Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Sad Truth

"A mostly sunny day, to some, can look a lot like partly gray." - Eeyore

I was struck a while ago by a post from our comrade in arms Sunni, concerning her recent bout of happiness. What struck me most was that she had to take some very difficult decisions to get happy. It wasn't just something she had managed to stumble across or have randomly occur. Nope. Sunni had to do some serious work to get happy and that got me to thinking, (a dangerous proposition these days).

It's easy to be sad, angry, hurt or depressed. Those come easy to us; genuine happiness, on the other hand doesn't come easy. It takes some work. Look at the news and what it does to us as a prime example. Every time the Powers That Be inflict some new travesty upon us or someone else, our reactions are predictable. We become angered, depressed or are saddened by whatever the pronouncement is. There's rarely any happiness to be found and when it is fleeting. A scant moment of joy.

Many of us become paralysed by the predictable reactions and get stuck in the rut of angered reaction. We let ourselves be swept along by events, due to those predictable reactions. Don't think that The Powers That Be are unaware of this either. They know that they rule over a nation of Eeyore's and Piglet's. Depressed and scared by the futility of events well beyond our control we allow ourselves to me manoeuvred into positions of powerlessness. Even when we manage small victories in whatever our cause may be they are outweighed by the defeats that sap the resolve which remains. Look at the last election cycle or the results of the War on Iraq. Look at those of who have embraced TEOTWAWKI and survival preparedness. We have folks who range from happily preparing but getting on with life to those who seemingly cannot wait for things to fall apart.

Where's the happiness? The Joie De Vie? Must we allow it to be hammered from us by events which are beyond our control? Or must we work all the harder to create genuine happiness and pull from these events that which will place another brick in our own foundations? The latter is my choice. Happiness is preferable at all times, despite the work it takes to achieve true and lasting happiness. It's also necessary for us to be happy to produce the results we wish. This must apply doubly to those of us looking for freedom and liberty. How satisfying will it be if we achieved those goals riding on depression, anger and sadness as our primary steeds? That would make for a miserable journey, I think. Somewhere on that journey we must seek out, find and embrace happiness as our method, rather than the "Dark Side". It has to be preferable to depression and anger.

Looking at the last election cycle there is some happiness to be found. Despite the victories of the Socialist Left we saw that those who have chosen not to participate in the farcical electoral process far outweigh those who do. Clearly anarchistic sanity is winning out through default, despite evidence that Eeyore syndrome may be more to blame. The Socialist Right got a black eye, too! There's always a small ray of sunshine to be captured. We just need to keep them and store them up. No-one likes or listens much to the fearful and those saddened beyond recourse.

Those who wish to further the cause of freedom and liberty must work hard to find their "happy place" and work harder still to stay there if they wish to win. As we well know, happy people are much more productive than those beaten down by the blues. And it's a lot easier to make converts if you're smiling, just ask the Mormons next time they knock on your door at some ungodly hour. That should be our goal over the next year. Finding our freedom loving happy place and staying there. Ignore the power grabbers in the political arena, the merchants of misery and those who would hold power over others. Let's take some time to get happy and spread it around. It's hard work but I think the payoff will be much better in the end. Right, Sunni?

"I tell you one thing, though. Wherever we go, whatever we do, we're gonna take this luggage with us! "-Joe Banks

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Creationists Cave In

Finally, there is a bit of good news in the War on Rationality. It seems that the Cobb County, Georgia school board has finally given up their nonsensical battle to have stickers decrying evolution placed on books in their school district. Perhaps now the minions of the government school systems can get back to some semblance of teaching science rather than fighting a losing battle to placate the neo-Luddites in Cobb County. It's hard enough for children to get some form of education in these places without adding the misinformation provided by the fundamentalists and the fanatical vanguard in their battle against science and rationality. One blow struck for the separation of Church and State...many more to go. Kudos to the ACLU and others who fought this.

Darwin:1 Creationism:0

Now if we can just win the battle for separation of State and School....we'll be getting somewhere.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Bob Barr Defects

Well, the Libertarian Party has announced that Bob Barr is now a former Republican and a new member and officer of the Libertarian Party.
(Washington, D.C.) On Tuesday evening, former Congressman Bob Barr, a Life Member of the Libertarian Party, was offered the position of Regional 4 Representative of the Libertarian National Committee.
I can't say that I find this a pleasant happening from my particular point of view. While I admire Mr. Barr's stance on the 2nd Amendment, privacy issues and a few other things he has some major baggage that is blatantly unlibertarian. Since the article states that he is a card carrying, life member I will assume that he has read the Non-Aggression Principle and understands it. Then again there are a great many Neo-Libertarians who have signed it and have no clue as to what it means, so court's out on this one.

Mr. Barr also has not, to the best of my knowledge or anyone else's repudiated his stance on the Drug War. This is the clincher for me. Unless he can stand up and say he is 100% against the War on Drugs and People then he definitely cannot be counted as anything other than a paper libertarian who was courted by the Reformista in a misguided attempt to garner votes in the 2008 election. While many can accept some folks who are 80% libertarian there are, and must be cut off points and the War on Drugs should always be a major one.

Barr is exactly what they have been preaching for as their dream candidate. A defector who has been lured away in order to garner votes but who is not really a libertarian in any true sense of the word. Here's my prediction. The Reformista are going to attempt to run him as the LP candidate in 2008, pushing aside real libertarians with a history in favour of someone they consider more electable. This would pretty much be the final nail in the LP's political coffin and would serve to drive even more people from the Party.

The LP and Bob Barr have a great many questions to answer and they'd best get to answering them quickly. Given the recent events in Portland this is something the LP can ill afford to let slide.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Venerable Tradition Lives On

While perusing my favourite Gulf Coast newspaper, I was surprised to see that the powers that be in my home state had been busy carrying out raids on local liquor entrepreneurs. In this day and age when it is commonplace to see stories about police raids on growers and users of marijuana and other drugs, it was reassuring to my freedom loving soul to see that the venerable tradition of back woods distilling is still going strong. And it pained me to see that the purveyors of this product are still being persecuted, all in the name of taxation.

I remember hearing about moonshining operations on the Gulf Coast when I was a boy. Unfortunately, I was much too young to support these at the time and I live much to far away to lend my support now, (if I still imbibed), but it warms my heart to know that the very thing that got my great grandfather a stretch in Parchman Prison is still a going concern.

That government Revenuers still go out of their way to destroy stills and imprison these people says a great deal about the state of affairs in this country. 212 years after the crushed Whiskey Rebellion, the government still wants its money and is willing to imprison people and destroy their property to get it. Forget flags with snakes and canon on them, we should be flying a flag with a whiskey still on it in memory and honour of those brave souls who stood against the first tyrant and traitor to the Revolution, George.

Here's hoping that the 'shiners of the Coast keep on making their Jourdan River Dew and avoid the revenuers!

