Saturday, June 24, 2006

Drawing A Line

Thomas Knapp, over at Kn@ppster points out a new LP press release concerning the Republicrats and Democrats using the Iraq war for political ends and stating, for the record the LP's firm anti-war stance. This is a stance which is almost certain to make the heads of some people in the LP explode and serve to further widen the growing rifts within the LP.
Some LP members support the war on Iraq, but the LP's platform clearly and unambiguously places the party in opposition to that war. You don't have to like it, but that's the way it is.
Precise and to the point, no matter what some people might have you believe. The LP's platform may need some tweaking in a few areas, but it most certainly doesn't need anything removed or changed that would turn the LP into a political entity that supports non-defensive conflicts such as Iraq. Unfortunately there are folks in the LP who would love to change the LP in just such a fashion, refugees from the "two" failed parties currently enjoying their power.

The point the LP makes concerning the fact that says more about the truth of the matter than many are willing to countenance.
The Republicans will trade dead soldiers for November votes. The Democrats will trade dead soldiers for November votes. With the Libertarian Party solution, all of our troops would have been home by now.
This is abundantly clear given the recent votes in the Congress concerning their War in Iraq. Even the pro-war High Harridan of the Democratic Elite, H.R. Clinton is all over map on the issue these days, struggling to garner the center support for her run back to the White House. Even Dubya's buddy on the Democrat side of the Senate went down in support of their Iraq war.

The facts are evident. The only party taking a stand against the governments War in Iraq is the Libertarian Party and they are to be commended for sticking to and speaking to their Principles. At least they have a set of principles which the use to guide them, even in the face of the current Reformista movement which would set principle aside for political expediency.

Stephen Gordon, LP Communications Director and major contributor to Hammer of Truth has also added in a couple of dollars worth of commentary to the issue, as well. Why do I think he also had a big hand in that press release?

So, here we have it. The LP has drawn its line in the sand. Will anyone other than Libertarians notice or care? The LP has crossed their political Rubicon and, as time passes we'll get to see how this plays out. Where will the war supporting Libertarians find themselves now that this line has been drawn and what will they do? Run home to the very Republicrats they fled in the first place? Or maintain their attempts to remake the LP in the image of their failed, former parties? I can't wait to see what happens next. Regardless of the outcome the Boot On Your Neck Party will continue to use American soldiers as pawns in their political games and that is disgusting to any rational being.

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Looking For Jobs In All The Wrong Places

Sounds like a bad country song, doesn't it? It's actually what Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana is doing to "help" the people in this state. He's been off spending the tax dollars taken from the people of Indiana in an effort to "in source" jobs to this state. Typical behaviour for a Republicrat and former member of the Bush cabinet in this day and age, it seems. Go on a trip and try to drum up a handful of jobs, all the while ignoring the true engine of the state economy. Of course his supporters are going to argue that he has managed to "create jobs" and has brought more business to the region. And what has his junket cost us and what will the gains be? According to an article in the Indianapolis Star :
Two central Indiana facilities will invest $105 million and add 210 jobs, the companies announced here today.
He has a promise of adding 210 jobs from two corporations (one company will add 140 jobs and the other company may add 70 more). And the cost to Indiana? A mere $800,000 in tax credits for one company and $160,000 in state sponsored grants to the other. Now, in the real world what do we call this kiddies? That's right! Bribery. When someone who isn't a politician does this they are usually arrested, tried and sent to a State run prison. When a politician does this it's called "statesmanship".

As a Libertarian I am against taxation in fact and principle and I am glad that the company receiving the "credits" will have its tax burden lessened. The thing that bothers me, though is that the true backbone of Indiana's economy receives nothing except grief from the powers that be in this state.

The two single largest employers in Indiana are Wal-Mart (#1) and Government (#2). But the true driving force, the largest employer is small business. According to government numbers:
There were an estimated 451,437 small businesses in Indiana in 2004.1 Of the 125,746 firms with employees, an estimated 97.6 percent, or 122,716, were small firms. In 2004, the estimated number of employer businesses increased by 0.5 percent. The number of self employed persons (including incorporated) decreased overall by 7.2 percent, from 287,665 in 2003 to 267,017 in 2004. Non-employer businesses numbered 328,721 in 2002, an increase of 1.7 percent since 2001, based on the most recent data available.
So, while Mr. Daniels is off running about the Orient, the true driving force in Indiana continues to go about the business of business; ignored, regulated to death and taxed. Individuals and small business are the true life's blood of this state and I have to ask...where are their tax incentives? The State is willing to forego tax dollars from major corporations but is unwilling to do anything for small business. Indiana, like most states goes out of its way to make things difficult for people who wish to start a new business. Licensing, regulation, permissions, taxation all coupled with the seemingly endless bureaucracy make it too costly for mom and pop to do business any more. Ever wonder why every new restaurant you see is a chain joint? Only these multinational corporations can afford to open a place anymore. It's too costly and time consuming for Joe Public to open a place.

