Saturday, April 01, 2006

A REAL ID Related Update

In a REAL ID related matter take a look at what Bush is saying, if you'd like to know where he and the Crypt Keeper are going to take us.
Bush has asked Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to work with his counterpart in Canada to ensure that the card is developed in a way that expedites the flow of people and commerce in and out of the United States while ensuring that criminals stay out.

"Envision a card that can be swiped across a reading device that facilitates the movement of people," Bush said.

I feel so much safer knowing that people like these are looking out for the safety of the country by creating internal passports. So, REAL ID is about stopping criminals now? Maybe they've abandoned the falsehood that it will halt illegal immigration or terrorism? What's the selling point now that it's a done deal?

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A REAL ID Reprieve

Well, I managed to "escape" having to have a REAL ID Act ID foisted on me in the near future. No, the State of Indiana didn't halt their race to implement the REAL ID act early...they're still going to force REAL ID Act compliant Drivers Licenses on the people of Indiana years before RID takes effect. I just got lucky by having my license expire this month. After an unusually painless, efficient and short BMV experience I got an Indiana license that will last me for 6 years, granting me a temporary reprieve. Yes, I examined the license carefully under high light. No chips and no magnetic strips are on it, so Digimarc hasn't managed to get their Smart Chips in the current batch of cards, yet.

The staff at the branch I went to couldn't, (or wouldn't) tell me what they knew about the new licenses that were coming in the Fall. They said that even they were being kept in the dark about the particulars of these RID inspired National ID cards. As nice as the ladies there were, I think they were telling the truth. Their "superiors" are keeping them in the dark about the new cards that the people of Indiana will be forced to carry and they're doing so deliberately. It's a subject that is not being discussed and in some quarters is being soundly ignored by people who should be saying my states LP.

The silence and ignorance of this is astounding. I went to an auction this morning and the lady who checks drivers licenses and I got to talking about the REAL ID Act and Indiana's early implementation and she had no idea that this was even coming. She also had no idea that her business would likely have to purchase scanning equipment at some point to stay within the law.

Why the silence? I cannot, for the life of me figure this out. Are Americans so beat down that they just don't give a damn any more? Have they willingly consumed the Statist Flavoured Kool Aid that makes a National ID card palatable? Has getting elected somehow become more important than speaking out about Liberty issues? Or is this somehow acceptable to folks? I don't have answer and I wish I did, because I really need to know why this police state tool is acceptable in America and why people who should know better remain silent.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

What'cha Gonna Do?

That's a phrase that comes to us from any number of sources but my favourite source will always be an old buddy of mine, John Knight from San Jose. John and I worked together during my California Year, after I returned from a 3 year stint in Egypt. John was a lonely guy, a Vietnam Vet and just down on his luck and didn't really give damn about much. You couldn't threaten him, not because of his size...big...but because of his attitude. John's answer to any confrontation was always, "What'cha gonna do?". The lengthened version of John's mantra, when faced with authoritarian ire was "What'cha gonna do, send me to Vietnam?", and showed a level of carelessness (as in without a care) that served him well.

What brought John's mantra to mind today, (I haven't talked to John since just after the Loma Prieta quake of '89) was all the bitching and moaning about the illegal immigrant issue right now. All the yelling, punditry, harangues and general mobbish distemper on the subject by everyone from the Left, Right and even "libertarian-ish" camps really made me want to ask them, "What'cha gonna do?"

What's your solution? I sure as hell don't have one and frankly I don't care a whole lot, one way or another. I've glanced at a number of blogs from all over the political spectrum and seen a ton of ranting, but very few present reality based solutions. When I looked in on a couple of message boards it was much worse, pandemonium and lunacy reigned supreme. solutions. The news, "experts" and politicians? Nope. Nothing there, either.

So, what'cha gonna do? We could follow the plan passed by the House that will make felons of all the illegal immigrants. But then what? Where are you gonna store 11 million felons, huh? Our Statist prison system is already overfilled with our own citizens. I guess we could start shipping them out to foreign countries and using their prisons to store them, like we've done with more than a few "terrorists". Will this new "get tough" measure result in, yet another "War On..."?

We could do as the Senate wishes and El Presidente' wants and make them all "legal" immigrants with the stroke of a pen. Of course then you have to ask yourself if this sets a precedent concerning other laws that millions have already broken and been imprisoned for. If we are, as certain pontificators incessantly remind us, a nation of laws then what message does this send? Maybe we should free all non-violent felons and counter-economic entrepreneurs from their current states of imprisonment? Perhaps we could offer mass amnesty for all crimes? The principle is the same.

Maybe we can do as the rabid anti-immigrationists wish and just round them all up and send them home or imprison them, or perhaps "we" can seize and sell their property and confiscate their "ill gotten money" to fund the operation? My question to these lunatics is simple. Who's going to do it? If there are at least 11 million illegal immigrants in this country then who is equipped to take on this Brobdignagian task? The US Army, National Guard and Marines? I don't think so, bubba. There are about 1.8 million active duty military in the US arsenal, most of them in support roles and about 860,000 in various Reserves (half of these are in the Guard). 11 million people, (that's the low end of the guesstimates) are the equivalent of about 733 Military Divisions of 15,000 each. While I'd like all of our troops to come back to the US, I do not want them back under these circumstances. Ever. Any attempt to utilise the military in such a manner would destroy this country, both figuratively and literally.

