Monday, December 31, 2007

Ron Paul: Our Way

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Political Ideology Quiz

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A fun political ideology quiz to take.

Here are my scores:

Anarchism
100%
Libertarian
100%
Democrat-
50%
Republican
33%
Fascist
17%
Socialism
0%

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

Friday, December 7, 2007

They're Everywhere!

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

US Troops Say Fuck Iraq

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And fuck McCain too.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Protect Me from Ron Paul

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

CNN.com's Post-Debate Poll

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The people have spoken. These are the results of CNN.com's post-debate poll as of 11:28pm PST. About 6,200 votes have been cast so far.

1. Who do you think won the debate? Ron Paul (56%)

2. Who seemed to know most about the issues? Ron Paul (55%)

3. Who had the best response to user-generated content? Ron Paul (52%)

4. Who had the most disappointing performance at the debate? Rudy Giuliani (28%)

5. Whose performance was most surprising? Ron Paul (39%)

6. Whose campaign got the biggest boost from the debate? Ron Paul (50%)

7. Who had the most creative campaign video? Ron Paul (49%)


Looks like a landslide to me.

CNN's debate poll can be found here. They also have video clips of the debate here.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Federal Reserve: Currency Communists

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The US Dollar is crashing, and people are becoming aware of it. But the private Federal Reserve cartel does not want alternative currencies to sprout up. Indeeed, it counts on people to keep using the worthless greenback so it can continue to rob it's users of their money.

Aleternative currencies like the Liberty Dollar have popped up over the years, and can you blame them? Well, the Federal Reserve blames the Liberty Dollar for the horrendous crime of competing with the greenback. The problem is that the Liberty Dollar is not actually illegal according to US law. What to do, what to do?

The answer is simple: get a bunch of FBI and Secret Service (interesting how those initials are SS, don't ya think?) agents to raid the Liberty Dollar headquarters on trumped up charges of money laundering.

The US government will most likely lose the court case. But fortunately for them, that is irrelevant. Even if the Liberty Dollar company is vindicated in court, it will likely not get its assets back, not to mention that the years it will take for the lawsuits and trials to finish will only bury this competitive and legitimate currency deeper into the grave.

Mark my words: as these competing currencies continue to sprout up, the US government and the Federal Reserve will continue to come up with bullshit excuses to crush them. Unless, of course, Ron Paul miraculously wins the presidency (or the entire government is destroyed, which would be an even bigger miracle).



Fuck you, Federal Reserve! You motherfucking currency commies!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Don't Tase Ron Paul, Bro!

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Dean Barnett writes a great piece that links Ron Paul to anarchy.

So why have America's lunatics taken such a shine to the formerly obscure Ron Paul? There's a simple explanation: Although Paul spends most of his time talking about the Constitution and such cherished old time policies as the gold standard, he's as close to an anarchist as we're likely to see in presidential politics.


Oh, and it also has a cool (doctored) image of Ron Paul resisting the Taser Shocktroops.

EDIT: I am completely aware that the article is a smear piece. But that's not the point. Those clowns don't have a clue what the word "anarchy" even really means, and they don't realize that it's actually a compliment. Futhermore, while they Photoshopped the "Don't tase me, bro!" picture of Ron in another attempt to belittle him, they seem unaware that the real incident on which the image is based is regarded by many as a genuine instance of horrible state abuse of power, and that the tasered college student who spoke truth to power is somewhat of a hero or martyr for freedom lovers everywhere.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Middle School from Cambodia, Illinois

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An eigth-grade girl in Illinois got punished for hugging two friends at school last Friday. District Big Brother Superintendent Sam McGowen defended the punishment, and referred the media to the student policy handbook, which states:

“Displays of affection should not occur on the school campus at any time. It is in poor taste, reflects poor judgment, and brings discredit to the school and to the persons involved.”


Emphasis mine.

So let's review: According to this Illinois school district, displays of affection (and by implication, affection itself) are distasteful, reflect impairment in judgement, and discredit the society and organizations in which said affection is displayed.

Pol Pot had an almost identical policy regarding public displays of affection when he was the "superintendent" of Cambodia.

What seems clear to me is that this very student policy is distasteful, reflects poor judgement, and discredits the organization to which it belongs.

And one last thing, why do they call it a student policy? I doubt the students wrote it.

Ron Paul Plugs Anarchy on ABC

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At around the 5:08 mark, Ron Paul mentions anarchists, and not in a negative way!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Drug Warriors are a Gullible Lot

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At least you can't say that they don't believe their own bullshit.

Apparently, someone hoaxed the sheriffs department in backwater swamplands, Florida. A "concerned parent" called the sheriff to inform them that they heard their son talking about a new kind of drug, which is produced by fermenting human waste. The Sheriff then released a bulletin to its fellow drug warriors.

Now who's got shit on their face, huh?

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Zeitgeist - The Movie

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Zeitgeist is an absolutely mind blowing experience. They are having a remastered version of it showing in Los Angeles sometime in early November. Check their official website for details.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Market Anarchist Blog Carnival

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Welcome to the 8th edition of The Market Anarchist Blog Carnival, hosted by The Radical Libertarian.

Our first entry comes from Allan Wallace, who presents Life vs School - Life vs Job posted at - The BFU Journal - documenting the creation of a new type of college. It is a wake-up call to those who define their lives and base their life goals on their college major and job profession. I like this one because it hits a nerve with me. I don't define myself by my job either, and when people ask me "what do you do?" I tend to rattle off a list of non-work-related activities, which perplexes them.

Next we have Alex Ramos, who presents What you have a right to - and what you don't posted at The Freedom to Say 2 + 2 is 4. In this entry, Alex examines self-ownership and the individual rights that are derived from it. He also differentiates between positive vs. negative rights, like the difference between having a right to pursue healthcare, and having a right to healthcare as if it should just be given to you. It is a crucial distinction, and one that bears repeating when debating statists.

Barry Broom gives us Ron Paul: We will not be ruled. posted at Debt Prison. An excellent post describing Barry's first encounter with Ron Paul's message.

Wenchypoo presents An Investment in Life and the Family Orchard posted at Wisdom From Wenchypoo's Mental Wastebasket. Wenchypoo explains how to use the medical history of your ancestors to your family's benefit, and why it's a good idea to do so in a world of socialized medicine.

Phil B. examines Flag Burning posted at Phil for Humanity. And I agree! Flags make good tinder, and who doesn't love a good BBQ?

Tiffany Washko fights government meddling in the food market in The Death of the Raw Almonds - Take Action Now! posted at Natural Family Living Blog.

And finally, Francois Tremblay explains Why most people fail Morality 101. {part 1/2} posted at Check Your Premises. It's a great entry on morality, and I recommend reading both parts.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pirates and Emporers

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They are really the same thing...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Liberals to the Rescue

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Market Anarchist Blog Carnival

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The next Market Anarchist Blog Carnival is happening here, at The Radical Libertarian! All Market Anarchists are encouraged to submit an entry. Basically, if it’s pro-free-market and anti-state, then we want it!

The rules are very simple, and are as follows:

1. New Carnival edition once a month, on the 29th of the month.
2. One entry per person per edition. Videos are accepted also.
3. All entries must be related to MA (or agorism, or individualist anarchism, or mutualism, or voluntaryism) in some conceptual way. Narratives (fictional or not) are fine. Please no entries about how we must make government smaller, how the Constitution is great, who we should vote for, or how this or that specific law should be repealed. Entries by anarcho-syndicalists and socialists will be laughed at, and may be posted for the purpose of public ridicule.
4. All MA or related blogs are invited to host their own editions. Blogs which desire to host an edition of the Carnival must submit their demand at least one month before said edition.
5. All submitters are invited to link to the Carnival edition they submitted to, in order to keep the Carnival going.
6. Hosts of the carnival may exclude entries from their edition for reasons of irrelevancy or low quality.

