of the basket and turned it on and started scrolling through his phone numbers and other stuff. She didn't care about our reaction to this abuse, either. The owner had to leave it, and she was the only one around. Well, the only one around with a large semi-automatic pistol and the power to arrest. Her position and attitude made the rest of us lined up like cattle invisible to her I guess. Deputy Pig didn't even try to disguise her flagrant abuse of this man's privacy and property from the rest of us. Such an attitude, eh?

A small thing I suppose, but stuff like this bothers the shit out of me. I don't know how much longer I can stand it. It all builds up.

Technorati Tags: oppression privacy Leviathan security_checkpoints

Ice Rocket Tags: , , ,

Monday, April 16, 2007

April 16, 2007 – Why Stalin of All People?

This one’s for you “techno-geek.” And you know who you are!

I am reading the Stalin biography mentioned yesterday because it seems to me that he is the modern prototype for a successful dictator. Uber-successful to be precise. Stalin took over a poor, backward country where most people lived in mud huts and used wooden plows drawn by horses. When he sloughed off his mortal coil, some two and a half decades later, the USSR had a world empire protected by a huge army and nuclear weapons.

More details? Let’s see now. Stalin saved an unpopular dictatorship with a crumbling economy from counter-revolution and all its enemies, both foreign and domestic; He outflanked and eliminated all his rivals for power inside the Soviet Communist Party; He served as a warlord for the state that took on the Nazi war machine and destroyed it; He played the western Allies and their diplomats for saps and took over half of Europe without a shot fired; He survived the beginning of the Cold War. And, best of all no doubt, (at least from his point of view), Stalin died peacefully in his sleep, after a long life. Stalin didn’t accomplish all this by luck. It was all by cunning, ruthlessness and a massive power of will.

I am told that Saddam Hussein based his entire “style of governance” (if you wanna call it that) on Stalin. The military uniforms they both favored (although like Stalin, Saddam was never a soldier and, like Stalin, was rejected for military service when he tried to enlist.) Saddam had every major biography of Stalin in a special room in his library. He even had foreign works translated by his own personal “Stalin scholar.” A library of over a thousand books (only on Stalin), too.

If you’re looking for what a “successful” modern, cult-of-personality, absolute dictatorship looks like, and how it survived, thrived and endured for so long (e.g., from 1927 to 1953) just take a look at Uncle Joe's career.

Pathologists study cancer and I study dictators; What else can I say?

Technorati Tags: , ,

Sunday, April 15, 2007

April 15, 2007 – What I am Currently Reading

As if you care, eh? Whatever. Here's my list anyway, along with some shameless cribs from the and the AK Press descriptions.

Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor
“In this revealing study of a Southside Chicago neighborhood, sociologist Venkatesh opens a window on how the poor live. Focusing on domestics, entrepreneurs, hustlers, preachers and gangs linked in an underground economy that 'manages to touch all households,' the book reveals how residents struggle between 'their desires to live a just life and their needs to make ends meet as best they can.' In this milieu, African-American mechanics, painters, hairdressers, musicians and informal security guards are linked to prostitutes, drug dealers, gun dealers and car thieves in illegal enterprises that even police and politicians are involved in, though not all are criminals in the usual sense. Storefront clergy, often dependent 'on the underground for their own livelihood,' serve as mediators and brokers between individuals and gang members, who have 'insinuated themselves—and their drug money—into the deepest reaches of the community.' Although the book's academic tenor is occasionally wearying, Venkatesh keeps his work vital and poignant by using the words of his subjects, who are as dependent on this intricate web as they are fearful of its dangers.”
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.

Durruti in the Spanish Revolution
“In this new and unabridged translation of the definitive biography of Spanish revolutionary and military strategist, Buenaventura Durruti, Abel Paz has given us much more than an account of a single man's life. Durruti in the Spanish Revolution is as much the chronicle of an entire nation and of a tumultuous historical era. Paz seamlessly weaves intimate biographical details of Durruti's life—his progression from factory worker and father to bank robber, political exile and, eventually, revolutionary leader—with extensive historical background, behind-the-scenes governmental intrigue, and blow-by-blow accounts of major battles and urban guerrilla warfare. Written with a thorough and sympathetic understanding of the anarchist ideals that motivated Durruti, this is an amazing and exhaustive study of an incredible man and his life-long fight against totalitarianism in both its capitalist and Stalinist forms.
Includes an afterword by José Luis Gutierréz Molina's on Abel Paz's life and the historiography of the Spanish Revolution.” From the AK Press' promo summary blurb.