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Friday, December 08, 2006

FireFly Reborn!

Browncoats everywhere can rejoice that their favourite SF universe is in the process of being reborn, albeit as an online RPG.

Like Capt. Mal Reynolds stumbling in after a bar fight, the short-lived but much beloved sci-fi series Firefly will soon make an unexpected return, not as a TV show, but as a massively multiplayer online game.

Now that's shiny.

Shiny, indeed! While I am no fan of online role playing games (comes of spending many years of the original style of RPG's) this could very well change things. My only hope is that they produce the game for consoles rather than PCs alone, (or at least make a Mac version). I'd hate to have to upgrade one of my Windoze boxes solely to play a game.

At least there'll be one game out there for folks like us! A libertarian/freedom lovers 'verse with an implacable statist enemy. Man...I can hardly wait.

(Thanks to William Gillis for the heads up on this one!)

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Little Thugs

It's 7:45 PM. The family has finished dinner and it's now dark outside. There's a loud and insistent banging on the front door. For a moment it flashes through your head that a neighbour is in need of help. Perhaps there's a cop on your front door for some unknown reason. Then there's a moment of clarity and you know who's there, before you even turn on the porch light and open the door. It is yet another small thug from the Census Bureau.

After having ignored their mailings and told them in their previous 3 visits that you have no intention nor desire to participate in their American Community Survey (.pdf) they have sent someone who is abrasive, loud and attempting to be forceful. What's a body to do? Sure, you could take the suggestions of some folks and get a pack of security Dobermans, but that's not likely to occur. You can continue to say no to people who obviously do not comprehend that no means no. It's certainly a conundrum and one I do not envy anyone else.

Why would anyone resist answering the questions on this "survey"? It's not like the Census Bureau has lost numerous laptops with confidential information, right? And what about the questions? Doesn't the government have a right to know if you have toilets? Or how many vehicles you have? How much you paid for your home? How much you spend on utilities? How much you make and whether or not you're depressed? What about how much you pay to insure your home? Doesn't the Census Bureau have a right to that information? They seem to think so.
"Representation and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers ... . The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct."

-- Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States

Here you have it. The so-called Supreme Law of the Land in these United States where a census is concerned. A census is for the purposes of apportionment of taxes and representational government. No more. No less. And yet....what we are graced with in the American Community Survey is no less than the single most intrusive questionnaire I have ever seen, short of a psych test. All for the purposes of reapportioning wealth as far as I can tell. The entire practice is odious in the extreme for those who care to look. This thing has nothing to do with redrawing Congressional districts to insure equal representation, it is purely about social engineering and data mining; a purpose for which there is no Constitutional intent implied.

There are implied threats and coercion involved as well. Monetary fines for each question you refuse to answer. Greater fines for each answer which is "wrong", (monkey wrenchers take note) and a couple of granddaddy fines should they choose to levy them, (you should keep your fingers crossed on that one, folks). So what are you to do when they come knocking? You can just keep saying no and keep hoping they'll go away, ( as a certain blogger is currently doing) or you can surrender to them and allow them the information they desire. It's up to you.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Ain't People Odd?

A few posts back I announced to the world that I was pretty much done with the voting gig and immediately noticed some rather odd behaviour from certain quarters. Some folks have thought that my voting cessation is equal to a resignation from the fight and have even gone so far as to wish me well, as if I were leaving for new pastures. A couple of websites affiliated with political libertarianism have removed links to UnCivil Defence ( apparently not voting somehow makes your words less than they were. Go figure.), a couple of people have pretty much ceased all communications and there is a definite feeling coming from some quarters that I am no longer part of "the body".

It's all rather odd, when I stop to think about it. Nowhere have I announced a cessation of my previous activities, (other than voting and supporting the purely political) or even intimated that such was the case. I have simply taken the decision to pursue the battle for hearts and minds rather than waste efforts on vain political pursuits. That some people within the same organisations wish to pursue politics is of no matter to me and I wish them well with that aspect of our, (I hope) mutual journey towards deconstructing the State, (as opposed to becoming the state).

I, like many people whom I have come to know and respect, recognise that the political not only is not working it is antithetical to libertarianism and the movement for freedom in general. As a friend recently told me,
"One can't vote more freedom into existence..."
All we can really hope to do is educate more people. Kindle the flames of freedom in a few more hearts and hope that they, too will become missionaries in the battle for hearts and minds and spread the word. Political libertarianism is one small facet in the battle to dismantle the anti-freedom machine. It is not, and never should be the end all and be all of libertarianism. Without winning the battle for hearts and minds and letting folks know exactly what libertarianism is, (and is not) political libertarianism shall never succeed in any meaningful way. I, like a few others think we need to get back to the basics.

You see, folks I haven't given up. I've just chosen not to surrender to the system. If that somehow makes me and the place I rest my writings less your style of libertarian, then so mote it be. If this is the new "big tent" Libertarianism then it must be pitched upon the grounds of some country club rather than in the green fields where everyone can get to it and that's rather sad. I choose to not hide who and what I am for the sake of a few pieces of paper in a ballot box, nor do I wish to sit silent when people ask what libertarianism is, because of political expediency. Political libertarianism will continue to fail unless we engage the hearts and minds. Yes, we're going to scare them. It's inevitable that some will be frightened when we offer to take away their lollipops and replace them with something more wholesome.

Lies are lies. Theft is theft is theft and armed robbery is no less so when the people doing it are "elected". These are things we believe and should always be proud to stand on. I haven't changed my spots, significantly...have you?

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Murder In Blue

One death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic.- Joseph Stalin

Once again members of the so-called "Thin Blue Line", (the largest gang in the US) have managed to kill an innocent victim. This time, tho it is a 92 year old woman whom the gang members and their sponsors contend was a drug dealer. Not a very likely scenario, to anyone with even a normal IQ, obviously not a prerequisite for badge holding, is it?

Now we get to add one more person, a little old lady to the statistics. The polizei in Atlanta have already gone on the offensive where this drug war murder is concerned. Note that their fellow gange members gathered to pay homage to them when they heard their homies had been capped.
Assistant Chief Alan Dreher said the officers had a legal warrant and "knocked and announced" before they forced open the door. He said they were justified in shooting once they were fired upon.
He conveniently ignores the fact that they were unjustified in being there at all. They should have been cognizant of the fact that the occupant of the house was a 92 year old woman...if they had bothered to investigate rather than bust down doors. What are the odds that this woman was a drug dealer? Not very good, but drug warriors seldom care, do they?

In this day and age, when the failed drug war continues to claim innocent lives and real criminals use police tactics to terrorise the innocent it's no wonder that this woman opened fire on these gang members enforcers. Beyond the fact that there were no drugs here, these men were not in uniform and were attempting to break down her door. What reason did she have to believe that these were actually cops? None. The justified shooting in this case belonged to this little old lady, not the police. The true tragedy in this case of drug warriors vs. the people is that Kathryn Johnson is dead and that the officers survived and will likely face no retribution for their incompetence and the unnecessary killing.