To submit your entry, click on this link and follow the instructions. The deadline for this carnival is October 28th at midnight Pacific Standard Time. So get cracking and submit your entries in ASAP. Good luck!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Best Ron Paul Video Ever

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Iraq Iraq Iraq

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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Criminal Government Agency Steals $59K; Kidnaps an Honest Working Man.

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US government at its finest. Burglarizing and kidnapping a hard working dishwasher who worked at about $6 an hour for 11 years to save $59,000 for his family in Guatemala. His “crime”? Failing to declare to the US government that he was traveling with more than $10,000 in cash on his person. Would they have still busted his ass if that money was in the form of a traveler’s check, or a money order?

Fuck the government. Stealing and kidnapping is evil and unjustifiable, regardless of where the victim was born, and regardless of what shiny badges and official sounding titles the thieves/kidnappers possess:

MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- For 11 years, Pedro Zapeta, an illegal immigrant from Guatemala, lived his version of the American dream in Stuart, Florida: washing dishes and living frugally to bring money back to his home country.


Pedro Zapeta, an illegal immigrant, managed to save $59,000 while working as a dishwasher for 11 years.
1 of 2 Two years ago, Zapeta was ready to return to Guatemala, so he carried a duffel bag filled with $59,000 -- all the cash he had scrimped and saved over the years -- to the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

But when Zapeta tried to go through airport security, an officer spotted the money in the bag and called U.S. customs officials.

"They asked me how much money I had," Zapeta recalled, speaking to CNN in Spanish.

He told the customs officials $59,000. At that point, U.S. customs seized his money, setting off a two-year struggle for Zapeta to get it back.

Zapeta, who speaks no English, said he didn't know he was running afoul of U.S. law by failing to declare he was carrying more than $10,000 with him. Anyone entering or leaving the country with more than $10,000 has to fill out a one-page form declaring the money to U.S. customs.

Officials initially accused Zapeta of being a courier for the drug trade, but they dropped the allegation once he produced pay stubs from restaurants where he had worked. Zapeta earned $5.50 an hour at most of the places where he washed dishes. When he learned to do more, he got a 25-cent raise.

After customs officials seized the money, they turned Zapeta over to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The INS released him but began deportation proceedings. For two years, Zapeta has had two attorneys working pro bono: one on his immigration case, the other trying to get his money back.

"They are treating me like a criminal when all I am is a working man," he said.

Zapeta's story became public last year on CNN and in The Palm Beach Post newspaper, prompting well-wishers to give him nearly $10,000 -- money that now sits in a trust.

Robert Gershman, one of Zapeta's attorneys, said federal prosecutors later offered his client a deal: He could take $10,000 of the original cash seized, plus $9,000 in donations as long as he didn't talk publicly and left the country immediately.

Zapeta said, "No." He wanted all his money. He'd earned it, he said.

Now, according to Gershman, the Internal Revenue Service wants access to the donated cash to cover taxes on the donations and on the money Zapeta made as a dishwasher. Zapeta admits he never paid taxes.

CNN contacted the U.S. Attorneys office in Miami, U.S. Customs and the IRS about Zapeta's case. They all declined to comment.

Marisol Zequeira, an immigration lawyer, said illegal immigrants such as Zapeta have few options when dealing with the U.S. government.

"When you are poor, uneducated and illegal, your avenues are cut," he said.

On Wednesday, Zapeta went to immigration court and got more bad news. The judge gave the dishwasher until the end of January to leave the country on his own. He's unlikely to see a penny of his money.

"I am desperate," Zapeta said. "I no longer feel good about this country."

Zapeta said his goal in coming to the United States was to make enough money to buy land in his mountain village and build a home for his mother and sisters. He sent no money back to Guatemala over the years, he said, and planned to bring it all home at once.

At Wednesday's hearing, Zapeta was given official status in the United States -- voluntary departure -- and a signed order from a judge. For the first time, he can work legally in the U.S.

By the end of January, Zapeta may be able to earn enough money to pay for a one-way ticket home so the U.S. government, which seized his $59,000, doesn't have to do so.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Brief Defense of Individualism

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Also posted on my personal blog, The Rational Animal.



Individualism is one of those words that gets thrown around like so much confetti and is so abused that it is easy to forget its true meaning and the origins of the concept it embodies. For example, let's briefly examine the Webster's definition of individualism:

1:a : (1) a doctrine that the interests of the individual are or ought to be ethically paramount; also : conduct guided by such a doctrine
(2) the conception that all values, rights, and duties originate in individuals

1:b : a theory maintaining the political and economic independence of the individual and stressing individual initiative, action, and interests; also : conduct or practice guided by such a theory

It is my opinion that the various definitions for individualism that Webster's provides us manage to skirt around the edges of what the concept embodies without ever, in full detail, explaining the core concept that underlies all of them.

It is my opinion that the core concept of individualism is this; that human beings are individual, autonomous entities with separate minds, wills, values, and needs. I believe that it is from this fact that most other definitions of individualism can be derived.

One can use human anatomy as a brief but effective way to demonstrate the validity of this concept. Can you imagine any single human organ that would be capable of behaving or even surviving autonomously from the rest of the human form? Certainly we don't look at a small portion of nerve tissue in a petri dish and conclude that it has feelings and aspirations and the ability to survive.

It is only when all of the human organs combine that they form an autonomous whole, an entity capable of providing for its own survival, having its own thoughts and values, and exercising its will.

Collectivists attempt to take this a step further. Man is a social animal, they say (and they are right), and needs others for his survival. From this they attempt to conclude that even a man himself is not an autonomous whole but instead consider him just another unit in a greater superorganism of "society".

The problem with this argument is that it lies on false premises; clearly a single human being can operate independently of other human beings. While we can all benefit greatly from social interaction, it is not a base requirement of survival. Our needs and desires and values all exist separately from the human beings around us.

While a single neuron in a petri dish does not have values and cannot behave as an autonomous whole, a single man clearly can. This is where the collectivist argument falls apart.

So I reiterate my basic concept of individualism; that human beings are individual, autonomous entities with separate minds, wills, values, and needs.

Let's examine each definition provided by Webster's, one by one, using the concept of individualism I just defined to demonstrate how it leads to the various permutations provided by Webster's.

1:a : (1) a doctrine that the interests of the individual are or ought to be ethically paramount

I would firstly point out that there is a false premise in this definition. By declaring that the "interests of the individual are or ought to be ethically paramount" it is assumed that interests outside of individuals exist and can be ranked, in an ethical hierarchy, above or below the interests of individuals.

As I discussed above, only single men are autonomous wholes, not a collective of men, so in the end all interests are the interests of either individuals or nobody. The interests of a given group of men are nothing more than the shared interests of multiple individuals.

Now if we interpret "the individual" to mean "me, as opposed to other individuals" the definition becomes more clear. In this sense, this definition is roughly the definition of ethical egoism.

Let's look again at how I defined individualism; that human beings are individual, autonomous entities with separate minds, wills, values, and needs.

Once one recognizes that he is an individual human being with separate values from other human beings, it would follow that the values he should pursue are his own, derived from the application of reason to the sensory data he gathers from the world around him.

In fact, since an individual is autonomous and self-sufficient, reliance on others for one's survival rather than pursuing one's own values is an act of potential self-destruction. Once the men that such an individual is leeching off of withdraw their resources, such a man would quickly die.

Now let's look at the second definition.

1:a : (2) the conception that all values, rights, and duties originate in individuals

While is is extremely close to the definition I provided for individuals, it fails to include that this results from the existence of individuals as autonomous, self-sufficient entities. A collectivist might interpret "individual" to mean "autonomous entity" and, having already concluded that the society superorganism is the only such entity, use this as an argument in favor of his position.

This is why it is vital to explain up front why individual human beings are individuals and no group also qualifies as such (Corporate personhood anyone?).