Stalin: A Biography
“Stalin has ascended to an equal plane with Hitler in the pantheon of world-class monsters and mass murderers. Yet, perhaps due to the relative unavailability of primary-source material, much of Stalin's life and his motivations remained a mystery. But recently released Soviet archival material, of which this fascinating and unsettling biography takes full advantage, has shed new light. Service, an esteemed scholar of Russian and Soviet history, does not minimize Stalin's crimes or absolve him of responsibility for the horrors of the Soviet era. He makes clear that Stalin, from his youth, was a 'damaged' personality with a propensity for brutality against both friend and foe. But, as Service convincingly illustrates, this monster was a human who could write sensitive poetry, dote on family members, and inspire loyalty. Furthermore, the paranoia that permeated the reign of Stalin and led to the Great Terror descended not from Stalin but from an adherence to a pseudoreligion that encouraged followers to shape, even twist, their perceptions of reality to conform to absolute truth. A necessary reappraisal.” Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association.

Ice Rocket Tags: , ,

Technorati tags:, ,

Thursday, April 12, 2007

April 12, 2007 - The End is Nigh for XP

"Computer makers have been told", say this article, "they'll no longer be able to get Windows XP OEM by the end of this year, despite consumer resistance to Vista and its compatibility problems.

By early 2008, Microsoft's contracts with computer makers will require companies to only sell Vista-loaded machines. 'The OEM version of XP Professional goes next January,' said Frank Luburic, senior ThinkPad product manager for Lenovo. 'At that point, they'll have no choice.'

Despite Microsoft's relentless promotion of Vista, manufacturers are still seeing plenty of demand from customers for systems preloaded with XP, especially in the finicky SOHO market." (Via

As I have noted elsewhere before, all is not lost folks. You can always learn to use Linux or get a Mac as an alternative. However you probably should start saving the money now for a new machine (if you're gonna go with a Mac) or start looking at your local community college or adult education programs course offerings if you want to get to know Linux in serious way, and so skip over the frustration of trying to learn a new OS on your own by trial and error.

So if you've misgivings about the way Microsoft is relentlessly "borgifying" cyber culture and the Internet (and don't we all?) then you've received fair notice. Or at least as fair as you're likely to get from the Redmond oligarchs.

Technorati tags:

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

April 11, 2007 - So Don Imus is a Jerk

But then everybody who listens to him already knew that. So what the hell’s the problem? Well this; he called the Rutgers University women’s basketball teamnappy-headed ho's” on the air, that’s what. A team that is mainly made up of black women. And so the “outrage” [sic] from the usual suspects. But whatever, folks. You regular listens of Imus’ morning radio show must have known by now that he talks about people like that, in between his guest interviews with big-time pols and the Hollywood set, and whoever's flacking their new book or movie, to whom he’s either snidely condescending or outright rude.

And just as predicted, (by me anyhow) the market is reigning ol’ Don in. Sponsors have announced that they are pulling their advertising and so the program's revenue. That is what is really gonna get him in trouble and not his rude and obnoxious language. And this is as it should be. Imus can clean up his act, or go on cable or satellite radio, and his outraged critics can just flip the dial and listen to music or another radio program.

Looking at the stats for his show, I see Imus has only about 300k (give or take) people that even listen daily to him anyhow, so again, what’s the big deal here? That croaking old toad Paul Harvey gets more listeners than that just in metro-Detroit. Hell, Imus' ratings are so low, even the proudly low-rated ideologues at the Air America ™ radio network or the tax funded ones at NPR would probably cancel him. And that being the case, I’d imagine that of the listeners Imus does have, few as they are for a national show, they must want and enjoy his schtick. A tempest in a tea cup here IMHO.

So tomorrow morning (in about two weeks that is; CBS radio and MSNBC have both “suspended” Imus' show for that long) spin that dial around and see what else is on then, or buy an iPod, or read the newspaper.

Technorati tags:

April 11, 2007 - No One Wants to Touch this Tar Baby

"The White House wants to appoint a high-powered czar to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," says this news item in the Washington Post, "with authority to issue directions to the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies, but it has had trouble finding anyone able and willing to take the job, according to people close to the situation.

At least three retired four-star generals approached by the White House in recent weeks have declined to be considered for the position, the sources said, underscoring the administration's difficulty in enlisting its top recruits to join the team after five years of warfare that have taxed the United States and its military."