The continuing militarisation of the police has killed yet another person and it is unlikely to end any time soon. Yet one more reason to end the War on Drugs before it kills again.

(Thanks to Radley Balko for the link to the video.)

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Monday, November 20, 2006

The Draft Buzz

Without a doubt this week the libertarian blogosphere will be abuzz with news of Democrat Charles Rangel's calls for a renewal of the draft. Again. It's certain that the blogosphere of the Democratic Left won't be paying much attention to this, tho. They, like the Republicrats will lockstep right down to the draft board rather than take a stand on an anti-draft platform. Fortunately, we are unlikely to see this come to pass, as the new Speaker of the House and their Majority Leader have already said they'll not let it get to the floor. Unfortunately, politicians promises aren't worth the wind it takes to make them, as we all know.

Eventually, someone will succumb to the slave state mentality and a draft will once again be imposed upon our children. People with guns will come and force our children into uniform to serve the will of the state in far off lands. My only question at this time is whether or no this will be your line in the sand? Will the imposition of press gangs to take your children, your brothers, lovers, husbands and your friends be the back breaking straw? Or will you stand idly by and watch as they are taken away to serve the warlords in D.C.? Will you help them leave their homes to flee to a foreign country, (from which they'll likely be deported at the behest of the US government, given the current state of affairs)? Urge them to resist and be imprisoned? Or will this be the "hill you choose to die upon"?

We will hear, in the next few days, (I doubt the issue will last that long given the attention span of most people) from a variety of people as to why this is a good or bad idea. Most libertarian folks will oppose the idea of conscription for all the right reasons and many out there will embrace Rangel's class warfare rhetoric and the warped view that politicians would be reticent to begin conflicts if there were a chance that someone they care about could be drafted. That's a ludicrous position to take, given past behaviour of these people. They care not one whit about the lives of others and they can always arrange for their offspring to be exempted from combat...just look at the President of this country if you don't believe it. Politicians wield power and they don't care if you know they use it for their own benefit. Who are you to question them? Nobody.

So, if this should come to pass will you concede your children to the state? Acknowledge that they are the property of politicians? Or will you allow that they are sovereign individuals and treat them as such, shielding them from the petty tyrants who would enslave them in the name of political expediency? Inquiring minds want to know.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Saying Goodbye To Milton Friedman

The libertarian and free market movements have lost one of the great icons today. Milton Friedman has departed the world at the age of 94. All of us who believe in the free market owe him a great debt, one which we shall never be able to repay other than by carrying on in his stead and fighting for a true free market on our way to a world without masters.

The statement from the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation sums it up much better than I ever could.

America has lost a true visionary and advocate for human freedom. And I have lost a great friend.

Milton’s passion for freedom and liberty has influenced more lives than he ever could possibly know. His writings and ideas have transformed the minds of U.S. Presidents, world leaders, entrepreneurs and freshmen economic majors alike. The loss of his passion, incisive mind and dedication to freedom are all national treasures that we mourn for today.

Milton never chose to slow down; even at 94 he kept fighting to bring educational equality to all of America’s children. And it’s this vision, this drive for educational liberty that the Friedman Foundation will continue to bring to families throughout America.

His impact on my life over the last 33 years was significant. His impact on the world was momentous. Without a doubt, few people have done more to advance civil and economic liberties throughout the world during their lifetime than Dr. Milton Friedman.

The light of liberty has just grown a bit more dim with this loss. It just means that the rest of us have to work harder now, to realise the dream of Milton and Adam Smith. Mr. Friedman's Foundation work has been on my mind of late, as I have once again been fiddling with the idea of a new system of education. While he advocated a system of reform and choice I have been looking for a new system entirely. Now, just as I seem to be on the right track one of the people who was an inspiration to me in this area has left us.

Goodbye and Bon Voyage, Mr. Friedman. We'll miss you.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Say Hello To My Little Friend...

Well, I finally broke down two weeks ago and joined the semi-auto crowd at last. After years of being a devout revolver carrier I decided to find and purchase semi-auto. After months of research I took the decision to go with the Taurus Millennium Pro PT145 in stainless. I decided on the Mill-Pro for a number of reasons, top amongst them being that the pistol is light, concealable, fits my hand well and it has a lifetime warranty. I already own one Taurus revolver in .357 magnum so I had no qualms about the quality of the firearm I was purchasing. It was a good deal, too. I paid $100 under MSRP and got not just the firearm, but also received an extra magazine, cleaning brush, loading tool, receiver locking keys and manual. There's also a deal with Taurus to give away a 1 year membership in the NRA with every purchase of a Taurus firearm. Fortunately, I have no intentions of exercising that particular bonus, not being a fan of the NRA in any way shape or form. Maybe someone can convince them to offer up a GOA membership instead?

So, I went to my local gun show and picked up my newest friend, along with ammo and a new holster. This weekend I spent a cold morning at the range getting used to the vagaries of this newest addition. I was really surprised that the recoil on this pistol was nowhere near what I thought it was going to be. I think the recoil was less than I usually experience with my .44 Special. It's a joy to shoot. The only truly disconcerting thing was that every so often the Mill-Pro ejects a casing straight up and back, popping you in the head. If I hadn't been wearing my ball cap I might well have got a hot one to the head. Other than that this pistol fires well and puts rounds about where I want them to go, (misses were my fault).

I wasn't thrilled with the ammo I bought, tho. Speer Lawman rounds. More than once these rounds jammed on me. Grrr....while the price might have been right the quality leaves a great deal to be desired. My next purchase will be some old reliables like Winchesters or Remington's.

I think I'm going to like this pistol a lot. It'll probably even get me out to the range more often, too and that's a good thing!

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Fitting End

Many, many years ago I cast my first vote ever for a Libertarian Presidential candidate and yesterday I cast what is likely to be my last vote for Libertarians. Even tho I knew most of the people for whom I voted I didn't feel good about casting a ballot. There was no excitement and no sense of fulfillment , only a sense of unease, futility and disgust with the system that my vote was perpetuating. Today I saw the results of that vote, and all the others like it. The Socialist Left has become the dominant force on the American political scene by ousting the Socialist Right and nothing will change in any substantive manner. No libertarians were elected, indeed the votes across the board screamed out for more government and less freedom.

For almost 30 years now I have been voting for more freedom, liberty and free markets and in all that time I have seen the opposite grow. We have become less free, our liberties have been violated time and again and the free market is an obscene joke. My vote has been the equivalent of spitting into a volcano in a vain attempt to put it out. That's a realisation that has been building in me for years now and yesterday it came to fruition. I have often said that when the fun aspect of anything goes away then it's time to drop it. There was no fun in what I did yesterday, not even a minute sense of satisfaction. Things became even worse for me as I watched the dismal results trickle in before I retired for the evening.