Police forces from the State, counties and cities certainly cannot attempt this and shouldn't. We would almost certainly be looking at open warfare in our streets and there would be no winners, especially the cops. No matter what the various opinions on the matter are the facts speak for themselves. With 11 million people already here....they are here to stay. That's just reality, folks. The politicians are going to talk and do the hustle and in the end, nothing will be done. And that suits me and many other people just fine. Reality is a bitch and she will never be denied, no matter how much the monomaniacal anti-immigrationists and their buddies wish it.

Are illegal aliens a drain on the Statist welfare system? Possibly, altho I have seen mostly anecdotal evidence to support that and government figures. If that is the case then we need to address the welfare system rather than the migrant labour issue. If the migrant labourers are "taking jobs from (North) Americans then we need to address relevant issues, such as bringing down the cost of living in order to make it easier for people to survive on lower wage jobs and bringing down the cost of doing business so businesses can hire people who may charge more for their services. Ending the horror of the welfare state would be a good thing for all parties.

In the end, it's not about the "illegals" or any of the myriad issues surrounding them. It's about us, our country and the government and its bureaucrats that we have to deal with. 11 million productive people who do not wish to be moved...will not be moved. Unless the rant and roll crowd plan to take matters into their own hands nothing is going to happen, regardless of how many press conferences the Powers That Be hold, how many letters to the editors get written or what you and your buddies at the VFW decide to do come election day.

You folks have already managed to foist off REAL ID Act on us, in the name of illegal immigration and the War on Terror. Unless you wish to live in a country where troops are stationed on every corner and Homeland Security Police can enter your home or business on a whim and force you to prove who you are, then you need to get used to the migrant workers who are here and find a realistic and sane solution to border control. Throwing this country into a state of chaos and eroding our Liberty to a nub is unacceptable to me and many others who live in a reality based world. In the end it boils down to the mantra....

What'cha gonna do?

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

We're Not In Kansas Anymore

And thank goodness for that! The Kansas legislature voted to override the Concealed Carry Law that Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius had vetoed. So, now Kansans can apply for and receive some modicum of their inate rights to self defence. Too bad that there are so many restrictions on it, tho. Seems like the legislators don't understand what a Right is, huh?

Under the proposal, Kansas residents 21 or older who are U.S. citizens can obtain a four-year permit by filling out an application with the local sheriff and paying a fee of up to $150.

The attorney general's office issues the permits after conducting background checks to eliminate those with a felony record, a history of mental illness, drug or alcohol addiction, or physical infirmity preventing the safe handling of a weapon.

Completion of an approved eight-hour training course also is required.
And gunowners will put up with having to jump through these hoops. (Yes, I am guilty of jumping, too. I pay for a permit so some jackbooted thug doesn't murder me and my family if I defend myself).

Some of the commentary was horribly amusing, too, especially from "law enforcers".

"My concern is people thinking they are safe because they are packing a gun," said Yonally, R-Overland Park. "It's only going to become a weapon that can be used against them."

So, using this "logic" we can safely assume he'll support legislation disarming cops?

Among opposing groups was the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police. Its president, Valley Center Police Chief Kelly Parks, said there's some concern about how to find out whether an applicant had a mental illness problem.

"The federal law restricts us from getting a lot of that information," Parks said. "There is no clearing house for that kind of information."

Yet, but just wait till this guy and his buddies get done lobbying for it. Medical privacy, my ass.

The Kansas Sheriffs' Association remained neutral because its members were divided. But its president, Stafford County Sheriff Jeff Parr, said such a law bothers him.

"I feel that with more people able to conceal weapons we're going to have problems with guns," he said. "Instead of getting into a fist fight, if they have a gun, they are going to pull a gun instead of fighting."

Remained neutral? How neutral is it when your head man says something like this? And didn't anyone ever teach this guy about the old saw? "Never bring a knife to a gunfight"? A gun in the hand is worth more than two fists any day of the week....

At least the people of Kansas can, after satisfying the Statists hoop jumping, excercise some small amount of their natural Right to self defence. It's a step in the right direction anyway.....

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They Just Cannot Get It!

So, the FEC said that the Internet and bloggers were "exempt" from their rules...for now. Then we get to hear from the "almost affected" bloggers from the Left and Right sides of the Boot On Your Neck Party and what have they got to say?
"This is a tremendous win for speech."
"This could have been an utter disaster, but it appears to have all worked out in the end."
This is what you get when you drink the Statist Kool Aid all day and everyday. Here, let me sum up some reality for you people. Saying, "Hi, my name's So and So and I'd like you to vote for me" is speech, no matter how you cut it. The FEC still imposed restrictions on people and there is NO justification for that, other than those imposed by the government. The people just happen to be a subclass called "candidates". Maybe it'd be different if the subclass were..women? Perhaps ministers, gunowners or blacks? The fact that an agency of the State imposed any regulation is disastrous. They just made law and they aren't the Congress. This is the problem with incrementalism, folks.