But nobody with any thought of a further career in the military wants to take it on. Go figure? Like JFK said after the failure of the proxy US invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs in 1961, "Success has many father's, but failure is an orphan". And in this case an orphan nobody wants to adopt either.

The prospective uniformed "war czars" see the writing on the wall; the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are grinding machines that continually need more blood and treasure, with only slim chances of ever turning out well, but Mr. Bush and his rapidly shrinking cabal just can't admit to themselves that these wars were a bad mistake, and are way too stubborn and prideful to just accept that fact, and get the hell out. And so the money gets spent and the casualties on both sides mount.

The Iraq war is over; and Iran won. The only real counter balance to Iran was Iraq (as was planned and intended as far back as the Reagan administration), and which is now a political basket-case. And as for Afghanistan? That has been the graveyard of empires for millennia, the Soviets and now the US being it's most recent victims.

Technorati tags:

Monday, April 9, 2007

April 9, 2007 – More Debate About the US Income Tax Changes Nothing

Cato Craft over at, has a pretty good podcast posted about the purpose of recognizing your own, personal, “Tax Freedom Day.” It makes you note at what point in the year a typical person's earned enough income to pay their taxes and so are finally working for their own benefit and not to pay the feds, the state, the city, the school board, the county, and the rest.

I agree with everything Cato says about the immoral and illegal nature of taxes; that arguing and acting on the view that taxes can be challenged in court on constitutional principles, as some of us do, is a wholly futile enterprise. So says Cato anyhow, and I agree. While a few people do manage to wiggle free of the long arm of the IRS, in nearly every case I am aware of, if you play this hand, you'll lose your shirt, as well as your reputation, money, property, liberty, and even life in some cases. Impeccable logical and sound and informed legal argumentation is futile. Expecting the government-run courts to seriously entertain arguments to the contrary is like expecting a cat not to chase a dangling piece of string. Of course Leviathan will act against you; its the nature of that particular beast, no? Just like a cat and dangling string.

Like the words of wisdom Cato winds up the podcast with, “the constitution is irrelevant”in American courts. Cato says “pay your taxes, and stay free”. That is to say, free to act against the state, and able to live your life. Taxes, for now, are just a cost of doing “business” with the state. A price we pay to stay at liberty.

You're a good man Cato Craft: clear-eyed and pragmatic to a fault. And that's a problem I'd like to have.

Technorati Tags:

Sunday, April 8, 2007

April 8, 2007 -Self Defense in Theory & Practice

What Really Happens In A Gunfight?
Truly, the most important thing in all this is where you hit your opponent. I have spoken with a little old lady who severed the aorta of a home invader with a FMJ .32 while, at the same time, talking to a police officer that could not stop a knife-wielding assailant with five rounds of .45 ACP hollow-point.” [My emphasis]

Just like with sex, it isn't the size of your gun, but what you do with it, that counts. A sad reality of the world we live in. An interesting read too, if you're not put off by the bloodymindedness of the author. Bottom line: Keeping your wits about you and marksmanship skill trump firepower.

Another interesting article on the theoretical and practical implications of taking full responsibiltiy for your personal safety is What Would Happen If the Police Just Went Away? by Warren Tilson.

Technorati Tags:

Saturday, April 7, 2007

April 7, 2007 – Some Interesting Stuff from Web Surfing This Morning

'Open Carry' [of a sidearm] Begins for Basil
“I have been open carrying on streets and trails around and in Manhattan the last week or two (and on rivers and mountain trails forever), but today I carried openly in the Three Forks hardware store and the Manhattan grocery store. No problems... everyone was friendly, though I did notice a couple of women gawking at me out the front window of the grocery store as I left, and I noticed a guy checking me out in Three Forks as I entered the store as he was leaving “ Web forum postings from the Clairefiles.

The 10 Real Reasons Why Geeks Make Better Lovers
Regina Lynn @

10 Foods Tough to Digest
MSN Health & Fitness column slideshow with commentary. Kind of surprising too.

Record Store Owners Blame RIAA For Destroying Music Industry
It's not every day that you see a NY Times piece use the word 'boneheadedness' to describe the strategy of an organization." Zonk @

Cop killer 'Bucky' Phillips had time of his life on the lam
" 'I enjoyed those few months more than I've enjoyed any other time in my life,' said Phillips, who is serving his sentence at the Clinton County [NY] Correction Facility.” CNN

Max Stirner's Philosophy Examined
“ 'Eigentum,' that which is owned, is for Stirner an expression of a willed relation. As a willed relation, it can be discarded at any moment - by will. Opposed to the willed relation is the bond, the 'ought' and the 'shall'. These are simply relations that are not mine to dispose of, but which are given me from without - without also in the sense of an 'essence' I must confirm to and cannot dispose of. ” Interesting.