The people of this country and the state I live in repudiated the Socialist Right and replaced them with their comrades on the Left, hoping for change. They did not vote for freedom or liberty as their engines of change. No. They voted for new masters hoping that by choosing the new one they could, perhaps effect a change in the demeanour of the old master, all the while failing to realise the truth of the matter. All masters are the same.

The election after I cast my first vote had a Socialist Right President and a Socialist Left House and Senate and now we have the same, once again. I no longer see any need to indulge in that particular past time. The deck is stacked against me and anyone else who desires to live in a free country with the barest minimum of state interference. I am surrounded by people who value masters over freedom, who need an iron fist in a velvet glove to goad them into action and to "lead" them. I cannot, in good conscience contribute to that particular system any longer. Better to spend my time trying to educate people than to try and get their votes. Until the battle for hearts and minds is won the ballot box is a lost cause.

So, I'll join those who have taken the decision to withhold their consent to be governed, as well as those who choose to not delegate the initiation of force via the ballot box. Even tho our reasons for not voting may differ we have a lot more common ground than others. They're a fine group of people with a much needed vision; one beyond the futile political chicanery of the ballot box. All in all it's a fitting end to and inglorious career as a voter....

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

To Vote Or Not To Vote, That Is The Question.

Our comrade in liberty, Wally Conger has reposted his 1992 "Anti-Electorate Manifesto" over at out of step and I must say that it's a thought provoking piece for me. One week out from the elections and I honestly don't see any over riding reason to get out and vote. Victory for the Libertarian Party is unlikely and I would never even consider casting a vote for a member of the Boot On Your Neck Party. The most likely Libertarian "victory" in Indiana isn't even in my region and the Secretary of State race is the only vote that would matter to me. Heading to the polls and casting a single vote in order that the Libertarian Party in Indiana can continue to play the political game seems almost fruitless at times given the present climate.

We, the Anti-Electorate, do not believe there is a need for "strong leadership" in government.

We are not drawn to "intellectual" authorities and political "heroes."

We are not impressed with titles, ranks, and pecking orders politicians, celebrities, and gurus.

We do not struggle for control of organizations, social circles, and government.

We do not lobby the State for favors or permission to control those with whom we disagree.

Rather, we advocate freedom.

By its very nature, the State does not.

Exercise your right to say "No" to the warfare-welfare system.

Refuse to vote. Then tell your friends why.

There's a great deal of wisdom in this Manifesto, especially in these times, when there is no difference between the "two" parties. When I hear Libertarian candidates speaking out about siding with the Socialists on the Right or even joining them I find it difficult to justify voting for anyone.

Perhaps, Robert LeFevre was correct and we should abstain from beans.
Political voting is the legal method we have adopted and extolled for obtaining monopolies of power. Political voting is nothing more than the assumption that might makes right. There is a presumption that any decision wanted by the majority of those expressing a preference must be desirable, and the inference even goes so far as to presume that anyone who differs from a majority view is wrong or possibly immoral.
But implicit in all political voting is the necessity to coerce some so that all are controlled. The direction taken by the control is academic. Control as a monopoly in the hands of the state is basic.

In times such as these, it is incumbent upon free men to reexamine their most cherished, long-established beliefs. There is only one truly moral position for an honest person to take. He must refrain from coercing his fellows. This means that he should refuse to participate in the process by means of which some men obtain power over others. If you value your right to life, liberty, and property, then clearly there is every reason to refrain from participating in a process that is calculated to remove the life, liberty, or property from any other person. Voting is the method for obtaining legal power to coerce others.

With one week remaining Wally has posted the one thing that makes me sit back and do some serious rethinking. What will I be doing on election day? I don't know yet. I may well be wrestling with my addiction and abstaining from beans for the first time in a long time. What will you be doing?

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Getting Busy - Steve Kubby Is Running For President

I was doing some web wandering this morning and decided to stop in at Kubby.com to check in and see how Steve Kubby was doing in his bid for the LP nomination for the 2008 Presidential election. Well, 'Lo and Behold I see that Steve has filed with the FEC and has been certified as a candidate. Outstanding! Now all he has to do is get past the neo-Libertarians who would rather not talk about health related issues, that nasty old drug war or medical marijuana. That will be no easy feat for Steve, given the new slant the Libertarian Party has taken. He may well be too radical for them.

Steve Kubby is taking advantage of the Internet for his campaign, posting footage from an appearance at the 34th Annual Cancer Convention on YouTube, running his normal website at Kubby.com and hosting a blog at MySpace. He even has a 123 member group at the same site. Not bad for being 2 years out from the elections of 2008.

Kubby is an ideal candidate and much better than some that are already offering themselves up for the run. His experience, name recognition and dedication will certainly stand the man in good stead, as will his "fan" base. Tom Knapp even hopped on board with a good analysis of a Kubby run and tendered his support (with the qualifier that the BTP might be running their own candidates). Steve Kubby is looking forward, in a humorous manner to appointing his cabinet. He's already got Tommy Chong tagged as the next Drug Czar. All kidding aside, tho; the message Steve Kubby tries to get across is one of revitalizing the Freedom Movement and dealing with the real issues that effect us all. Anyone who honestly stands up and says that they will help to restore personal freedoms to us has my support.

Steve Kubby would make a fine Libertarian candidate for president, certainly better than some of the others who are currently making noise about it. He has the credibility and chutzpah to do the job well. My only concerns for his candidacy are going to be his ability to medicate while on the campaign trail. As someone who would have to travel extensively in his quest for the nomination and then election, I have to wonder how much harassment and law enforcement persecution he will have to face. Will he even be able to travel to states like Indiana, New York or the South? Or will he endanger his health by not medicating while on the road? This is my only concern for his campaign, as I would hate to see a true crusader for freedom and liberty place his very life in jeopardy in order to obtain political office.

It is obvious that he is currently the best candidate the Libertarian Party has and he is an outstanding example for libertarians as well. A person who has principles and is more than willing to go to the wall for them is just what the political libertarians and the freedom movement need right now. Run, Steve! Run!

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Two Way Walls

Walls are curious things. They serve to keep things out and to keep things in. They protect your home from various invaders and the elements while holding up the roof. They draw lines, delineating one's personal property from that of another. They serve to protect ones property and family or to imprison. Walls, I think are things which should not be taken lightly and yet the powers that be have taken the decision to build an American Great Wall along our southern border to keep out the new Yellow Peril.

People forget, I think that walls are a two way proposition. That which serves to keep one group out also serves to keep another in. Given the current regimes penchant for violating Constitutional rights, endorsing torture, suspension of habeas corpus and the litany of other "crimes" for which they and their cohorts will never be prosecuted, it is surprising that so very few people have voiced significant opposition to the construction of a border wall. Perhaps they only see a single direction where the wall is concerned.