1:b : a theory maintaining the political and economic independence of the individual and stressing individual initiative, action, and interests

This is almost a definition of libertarianism, but a bit too vague to really be able to say that it is libertarianism. In fact, most modern politicians would probably claim to embrace this, although none of them believe it.

Once again, though, we see how the recognition of individual human beings as autonomous entities naturally leads to the conclusion drawn in the definition. After all, if there are no such things as collectives and there are only individual needs and interests, who could logically propose any system other than one that maintains "the political and economic independence of the individual and stressing individual initiative, action, and interests."

I think the definition of individualism is important because it is the metaphysical base from which we draw ideas like ethical egoism, voluntaryism, and libertarianism. One must recognize the individual human being, especially oneself, as an autonomous, self-sufficient entity, and if one does so consistently, the rest will follow.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My Least Favorite Religion

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Protecting Our Civil Libeties

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Police at their best:

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Secret is Out!

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It appears that someone suspects a bit of anarchy lurking within the Ron Paul message. Union Leader, a New Hampshire newspaper, posted an article online about the GOP debate that took place a few days ago. In the comments section of that article, we find one reader's dire warning:

Ron Paul is espousing extremely Libertarian points of view. While I have nothing against the Libertarians and I agree with them on many issues, Ron Paul goes to an extreme. In my view a vote for Ron Paul is a vote for anarchy (both here and abroad).
- Brian, Manchester, NH


God damn it, I hope he's right.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor Day Rodeo!

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Just for fun, here is a video of me riding the mechanical bull at Saddle Ranch in Universal Studios, Hollywood.

Happy Labor Day!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I <3 Politicians

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Immigration: The Human Cost

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Oh no, they are taking all our jobs!


Immigration: The Human Cost

America to the Rescue!

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Cheney The Flip Flopper

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Brought to you by GrandTheftCountry.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Your Tax Dollars at Work

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Protecting us from the gays!



Monday, July 30, 2007

Charity, Japan Style

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One or more people are anonymously handing out money in Japan, seemingly at random. Mailboxes have been stuffed with cash, and bank notes have been spotted falling from the roofs of businesses. How odd!

Residents of a Tokyo apartment building are baffled after a total of 1.81 million yen (15,210 dollars) was found in 18 mailboxes by Saturday, a police spokesman said.

"The money was in identical plain envelopes, which were unsealed and carried no names or messages," the spokesman told AFP.

But residents became "spooked" rather than pleased with the anonymous gifts -- and were too upright to pocket the money secretly.

"Some people initially suspected they were fake bills. When they realised the bills were real, they reported them to us," the spokesman said.

...

On Wednesday, bills worth 960,000 yen were inexplicably seen "falling" in front of a convenience store.

"We can just say the money came from the skies," a puzzled police official said. "There were other passers-by outside and customers in the store but the incident caused no confusion," he said.

"People thought it was too eerie to touch."

...

The largest single dropoff so far was in the ancient city of Kyoto on July 23, astonishing a 67-year-old woman who found an envelope containing 10 million yen of stacked bills in her mailbox.

But mystery money does not always reach police intact.

A woman walking on a bridge over Tokyo's Sumida River told officers that she saw bills falling at her feet from an elevated expressway above on July 6.

She believes 30 to 40 notes fell but police managed to collect only six notes worth 46,000 yen by the time they arrived.

"Some people were picking the money up on the bridge," the Tokyo Shimbun quoted the woman as saying.

No one can say if more people have collected money and not told police.

Media tallies suggest more than four million yen, including some found last year, has been found in the public restrooms.

Dutifully, police are holding most of the money in case the rightful owner eventually decides to reveal their identity


Amazing.

Pop-quiz time: Should this little gifting spree be counted as a collectivist/socialist act, or a free-market/voluntaryist act?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Carnivale!

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The Freedom to Say 2 + 2 = 4 has a new edition of the Market Anarchy Blog Carnival up! In it you will find a whole bunch of freedom-soaked posts written by voluntaryholics! It's great booze for the mind, that's for sure.

The Market Anarchy Blog Carnival even features a post that I wrote at this very blog. So go check it out!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Saturday, July 21, 2007

If The Product Sucks, Stop Buying It

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The US military has a big marketing problem. Specifically, it has bad brand identity:

In the advertising world, brand identity is everything. Volvo means safety. Colgate means clean. IPod means cool. But since the U.S. military invaded Iraq in 2003, its "show of force" brand has proved to have limited appeal to Iraqi consumers, according to a recent study commissioned by the U.S. military.


Why does it have this brand identity problem? Why are the Iraqi consumers not too keen on what they are being sold?

Because the product sucks! The US military should have a warning label on it, like you see on packs of smokes. "Warning, use of this product will level your cities and explode your families."

When products suck, you're supposed to be able to stop purchasing them. Well, that isn't an option in this case. The taxpayers have to buy the product and the Iraqis have to use it. So how the hell do we get this company to straight-up go out of business?

Incidentally, look at how delusional these fuckers are:

At the same time, Helmus said, U.S. military and civilian authorities must stop thinking of themselves as a "good-idea factory" whose every thought has greater merit than those of their customers. "Procter & Gamble doesn't even do that," he said.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Friday, July 6, 2007

1600 Satan Avenue

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This is a Google Earth screenshot of the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC. Notice anything peculiar?

Thursday, July 5, 2007

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Profiles in American Heroism: Francois Tremblay

My esteemed colleague, Francois Tremblay, videotaped his 4th of July activities. Franc's 4th of July video has it all: Acts of patriotic symbolism, the Star Spangled Banner, and even delicious s’mores.

Give me liberty, or give me death!

Gore III is a Political Prisoner

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Al Gore's son, Gore III, was arrested in Los Angeles yesterday for having some pills and some pot in his car.

He admitted to smoking some weed before he drove, and that's not good. This guy may not serve jailtime if he's lucky, but most people in his situation do serve jailtime. It is a victimless crime (except for the driving part) and if anything, this kid needs substance abuse help, not time behind bars.

Drug laws are a travesty to this country. How inhumane, how pathetic, how evil.

FREE GORE 3!!!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Terrorist Skateboard Cell Apprehended

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Their skateboards contained WMDs, no doubt:

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Find The Error!

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Michael Moore speaks about his new movie, Sicko. Can you spot the error?

Concerning health care in foreign countries Moore remarked recently, “It was depressing because, as Americans, we kept thinking: we come from the richest country on earth, so why don’t we have free health care, too?”

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Collectivism Touch

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Everything that monopolies touch turns to shit, especially when its a government monopoly. This video shows what happens when all of society, including food production and distribution, is touched by government.

Introducing the iRack

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Brilliant parody by MAD TV.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Incarcerex

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Are you a politician suffering from Chronic Re-Election Paranoia (CREEP)? Well now you can kiss your paranoia goodbye with regular doses of Incarcerex! Independent laboratory studies have shown Incarcerex to improve standings in polls more effectively than the competing brands!

Side effects include loss of civil liberties, police corruption, racial injustice, increased terrorism, spread of AIDS, and increased violent crime.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Drugs Are Winning The Drug War

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Hilarious. Despite a $4.7 billion dollar, taxpayer funded coca defoliant campaign, cocaine has dropped in street price in the last few years.

The drug industry, wielding the broadsword of supply and demand, is irrefutably slaying the anti-drug warriors. This is an absolute rout.

America has been losing every war-on-a-concept that it's undertaken as of late. Terror, drugs, poverty, are all pulling a "300" on the United States. The US golaith has fallen under the slings of the various Davids. It should be quite obvious now that the only way America can win at anything anymore is to not participate in the first place.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Viva La Revolucion!

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Austin Cline is calling for a revolution. It’s about fucking time!

America is revolting, or perhaps it's just not revolting enough. Extensive complacency seems to have set in, preventing people from getting outraged enough to do anything about the various — and connected — problems throughout society. Does anyone think that any of these problems will fix themselves? Perhaps part of the problem is that these problems have been building for so long that people no longer recognize the trouble we are in. If that's the case, then it might be helpful to keep harping on these problems and insisting that people directly face them.