And for those who think they're safe....stop counting your chickens. McCain and Feingold are still out there working against us and there's legislation pending even now, to further restrict free speech.

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Monday, March 27, 2006

Liberty Jihad 3

So, now comes the time to finish this up. I've started and discarded half a dozen versions of this piece for one reason or another and have finally decided to say to hell with it and just write the damned thing. I've already talked about the Jihadists and their assaults in my previous posts but those really are a preaching to the choir kind of thing, I guess and that doesn't do a lot of good, does it? What's required to stop the anti-Liberty Jihadists and their accelerating assaults on Liberty?

We've had 35 years of the political wing of Libertarianism attempting to break down the walls and gain access to the Beltway Boys Club, only to be met with propagandistic derision of numerous Jihadists, anti-3rd party legislative machinations of the power elite from the BOYN Party and we even face "reform" efforts from within by the disenfranchised who have joined the Libertarian Party in recent years, after fleeing their previous affiliations in disgust. "Reform" seems to mean "become more like the very people you loath in an effort to succeed with the electorate", it also seems to mean abandoning core principles that define Libertarianism, as well. For those who remember such things, there was a successful 3rd party a few years ago that suffered "reform", had a big name Presidential candidate and lots of money. They abandoned their founding principles, in the name of reform, electability and acceptance and promptly self destructed. They are no more. And, as I have contended for years now, it was done deliberately by those "disenfranchised" BOYNers who joined up and brought in a new candidate from their old Rightist division. The same will likely happen to us, soon enough.

So, what is a Liberty lover to do? It's hard to say, really. Short of replying in kind via open rebellion the choices are few. You can continue the battle for the "hearts and minds" and keep attempting to increase Liberty, as many of us have done for years in a variety of ways but, you better be prepared for the long haul or to shift gears with a new paradigm. Or you can hunker down and seek to protect yourself from the State in its unrelenting assault on the individual and Liberty.

Over the years I have engaged in conversations with people about numerous things Libertarian. Some of the "discussions" were amiable enough and some were...less than friendly....before they were finished. One thing which has occasionally crept into those talks was the accusation that Libertarians were "cultists", (unlike the anti-Liberty Jihadists who made the accusations and failed to see their State Worship was easily equivalent). Those accusations have served to end any number of discussions over the years but they did manage to make me think about a different approach.

Suppose we are "Liberty Cultists"? Would it be a bad thing? There are certainly worse things we could be, such as a Scientologist, Moonie, a Republican or a Democrat. We have a core principle we adhere to;
No human being has the right -- under any circumstances -- to initiate force against another human being, nor to threaten or delegate its initiation.

that's fully as valid as , "Do Unto Others...", "An It Harm None...", etc...heck, it practically goes hand in hand with them. Some of the documents we American Libertarians hold dear even bring a religious air to the matter.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
Maybe we are Liberty Cultists and we've just never recognised it. It's an interesting thought, isn't it? Religions are afforded much more protection than political parties when it comes to government interference. The powers that be have already slapped restrictions on political speech and are set to impose even stricter rules that will all but destroy any hope of 3rd party participation in the political process and even more impediments are being introduced on a regular basis.

It might very well be in our best interests to explore moving the fight for hearts and minds into a realm which is protected by the 1st Amendment. Persecuting a political party is practically de rigueur, but persecuting something protected as religious speech is pretty much verboten, in most cases. And there are all the other protective perks, as well. Libertarianism, at its core is a philosophy, a way of life that is also applicable to politics. We've tried teaching Libertarianism to the masses as political philosophy and folks just aren't buying it. Some of the more persuasive Libertarian speakers I have heard and talked to come from religious backgrounds. While they tend to come at things from the perspective of disenfranchised refugees, I cannot help but wonder what they could do if they were motivated to speak in favour of the anarchist/individualist as a way of life. Could we do better as true Liberty Evangelists than we have as Political animals? It lends itself to a whole new means of spreading the message of Liberty, imagine sending out dedicated Libertarian missionaries to the places around the world desperately in need of the message we have been preaching for three and half decades.

It's rather an odd idea but, given the times and continued growth of the State and the anti-Liberty Jihadists around the world it could well be an idea whose time has come. Some folks have already begun the process and seen some success, so we do know it is a viable avenue for escape.

If things continue as they are this idea may well see its day come. The Political Wing of Libertarianism seems to be facing what may be a painful schism between the Reformista and Principled members. We have already seen many dedicated Liberty lovers bail out and head for the hills in disgust and saddened resignation at the continued loss of freedom to the anti-Liberty Jihadists.

Perhaps it's time to start thinking outside the box, again. What we currently have isn't working as well as it should and our message is lost in the face of the Jihad. Maybe it takes Liberty Cultists to fight anti-Liberty thing is certain, though. Political parties come and go but the things people hold as sacred endure.

Liberty Jihad 1
Liberty Jihad 2

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