Perhaps they've never seen cinema classics such as "The Handmaid's Tale"? Or even "Escape From New York"? If the arts aren't enough to make one suspicious of any walls which governments decide to build then a look at the country formerly known as the Deutsch Democratic Republic and their famed Wall and border control system. East German citizens believed that their border walls were to keep out corrupting foreigners and terrorists, too and gladly gave up their freedom for the safety of government protection.

Today any wall the government proposes is to keep people out but, what person places their faith in the hope that government will remain beneficent given the history of governments and politicians? There was once a time when our government did not blithely speak of torture, surveillance of the citizenry or "sacrificing" universal rights for the so-called common good. Piece by piece over the decades the powers that be have chipped away at our unalienable rights and now those pieces will be used to craft a wall. A wall which is today for excluding people from our supposedly free country and that tomorrow could very well be used to keep us in. Our freedom to travel, internally and externally has already been restricted is it too hard for people to imagine that a wall will not place a further restriction on it? Or even forbid it, if or when someone wishes to leave "the land of the free"?

Walls are curious things. So, too are those who support the building of some kinds of walls, as well as those who ignore it.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

On Addiction

–(noun): The state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.
2. a.The condition of being habitually or compulsively occupied with or or involved in something.

Habitual psychological and physiological dependence on a substance or practice beyond one's voluntary control.
Hello. My name is Michael and I am an addict.

They say that's how getting well begins for addicts, by admitting that you have a problem and moving forward from that point and leaving the addiction behind. Addicts and alcoholics who attend meetings begin their speeches that way, regardless of how many years removed they are from their addiction or even if they have managed to completely kick the habit. Reinforcement of that recognition is a great help to them and helps break the cycle.

The same case is true for those of us addicted to the political. Politics is an addictive and destructive thing, which any rational person would admit...if they weren't addicted to it. Addicts are loath to admit their addiction can be harmful to themselves and, especially others. Politics may well be the single most destructive addiction on the planet, it has certainly managed to kill more people than all drugs and alcohol combined and enslaves more people than the "drug cartels" could ever dream of.

It is through politics that government derives its power and corrupts the very philosophies of freedom and liberty that so many of us hold dear. They redefine the words and concepts until they bear no resemblance to themselves. Those of us who engage in the addiction of politics may well be the worst of the enablers. We are the ones holding the spoons and cooking the junk while those who run for or hold office mainline our time, money and ultimately a good dose of our freedom. It doesn't matter what "party" they belong to, nor which philosophy they choose to embrace. In the end they seek to control some portion of our destiny. From the dog catcher to the presidency, this truth is self evident.

Even those few politicians or candidates who espouse philosophies familiar and dear to us and who speak of restoring our freedoms are running on the high and looking through some oddly coloured glasses. They, in the throws of their own addiction ignore the obvious. Politics is not the solution to politics, just as heroin is not the solution to heroin. No-one can restore or grant freedom to us through the auspices of political power. Even at its most benign politics is the power to punish, to command or to steal, by its very nature it is non-restorative. It may only choose to command less or steal less. To punish less severely or to ignore but, it cannot grant us that which is anathema to its very existence. The ugly man with the club will always be there.

Recognising that one has a problem is the first step in overcoming the addiction and seeking a "cure". No matter how strong or weak, the withdrawal is always going to be tough,( just ask an ex-junkie or alcoholic), and it can take many forms. One could go cold turkey and eschew politics completely, but I feel this might well require one to adjourn to a desert island and live as a beach combing hermit. The scent of burning politics is going to be present as long as there are two people who've inhaled present. Most folks are going to have to settle for a gradual weaning from their political addiction.

This will not be easy for some of us. Giving up campaigning, fundraising, gladhanding, the Issues, the camaraderie and all the organisational aspects that go with it. The fighting and animosities have to be surrendered, as well. All the warm, good feelings that come with a political hot shot have to be surrendered, if the addiction is to be overcome. That's not easy and may not even be possible, given the prevalence of politics in our society. Many of us may have to become adherents of a maintenance program and subsist on minute doses and eschew taking a full hit. Give up running for offices, supporting candidates and races, voting, campaigning and all the myriad activities associated with it.

No-one says it's going to be easy to kick the habit and it may well cost you some friends who are still addicted (don't become a self righteous crusader, no-one likes that former smoker!). And remember TANSTAAFL, there's always a price to pay, but you can dicker with this addiction. Start gradually and build to freeing yourself from this disease. Skip voting in the Primary. Don't attend a convention. Abandon the small things and see what they don't do to you. If you survive that....start building from there. As with any addiction it's one day, one event, one crisis, one fundraising letter at a time. Many alcoholics whom I have known often replace one addiction for another behaviour, (most commonly known to AA folks as the "marijuana maintenance program") If necessary, go on a maintenance program. Choose a less destructive addiction, like anti-politics.

And remember. Recovered addicts make the best rehab therapists....in case you needed something to do with your time.

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Just A Spoonful Of Sugar

Hooray for the scientific community for informing us of the efficacy of marijuana where Alzheimer's Disease is concerned! Of course this is only news in the USSA. Back in 2005 Spanish researchers announced the same thing and showed us that news apparently isn't news unless researchers in the US do it. Spanish researchers also led the way back in 2004 in showing that the THC in marijuana could fight brain cancers, too. Regardless of the fact that the Scripps researchers are just redoing research already accomplished by others, we are left with another chip in the facade of the government and their "Reefer Madness" inspired hatred of what is likely the most beneficial of plants on this world.

It's one more blow against the moronic Drug Warriors, tho and those mindless supporters who continue to use the governments spurious propaganda as fact, in order to persecute people. Look for this news to be relegated to the backwoods, showing that marijuana is useful for anything is verboten in the USSA. No-one is interested in ever seeing marijuana legalised in any manner, especially government entities at all levels. They make entirely too much money off of arresting,
persecuting prosecuting, incarcerating and "rehabilitating" those who possess, use and grow marijuana.

Lawyers would lose money defending their pot clients. Rehab clinics and programs would lose their influx of insurance money, court mandated rehab funds and grants. Cops would lose out on seizures and the cash their auctions make. Prisons and jails would see their budgets slashed as cells were emptied of these vicious criminals. As with so many things where marijuana is concerned it is all about the money. For all the wailing, moaning and gnashing of teeth about "criminals" making money selling pot, people seldom look at what the prohibitionists make from it. $39.1 BILLION has been spent on the war on drugs this year alone. None of that money went to users or growers. 606,600 + people (as I write this) have been arrested for marijuana crimes to date. The jails will be paid to house these people, bails will total in the millions, court costs in the millions, lawyers fees, fines......it's all about the money.