The entire essay is worth reading, so click on the link. And if you get a chance, check out the comment that I left there.

Austin and I are both well aware of the atheistic surge taking place in the West. But what of the revolutionary surge? Is the two party system in peril? Is society ripe for a big, fundamental shift in the way it organizes and functions? Do people want to be able to choose their own interactions and associations?

Is it time for freedom?

Friday, June 8, 2007

US Policy in Iraq

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Illegal Immigration Explained

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I just finished watching the GOP Presidential Debate on CNN, and these candidates are falling all over themselves trying to come off as having anything meaningful or logical to say about illegal immigration and immigration reform. Of course, none of these candidates have any clue as to the cause, effect, and solution to immigration, and it's making me sick. These candidates are all trying to hide their xenophobia by wrapping themselves in the flag and championing crappy immigration laws. So I thought that I could shed some light on the topic. Even though I am an anarchist, for the sake of argument in this essay I will discuss immigration under the assumption that the government is legitimate and here to stay.

First, we must identify what an "illegal immigrant" is in the context of US law: An illegal immigrant is a person who lives in the USA but wasn't born there, and therefore the government says, "you can't be here."

Another important fact to note about “illegal” immigrants is that it is not them who choose to be "illegal." The “illegal” label is applied to them by the government; they do not deliberately apply it to themselves. When immigrants come to the US, they do so out of need and desperation. They do not have the money to spend nor the time to waste for the "legal" US hoop jumping process to obtain citizenship. In most cases, if these immigrants went through the US government process for citizenship, they would never be able to obtain it due to the financial and timeframe obstacles that the government sets in their way.

If the government did not set big financial and timeframe obstacles in the way of immigrants, and if the government did not have an annual cap on the number of immigrants that can come over, then the number of illegal immigrants, of course, would plummet. The immigrants would not be forced to stay in the shadows and live outside the system. Immigrants are more than happy to embrace the system and live above the board if the government would just open its arms.

Do immigrants "steal" jobs? No. They make jobs! Immigrants are overwhelmingly hard workers, and most of them work at a lower pay than their born-in-the-USA counterparts. That translates directly to job creation and lower consumer prices. Immigrants stimulate the economy, and that's a fact. One of the big reasons that the USA has been so economically prosperous is because of these immigrants coming here and working at lower wages.

I should note here that the main reason that the low-skilled immigrants get paid less than low-skilled US natives is directly because of these immigration laws. Without such barriers, these low-skilled immigrants would likely get paid the same as their US counterparts. However, even if the low-skilled immigrants got paid the same as the low-skilled US natives (which in all honesty is the only moral possibility), it would still stimulate the economy because these immigrants would then have just as much spending power as their US native counterparts. This means that the immigrants could spend more money on products and services and therefore stimulate more productivity. It also means that the children of these immigrants would be more likely to achieve a higher education and become high-skilled workers, entrepeneurs, and other leaders and pillars of society.

While most immigrants that come to the US are low-skilled, there are some that come here who are high-skilled. And the only reason that they come here is because of all the US companies trying to hard to recruit them! It is well known (perhaps among US companies more than anybody) that the US is suffering a shortage of high-skilled workers in many sectors. This not only limits the quantity and quality of services available to consumers, but it also raises prices for these services, and therefore hurts the consumer and the economy. These high-skilled immigrants are just as valuable to the US economy as the low-skilled immigrants, if not more so.

The fact of the matter is that there is a worker shortage in the US, both for high-skilled and low-skilled workers. If there wasn't, then there wouldn't be so many immigrants flocking here! The main reason that there are so many immigrants coming to the US year after year, decade after decade, is because there are still so many human resource shortages in the US. Natives of the US may have a worldwide reputation as being lazy, but it simply isn't so, and the proof is in the economic numbers. US workers are so productive, both in quality and quantity of work, that they create more jobs than they can fill! From janitors to nurses, from carpenters to computer programmers, the US is experiencing a worker shortage.

The main reason that illegal immigrants have been coming to the US for so long is because our appetite for workers has still not been satisfied. The obstacles blocking legal immigration, combined with the difficulty of illegally moving here (fences, border patrols, etc), has slowed the flow of workers to where it cannot keep up with the demand. That is why, for example, that Mexicans and South Americans have been coming here for over a decade: they keep finding jobs!

One of the concerns among anti-immigrant groups is the "flood" theory. They worry that open immigration would bring a flood of immigrants to the US. This is true, but only to an extent. An open immigration policy would surely cause a huge influx of immigrants initially, but this flooding would not be sustained for long. This is because an open immigration policy would allow the US worker appetite to be satisfied. Once the jobs in the US became adequately filled, there would no longer be an incentive for more immigrants to come here. Instead, the immigrants would have to look towards other countries for job opportunities. Immigrants don't flock to the US because of our culture, or our welfare system, or anything else. They only come here for our job opportunities.

Anti-immigration advocates also claim that immigrants "take our jobs." As I explained earlier, this is not the case. But at this point I would like to point out an additional refutation: In an open immigration country, as soon as an immigrants moves here, they become a "citizen" in every meaningful sense, and therefore they are no more "taking your job" than a person who was born here.

Oftentimes, the same people who attack immigration are the same people who attack job outsourcing. These anti-immigration/anti-outsourcing advocates complain that both immigration to the US and job outsourcing by US companies take jobs from US citizens. Of course, a quick review of the facts shows that their argument is fatally flawed.

We have already seen that immigration does not "take" US jobs. But what of job outsourcing? It is true that outsourcing takes jobs directly from US citizens. However, this is not the whole story. Outsourcing by US companies also lowers prices for US consumers, which indirectly creates jobs. Also, one must look at outsourcing from a cause and effect perspective. One must ask "why are US jobs being outsourced?" And the answer is that these jobs are overpaid in the US. If a man in India can perform a task just as good as a man in the US but for half the cost, why not give the job to the Indian? While the US citizen may lose his job, an Indian citizen gains a job. Is a human being born in the US really entitled to a job more than a human born in India? And what argument can possibly be mounted to justify "job protectionism" in the form of paying a US citizen more money for work that can be done in India for less? And what of the consumer's interests? Is it more important to protect an overpaid job, or is it more important to reduce an over inflated consumer price?

Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company, is famous for paying his employees higher wages than was common at the time, with the rationalization that it would translate to more car sales. Not only was he right, but the same argument applies to outsourcing. For example, US business sell their products and services in China, but they are currently out of financial reach for most Chinese citizens. So what could possibly be more effective at reducing the trade deficit with China than increasing the purchasing power of the Chinese citizen? The products and services sold by US companies are relatively high cost globally, and are therefore out of reach for many global consumers. And as I explained earlier, the main reason that US goods and services are too expensive globally is because it costs so much to pay the US workers that make them. Job outsourcing would do two things to alleviate this problem: first, it would lower the cost of US goods and services, and secondly, it would increase the purchasing power of consumers living outside the US. These two factors would reduce unfavorable trade deficits and broaden the worldwide customer base for US companies.

Anti-immigration advocates fixate their arguments on wages. All they can do is worry about the possibility of jobs being lost and wages declining. Amusingly, they fail to see the flip side: decreased consumer prices. It does not matter that Eddie Punchclock gets paid 25% less if his spending costs drop 35%. The United States is known as a country of consumers, and spending money is a time-honored US tradition, perhaps unmatched by any other society. Us citizens love to buy tons of shit, myself included. But why can we buy so much stuff? Because we get paid so much? Not really, because if it weren’t for foreign products, foreign services, and foreign workers, US consumer prices would be high enough to offset the higher pay that US workers receive. The purchasing power of a consumer does not depend solely on their wages as a worker. What it actually depends on is the gap between consumer prices and employee wages. The bigger the gap, the more purchasing power a consumer has.