Parents Balking At Schools [seemingly endless] Fundraising
“"We have to pitch the merchandise, collect the money for the merchandise, and deliver the merchandise, and I'm not, as a mom and a family, set up to do that,' she says. And, after years of being asked to sell things such as wrapping paper, Eagleson finally had had enough. 'I simply called the school and called the principal and said my son will not be participating any further in sale-type of fundraisers,' she told McGinnis. And, McGinnis points out, she's not alone. At Dutch Neck Elementary School in Princeton Junction, N.J., parents voted to do away traditional school fundraisers. Principal Scott Feder says they 'went away, and now we do a 'Write a Check' campaign, where we send a letter home and the parents respond with sending in what they feel is appropriate.' Checks are written directly to the school, are tax deductible, and are producing as much money as traditional fundraisers did. Feder says the school even exceeded its goal for the campaign, two years in a row. How much time do parents save by just writing that check? 'Maybe a week's worth of hours, hours and hours and hours of time,' says Feder.” (CBS News) Voluntarism works the best anyway. (Via

Friday, April 6, 2007

04/06/07 - Public Employee Unions Got What they Wanted in the Last Election – Now Let’s See if They Want What They’re Gonna Get

The Correctional Officers Union and the Michigan State Police Troopers Association both of whom happily endorsed, contributed lots of time and money, and otherwise went all out for the re-election last November of Michigan’s incumbent governor, Democrat Jennifer Grandholm. But now it seems the jokes on them. She’s pardoning hundreds if not thousands of low level incarcerates in order to close two prisons and is laying-off a few dozen state troopers and few hundred CO’s and prison staff support. Hah!

It’s sad that it took a situation of financial distress on the part of the state of Michigan to do this; it should have been done anyhow, just on principal. If these people aren’t dangerous enough to actually require incarceration on account of the seriousness of their crimes or danger to society, WTF are they even being held at all, regardless of financial considerations by the state? And good for the Grandholm administration for doing this instead of going for a big tax increase. Often the pols threaten to do this sort of thing just to scare the public into raising taxes or not at least not cutting them. She seems to actually mean it.

The union leadership, which here in Michigan is overwhelmingly Democratic, thought their support would surely lead to a different result eh? And thank you for your support guys! Haw!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

April 4, 2007 - Pols vs. Educrats: An April Fool’s Joke, All Year Long

The Washington, D.C. municipal government, that exemplar of competence and rectitude, is pushing to take over management of their local school system because see, the school board is crooked, wasteful and incompetent. All reported by the Washington Post without a hint of irony or sarcasm too, although it reads like something from Fark or The Onion. This howler is like Cheech tellingChong to let him drive cuz he’s too high.

My kids go to private schools that their grandparents and myself and pay for, and I’ve found this arrangement to be worth every penny of the additional cost. Yes, I say “additional,” because the local school board still wants “their” tax money from me, too.

“School board President Robert C. Bobb said,” the article goes on to say, “in a statement that he would stay on the board, although his role would be diminished. ‘Now that the council has acted, it's time for leaders in the District to sit down, roll up our sleeves, and work together . . . with the interests of the children of the District front and center,’ he said.” Yeah, whatever Mr. Bobb; you’ll still be collecting your check and benefits even though there’s even less work for you to do, and what you’ve done so far has been just swell too.

As I’ve said before, this kind of news story could just as easily have been a satirical piece from The Onion or Fark with very little tweaking, and it is very revealing of the statist mentality of the journalists that write this stuff as well, that they can do it with a straight face. Or then again, maybe being able to is a skill the scribes learn in a class that they teach at journalism school?

Technorati Tags:

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

April 3, 2007 - “Economics for Real People” vs. Vulgar Libertarian Bullshit from Corporate Press Releases

[And with all due respect to Gene Calahan who wrote a book by the same name. This article is about bad times for employees of Circuit City.]

“Like many companies,” says this revealing article in Businessweek, “Circuit City has a set of company values, which it conveniently lists on its website. First among them: 'Our associates are our greatest assets.' Last week some 3,400 of them learned what that means. Their jobs were eliminated solely because the company decided they were getting paid too much. Clearly, the company doesn't value them as 'great assets.' If it did, it would realize that firing employees because they've performed well enough to earn raises demoralizes everyone else. What kind of inducement is it for employees to work hard and excel if their reward might be a pink slip? And why would people want to shop at a store where the low premium on service is so loudly trumpeted?”