It's certainly not about those who could be aided by using marijuana. Not about the Alzheimer's patients, like my wife's grandmother. Nor is it about neuropathy patients like my own mother, who lived in constant, crippling pain before her death. It's about exerting power and extorting money for the state, the Powers That Be and all their hangers on who benefit from the continued War on People.

While we can cheer this announcement as yet another proof that cannabis is a true panacea and a gift, we must never lose sight of the fact that there is a Drug War going on and it is being waged against us. By forbidding its use the state tortures thousands and condemns to death even more. All the research in the world will never change their minds, no matter how much we wish it. The battle lines have been drawn and the time is long past to start treating it as the War that it is.

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Putting Aside Prudence

Despite what you may think of them Wal-Mart has always offered its customers value for their hard earned dollars, allowing them to maximise their purchasing power. Even tho they aren't the "Buy American" store they once were, due to customer demand and the nature of the markets Wal-Mart has always been customer friendly. This is about to change, tho. Wal-Mart has announced that they are ending the practice of "layaway" which the chain has offered since its 1962 founding and are going to start offering credit terms instead.

I remember my folks using the layaway system for holiday shopping when we were kids. Why did they choose to use it? So that our family did not accrue any more debt than necessary for non-essentials. It allowed us to stretch our family budget a lot farther and still purchase the "necessary" holiday gifts (as determined by my mother) for all parties. We accrued no debt using this system and neither did other people who used it. That is now at an end, as Wal-Mart ushers in a new class of lower income debtors. People who truly cannot afford to assume credit card debt will now be welcomed with open arms by Wal-Mart's underwriters. This is not a good thing on any level.

Layaway programs foster fiscal responsibility and monetary prudence for people who normally would not be considered for credit cards, due to their income limitations or who are smart enough to eschew the assumption of unsecured credit card debt. Now Wal-Mart, like so many other retailers is adding another layer to our already burgeoning national debt problem. I will not be overly surprised to see a great number of credit defaults amongst people using this method for their holiday shopping. People who previously could only afford to purchase a limited number of items within a set price range will suddenly see an expensive cornucopia of items that were previously outside their grasp.

The time is coming, aided by events such as this when we will likely see ourselves in the same predicament that Great Britain now finds itself in, if indeed we're not already there. The low income segments of our population can ill afford to have unsecured credit dangled in front of them in such a fashion. While it is obviously not the place of businesses to hold the hands of their customers in such a situation, it does no great service to those same customers to place them in a situation where they become slaves to debt. A good customer is a lifetime project, not someone you use until the money dries up. Good customer service sometimes means not offering something to your customers, especially those who can afford that "service" the least.

Thanks to Kevin for the tip on the Brits!

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

What Price Victory?

Election time is here and I must say that it is a serious disappointment to me, all in all. The numbers of people out there worthy of a vote are few and shrinking by the day and it is becoming painfully obvious to me that there is virtually no hope that libertarians are going to find themselves in positions where they can affect anything approaching change. Add in the fact that across the country libertarians have been disqualified from running for political minutiae by the powers that be and you can see why so many people are looking at routes other than the political to obtain their freedom and make the state irrelevant.

Needless to say I don't even look at political candidates from the BOYN Party, only at "libertarian" candidates and, with a few exceptions I find that most either do nothing for me or they make me wonder if these folks are actually libertarians in some cases. I've seen candidates endorse staying the course in Iraq, say they'd support a Constitutional amendment denying equal rights to homosexual Americans, vote the Republican line and in one notable case a candidate even said he'd consider joining the Republican Party if Libertarians gave him the go ahead. Sheesh, what a slap in the face to people who've worked so hard to do something with the political arm of libertarianism for so many years. (Here's my OK, for it. Don't let the door hit ya in the butt on the way out).

As far as I can see there are a large number of candidates who are running as Republican Lite and a handful of notables who are running true to their core principles. A recurring theme this round seems to be "let us in the boys club and we'll fall in line behind the Republican banner" all in an attempt to allow Republicrats to retain their dominance over the Democrats. This truly flies in the face of all reason, especially since most of these candidates are making small government a big running issue. The Republicrats, at all levels have been increasing the size of government, decreasing liberty, spending like drunks on a binge, taxing and indenturing our children and there are "libertarians" who would align themselves with these people? So much for principles.

This year, in an election cycle with the highest level of voter discontent with the Boot On Your Neck Party I have seen more candidates disqualified for minor things than ever before and frankly, I'm not that surprised by it. Those who currently hold the reins of political power are loath to surrender them and even more reticent to surrender even a few votes to a potential spoiler. Since so many locales have already done this and seen that they can get away with it, I suspect this will become the accepted practice in voting offices nationwide. Where ever there are third parties running look for the bar to be raised again and again by those in power.

Sadly, the day after Election Day 2006 will see a repeat of the all the other post election days in past years. There will be the disappointment, defections, resolutions to do things differently and renewed resolve that next time things will be different and nothing will really change. Somewhere along the political path we have lost the battle for hearts and minds. The people in this country have no desire to be free of government and its thieving power mongers. Those who have elected to pursue political office as libertarians are, more often than not sending out the message that we are just like the "other guys" and they shouldn't be afraid to replace them with us. Where's the incentive in that?

If libertarians are to do anything they need to re-engage in the battle for hearts and minds before they tackle the political aims. Until folks finally have the desire for change and the wish to be free then we will continue to see the same results election cycle after election cycle. If "our" candidates are just Lite versions of those already enjoying power there is no incentive to vote for us, nor should they if change is what people truly seek. Moderates cannot effect radical change...and that's what we so desperately need. What's type of victory is it if "our" candidates are just watered down versions of the current rulers begging for a chance to get into the club house? Victory at any cost is not a good strategy, especially if it means becoming what you say you detest.

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Friday, September 22, 2006

11 Billion Reasons To Oppose REAL ID

As if we needed even the single reason that a National ID scheme was a honkin' bad idea, here comes the National Governors Association, the National Conference of Legislatures and even the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators to put a price tag on REAL ID. More than $11 billion over a five year period and that's just the cost in tax dollars. The average citizen being forced to obtain a REAL ID compliant drivers license will likely spend a couple of hundred dollars or better and lose who knows how much time.

The Washington Post is reporting that the cost to re-ID 750,000 transportation and port workers will be in the area of $140 each. The costs for government workers will run $100-150 to make them all compliant...and that's just more tax dollars and time, (which boils down to money). REAL ID just keeps getting worse and worse, despite the protestations of its perpetrator, James Sensenbrenner. As with any government program we can look for the real price tag on this one to continue to climb, especially when we factor in lost productivity due to extremely long waits, system failures and multiple visits. How many people possess, at this time a certified copy of their birth certificate and all the other necessary documentation that will be required?

What will these new licenses cost the average person? Hard to say, but it will likely be well over $100, especially when you start factoring in lost time, cost of obtaining documentation and the rest. The cost to each state will be much higher and will ultimately fall right back into the taxpayers laps, as usual.