If Mr. Daniels really wishes to "create" jobs, (something he has no power to unless he expands government some more) maybe he'll spend some time behind his desk and start dismantling his government. Get rid of the regulations that are choking small business, end the onerous taxation and tell the federal government that they need to butt out of Indiana's business. Men and women do not need multiple masters granting them permission to pursue life and happiness. Get government out of the way, at all levels and Indiana will become an economic powerhouse to rival anyone. Continuing upon the path upon which we are currently treading is a solid method to insure that Indiana will remain a slave state, one predicated upon the proposition that all men are created as menials for the corporate plantation. Bringing in new masters from abroad is not the solution. Liberating Hoosiers to pursue their own destinies, unburdened by the state and its sponsorship of corporatism is the way to go.

Unfortunately, that is not going to happen in this state any time soon. Only Libertarians in Indiana have a history of siding with small business and actively courting them. Democrats and Republicans have gone out of their way to trample the small business community and they have consistently returned these people to office. Masochism is an ugly thing, but this is much more akin to Stockholm Syndrome and is much uglier. Mr. Daniels? It's time to let the people go.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

How Bad Is Bad Enough?

How bad do things have to get to reach the point where people just say, "Enough!"? I am going to hazard a guess that it won't reach that point, ever. Americans are too complacent, too enamoured of their bread and circuses and altogether too stupid to reach that point. As I pointed out recently Virginia has become a defacto police state and now, it gets even worse. To prove my point the Virginia Legislature and their dicktater Governor have passed a law that requires Virginia's public and private colleges and Universities to turn over the names and Social Security numbers of students who are accepted for enrollment, regardless of whether they actually attend or not.

Yet another piece of crap legislation from totalitarian douche bags done in the name of "The Chiiiiillldruuun". That's as good a place to lay the blame as any, I guess. Blame the children for yet one more giant leap into the police state. Lest it miss anyone's attention, this is yet another case of presumption of guilt by cops. They have to check everyone's status as a suspected sexual criminal and the schools will certainly not raise a peep. Thomas Jefferson must be rolling in his grave over this one.

Add to this the revelations of law enforcement at many, if not all levels using private data mining to gain access to private information and the downhill run just gets faster and faster. Who needs a freakin' warrant when a purchase order can be cut and the information can be gathered by people outside the so-called "justice system"? Who needs a Bill of Rights anymore? Certainly not this country and its cops. They can knock down your door, rather than knock and do as they please with you and your families (wonder what this will mean for Cory Maye?) and many of the Tories people back this flushing of the 4th Amendment.

So, tell me people...when is it going to be enough? How long will we have to wait before you decide you've had enough? I've already had more than enough. Claire Wolfe says:
America is at that awkward stage.
It’s too late to work within the system,
but too early to shoot the bastards.
Now, I am left to pose the question...when is it going to be time? When is bad, bad enough that we finally decide to do something? Politics sure as hell isn't working and duh masses don't even want to hear about "liberty outreach" or voting. American Idol, Oprah and the (insert sport/team name here) is vastly more important than real Freedom or Liberty, (hint to Republicrats: Bush and the talking heads have no idea what those words even mean).

My 5th Great Grandfathers, one of whom was at Valley Forge put up with a lot less than we are forced toand they became the epitome of designated trouble makers. They were apparently much better men and women than we are but, as I have said before real men don't exist any more and our ancestors must be hanging their heads in shame at what we have become. So, until enough people find the fortitude to begin doing what needs to be done I, and hopefully others like me will continue to goad you, to shame you and wait for things to become bad enough that you find your courage. Maybe we'll still have a Bill of Rights by then....but, I doubt it.

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Education Vindication

Every so often my most excellent other half will surprise me with a moment of vindication concerning some subject near and dear to my cantankerous soul. This was the case recently when, during a conversation with a colleague of hers the subject turned to our educational system and its shortcomings. Now, in the past I have pointed out the evils of the Prussian System and its founders to her but, as is sometimes the case, she had to find and see the info for herself (in order assure herself that I wasn't just having a Dale Gribble moment, no doubt). That evening she came home and informed me that I was right. The American government school system, inspired by the Prussian System of King Frederick William III was evil and we needed to do something about it, mainly to find some way to not put our kids through the same mind numbing grinder which we had been forced through.

She mentioned private schools, (which we had utilised to great effect for "Pre-school" and "Pre-Kindergarten") but quickly became discouraged when I pointed out that even the "private" schools were based upon the same system. Even though the academics they offer are superior, the teachers are better and they often manage to challenge the kids more than the government schools they are still based upon the same Prussian inspired educational system.