Anti-immigration advocates warned us for years about the damage to the US economy that would take place if manufacturing jobs were to evaporate. Well, those jobs have evaporated quite a bit, yet we are still faring quite well as consumers. If you look at the average US home, you will see Japanese electronics, Korean cars, and Chinese furnishings, all in greater quality and quantity than when these products were made in the US. These imported products perform better and cost less, and the average US citizen is better off as a result.

It is clear that anti-immigration advocates are wrong on all counts. They oppose open immigration and job outsourcing to the detriment of both the US company and the US consumer. If we were to stop both immigration and outsourcing, what option is left to the US economy? How is the US company to staff its jobs? How is the US consumer to obtain his goods and services? What possible benefit can economic isolationism provide, other than to pander to the xenophobic fears of its supporters?

The arguments of anti-immigration advocates are, sadly, without merit. Their arguments do not stand up to logical or economic analysis. Immigration is just a phenomenon of economics, and the best thing to do is to just let it happen. The only problem with "illegal immigrants" are the laws themselves that make these immigrants illegal.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Bush Lying About September 11 on Tape

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Oops, he got caught making shit up!

Your Tax Dollars at Work

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Reconstruction in Iraq:





Friday, June 1, 2007

Paranthetically Speaking Keeps it Real

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At this point it just needs to be admitted out loud: Fuck The Flag!

UPDATE: Link and title changed to fix incorrect credit/attribution.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

An Open Letter to Cindy Sheehan

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Dear Ms. Sheehan,

You have recently written an entry in your diary which, if you'll pardon me the metaphor, hands in your resignation to the anti-war movement. Even though I have not gone through the same experiences, I strongly sympathize with everything you say in it, and I think I may help clarify some things you might not yet be aware of.

Your thoughtful disillusionment with left-wing and right-wing politics echoes the feeling that other reasonable people, who desire change for the better but realize that politics is always the same song-and-dance, are eventually faced with. You are far from being alone.

To me, the most poignant passage in your entry is this:

The most devastating conclusion that I reached this morning, however, was that Casey did indeed die for nothing. His precious lifeblood drained out in a country far away from his family who loves him, killed by his own country which is beholden to and run by a war machine that even controls what we think.


You, and at least three thousand other mothers of soldiers, as well as tens of thousands of Iraqi mothers, are justified in demanding justice. But such justice will never be granted you by the government, whether it be Republican or Democrat.

Sending young men to their deaths for the interests of the ruling class is a phenomena that has existed for as long as government has existed as a concept. Every empire, from the Roman Empire to the British Empire to the current "America, World Police," has had its millions of youths willing to spill their own blood for their "homeland," indoctrinated in believing in their "homeland" from day one.

You probably understand the impossibility of getting justice for the war through politics by now. Neither will the end of these unjust wars be granted, even when the Iraq War itself eventually ends. The fact of the matter is this:

Political means cannot give lasting freedom. All that can be achieved by political means is the sustenance of political means (in short: politics can only create more politics).

I do not blame you from not knowing this from the onset, as most people have been indoctrinated into believing that the only avenue for change is to "work within the system." I also used to believe in "working the system." However, no successful ideology or movement has ever achieved any lasting freedom through doing so, because the ruling class is always in control.

You say you want "peace with justice." This is a laudable goal, and I agree with you. In your tumultuous association with the peace movement, have you found anyone who was actually willing to understand the root causes of war, and how to eradicate them? Or did you only find people willing to agitate against war, but with no binding force or principle?

I am sure you have thought about the causes of war. I can't vouch for your reflexions on the topic. I will tell you what I know. There are many factors that cause war, and most of these are outside anyone's reach. But I can point to one necessary and crucial cause that we can change: government power. And who says government, says taxation.

The 20th Century proved, if you were paying any attention, that taxation is the great enemy of civilization. How do you think Hitler paid for that army? With voluntary contributions? How did Stalin pay for the Gulag Archipelago? With baked goods sales?
James Ostrowski


Everyone is forced to comply and finance these wars, whether they like them or not, by taxation. By monopolizing the resources in a society, government has the power of waging war on a grand scale, in the name of interests which otherwise would not waste the money needed for such actions. Government has the power of luring our youth with free educations in order to do its bidding, or outright enslave them for a period of time (through the draft).

Activists love the government because they want to manipulate its power to their advantage. So it is a very hard fact to face for peace activists, but an inescapable fact, that government is necessary for large-scale war. Anyone who desires peace as a primary value of society must realize that lasting peace can only be achieved if there is no government.

In all history there is no war which was not hatched by the governments, the governments alone, independent of the interests of the people, to whom war is always pernicious even when successful.
Leo Tolstoy (Christian Anarchist)


As a Market Anarchist, I believe that government, as the monopoly on law and force in a society, exploits people's resources, children and moral integrity in the name of wars that only benefit itself and its powerful friends. I also believe that the only way to prevent governance abuse is to have a free competition of governance, on the market.

Right now, those who govern us are held accountable to no one. They will never be held accountable unless they have equally powerful competitors able to use the law to get recourse for the victims. They will never be held accountable until we can choose not support them, and support someone else instead, leaving us free to live our lives the way we intend.

It would be absurd for anyone to cooperate with their enemies (the ruling class) in order to try to achieve change! And yet that is what most peace activists do. The ideology of peace, like any other ideology or movement, can only be achieved by disengagement and principled resistance.

All successful improvements in man's freedom and understanding have been brought about by such means. No positive movement in history has ever succeeded by any other means. And disengagement and principled resistance against government and its criminal monopoly is what we advocate.

You may think that the concepts we advocate sound radical. However, I truly believe they are the only solution to the problem of war. Historically, Market Anarchist societies did not wage war on other societies, simply because war is too costly to wage if you have to bear the cost yourself, and you can't steal from others or enslave them in order to wage wars for you. Until we understand that having a monopoly of force able to finance war by stealing from our own pockets and enslaving our children is a bad idea, we will never solve the problem of war.

I hope I have been able to clarify some things for you, and perhaps spark some interest in our growing movement. Either way, good luck to you in your future endeavors.

Francois Tremblay

http://www.simplyanarchy.com/

Thursday, May 24, 2007

My newest article on STR gets noted

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My newest article for Strike the Root, "Reject the 'Anarchist' Voters," has been noted in two places so far:

* Brad Spangler just wrote a positive entry about it.

* It is currently on the front page of the International Society for Individual Liberty, in the Commentary sidebar.

Seems like controversy does indeed sell!

Who are the War Profiteers?

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J-Walk reports on the identity of the war profiteers.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Global Warming advice

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First, here's Alexander Cockburn:

It's a notorious inconvenience for the Greenhousers that data also show CO2 concentrations from the Eocene period, 20 million years before Henry Ford trundled out his first Model T, 300 to 400 percent higher than current concentrations. The Greenhousers deal with other difficulties, like the medieval warming period's higher-than-today temperatures, by straightforward chicanery, misrepresenting tree ring data (themselves an unreliable guide) and claiming the warming was a local European affair.

We're warmer now because today's world is in the thaw following the recent ice age. Ice ages correlate with changes in the solar heat we receive, all due to predictable changes in the Earth's elliptical orbit round the sun and in the Earth's tilt. As Hertzberg explains, the clinical heat effect of all of these variables was worked out in great detail between 1915 and 1940 by Milutin Milankovitch, a giant of twentieth-century astrophysics. In past post-glacial cycles, as now, the Earth's orbit and tilt give us more and longer summer days between the equinoxes.


And Robert Higgs:

When your research implies a “need” for drastic government action to avert a looming disaster or to allay some dire existing problem, government bureaucrats and legislators (can you say “earmarks”?) are more likely to approve it. If the managers at the NSF, NIH, and other government funding agencies gave great amounts of money to scientists whose research implies that no disaster looms or no dire problem now exists or even that although a problem exists, no currently feasible government policy can do anything to solve it without creating greater problems in the process, members of Congress would be much less inclined to throw money at the agency, with all the consequences that an appropriations cutback implies for bureaucratic thriving. No one has to explain all these things to the parties involved; they are not idiots, and they understand how the wheels are greased in their tight little worlds.

