Friday, September 29, 2006

Libertarians Behaving Badly (like everyone else)

Lookie what I found!

The short story: apparently, a group of libertarian digg users are being accused of conspiring to digg up any and all stories from such sites as and The accusers go further to state that many of these diggers don't even READ all the stories they digg, they are simply trying to game the system.

The issue of digg gangs has been discussed before, and I'm not even going to bother to look into the allegation that there is a digg gang which targets libertarian articles; it is sufficiently unsurprising I'm just going to assume it is true.

The irony, of course, is that all the "digg gang" phenomenon proves is that libertarians are right. It's one thing to have a news aggregator like influenced by organized parties and interest groups; it is quite another to have an entity with the power to tax, distribute, and force at will that operates under the same principle. If you don't like digg gangs, imagine how much worse it would be if digg gangs had the authority to demand money, imprison you if you refuse, and spend it to imprison or even kill anyone they pleased!

Oh, wait, we already have that. It's called The State.

Monday, September 25, 2006

RE: A Uniform Does Not Absolve You

"No one questions whether the Russian soldiers who executed 21,000 Polish Army reservists in the Katyn Forest Massacre are responsible for their actions......Why is it then that few Americans, even those opposed to the war, question whether U.S. soldiers are responsible for their actions?" Laurence M. Vance on the soldier's responsibility.

The question of whether men can be held accountable for actions taken under authority is always a difficult one. On the one hand, you have pieces like this one, which condemn any man who kills or destroys on behalf of his government, as murderers, thieves, vandals, and possibly worse. Taken to the extreme, to hold this idea consistantly is to comdemn every person who has killed while in uniform (or even intended to do so, if he didn't get the opportunity) to the same degree as one who has killed out of uniform. Heck, I'd go even further, and extend the blanket ostracism to anyone who so much as paid their taxes during an immoral war. People like this are the sort who, after the Vietnam War, booed returning soldiers, shouting such epithets as "baby killer!"

Then there is the other side, which reacts equally vociferously to such charges. Such people regard a uniform as a sort of sanctification, whether it be a police uniform or a military uniform. In their eyes, men are permitted to take acts on behalf of government that would be immoral if taken without government sanctification. Even if the motivations of the people who ultimately have the authority to make the decision as to whether to go to war or not turn out to be completely bogus--even obviously so at the time the decision is made--the actions of the troops are not their own, to these people. For while evil men may have made an evil decision, the men who risk their lives to carry out that decision, regardless of their personal opinion of said decision, are heroes if they carry it out anyway, and are traiters if they refuse, regardless of their motivations (or even legal sophistries).

While my readers know well which side I lean toward, I think there is a middle ground to this argument. Yes, I agree that, whether one is wearing a uniform or not, one is responsible for one's actions. Indeed, I believe that if a majority--or at least a significant plurality--of people in this country believed this, this country would be a better place. Many fewer people would be willing to serve the State whether for good or for ill, thus it would be much more difficult for anyone to establish the tyranny of which the seed was planted in the Progressive Era, and which is flowering today.

However, it was only recently that I managed to integrate this idea fully into my worldview. As recently as 2001, I attempted to join the United States Army (post-9/11 fervor) with the full intent of fighting in Afghanistan, or whever fighting needed in order to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice. Fortunately, I was turned away; I suffer from a bit of hearing loss, so I didn't make it past the MEPS.

Nationalism and Statism are powerfully deceptive worldviews--even more powerful when the two are joined. I had it to the following level: I still believed it was acceptable to kill a man in self-defense (I continue to believe that, though I believe a Christian should attempt to refrain from doing so (Matthew 5:39)). I believed that a police officer should be given extensive benefit of the doubt; today I doubt the wisdom of vesting a particular group of people with special authority to violate people's rights (theoretically in defense of the rights of others, but I increasingly emphasize the word "theoretically.") However, where soliders were concerned, I remained under the delusion that, somehow, just about anything can be justified under the pretense of a "Declaration of War." I also operated under the assumption that all American wars are defensive wars... despite the fact that I was quite aware that the vast majority of U.S. Military actions have been nothing of the sort. The two facts just hadn't connected as they have in the failures in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Still, it is a powerful delusion, and I regard it as a "mitigating circumstance" for soldiers returning home from the front lines. And, if the reason for pacifism is the belief that the moral rules that appy to individuals are not somehow null when individuals act as a group, we should also apply the national strategies we would prefer the nation adopt in our own lives. How can we expect those who govern us to be peacefully tolerant of differing regimes when we ourselves are intolerant of of differing opinions? How can we expect our government to be diplomatic in dealing with the representatives of other nations when we ourselves are unwilling to be diplomatic with others who hold other beliefs?

Do not ostracise the troops when they return--particularly if you discovered your pacifism within the past five years. Continue to treat them as individuals, and attempt to convince them of the wrongness of war in the same way you would anyone else. There are going to be a lot of people returning home who are confused as to the purpose of the last four years of our lives. Treat them not as willing accomplices, but as people awakening from a long period of mental compulsion. Help them to heal, and remember that love, even the Love of Christ, can cover over a multitude of sins.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

In Washington, another tale of waste and fraud unpunished

"Cycle of fraud in the F-22 procurement and funding process and reluctance among news services to expose it. Contrasts the price paid in opportunity costs for other funding decisions."

I am linking this from here because I really don't want stories like this to get lost in the shuffle. Please, digg it, and digg it well.

read more | digg story

Sunday, September 17, 2006

First Amendment Violation?