The cost in lost freedom will be much greater. Failure to comply with the National ID scheme, (its supporters have now ceased even attempting to say that it is not a National ID) will result in people being barred from a variety of places and things. They'll be unable to fly, enter federal facilities and possibly even be denied any federal services, such as Social Security. The entire REAL ID scheme rests on our new Department of Homeland Security to draft requirements for new ID's, something its creators failed to do. The creation of this Homeland Security ID, which is what it boils down to, should be of great concern to everyone. It puts one last nail in the illusion of 50 independent and sovereign states. DHS has already established offices in every state and most large towns and cities. As someone who has lived under communist rule, in police states and in Middle Eastern dictatorships all of this looks exceedingly familiar to me. "You want the papers you must have? Show us some more money."

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Bush's War On Dissent

Taking a page from the Bill and Hillary Clinton book of Evil, King George's administration has decided to use the IRS as a tool to quash dissent by religious institutions. Most of us who remember the Klintonista misuse of government agencies, (primarily the IRS) for purposes of political retribution find the Republican hypocrisy immensely gratifying and frightening. There can be no doubt now that there is no difference between this inhabitant of the White House and his predecessor. Using the IRS in exactly the same manner which Republicans, neo-Conservatives and even neo-Libertarian talking heads have decried, Bush is finally showing his true colours. By using the Infernal Revenue Service as a tool of retribution and intimidation George Bush is showing himself to be no better that Bill Clinton in the socialist thuggery department. In fact, it is quite clear that Bush's use is even worse, given the neo-Con squawking over Clintons misuse of the same agency against his enemies.

This is a continuation of an event which I touched on some time back and points out the primary reason there should be a separation of church and state. Churches of all religious stripes are at the mercy of the State as long as they seek permission to exist from that State, as this most recent event clearly shows. Churches which seek permission to exist from the government lose their power to speak out against the evils of that State. One of the things which our Founders tried to avoid by calling for the separation of church was State sponsored religion and now we have that very thing. State approved churches are the norm in this country and no-one seems to mind, until events such as this and others occur.

That no-one seems to be picking up on this says quite a lot. The Left doesn't care because it's a religious institution and the Right doesn't give a damn because it's an anti-war/anti-Bush organisation. I feel for this church, (even tho I am not an adherent of their particular mythology) for they are seemingly all alone in this matter. Will no-one be siding with them against this blatantly evil government attack? It's doubtful, since there is a history of people turning their backs on religious institutions who buck the State. The reasons for ignoring events like these are many and varied and range from support of the State to dislike of religion to just being happy to see someone getting theirs. These institutions are doing the right thing and deserve our support when things such as this occur.

Political speech in churches is a long established tradition in this country and dates back to before the Revolution. Many of the most inflammatory speeches of the Revolutionary period were made in churches. Patrick Henry and many others uttered their famous speeches in churches and the pastors in the many churches across the land spoke eloquently to their congregations, exhorting them to embrace freedom and oppose tyranny.

That people like George Bush, who is supposedly a religious person (altho there is proof that he is, in actuality a heretic) would seek to persecute a church for exercising their right to free speech is an affront to all who value Freedom, Liberty and all the things which this country was founded upon. That the very act is an act of blatant hypocrisy should be infuriating to everyone, especially those who make a habit of criticising the naked emperor. Today it is a church in Pasadena speaking out against war. Will it be you and your fellow bloggers tomorrow? It will if you don't stand up and make yourself known.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Where Were You?

It seems as if multiple generations have asked this question numerous times where catastrophic events were concerned. Prior to the destruction of the World Trade Centre towers on September, 11th 2001 people often asked that question about the "Kennedy Assassination" or "the Moon Landing". Earlier generations no doubt asked about "Pearl Harbour", "The Lusitania", "The Titanic", "The Explosion of the Maine" or "Fort Sumter". Now, of course the question on peoples lips is "Where were you on 9/11?"

Like many people I, too have a 9/11 "story". Mine's just like thousands of others on that day, a reflection of the "normality" which occurs in the midst of any catastrophic event, regardless of anyone's wishes. Unlike many people across the country today I will not be mourning the loss 3000 people who were unknown to me. I will not engage in any ceremonies marking the event, in order to somehow feel better about myself as an American. I will not be allowing myself to be manipulated by the media or the state in order to maintain the fear and frenzy that was engendered that five years ago, today. "9/11" is much more personal to me and I will not allow it to be marred by the maudlin sentimentality inspired by the state and its spokesmen.

Where were you? I would be hearing that a lot today if I decided to watch the television or listen to talk radio for an endless period. I'm sure the internet will be filled to the brim with these, as well. You see, I know where I was and I know where the people I care about were. We were gathered together in an ICU waiting room waiting while my mother died and watching as another jet hit the remaining WTC tower. While the country gathered around water coolers, radios and televisions to watch the beginning of a bleak period in America, my family, and many hundreds more went about the normal business of watching our loved ones die of "normal" and quite undramatic causes on that day.

Sitting next to my father, a man who was career military and a member of the Diplomatic Corps my only remembered comment was, "Someone's going to die for this". Little did I know then that the someone I said was going to die was going to be thousands of American soldiers, innocent Iraqi's and others, as my wounded country lashed out in a frenzy. Little did I realise that the supposed mastermind behind the WTC tragedy was, 5 years later going to still be a free man with little or no prospects of ever seeing him captured. The only thing on my mind that day was the decision I would have to take with my father to remove my mother from life support, as she had long ago requested.

That's where I was and that's where my mind returns every September 11th. I don't spend this day listening to or answering the cries for vengeance from the talking heads and politicians who all want to lead me somewhere. I ignore the neo-conservatives, neo-libertarians and others who use tragedy and grief as soapboxes for their own warped agenda. This is my day. It's my family's day and that of thousands of others who lost loved ones in the course of "normality" on September 11th, 2001. Excuse us if we don't feel your nationalistic grief and rend our clothes to suit some societal expectations of what is and is not proper. This day belongs to us and to the people who truly lost someone on September 11th, 2001. Not to candle holders, preachers, media clowns or politicians all hoping to feel good about themselves or to make others feel saddened for a moment.

This is a large country and Death did not take a holiday due to terrorism. In the rush to promote "9/11" the normal folks of September 11th get lost and have to deal with the constant and painful reminders of their real losses. Give us a break, will ya? We know where we were...and we really don't care where you were.

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Ready, Set, Ask...Or Answer.

Some time ago, I wrote a piece concerning a "happening" called Dropping Knowledge. Well, it looks like they're off an running and have started their online kaffe klatsche of asking and having questions answered. Here's a good opportunity for Individualists, Libertarians, Agorists and others with freedom leanings to participate in something where we might have a chance to influence the thinking of a large number of people. It is obvious that Dropping Knowledge will be influenced heavily by the European Socialist mindset and we have a unique opportunity to inject a Liberty germ into the mix. Perhaps even place The Liberty Meme where it can do the most good.