Finally, we need to develop a much keener sense of what a scientist is qualified to talk about and what he is not qualified to talk about. Climatologists, for example, are qualified to talk about the science of climatology (though subject to all the intrusions upon pure science I have already mentioned). They are not qualified to say, however, that “we must act now” by imposing government “solutions” of some imagined sort. They are not professionally knowledgeable about what degree of risk is better or worse for people to take; only the individuals who bear the risk can make that decision, because it’s a matter of personal preference, not a matter of science. Climatologists know nothing about cost/benefit cosiderations; indeed, most mainstream economists themselves are fundamentally misguided about such matters (adopting, for example, procedures and assumptions about the aggregation of individual valuations that lack a sound scientific basis).

Thursday, May 17, 2007

One intelligent person and one idiot.

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Compare and contrast...

THE IDIOT- Amy Barath
The Political Importance of Fearing God

We fear God so that we may not fear men. This fear allows us to discern between what is right and what is wrong. The fear of God is directly responsible for the protection of those weakest and most vulnerable in our society. In America, the fear of God instilled into our Constitution has been the seedling which has produced such protections as minority rights, women's rights, worker's rights and the spawning of organizations such as the ASPCA, Crime Victim's Board and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Rules, boundaries, limitations and consequences. Whether raising a child, training an animal or forming a government it is the fear of God which dictates the way those most helpless and weakest in our society will be treated. It is the fear of God which prevents us from dousing fellow citizens with kerosene and lighting them ablaze. It is the fear of God which prevents us from shooting a disabled man in his wheelchair and then pushing him in to the sea. It is the fear of God which commands us to choose right over wrong.


THE INTELLIGENT- Sheldon Richman
In the Freelance Nuclear Age, Government Is a Liability

Conservatives and even many libertarians argue that these dangerous times demonstrate more than ever the need for strong central government, especially a presidency unburdened in foreign policy by meddlesome courts and Congress. But in fact the opposite is the case. Government can’t protect us. It is inept. It is corrupt. And what’s more, its agenda ranks the safety of the American people far down the list of priorities. If safety were a priority, the U.S. government would not have spent the last several decades meddling in other people’s conflicts and acquiring assorted enemies, some of whom are willing to kill American civilians on American soil to get even with “their” government’s often brutal intervention.

These are indeed dangerous times. But if the state can’t protect us, what are we to do?

It’s time to think about getting rid of the state. It is an albatross sucking up our wealth like a vacuum cleaner while leaving us vulnerable to those who wish to harm us. Ending the U.S. policy of foreign intervention would go a long way toward reducing the threat. But it might not reduce it all the way. Years of U.S. coercive interference in the affairs of other people have left many grudges that may not disappear with a change in policy.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Why understanding economics is hard / I'm Doing My Inconsequential Part For The Environment

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From the Philadelphia Inquirer: Revealed: Why understanding economics is hard

But what is particularly interesting is the role of market pricing, which Fiske speculates might have been the last to evolve in our prehistoric ancestors' brains.

It makes sense. For hunter-gatherers in small bands, sharing, matching and ranking were probably as fundamental to survival as eating and breeding. But market pricing involves complex choices based on mathematical ratios.

"It's the difference between addition and subtraction on one hand, multiplication and division on the other," Fiske says.

Commerce and global trade, of course, require a finely honed version of the market-pricing model. But if humans developed this model relatively late, it might well be less than universal, even today.

In other words, to have an intuitive grasp of economics, you might just need to take a step or two up the evolutionary ladder.



From The Onion: I'm Doing My Inconsequential Part For The Environment

Every day, without fail, I meticulously organize my recyclables into five distinct categories, thereby subtracting an eyedropper's worth of garbage from the countless tons of waste that ferment in our landfills. It only takes a few extra minutes, but just think of the impact it totally lacks. I also refuse to use anything but "Earth-friendly" paper products—some of which contain up to 10 percent recycled materials. For me, it's worth shouldering the extra cost, but, unfortunately, only a scant few of us bother to do the same. And growing some of my own organic vegetables in my backyard garden also, to my immense gratification, reduces the use of toxic chemical-based pesticides and herbicides present in corporate farming techniques by as much as 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000001 percent.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Top Censored Stories / Progress and Order

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The top 25 censored stories of 2006:


#1 Bush Administration Moves to Eliminate Open Government
#2 Media Coverage Fails on Iraq: Fallujah and the Civilian Death
#3 Another Year of Distorted Election Coverage
#4 Surveillance Society Quietly Moves In
#5 U.S. Uses Tsunami to Military Advantage in Southeast Asia
#6 The Real Oil for Food Scam
#7 Journalists Face Unprecedented Dangers to Life and Livelihood
#8 Iraqi Farmers Threatened By Bremer’s Mandates
#9 Iran’s New Oil Trade System Challenges U.S. Currency
#10 Mountaintop Removal Threatens Ecosystem and Economy
#11 Universal Mental Screening Program Usurps Parental Rights
#12 Military in Iraq Contracts Human Rights Violators
#13 Rich Countries Fail to Live up to Global Pledges
#14 Corporations Win Big on Tort Reform, Justice Suffers
#15 Conservative Plan to Override Academic Freedom in the Classroom
#16 U.S. Plans for Hemispheric Integration Include Canada
#17 U.S. Uses South American Military Bases to Expand Control of the Region
#18 Little Known Stock Fraud Could Weaken U.S. Economy
#19 Child Wards of the State Used in AIDS Experiments
#20 American Indians Sue for Resources; Compensation Provided to Others
#21 New Immigration Plan Favors Business Over People
#22 Nanotechnology Offers Exciting Possibilities But Health Effects Need Scrutiny
#23 Plight of Palestinian Child Detainees Highlights Global Problem
#24 Ethiopian Indigenous Victims of Corporate and Government Resource Aspirations
#25 Homeland Security Was Designed to Fail


Marginal Revolution tells us about a great instance of "law and order" in a statist "country":

Vigilante militias are alleged to have taken over Rio de Janeiro slums, ruling as feudal lords and imposing taxes, as a result of the collapse of legal policing in these areas.

The vigilante militias are made up of off-duty police officers and former police officers. They work to expel drug traffickers and other criminals from favelas, known as Brazil's poorest and roughest neighborhoods, to set up protection rackets themselves.

According to Rio De Janeiro's public security department, 92 favelas are now controlled by militias, up from 42 in April 2005. They take over a new neighborhood at an average of 12 days.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Your Tax Dollars at Work

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Maybe I should become a police detective after all:

One Seattle cop reported that he grabbed an exotic dancer's breasts several times as she gyrated in his lap.

Another undid his belt for the dancer grinding against him -- allowing her to slide her hand into his pants.

A third paid $100 to a stripper for four lap dances in a row as he tested whether she'd offer sex for money (she didn't).

The three Seattle cops were part of a strip-club sting operation aimed at catching dancers who cross the line. But did the officers themselves violate department rules, or the law?

The Police Department's vice unit regularly inspects the city's four strip clubs. The unit occasionally sends in officers who, posing as customers, pay for private dances to check for law violations.

...

In a dozen of the 30 reports reviewed by the P-I, officers described how they allowed their hands to be placed on the dancers' breasts or buttocks. In 11 reports, dancers fondled the officers' genitals through their clothing while performing.

In seven cases, at least two officers bought lap dances from the same woman on the same night.

It's impossible to say how many lap dances individual officers have purchased because their names are redacted from their reports to protect their identities. In 2005, a Seattle police detective said he had purchased 300 lap dances during a five-year tenure in vice in a report to the City Council on strip-club enforcement.

...