I just had a thought, a very short, somewhat tenative line of reasoning.

Israel is an implicitly, if not explicitly, Jewish state. Probably the main justification for our support of Israel flows from a line of reasoning that is explicitly Zionist, both Christian and Jewish. I fail to notice any genuine strategic concerns in maintaining our support for the State of Israel, and, indeed, there are many potential strategic lines of reasoning that justify a withdrawl of military support for Israel. Thus, it seems that the primary motivation for said support is Zionist in nature.

Would our government's unwavering support for Israel qualify as "respecting an establishment of religion" as prohibited by the First Amendment?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Loose Change 2nd Edition Recut

"Dylan Avery, Korey Rowe, and Jason Bermas bring you the most powerful 9/11 Documentary yet. Updated!!!!"

All right, I've watched the video. Ironically enough, I did not discover this video by way of internet. In truth, I am generally uninterested in consipiracy theories; I don't need to hear that our leaders are the perps to believe that the event is the fault of our government. My line, of reasoning, is that a half-century of more of usupations, abuses, and provocations can only inevitably lead to an event of this sort; that the only center ever held by the so-called "conservative" movement--mindless anti-communism--lead our people to support our government in atrocious actions throughout the third world.

However, a co-worker of mine, ordinarily a highly conservative bush supporter, is visibly shaken by this documentary; he insisted I watch it. I have, and let me tell you; it is extremely convincing. The pictures of the completely not jet shaped hole in the side of the pentagon is the most convincing part of it. The "you believe me, mom?" part is doubly suspicious.

Right-handed Osama is pretty convincing, as well.

There were a few flaws I noticed. First off, they showed the complete absence of scars in the pentagon lawn. However, if the plane did, in fact, "bounce," the shot they were using was hardly wide enough to show where the scars should have been.

The blast in the hole looked orange-yellow, not silver, though that hardly proves anything.

Another major problems is this: what happened to the actual passengers of flight 73? What happened to the actual people the video suggested were impersonated for the phone-calls home? Have they all been intimidated into silence? Were they killed?

The main problem with it, of course, is that I hardly have the frame of reference to verify the claims of the video. There was a lot about steel melting points, composition of airplane parts, facts about demolitions, the living or dead status of 9/11 hijackers, and such, which I simply cannot verify; I lack the knowledge to do so. There are those who claim that they have done so, and much of what the film states is false; my next post will follow watching the response.

However, for those of you who are saying, "Man, it's totally true!" and turn around to say the solution is to put *different* people in a position of ultimate power (which is what it is to have the degree of wealth and political power posessed by such men), I say you miss the point. It doesn't matter who has the power. Allow people the authority to steal (tax) and kill (war) in your name, and they will do so, in your name--and YOU will ultimately reap the consequences...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

America Bless God

This is the text of an acual bumber sticker I actually saw on an SUV sitting in front of me the other day.

Has the idolatrous worship of "America" become so prevalent that someone can display such a message openly, without shame? Is America so elevated in the eyes of some that they now invoke America's blessing... upon God?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Steven Haze

I have a few two-word phrases which characterize Steven Haze and his cantidacy.

Incumbant's Paradise

If there is any proof that the practice of electing people by Gerrymandered districts is a recipe for the subversion of democracy, California District 21 is it. Just look at the funding difference betwee the two! Devin Nunes (Republican) has literally raised sixty times as much for his cantidacy as Steven Haze. The vast majority of Nunes' contributions come from PACs. I'll go into more detail when I do an article about Devin Nunes, and resist the temptation to go after him, as well.

Flaming Liberal

Yes on abortion, yes on tax increases for the rich, yes on gun control in any and all forms he can find. The only nominal positive I could find were his insistance on welfare recipiants be kept in training and/or work programs. While such programs would ultimately amount to little more than a subsidy to "training companies" and/or bueraucracy which has the ability to fill out forms declaring themselves "in compliance," but at least it would also serve as a way to make welfare more trouble than it's worth for some.

Then again, it would probably serve as little more than a statist indoctrination program, so even this seems to be a bad idea. (I would prefer either eliminating welfare altogether, or simply replacing our complex of welfare, real estate tax deductions, and business subsidies with a simple, flat, citizens dividend.)

The worst part of it is he's not a "flaming liberal" where it really counts: in today's foreign policy! He isn't against the war by any means, favors our continuation in Iraq, but would like to ask for a little help from other countries. Pah!

Stay Home

No, really. He's involved in some things I support in this area, including the Sierra Foothills Nature Conservancy. These are the sorts of organizations that, if my money weren't being seized by various governments for these purposes, I'd financially support willingly. (As it is, I'll barely be able to make rent once I'm out on my own again, and a good quarter of my income goes to pay the obvious taxes--never mind the hidden ones.)

The Verdict

Given his incredibly low level of support (Devin Nunes is going to win this election, no question about that) and his incredibly weak position on the Iraq War, Steven Haze will not be getting my vote. Mind you, neither will Devin Nunes. The only other registered cantidate is the Green Party cantidate, John Roger Mills, who I'll be watching a little closer from here on.

I have got to find some way to get involved in politics in this town...

Friday, September 01, 2006


Go here.

Notice that the incorrect submission into MS Internet Explorer takes you to Microsoft's seach page, and provides a few suggestions:,, and Hilariously, the blitheringly obvious is not included among the suggestions.

Gee, I wonder why. :p