Oh the joys of being a wage slave! Those folks did everything the company asked them to do, and did it well; and their reward is to be kicked to the curb. But I hear some people actally like being wage slaves AKA corporate employees, because working for yourself is such a risky, tiresome and heavy responsibility. Whatever. Some people like S&M too.

As for me, I'll take the risk of fending for myself and come what may, rather than put my future in the hands of the corporate types and politicians who dominate American style state capitalism.

Monday, April 2, 2007

04.03.07 – The Reports of My (Impending) Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated!

I'm not dead yet.

I saw this article posted on the front page of STR today and via the BBC. Well, as Mark Twain once noted about rumors, the reports of my impending death have been greatly exaggerated.

For one, I used the moniker “Chemical Ali” way before Al-Majid ever did and I have proof. You can see it here, if you've a mind to. I should have done a DBA filing or some such action a long time ago to make sure that my ass was covered on this angle, but who knew back in the days before the Iraq invasion that I'd even need to consider such a possibility? Not me, sad to say.

So if and when the day comes when they hang this prick, keep in mind dear reader that this guy is Ali Hassan ibn-Majid Al-Tikriti and not your correspondent, who is Ali Hassan Massoud ibn-Mohammad Al-Dearborn Michigan. And as for all that other shit that this muderous Ba'athist A-hole pulled over the years as Saddam's henchman, that ain't on me folks.

04.02.07- Rent-Seeking Faux Libertarians

Far be it from me to defend Microsoft. I use their products as little as I can manage to. But suing the Redmond behemoth over tabbed browsing? The property rights of software development, especially one application that is so fookin' obvious, seems retarded to me. Inventors should benefit from developing new inventions or creative work, but in the end how can you really "own" an idea? Even if you thought of it first and then wrote code to make it work.

This whole business of "property rights" for code, DRM, copyrighting and patents is just absurd. For once you accept the idea that this is all property that you own, what then becomes the mechanism for the "owners" to protect it? Private legal eagle thugs like the RIAA or feds are equally oppressive. I have gotten into this issue before with someone who writes code for a living, and while this guy claims he's a libertarian and desires very limited government, the fly in his ointment is his hypocritical and contradictory notion that a state must exist to protect his work, but it's free markets and sink-or-swim for everyone else.

And which amounts to rent seeking on his part, and which boiled down to its essence, means he's willing to steal money from myself and others to establish a state entity that employs armed police, prosecutors and establishes and maintains prisons, all to protect his precious code. Phooey on that. That idea is nothing more than a state sanctioned market privilege, and no amount of rhetorical sophistry or spin-doctoring will make this vulgar libertarian notion seem rational. None that I've read so far, anyway. But they just keep on trying though. Go figure?

Sunday, April 1, 2007

04.01.07 - Insurrectionary Anarchism?

"Insurrectionary anarchism is a revolutionary theory, practice and tendency within the anarchist movement which opposes formal anarchist organizations such as labor unions and federations that are based on a political programme and periodic congresses. Instead, insurrectionary anarchists advocate direct action (violent or otherwise), informal organization, including small affinity groups and mass organizations which include non-anarchist individuals of the exploited or excluded class."

I liked the definition right up until the part about initiating violence. At that point the author of this Wikipedia defintion starting sounding just like Lenin circa 1917. The ends don't justify the means, in my view. Some people just have a taste for blood, even on the left. Hell, this definition could be deconstructed and spun by neo-cons with just a few tweaks to justify their program of establishing liberal democracy by the sword, no?

"Insurrectionary anarchism", says the article linked in the definition above, "is not an ideological solution to all social problems, a commodity on the capitalist market of ideologies and opinions, but an on-going praxis aimed at putting an end to the domination of the state and the continuance of capitalism, which requires analysis and discussion to advance. We don't look to some ideal society or offer an image of utopia for public consumption. Throughout history, most anarchists, except those who believed that society would evolve to the point that it would leave the state behind, have been insurrectionary anarchists. Most simply, this means that the state will not merely wither away, thus anarchists must attack, for waiting is defeat;" [italics in original]

That conclusion about "waiting is defeat" is right on though. In the end every living thing ages and dies. And one never knows how long we'll live. In essence the real oppressor is the clock and the calendar; "waiting is defeat" is surely true for in the long run we're all dead. If you want to live free in the here and now, you have to act in the here and now.