One officer, who Sano said was inexperienced in undercover work, said in his report that he grabbed one dancer's breasts several times. With another dancer, he wrote in his report, "I grabbed her buttocks with both hands and kept them there throughout the dance."

A second officer, also not a regular vice cop, said he undid his belt, enabling the dancer to unzip his pants and rub his genitals through his underwear. She then grabbed his penis under his shorts before he could stop her hand, according to his report.


Unsurprisingly, the department's Assistant Chief, Nick Metz, defended the officers' actions:

"Honestly, I don't feel that there were any inappropriate actions on the officers' parts," Metz said. "They were forthcoming about what they were doing and very detailed in their descriptions ... and I certainly don't feel the officers tried to hide anything," he said.


So as long as the cops list in their reports how much titty they grabbed, how many jerk-offs they received, and how many orifices they penetrated with their penises, everything is kosher.

I, for one, can now sleep much safer at night knowing that my money is being used to buy lap dances for cops in the hopes of them being solicited for further sexual favors.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Stockholm Syndrome and the State

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Angelo Mike, one of the excellent writers at Strike the Root, points out how complacent we have become towards State threats and extortion. Why do people called to "juries," against their will, do not even complain?

Upon greeting our captors in the jury conference room--Edward and Rose, I believe--a spell immediately came over everyone. They talked openly to the bureaucrats, telling them about their favorite sports teams and their families, and joking about trying to get out of jury duty.

Do these people have any idea who they’re talking to? These people are threatening to fine us $100, imprison us for three days, or both, if we didn’t show up to that meeting. Is this not a display of Stockholm syndrome, in which a hostage starts to identify with their captor and feel affection for them?

Are these people idiots or insane? And when we were herded into a courtroom in which we were informed that we’d be chosen to hear a case of a doctor who was prescribing his patients pain killers (the state wants a monopoly on pain), why were these people sheepishly giving excuses as to why it might not be expedient to serve on a jury for a case that was expected to last three to four weeks?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The "United States of America" is a murderous fraud

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If you're on Facebook, join my newest group, The "United States of America" is a murderous fraud. I'm taking this to the top!

The "United States of America" is founded on wars which cost more than 3/4 of a million innocent dead, and on a document which binds no one but a bunch of rich white landowners long dead. We have the right, given by natural law or God (depending on your position on the subject), to live free from governments imposed by invalid contracts, force and murder.

Friday, May 11, 2007

What the hell?

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What the hell is going on? Are they just dropping the whole pretense and just outright giving money to good State drones now?

Seeking new solutions to New York’s vexingly high poverty rates, the city is moving ahead with an ambitious experiment that will pay poor families up to $5,000 a year to meet goals like attending parent-teacher conferences, going for a medical checkup or holding down a full-time job, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday.

Under the program, which is based on a similar effort in Mexico, parents would receive payments every two months for family members meeting any of a series of criteria. The payments could range from $25 for exemplary attendance in elementary school to $300 for a high score on an important exam, city officials said.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The State v the market

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Why won't the State do something about gas prices, you ask? But they are! They are keeping them up!

A service station that offered discounted gas to senior citizens and people supporting youth sports has been ordered by the state to raise its prices.

Center City BP owner Raj Bhandari has been offering senior citizens a 2 cent per gallon price break and discount cards that let sports boosters pay 3 cents less per gallon.

But the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says those deals violate Wisconsin's Unfair Sales Act, which requires stations to sell gas for about 9.2 percent more than the wholesale price.

Bhandari said he received a letter from the state auditor last month saying the state would sue him if he did not raise his prices. The state could penalize him for each discounted gallon he sold, with the fine determined by a judge.



Think you can resell used CDs? If you own a store, you better not.

In Florida, the new legislation requires all stores buying second-hand merchandise for resale to apply for a permit, would be required to thumb-print CD sellers and get a copy of their state-issued identity documents, such as a driver's license. Furthermore, stores could only issue store credit -- not pay cash -- in exchange for traded CDs, and then would be required to hold them for a 30-day period, before re-selling them.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Greenie fanatics and hurtful world conglomerates

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Another entry in the file of "Greenie fanatics who'd cheer if you died":

We need to radically and intelligently reduce human populations to fewer than one billion... We need to stop burning fossil fuels and utilize only wind, water, and solar power with all generation of power coming from individual or small community units like windmills, waterwheels, and solar panels. Sea transportation should be by sail... Air transportation should be by solar powered blimps when air transportation is necessary. All consumption should be local. No food products need to be transported over hundreds of miles to market. All commercial fishing should be abolished. If local communities need to fish the fish should be caught individually by hand. Preferably vegan and vegetarian diets can be adopted... We need to remove and destroy all fences and barriers that bar wildlife from moving freely across the land... We need to stop flying, stop driving cars, and jetting around on marine recreational vehicles... Who should have children? Those who are responsible and completely dedicated to the responsibility which is actually a very small percentage of humans...


Surprise, surprise. Oxfam "fairtrade" coffee HURTS farmers in the third-world:

Mr Wilson said there was evidence that Fairtrade products could do more harm than good for coffee producers in undeveloped nations. He cited reports alleging producers had been charged thousands of dollars to become certified Fairtrade providers and some labourers received as little as $3 a day...

The academics quote an analysis of Fairtrade, published in the US-based Cato journal, which says coffee producers in poor nations are charged $3200 to become certified Fairtrade providers. The producers' costs are therefore higher than on the open market. The Fairtrade campaign aims to manage the international coffee trade by fixing prices at $US1.26 ($1.64) per pound (454g) and eventually fixing supply.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Private justice and "restitution imbalances"

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Paul Birch, and his article "ANARCHO-CAPITALISM DISSOLVES INTO CITY STATES," eloquently demonstrates how one can mount an overly complex argument against a position, and not realize that one single wrong premise destroys the whole argument, making one's efforts worthless. For some reason, this particular argument has popped its head in some circles, so I thought it would be a good case in point to show why it's wrong.

Birch's basic argument, as you may deduce from the title, is that MA contains within itself imbalances which eventually must make it collapse into city-States. His proposed imbalance is that the "restitution ratio" of market courts would grow and grow constantly (i.e. people found guilty would have to give back more and more resources), reducing crime to nothingness and bankrupting most or all courts.

Birch's most blatant error is committed in his passage from "just courts" (with a restitution ratio of 1) to a "restitution price war":

Courts that offer plaintiffs super-restitution attract custom away from the conservative simple-restitution courts; other courts must follow suit or go out of business. Some courts increase the ratio still more, hoping to steal a march on the competition. A "restitution war" breaks out. But unlike a conventional price war, there's no direct constraint upon the restitution ratio, since neither the courts nor the customers have to pay the bill. Where does the money come from? It comes from convicted offenders, who now face correspondingly higher penalties for their deeds. But who cares about them?


A basic objection would be to say that there's no reason to expect "just courts," from market standards of justice, to set restitution ratios at 1. Furthermore, "just courts" could only be evaluated from the standard of consumer demand. So his definition is fundamentally circular. But since his argument does not hinge on it, we can let it slide.

No, the main problem here is in his assertion that the restitution ratio would freely go up because "neither the courts nor the customers have to pay the bill." But this is a fatal misunderstanding. In a Market Anarchy, no one can be upheld to a court or code of conduct he does not agree to. Barring the odd hermit or redneck holed up in his house, the "convicted offender," therefore, is a customer who has had to pay just as much as the other customers of the same agency!

Because of this, Birch's premise turns into something rather more difficult to defend: "would customers of any agency take the risk of paying more than unity if they are found guilty of some infraction?" Obviously not! No one would want to pay 2000$ parking tickets, or be condemned to the death penalty for failing to pay his cable in time. The restitution ratio obviously cannot keep getting higher and higher. Likewise, even if I do not take this into consideration, I certainly do not wish to live in a society where the restitution ratio is very much higher than unity, because this deprives my society of the influence of otherwise productive people (excluding, of course, complete sociopaths).