The more people like us who become involved in this the greater chance we have to plant the seeds that could lead to greater freedom on a global scale. Yeah, I know...that's expecting a miracle, but miracles do occur once in a blue moon and the more people who embrace Individualism, Liberty and the desire to be free, the better off we will be.

There are so many areas containing questions and answers at Dropping Knowledge that it may well be another Sisyphean task, but someone has to attempt it. Politics, Health, Religion, Future, Information, Peace and many more subjects cover their "Table of Free Voices". The scale of this project is huge, clicking on "Politics & Governance", for instance opens related trees and each of them may open even more. The opportunities are endless.

They do require a registration, but it is painless and there are no checks on the info, so anonymity seekers are covered.

So, here's a chance, folks. We know our ideas can work, just look at Estonia for proof. A few people can work wonders in the right situation and we are being presented with an opportunity to speak to someone other than the choir. Whether you're an Individualist, a Political Libertarian, a member of the Libertarian Left, an Anarchist or what have you here's an opportunity to do some good. With few keystrokes someone may just start a fire.

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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Gettin' Free 3

Getting free from the many masters who hold us in bondage is far from easy and may not even be possible for the majority. There are no abolitionists, no underground railroads and no armies or proclamations by tyrants set to "free the slaves" this go 'round. If it is to be done then you shall have to free you and yours on your own. Total freedom may not even be possible in today's world unless one is willing to adjourn to the farthest fringes of society and live amongst the trees in the wilderness, for it is certain that we have no North to run to.

Freeing yourself is no easy task given the reach of the tentacles of slavery in todays world. Some slave master or one of the myriad overseers touches or has touched virtually every facet of our lives. How free can we be? I'm not sure, given the reach of things. The best we may be able to hope for to get rid of the heaviest of our chains and try to work things out from there.

The first chain to dispose of is going to be the ones which tie us to our corporate masters. The ones which bind you to the desks, cubicles, assembly line or what have you, are the chains which need to go first. Many folks whom I know have commented upon this recently and it truly shows the need for a paradigm shift in how we choose to view and do our work. Too many people confuse jobs and work and herein lies the key to the corporate lock. Separating your work from your job is the key to freeing yourself from one master, the one who determines what you're worth on a day to day basis as an asset. Within every person lies an artisan or a craftsman just waiting to return to their pre-Corporate Revolution roots and become the masters of their own fates once again.

There are a great many chains to sever when fleeing the Corporate Master. There's the job itself, but there are also the smaller chains. Insurances, investments for retirement, regular income and all the myriad perks which may be concomitant with your current status. These are often the strongest links of the chains and can be the most difficult to release. They are a burden which you must shoulder as a free person, with no master to provide or subsidize them or you must do without them. What you do once you're free requires even more work. No-one will define you and your chosen work from the moment you choose to be free. If you've spent your time at a desk coding software you're going to have to find an outlet for that skill that keeps you free from corporate masters. If you were a company chef you're going to need to redefine how you use you skills. Perhaps you'll take up small batch production of a food and sell at farmers Markets or to local restaurants or start a small scale catering service. Regardless, you'll need to step outside the box if you wish to remain free. Think big!

Then there's the freedom and dread of freeing yourself from the theft by withholding which your previous "employer" was obligated to engage in for the Über Master of the State. You'll need to take a decision where this is concerned. Do you break this link to another master or continue paying gelt to make things easier. This is a tough choice and the decisions you take in this regard will be life changing, for good or ill.

Getting free from the Mastery of the State is nigh on impossible given the Brobdignagian reach of its tentacles. Eliminating their touch upon your life may require you to exit to the woods and live a quiet life, maintaining a small and obscure presence. Honestly, I have no tried and true answer to this one. You may choose to ignore the Powers That Be, but there is no assurance that it will choose to ignore you in turn. It could well be that they will make it a point to pursue you via their escaped slave hunters and make it a point to return you to the fold against your will. This has happened in the past to folks like the Weavers and the Branch Davidian's. There are no guarantees that you will make it to freedom or that you'll maintain it, even if you manage to achieve it, despite the numerous guidelines out there.

Escape it we must, tho. If those who desire freedom cannot come up with a solution of gettin' free then we, like Nat Turner shall be left with only one choice. A choice most of us have worked diligently to avoid. Breaking the chains of our corporate masters may well be the easiest way to attain a modicum of freedom and it is something we must all pursue in one way or another for ourselves and our descendants. Breaking free of the plantation, tho...that's going to take some work if we are to gain freedom without the spectre of burning down the plantation.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Let's Talk Food For A Minute

I don't care much for the FDA or the USDA or pretty much any DA, that should be readily apparent to most folks. These people supposedly do all sorts of things for our own good, like post warning labels on stuff and make feeble attempts to insure the wholesomeness of food. I've run into this a couple of times in the last few weeks and today the straw broke the camels back. While out doing some grocery gathering with my youngest we stopped by to get some cheese, (we're planning on chicken quesadilla's and refritos tonight). Now, I usually check labels on stuff in order to insure the absence of certain things like High Fructose Corn Syrup, (HFCS is one of the main reasons I now bake all my families bread). I don't think about checking to see if a certain food product has a strange chemical in it...like, say a fungicide. I especially don't expect to see a fungicide in cheese.

Well, lo and behold that's exactly what I found today. It seems that companies producing pre-shredded and even whole cheeses are adding a chemical called Natamycin to the cheese and/or the rind or wax. Some companies, like Whole Foods (there doesn't happen to be one around here) will only sell product that has it in the wax on cheese rinds, but other stores don't seem to care. I can get around this by buying bulk cheese instead of convenience cheese, but that's not the point here, really. Other than in the ingredients label there is nothing to let you know that there's a fungicide in these cheeses. If I go to buy a piece of salmon there is a part of the label that clearly and upfront states that a colouring agent has been introduced to the product. Farmed salmon chow contains an innocuous colouring agent that imparts the orange, salmony colour we all like to see in our fish.

The "law" requires this label. Apparently the same standard does not apply to fungicides in dairy products. Go figure. I think I'd much rather see that label on the cheese (many of which are articially coloured, too). Add this in to the FDA's recent announcements and I really have to wonder how safe our food is going to be in the future.

Folks really better start reading the labels on foods which they're eating. While I usually check for HFCS, it's not common for me to check for fungicides which are added solely for the purpose of maintaining an asthetically pleasing appearance. Let's face it, mold is natures way of letting us know the cheese is either off or French, take your pick. We really don't need one more thing which requires us to do more research on our diets. It's become hard enough as it is to ascertain whether a food is safe to eat without adding something else like fungicides into the already complex equation.

FDA, USDA and the other D's and A's need to go away. They're a clear and present danger to our health.

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