Of course, there is always the time honoured and proven method of Home Schooling, an option that must always be on the table. And that is an option for many but, sadly not for all. As someone who has been involved in the political arm of Libertarianism for years I've seen most of the arguments and plans that are out there. None, other than the abolition of government schools have really addressed the issue of getting rid of the Prussian influence, (other than Home Schoolers). "Public" or community schools are unlikely to ever go away and "libertarian" politicians are growing ever more reticent in mentioning it, in order to preserve their "electability".

So, once again I set my mind to the task of finding an answer to the problem of community schools. No matter how we cut it, communities are going to need schools of some sort, due to the fact that a large number of parents are either incapable of teaching their children or are unable to. The main goal must be to keep the Prussian system at bay and somehow manage to maximise the educational potential of the children. Yes, not all of them are going to be scientists or healers but, the world still needs manual labourers, dish washers and even the occasional chef and artist.

While I was pondering this problem my mind kept coming back to two things; Chiron, the original "teacher" and the ancient Greek "gymnasium" system of education, (still alive, in spirit in some countries, but co-opted by the States). Here, I think is a model to build a community school upon. An open ended educational system, with speakers and tutors, rather than instructors. Buildings, (when necessary) that reflect the gymnasium concept of openness and freedom would necessarily be a must. This is one that I actually had some experience with. Way back when, in a land far to the South of where I currently reside, some truly intelligent person managed to sneak something by the Powers That Be and designed a school and a system that came close to what I now envision.

Back in the day, when I was a 7th and 8th grader I attended a "Middle School" that had no interior walls, (other than those necessary for structural integrity, storage and privacy). The large interior was divided by movable storage, (closets, cubby's and the like) and had as it's core a library. The curriculum was the standard fare, approved by the state and local school boards, with some advanced course work available for those so inclined. The students were given a blank "schedule" every week, in order to satisfy state requirements for course attendance and were expected to attend a minimum of 5 hours of any given class. The courses available were Social Studies, Science, Mathematics, English, Physical "Education", Art and Music. Bells still announced the beginning and ending of "periods" but there was no requirement for you to leave one class for another. You could continue to explore an experiment as long as you wished, continue reading in English, complete a weeks worth of Mathematics in a day or whatever you wished.

This was a step in the right direction but, sadly the school was remodeled and their system discarded a few years after I left, at the behest of the Unions and the Educational Powers The Be, no doubt and what could have been the seed of a better way was quashed in favour of uniformity, "tradition", mediocrity and control. The "open" school concept is a sound one, as proven by the old "one room school house" and it's too bad that our current government systems preclude it.

Now, to get back on track...the Community School or, as I like to term it, The Chironasium (an homage to Chiron, not "Oblivion"), would be a place of learning with visiting or permanent "lecturers" in a given subject, rather than instructors. A system where the teacher sets the pace to suit the students and the students who are more advanced jump in as tutors for the newer or less advanced students. Above all a place where there is an exchange of ideas and knowledge rather than rote learning as we currently have in our government facilities.

Let parents, kids and the instructors work together to determine how much of what a kid wishes to ingest in any given time frame and work within a free form "schedule". Any testing or exams could be carried out the way they were in the "One Room School House"...the older students teach the younger students, becoming a lecturer in fact. If they can teach to the subject they certainly prove their comprehension more readily than any pen and paper test could ascertain.

Such a concept could work, provided the State, unions and other busybodies could be kept out of the equation. A place where students could wander from lecture to lecture, from laboratory to library as and when they wished is anathema to the Prussian system inspired authoritarians who currently control things. Funding would have to be voluntary tuition, paid by families of attendees with scholarships being made available via charity or private donations, rather than through unrepresented taxation and property rights negation. A Chironasium could even allow for the free attendance of those unable to pay or work out arrangements for a family to pay via voluntarism by doing grounds work, janitorial or maintenance work in exchange for educating their young.

By necessity the student numbers would be kept low in order to assure that there was an actual teacher/student relationship. While this might mean more places of learning per community than we currently have it would insure a better learning experience for everyone and would be based upon voluntary attendance and funding, not taxation. It's not a new idea by any means, but it is definitely one worth exploring for those who have some need for community based schools. A free market "school" and system, a place where kids could be taught the Zero Aggression Principle, individualist philosphy, as well as the great philosophers and concepts of Liberty at a younger age.

As for us...who knows what we'll finally do? We will continue to supplement our childrens education in defiance of the government schools and will undo the indoctrination as it occurs and see what happens. Perhaps we'll go the Home School route sooner, rather than later. Something will have to give, tho. Our current system of government indoctrination, unrepresentative taxation and property rights negation to fund schools must change. Even those who choose to Home School or have no children still support the system currently in place via property taxes and other coercive taxation an that is a blatantly unfair thing. Shoot, even the old "One Room School House" concept is superior to what we currently have. My father attended one in his extremely rural area until he was High School aged and he turned out just fine. Maybe I'll have to find some funding and open the first Chironasium...anyone want to be a lecturer?

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