His second problem is in the notion that a court monopoly would follow, because higher restitution ratios would stop crime:

Higher penalties act as a deterrent. Fewer crimes get committed. So now the courts are competing for a smaller cake; they must take a larger share or go under.


But this is equally preposterous. If the highest restitution ratio possible (the death penalty) does not deter crime, then how can a necessarily lower ratio eliminate crime? Suppose Birch is correct, and higher penalties do act as a deterrent. Then Middle Eastern States ruled by sharia law, which prescribes death for all sorts of "offenses," should have the lowest crime rates and violence rates in the world. However this is far from being the case.

He also tries to argue that bigger agencies would have an inherent advantage:

Let's simplify things a bit more by considering the two local courts only. Assume that they are in direct competition; ie, that they are attempting to supply the same market. Now suppose that Acme Insurance happens to have a larger share of the market than Joe's. Then a larger proportion of Acme's cases will be internal (disputes between two Acme clients) and a smaller proportion inter-jurisdictional. Other things being equal, Acme's average costs should thus be lower. So Acme can cut prices, drawing customers away from Joe's.


It is very unclear how a case between a customer of Joe's and Acme's should entail greater costs than an internal case. Both seem to have the exact same requirements, anyway.

Birch misses a much, much more important point. People would not select their agency solely on price. If people chose consumer products based solely on price, luxury products would not exist. Neither would ideological motivations. But that's patently disproved by our current way of life. And indeed, many people would choose to live in a certain way out of ideology more than anything else (think of communes, for instance). These agencies are likely to be very small indeed, and perhaps less efficient. But this would not stop some people from choosing them.

This is a powerful advantage of a Market Anarchist society, once it is established. Coupling guiding principles to consumer demand, instead of ruling class values, creates a very different sort of community and society. If we look at what the market has done for our consumer products, we can only imagine what a market of ideologies could do, the incredible progress that could result. Compared to such people, we would no doubt appear very primitive.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Machinery of Freedom episode 21- Talking Positively about Anarchy

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The Machinery of Freedom episode 21- Talking Positively about Anarchy
Wherein I talk positively about the Market Anarchist society using misconceptions as springboard.

Songs: Fantastic Plastic Machine- There Must be an Angel.



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Fucking Legalize It!

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Market Anarchy Blog Carnival #2

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Oyez oyez! Read the second edition of the Market Anarchy Blog Carnival at There is No Government Like NO Government.

Also, if you'd like to host a future edition of the Carnival (and who doesn't want more hits?), you may consult the hosting schedule and leave your coordinates on the Carnival Intro post.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Friday, April 27, 2007

Urgh and the Precautionary Principle

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Urgh stands happy besides a big circular object made of rock, with a chisel and hammer (primitive, of course) nearby. His friend Arh approaches presently.

Urgh: Look what Urgh did!
Arh: What be?
Urgh: Me invent rolling object! You push, it roll around.
Arh: What for?
Urgh: *shrugs* It be used to transport things maybe, put object in middle and push.
Arh: Urgh not serious!
Urgh: What?
Arh: Urgh rolling thing untested. What if rolling thing rolls over someone asleep? Urgh kill people with rolling thing!
Urgh: Well, Urgh not planning to use around people...
Arh: But can you prove it never happen?
Urgh: Um... no...
Arh: Therefore rolling thing dangerous! Not use!
Urgh: So, because me cannot prove not dangerous, you say dangerous?
Arh: Yes!
Urgh: Arh realize using logical fallacy right? Argument from Ignorance. Arh cannot say something dangerous just because no proof it is not.
Arh: SHUT UP CAPITALIST SWINE! LOGIC NOT INVENTED YET!
Urgh: Um, capitalism not invented yet either.
Arh: SHUT UP OR ME SMASH URGH WITH ROCK! Also, Urgh not made environmental impact study of effect of rock on grass.
Urgh: Well, rolling thing more useful than impact of rock on grass... tradeoff seems pretty good for us...
Arh: Tradeoff? No risk is acceptable! Rolling thing might lead to vegetation death, killing animals, no more food, we all die!
Urgh: But Arh not know that for certain.
Arh: BUT IT POSSIBLE! Therefore Arh assume until you prove otherwise!
Urgh: ... Arh using Argument from Ignorance again...
Arh: LOGIC NOT INVENTED YET!
Urgh: ... and why burden of proof on Urgh? Why not think Arh's method preventing progress and thus putting more lives at risk than the alternative?
Arh: BECAUSE YOU CAPITALIST SWINE! URGH WANT TO MAKE MONEY OFF ROLLING THINGS AGAINST HEALTH OF TRIBE! ARH HATE YOU!
Urgh: ... but money not invented yet.
Arh: SHUT UP URGH!


This was the first ever recorded use of the Precautionary Principle, the liberal's dream of pseudo-scientific, illogical security. In the year 2007 CE, we are still living in caves and scared of rolling things. Hooray for the Precautionary Principle!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Daft Punk Charleston Old Orchestra

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To cheer you up after this last post, here is the best video on YouTube.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Most Gullible Statist Ever

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This does not need any comments. Just let your jaw drop naturally and let it hang at the text you are about to read.

I just paid my taxes, and I have to say, I always take pride when I do so. I don't like having less money to spend, of course, and the complexity of the process is really upsetting. But I am proud to pay for democracy, and I feel when I do send money to the DC Treasurer and the US Treasury that that is what I am doing. The right-wing likes to pretend as if taxes are a burden instead of the price of democracy. And I suppose, if you hate democracy, as the right-wing does, then taxes are the price for paying for something you really don't want. Personally, I find banking fees, high cable and internet charges, health care costs, and credit card hidden charges much more abrasive than taxes, because with those I'm just being ripped off to pay for someone's summer home.

Patriotism is about recognizing that we are all connected in a fundamental moral and physical sense, that the war in Iraq is our war, that poverty in New Orleans is our poverty, that public funding to cure cancer comes from each of us and not just the scientists who have made it theirs. The tax burden we face is a very small price to pay for the privilege of taking responsibility for our own freedom and our own society. And the hatred of taxes on the right comes from a hatred for this responsibility. It's childish and immoral and unAmerican.


From My Direct Democracy (no surprises there).

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Machinery of Freedom episode 20- Two Arguments for Self-Determination

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The Machinery of Freedom episode 20- Two Arguments for Self-Determination

Wherein I define a few terms, then explain two arguements, the Problem of Collectivist Obligation and Freedom's Imperative, and close by debunking a couple of other myths.

Songs: Paul Simon- How Can You Live in the Northeast, Mylene Farmer- Peut-Etre Toi.









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Thursday, April 19, 2007

The final nail in the coffin of anti-abortionists

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Here is an explanation of the "Famous Violinist Problem," an argument which, in my opinion, puts the final nail in the coffin of anti-abortion rhetoric.


In her thought experiment we are asked to imagine a famous violinist falling into a coma. The society of music lovers determines from medical records that you and you alone can save the violinist's life by being hooked up to him for nine months. The music lovers break into your home while you are asleep and hook the unconscious (and unknowing, hence innocent) violinist to you. You may want to unhook him, but you are then faced with this argument put forward by the music lovers: The violinist is an innocent person with a right to life. Unhooking him will result in his death. Therefore, unhooking him is morally wrong.

However, the argument does not seem convincing in this case. You would be very generous to remain attached and in bed for nine months, but you are not morally obliged to do so. The parallel with the abortion case is evident. The thought experiment is effective in distinguishing two concepts that had previously been run together: “right to life” and “right to what is needed to sustain life.” The fetus and the violinist may each have the former, but it is not evident that either has the latter. The upshot is that even if the fetus has a right to life (which Thompson does not believe but allows for the sake of the argument), it may still be morally permissible to abort. Theorizing about thought experiments usually turns on the details or the patterns of specific cases.